Write Again … Two talented icons

Published 7:00 pm Friday, March 30, 2018


Even though I spent many years away from here — our children grew up, mostly, on the Outer Banks — I think of myself as a Washingtonian, a Beaufort Countian.

My parents moved here in 1936, and I arrived here in February of ’39. This is all past history, of course. We all have our own stories, don’t we?

Well, now. Washington has its own story too. It’s an old town, by American standards. By European standards, our little town is almost new.

The first town to be named for General George Washington, it was incorporated in 1782. The name had been used on letterheads as early as 1775.

Many are the stories that could be told about our town and its people. Two iconic figures from yesteryear are Edmund Harding and Carl Goerch.

The former was, literally, Washington’s ambassador to the entire country. A much sought after public speaker-entertainer, Edmund Harding regaled audiences from coast to coast. He was a master at spinning stories, with much of his material gleaned from people and events right here.

He was a real humorist and also a musician. Whether piano or organ, he was quite accomplished.

Carl Goerch was not a native, but called Washington home for many years. A newspaper editor by trade while here, he later moved to Raleigh, where he founded the “State” magazine, which was the forerunner of “Our State” magazine.

Both of these special men did special things for Washington. Their collaboration on a couple of songs is noteworthy, even up to these times.

Let me share just one of the songs they wrote.

“George Washington, good old George./ Led his troops at Valley Forge./Chopped down his daddy’s cherry tree./ Chased the British clear across the sea. He was our first president/Idolized where’ er he went/And when he died so great was his fame/That numerous towns adopted his name.

“There’s a Washington in Alabama/There’s a Washington in Tennessee./ There’s another in Oregon./ But none of them suit me; There’s a Washington in Minnesota/In Maine and Delaware, BUT — After all is said and done, There is just one Washington, Washington in Carolina — Down on the Pamlico.”

Once I spent a night in Washington, Pennsylvania. A pretty town. Maybe they have a rich history too. And some original songs.