President Woodrow Wilson Birth Place
Woodrow Wilson Birth Place
In December, 1854, the Reverend Joseph Ruggles Wilson became minister of Staunton Presbyterian Church and in March, 1855, moved into this manse with his wife and two daughters. On December 28, 1856, Joseph proudly recorded the birth "at 12 3/4 o'clock at night" in the family bible. Named Thomas, after his maternal grandfather, he was called "Tommy" by his friends and family. He did not begin going by "Woodrow" until he entered law school. His father accepted a call from a larger church in Augusta, Georgia, and the family moved in early 1858.
Two of the most prized possessions that can be seen here are the family bible and Tommy's hand sewn baby dress, which he most likely wore at his baptism. When you tour the house you will also see his mother's side saddle that was a gift from her father on her wedding day. There are books that have remained in the house from Reverend Wilson. There is also Tommy's crib and the bed he had at Princeton University.
President-elect Wilson came back to Staunton for his birthday in 1912 and he stayed here in the house. An interesting story occurred when the nephew of one of the slave women that the church had hired for the Wilson family during their time in the house came during his birthday celebration. He was a young boy when the Wilson's were here and he was put in charge of "the baby". He would put young Tommy in a wheelbarrow and take him for rides up and down the hillside. He was amazed that the baby he had tipped over onto his head so many times became President of the United States.
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