Claude Harkins is a man of American treasures and a treasure of an American man. His home is a veritable museum of Revolutionary era artifacts, much of it related to George Washington. He has a bronze of the Washington bust by Jean-Antoine Houdon. He owns china dishes and wine glasses that the General used. Then there’s the locket of Washington’s light reddish hair, the long strands valued at more than $200,000.
Whenever Mr. Harkins is not collecting, the retired CEO is either researching or writing. When he makes a presentation to school children, assisted-living facilities or patriotic groups, he does so with authority. This year alone, he’s spoken to 1,500 students.
On Sunday, October 3, 2010, this winner of the DAR’s Medal of Honor will be giving a lecture titled, “George Washington, Was He Predestined to Become the Father of Our Country?” Starting at 6:00 pm, the lecture will be held at the Allegheny Country Club in Sewickley Heights. A dinner and cash bar will also be included in the evening.
Presented by the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America, this event will benefit historic Woodville Plantation. Built in 1775, Woodville was the home of John and Presley Neville and a Whiskey Rebellion site. The oldest residence in Allegheny County open to the public, Woodville is also a National Historic Landmark.
Using colorful slides of historical paintings and engravings, Claude Harkins will present an interesting account of the life of George Washington, highlighting incidents not usually found in history books. “During his lifetime,” Harkins states, “there were many times when he could have and should have been killed – but he was never harmed.” Harkins points out several of these instances in his lecture, including the shots Washington took at Braddock’s Defeat, and the close proximity to which he approached the British line at the Battle of Princeton without even being grazed by musket fire.
Mr. Harkins will also bring with him a wonderful display of personally owned artifacts, including a flag from the Whiskey Rebellion and personal items once belonging to George and Martha Washington. The evening will end with a special surprise and a salute to the American flag.
Tickets for the lecture are $60.00 per person ($15.00 is tax deductible). To R.S.V.P., please contact Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation (PHLF) at (412) 471-5808, and reference event #527.