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This Day In Founding Fathers History – 11 July
On this day in 1798, the United States Marine Band was officially formed with legislation signed by President John Adams. The Marine Band is America’s oldest professional musical organization, originally consisting of a “drum major, fife major, and 32 drums and fifes.” The band has played at every inauguration since President Jefferson, who termed the band “The President’s Own.” 1
In 1781 on this day, Thomas Hutchins, a surveyor and mapmaker, was appointed Geographer General of the Southern Army of the United States. Hutchins retained the office of Geographer General after the end of the Revolutionary War and was allowed to accept commissions from states. He worked in Pennsylvania to help with roads and to determine sites for towns, as well as determining boundary lines between Pennsylvania and Virginia. He later did much work in surveying and mapping the Northwest Territory. 2
One notable birthday on this day in 1744, that of Pierce Butler. Butler was born in Ireland and immigrated to South Carolina. He had served in the British Army but resigned his commission prior to the Revolutionary War, during which time he served as an adjutant general in the South Carolina militia. He served as delegate to the Continental Congress in 1787 and attended the Federal Convention that same year. At the Federal Convention, Butler was very outspoken, attending nearly every session. He was a key spokesman for the Madison-Wilson caucus and supported the interests of southern slaveholders. He supported the ratification of the U.S. Constitution in South Carolina, although did not participate in the convention. He later served in the U.S. Senate for two terms before returning to the life of a wealthy planter. 3
1 “The United States Marine Band,” White House Historical Association, www.whitehousehistory.org/whha_exhibits/marine_band/index.html
2 “Thomas Hutchins,” Ohio History Central, www.ohiohistorycentral.org/w/Thomas_Hutchins; “History Corner: Captain Thomas Hutchins: Part2, Geographer of the United States,” Professional Surveyor Magazine, www.profsurv.com/magazine/article.aspx?i=335
3 “Butler, Pierce,” Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, bioguide.congress.gov/scripts/biodisplay.pl?index=b001186; “The Founding Fathers: South Carolina,” America’s Founding Fathers, Charters of Freedom, www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/constitution_founding_fathers_south_carolina.html