Will and I visit Taft home.

(Will at the front door of William Howard Taft boyhood home.)

For my birthday, my son Will came out from Massachusetts for a visit.  Whenever he visits we have an educational opportunity.  As I have gotten into my Father’s career as my retirement project, I thought of the William Howard Taft birthplace as a good place to checkout.  It is the only historic site dedicated to the 27th President of the United States.

As Taft served as the first Civil Governor during the American occupation of the Philippine Islands during my Father’s service there. we were particularly interested in artifacts from that period.  During Taft’s 1905 Far East trip as Secretary of War he received the Key to the City of Manila, seen here:

One of the primary issues confronting Taft and the American occupation in the Islands was the so-called “Friar Lands.” The major cause of the rise of the Filipino independence movement against Spain in 1896 was the arrogance of the Catholic Orders in the Islands and their land holdings which included much of the best cultivatable land. An early step in resolving this problem for the occupation government was Taft’s visit to the Vatican in May, 1902, to discus purchase of these Friar Lands.  As mementos of his visit to Rome, he was given a gold pen and a photo of himself with Pope Leo XIII:

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