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Presidential Recollections

Presidential Recollections, October/November 1992 Cape Cod Life |

Cape Cod Captains David B. Phillips and George C. Cahoon delivering clams and oysters to President Calvin J. Coolidge in 1926.

In a more personal essay titled “Carrying the Clams to Coolidge” (Cape Cod Magazine, May 1926), Captain George C. Cahoon recalls his visit with Captain David B. Phillips to the White House where they presented the president with pails of clams and oysters they brought from Cape Cod:

”Captain David B. Phillips, of West Dennis, and I left Chatham on the afternoon of April 29, bound for Boston and Washington. Alden H. Kenyon, president of the Kenyon Company of Boston, made the trip with us. When we reached Boston we went to Mr. Kenyon’s office and there dressed up in oil clothes and rubber boots. Then with our pails of clams and oysters we walked over to the Back Bay station.

There we were surprised to find many newspapermen and photographers waiting for us. After disposing of them we boarded the Federal express for Washington.

Next morning at 7:30 our party, headed by Mr. Kenyon, arrived at the New Willard hotel. There we were met by the reporters of the Washington Post. Congressman Gifford of Cotuit took us from the New Willard at noon to the White House in our oilskins, rubber boots and sou’westers. Captain Phillips and I carried a pail of clams and one of oysters. On the steps of the White House we were again met by photographers.

Ten minutes later we were called into the White House and at 12:25 were introduced to the president by Mr. Gifford. I presented the clams to President Coolidge with a short speech. He then invited us out onto the front lawn to have our pictures taken with him. When we were all ready to have them taken, the president told Captain Phillips he had better take his pipe out of his mouth or people would take him for the vice-president.

After this we were escorted back to the hotel by Congressman Gifford, highly pleased at the cordial reception that we received from the president, who gave us nearly twenty minutes of his valuable time.

After dinner the Congressman took us through the House of Representatives, the Senate and also the Supreme Court, each of which was in session. From there Mr. Kenyon furnished a car with a guide who showed us the most important places in Washington. We left the city and crossed the Potomac to the Arlington cemetery, putting in nearly two hours looking at the monuments and statues of the noted men who were laid at rest there, and the stones which marked the graves of nearly six thousand unclaimed bodies from the World War.

The view from the grave of the Unknown Soldier across the Potomac to Washington was one of the most beautiful sights one would wish to look upon.

On the way back to the hotel our guide took us through the multi-millionaire district. After supper we left on the Federal express again, and reached Boston Saturday morning at 8:30, arriving at the Ferguson in Hyannis in time for supper there.”

From the time of Cleveland and Coolidge to JFK, these presidents impressed many Cape Codders, some of whose recollections are chronicled here. Coolidge is recalled for his amiable reception of Cape Codders at the White House. Cleveland and JFK are remembered as presidents, but also as neighbors who found in Cape Cod a peaceful retreat that brings so many people to Cape Cod today.




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