I came across this interesting item a little while back (click for large image):
It’s a manuscript riddle, apparently written at Mount Vernon (maybe) to commemorate a celebration of American Independence. It’s probably from sometime around 1812, since the riddle is written on the verso of a published anti-War-of-1812 resolution of the Providence Federal Republicans dated 8 April 1812:
It’s easy to imagine the riddle’s author grabbing a nearby scrap of paper, essentially a piece of political ephemera that you wouldn’t have thought twice about recycling at the time, and penning the riddle on the back.
As far as I know, this is a riddle that hasn’t been read—or solved—in a very long time, which is where you come in. If you’d like to contribute to the transcription, just visit: http://pplspc.org/digital/scripto/transcribe/7/7 and click on the “edit” link next to “Current Page Transcription.” I got the first few lines started, beginning with the information at the top and then the first few lines of the riddle:
In the Creation I was made
And bound by cord, into my bed
You can use some basic html formatting, for instance to create horizontal rules (<hr />) or strike through a line (<del>). Uncertain or illegible portions can go in brackets, with a guess or just a question mark ([?]). When you’re finished adding and correcting the transcription, just click the “Edit transcription” button. And if you have any difficulty with the page, you can just contact me.
I’m looking forward to finding out what the riddle says, and, even better, what the solution is. And there might even be a prize for the first person to solve it.