George A. “Frolic” Weymouth

Chadds Ford

In a single second, very near the time of his birth, George Weymouth had a defining moment when his 3-year-old brother, Gene, lost his foxhound. After repeatedly asking his mother, “Where’s Frolic?” his exasperated mother replied, “Shut up! Here’s your damn Frolic!” and thrust George before Gene. 

The name gave George something to live up to—and live into. And he has indeed lived into his name. His father used to drill him in the three pillars of a successful life: honesty, generosity and a sense of humor. Over the years, he has brought joy to so many who’ve known him, as well as to those who have never met him.  

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In the mid-1960s, Chadds Ford and the surrounding area began to face a wave of industrial and residential development. The impact—especially in floodplain and watershed areas of the Brandywine Creek—would’ve been devastating to the landscapes, water supplies and ultimately those living in Southeastern Pennsylvania and northern Delaware. 

In 1971, at the age of 33, Frolic acquired at auction the old Hoffman’s Mill next to the Brandywine Creek. Almost simultaneously, a group lead by Frolic founded the Brandywine Conservancy. The first conservation easements, protecting more than five-and-a-half miles along the Brandywine, were granted in 1969. Today, the organization holds over 440 such easements and has protected more than 45,000 acres in Chester and Delaware counties and New Castle County, Del.

Without the conservancy, the local landscape would’ve been forever changed. One of the most visible and significant of these activities was the
preservation of over 5,500 acres of property in Chester County formerly owned by the famous King Ranch. The founding of the Brandywine Conservancy and Museum of Art inspired land-conservation organizations around the country. 

Frolic has served on the United States Commission of Fine Arts. He was also named the 14th recipient of Winterthur’s Henry Francis du Pont Award, recognizing those who’ve made contributions of national significance to the decorative arts, architecture, landscape design and gardens.

Aside from being an exceptional artist, Frolic is a renowned whip, internationally recognized for his collection of antique coaches and carriages. He helped establish Winterthur Point-to-Point, and he always leads the coaching parade there. 

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In an article for the Philadelphia Inquirer, Art Carey asked Frolic, “Are you a bon vivant?”

His reply: “Do you mean I’m a good liver? Yes, I love good living. Why have a bad time? It’s such a beautiful world, and every day is my oyster. No one has had more fun out of life than I have.”

He has lived well—and few in the Brandywine Valley have given us more.

—Jim Graham,
freelance photographer and longtime friend

Photo by Jim Graham

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