Text and Photographs by Tony Ward, Copyright 2023
A Chance Meeting With Joe and Hunter Biden
In 1997, I was assigned by Eliot Kaplan, then editor in chief of Philadelphia Magazine to create a series of photographs centered around the life and times of George Alexis Weymouth, better known as Frolich Weymouth for a series of articles that were to be published between the years 1997 -1998 in Philadelphia’s regional publication. Mr. Weymouth was an American artist, whip or stager, philanthropist and conservationist who lived on a sprawling estate called Big Bend in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania. Big Bend was just a short carriage ride to visit his long time friends; Andrew and Jamie Wyeth, who lived nearby on an equally impressive estate. Mr. Weymouth grew accustomed to seeing me at various events in the region, including the Devon Horse Show, Winterthur’s annual Point-to-Point steeplechase races and lavish private parties hosted by Mr. Weymouth at his historic homestead. I was often invited by Mr. Weymouth himself to photograph and mingle with many of his longtime friends. Jamie Wyeth’s wife Phyllis Wyeth, a close friend of Frolich’s, also came to know of my omnipresence in the region after she saw a portrait of her husband published in Philadelphia Magazine posing on a plastic horse with two female mannequins.
One day while on assignment photographing Jamie on his estate, a friend of mine (liason to the elites) suggested we go to Wilmington to visit a friend of his after the shoot with Jamie. The friend turned out to be Hunter Biden. Hunter had just bought his first home and my friend wanted to see it. We arrived at a fairly large single family colonial with a large pool table set up in what appeared to be the living room. We walked around the house and heard Hunter call us into the kitchen for a beer. After just a short time, Hunter’s phone rings. It was his dad, the senator checking in like he usually did when he arrived home from D.C. by train. They made small talk. Hunter hung up the phone and then around 15 minutes later Joe Biden came in to join us. We shook hands. He had a firm grip and a curiosity about who Hunter was with. Meeting Joe Biden impromptu like that left a positive impression of the man who would later become President.