Facts about George Washington | How George Washington Died | 1st US President
When was George Washington President
US President: 1789-1797
US Vice President: John Adams
Spouse: Martha Dandridge (m. 1759 – 1799)
Political Party: N/A
Birth: February 22, 1732 at Westmoreland County, Virginia
Death: December 14, 1799 (aged 67) at Mount Vernon, Virginia, U.S.
Senior Officer of the Army (1798 – 1799)
Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army (1775 – 1783)
Second Continental Congress from Virginia (1775 – 1775)
First Continental Congress from Virginia (1774 – 1774)
Second Continental Congress from Virginia the Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War, and one of the Found Fathers of the United States.
George Washington was a great military leader, the first President of the United States, and one of the Founding Fathers of the country. He died of a throat infection just three years into his retirement at Mount Vernon. He was the first President of the United States, his inauguration occurred on April 30, 1789. The inauguration marked the beginning of the first term of George Washington as President.
The exact date of George Washington’s birthday depends on which calendar we are using.
- According to the Julian calendar, Washington was born on February 11, 1731. Therefore, this calendar was the one that was in effect at the time, so that was regarded as his birthday.
- According to the Gregorian calendar, he was born February 22, 1732. This calendar did not come into usage in the colonies until 1752, 20 or 21 years later.
The Gregorian calendar became widely used in the colonies in 1752, so the commonly used birth date is February 22, 1732.
George Washington was born at his father’s plantation, at Pope’s Creek Plantation in Westmoreland County, Virginia (the current day Colonial Beach), to his father Augustine Washington and his father’s second wife Mary Ball Washington.
Facts about George Washington | George Washington Childhood
The first child of Augustine Washington (1694–1743) and his second wife, Mary Ball Washington (1708–1789), George Washington was born on their Pope’s Creek Estate near present-day Colonial Beach in Westmoreland County, Virginia. According to the Julian calendar and Annunciation Style of enumerating years (then in use in the British Empire), Washington was born on February 11, 1731; the Gregorian calendar, adopted later within the British Empire in 1752, renders a birth date of February 22, 1732.
Washington was of primarily English gentry descent, especially from Sulgrave, England. His great-grandfather, John Washington, emigrated to Virginia in 1656 and began accumulating land and slaves, as did his son Lawrence and his grandson, George’s father, Augustine. Augustine was a tobacco planter who also tried his hand in iron-mining ventures. In George’s youth, the Washington’s were moderately prosperous members of the Virginia gentry, of “middling rank” rather than one of the leading planter families. At this time, Virginia and other southern colonies had employed slave labor, in which slaveholders (and the rich in general) formed the ruling class and much of the economy was based upon slave labor.
Six of George’s siblings reached maturity, including two older half-brothers, Lawrence and Augustine, from his father’s first marriage to Jane Butler Washington, and four full siblings, Samuel, Elizabeth (Betty), John Augustine and Charles. Three siblings died before adulthood: his full sister Mildred died when she was about one, his half-brother Butler died in infancy, and his half-sister Jane died at age twelve, when George was about two. His father died of a sudden illness in April 1743 when George was eleven years old, and his half-brother Lawrence became a surrogate father and role model. William Fairfax, Lawrence’s father-in-law and cousin of Virginia’s largest landowner, Thomas, Lord Fairfax, was also a formative influence.
George Washington Family Influence
Washington’s father was the Justice of the Westmoreland County Court. Young Washington spent much of his boyhood at Ferry Farm in Stafford County near Fredericksburg. Lawrence Washington inherited another family property from his father, a plantation on the Potomac River at Little Hunting Creek, which he named Mount Vernon, in honor of his commanding officer, Admiral Edward Vernon. George inherited Ferry Farm upon his father’s death and eventually acquired Mount Vernon after Lawrence’s death.
The death of his father prevented Washington from an education at England’s Appleby School, as his older brothers had received. He achieved the equivalent of an elementary school education from a variety of tutors, as well as from a school run by an Anglican clergyman in or near Fredericksburg.
In 1751 Washington traveled to Barbados with Lawrence, who was suffering from tuberculosis, with the hope that the climate would be beneficial to Lawrence’s health. Washington contracted smallpox during the trip, which left his face slightly scarred, but immunized him against future exposures to the dreaded disease. However, Lawrence’s health failed to improve, and he returned to Mount Vernon, where he died in the summer of 1752. Lawrence’s position as Adjutant General (militia leader) of Virginia was divided into four district offices after his death. Washington was appointed by Governor Dinwiddie as one of the four district adjutants in February 1753, with the rank of major in the Virginia militia. During this period, Washington became a Freemason while in Fredericksburg, although his involvement was minimal.
George Washington Biography
George Washington Early Years
His father was a tobacco planter who owned slaves (Also see Facts About George Washington and Freedom of his slaves). He was also a justice on the county court. He later became an iron miner. Washington’s family was considered middle class. They had some riches in their lives, but they were not wealthy. The family had lived in the colonies for a number of generations, distancing themselves from their British past.
Augustine’s first wife, Janet Butler, died in 1729 after having three children with Augustine, two sons, Augustine, Jr. and Lawrence, and a daughter, Jane.
Augustine married Mary Ball in 1731 and George was Mary Ball’s first child. She went on to have five other children in addition to the three children who Augustine had with his first wife.
Six of Washington’s siblings lived until adulthood; however, three of them died when they were children.
- Mildred died at the age of one
- Butler and Jane died when they were teenagers
- His siblings who survived were named Lawrence, Augustine, Samuel, Elizabeth, John Augustine, and Betty
In 1735, George Washington’s family moved from his birthplace to a plantation – named the Little Hunting Creek Plantation, which was later called Mount Vernon, where he would spend the rest of his childhood.
In 1759, Washington married 28-year old Martha Dandridge Custis, a wealthy widow with two children – John Parke Custis and Martha Parke Custis. His marriage to Martha greatly increased his property assets and he became one of Virginia’s wealthiest men.
George and Martha raised Martha’s children and later, her grandchildren.
George Washington Genealogy
Lawrence built a house on 2,500 acres on the family plantation and named it Mount Vernon after an admiral he served under during the siege of Cartagena. Also, in 1751, Lawrence contracted tuberculosis and took a trip to Barbados to see if his health would improve there in the warmer weather. He took George with him and George got smallpox, which caused his face to be scarred.
In addition, Lawrence’s health did not improve and they returned to Mount Vernon. Lawrence died in 1752, leaving the estate to George in the event of his sister’s death. She died a few months later, and George inherited Mount Vernon, one of the nicest estates in Virginia.
Education and Jobs
His older brothers attended the England’s Appleby School, located in England. Since their father had passed away, Washington was prevented from going across the seas to school. Money became an issue after his father died, and there had to be more help in the family to help take care of the other members.
Washington had several tutors and went to a school run by an Anglican clergyman in Fredericksburg until he was 15 years old. Furthermore, he excelled at mathematics and surveying.
He also did not attend college. The fact that Washington did not receive the same formal education that his brothers had received from England did not necessarily bother him. However, it is reported that it later bothered him that he did not have the same education as some of his other contemporaries and acquaintances.
Washington taught himself many things through reading books and newspapers. He became a skilled writer and, believing as he did about education, he left money in his will to establish a school and a university.
He eventually received a surveyor’s license from the College of William and Mary. The exact details of how long Washington attended the school or what the requirements were for the license are unclear.
His brother Lawrence was able to help him establish himself. He had connections with well established family named William Fairfax family, ultimately helping George get an appointment as surveyor of Culpeper County in 1749 when George was only 17 years old.
In 1752 he used his surveyor experience to gain an appointment as a major in the Virginia militia. He was entrusted with the responsibility to carry a British ultimatum to the French Canadians – that the French Canadians cease their expansion into the area that is present day Ohio.
He continued his military career fighting the French and serving as aide-de-camp to General Braddock in 1755 during the early battles of the French and Indian War. After Braddock’s death, Washington became commander of all Virginia troops. and continued to serve and gain valuable military experience. Under his leadership the French abandoned their outposts, removing the threat of frontier violence.
In 1757 he resigned his commission and moved to Mount Vernon which he inherited from his older step brother after his death. Washington mainly served in the Virginia House of Burgess and managed his Mount Vernon land.
In May of 1775, the Second Continental Congress convened in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Washington volunteer for military service and was selected to be the commander-in-chief of the Continental Army in the American Revolution. In 1776, he was successful in forcing the British out of Boston; but, he later lost New York City to the British. He crossed the Delaware River and defeated the British and retook New Jersey.
Washington went on to accomplish political greatness in his adult years.
After the surrender at Yorktown, the new country had various factions of belief. Washington promoted the formation of the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in 1787 as a forum to create a unifying document for the nation to replace the Articles of Confederation. Washington was chosen to preside over the convention. He worked to gain support of the new government and constitution.
President of the United States
After the Constitution was ratified, Washington was unanimously elected the country’s first president. He took the oath of office in New York on April 30, 1789, on the balcony of Federal Hall on Wall Street. He served two terms and retired to Mount Vernon.
In his farewell address on March 4, 1797, he warned the American people against long-term foreign alliances and said that citizens should not allow political parties or geography to divide the country.
George Washington Accomplishments
- Received 100% of the electoral votes during the election for the presidency, remaining the only president to have this percentage.
- Supported Alexander Hamilton’s programs to pay off debt, to start a tax system and to create a national bank.
- Proclaimed that the U.S. was neutral in the ongoing European wars, avoiding war with Great Britain.
- Signed the Residence Act of 1790 authorizing the President to select the permanent location of the government.
- George Washington was a tall man for the time, standing 6’2″.
- He enjoyed fox-hunting, dancing, parties, the theater and playing cards.
- Washington used his will to give direction to free all the slaves he owned after his wife’s death. Martha decided to free them about a year after her husband’s death.
Speeches and Quotes
Furthermore, Washington’s Farewell Address was a written lesson in the form of a letter on the importance of religion and morality in politics and how to avoid some of the trials and tribulations that the United States had already experienced such as foreign wars, partisanship and the downsides of not acting as a unified country.
The letter is an important historical documents. It is read annually on Washington’s Birthday on the floor of the U.S. Senate.
George Washington Quotes
- “Associate with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation; for it is better to be alone than in bad company.”
- “Happiness and moral duty are inseparably connected.”
- “It is better to offer no excuse than a bad one.”
- “To be prepared for war is one of the most effective means of preserving peace.”
- “It is impossible to rightly govern a nation without God and the Bible.”
George Washington Final Years
Moreover, two years after leaving the presidency, Washington died from a throat infection on December 14, 1799. There are some who say he died from pneumonia or that the doctor bled him, which was a common practice at that time, and he bled him too much and that caused his death. Most believe it was a throat infection, like tonsillitis or laryngitis.
He died with courage and grace. Thus, on his deathbed, he said, “I die hard but I am not afraid to go.”
To protect their privacy, Martha Washington burned all of the correspondence between George and Martha, leaving only five letters.
How did George Washington die?
Washington died at home around 10 p.m. on Saturday, December 14, 1799, aged 67.
Where is George Washington buried?
On December 18, 1799, a funeral was held at Mount Vernon, where his body was interred. Washington’s remains were moved on October 7, 1837 to the new tomb constructed at Mount Vernon, presented by John Struthers of Philadelphia. The vault was locked and the key was thrown into the Potomac River.
Facts about George Washington
- At 135 words, George Washington’s second inaugural address was the shortest ever given by an incoming president
- Washington was the only president inaugurated in two cities
- George Washington established the tradition of a cabinet of advisers
- Washington signed into law the first copyright law
- Washington set precedents for the social life of the president
- President Washington issued the first Thanksgiving Proclamation
- He never wore a wig: his hair was naturally long and lustrous, although he did use powder to make it white
- George Washington had no formal education
- George Washington penned somewhere between 18,000 and 20,000 letters in his lifetime
- Before he fought the British, George Washington fought for the British.
- George Washington stopped the Revolutionary War to return a lost dog to the enemy
- Also, Washington was worth US $525 million in his day, when adjusted for inflation
- George had his own brew house on the grounds of Mount Vernon
Additionally George Washington Facts
- George Washington suffered from diphtheria, tuberculosis, smallpox, dysentery, malaria, tonsillitis, carbuncle, pneumonia, and epiglottitis
- Washington died after his doctors removed 40% of his blood (80 ounces) over a 12-hour period to cure a throat infection
- When George Washington passed away in 1799, Britain’s entire Royal Navy lowered its flags at half mast
- Before he died, George Washington had become opposed to slavery, and in his will he ordered his 300 slaves to be freed after his wife’s death.
- As Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army, hero of the Revolution and the first president of the United States, George Washington’s legacy remains among the two or three greatest in American history.
- Washington set many precedents for the national government, and the presidency in particular, and was called the “Father of His Country” as early as 1778.
Washington’s Birthday, federal holiday in the United States.
- As the leader of the first successful revolution against a colonial empire in world history, Washington became an international icon for liberation and nationalism.
- The Federalists made him the symbol of their party but for many years, the Jeffersonians continued to distrust his influence and delayed building the Washington Monument.
- Washington, together with Theodore Roosevelt, Thomas Jefferson, and Lincoln, is depicted in stone at the Mount Rushmore Memorial.
- The Washington Monument, one of the best known American landmarks, was built in his honor.
- The George Washington Masonic National Memorial in Alexandria, Virginia, was constructed between 1922 and 1932 with voluntary contributions from all 52 local governing bodies of the Freemasons in the United States.
More Facts about George Washington
Additionally, Mount Washington in New Hampshire, the tallest mountain in the Northeastern United States, was named soon after the American Revolution by Colonel John Whipple and others who were the first to climb to the summit for scientific observations in 1784.