||George Washington was the President of the United States.|
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March 4, 1789
of the United States
George Washington was born February 22 1732 at his parents' Pope's Creek Estate near present-day Colonial Beach in Westmoreland County, Virginia. He was the eldest son of Augustine Washington and his second wife, Mary Ball Washington.
George was 11 when his father died, so he went to live at Mount Vernon. The Potomac River plantation belonged to his half-brother Lawrence who left it to Washington after he died from tuberculosis in 1752.
Although he later served as 14th Chancellor of William and Mary, George was home-schooled by his father and older brother. He was also a self-taught woodsman, surveyor, and cartographer. His early work experience as a surveyor proved invaluable since he learned the terrain around Virginia. George was known as the Father of the National Road, along with Gallatin. George and his half-brother Lawrence engaged Colonel Thomas Cresap to supervise the path from Cumberland, Maryland to the trading post on the Monongahela River, in 1752 that became known as Nemacolin's Path after the Delaware Native American who was hired to blaze the path in the area.
In 1753, as a Major, George traveled the National Road on horseback to order the French off of British Territory, around Fort Le Boeuf, as a messenger for Virginia Governor Robert Dinwiddie (Waterford Pennsylvania).
In 1755, Major George Washington rode with General Edward Braddock to drive out the French by military force around Fort Duquesne (near Pittsburgh) - where the General was ambushed and killed, and is known as the end of Braddock's Road. (Source: The National Road, Main Street of America by Norris F. Schneider, Copyright 1975 by the Ohio Historical Society Columbus OH)
On 14 June 1775, Congress created the Continental Army. The next day Washington was promoted to the position of Commander in Chief and unanimously approved by Congress. He served as the leader of the Continental Army for the duration of the war.
Washington met Martha Dandridge through her friends, while on leave during the French and Indian War. At the time, she was a widow living at the White House Plantation on the south shore of the Pamunkey River in New Kent County, Virginia.
George visited her there twice before proposing to her three weeks after they met. Both were 27 years old when they married on 06 January 1759. The wedding was at the plantation, whose name was later shared with the future DC mansion.
The newlyweds moved to Mount Vernon where Washington farmed, manufactured whiskey, and served in politics. They had a good marriage and together raised her two children by her first husband, Daniel Parke Custis. The children, John Parke Custis and Martha Parke Custis, were nicknamed "Jackie" and "Patsy."
A bout with smallpox followed by tuberculosis may have left Washington unable to father children. He and Martha never had children, but they raised two of Martha's grandchildren: Eleanor Parke Custis ("Nelly") and George Washington Parke Custis ("Washy"), after their father died in 1781.
See space pages Mount Vernon and Slaves of George Washington for further details. Washington had 124 slaves, yet over his lifetime, he had control over about 577 slaves. They were freed when Martha died, except one who was freed in Washington's lifetime. "Of the eight presidents who owned slaves while in office, Washington is the only one who set all of them free."
Bryant (2004), asserted that George Washington fathered a child with Venus, named West Ford (b. c.1785). Venus was an enslaved woman who belonged to Washington's brother, John Augustine Ford. Morgan (2005), disputes the allegation and calls it doubtful.
Washington's marriage to a wealthy widow greatly increased his property holdings and social standing, and after his marriage, George Washington was the wealthiest man in Virginia, if not the colonies. He acquired one-third of the 18,000 acre (73 km²) Custis estate upon marriage and managed the remainder on behalf of Martha's children.
Archaeologists and an excavation team led by Philip Levy, associate professor of history at the University of South Florida, and David Muraca, director of archaeology for the George Washington Foundation, owner of the National Historic Landmark site Ferry Farm, announced on July 2, 2008, the discovery of remains of George's boyhood home just across the c from Fredericksburg, Virginia, 50 miles (80 km) south of Washington.
Built in the 1740s 113-acre (0.46 km²) Ferry Farm, the county-level gentry house was a one and a half story residence perched on a bluff. George was six when the family moved to the farm in 1738. He inherited the farm and lived in the house until his early 20s, though he also stayed with his half-brother Lawrence at Mount Vernon. Washington's mother lived in the house until 1772, when she moved to Fredericksburg, and the farm was sold in 1777.
Washington was a member of the Anglican and Episcopal church.
Eyewitness accounts exist of his private devotion.
Washington has been consistently ranked by scholars as one of the greatest US presidents.
The majority of American states (31 out of 50) have named counties after George Washington, more states than for any other person. They are: Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia and Wisconsin. Vernon County, Louisiana and Vernon County, Wisconsin are named after Washington's plantation at Mt. Vernon, Virginia.
The United States also has a state of Washington and of course, the seat of our government, Washington, District of Colombia.
|abt 1749:||Appointed to first public office: surveyor of Culpepper County. Through half-brother Lawrence, Washington became interested in the Ohio Company, which aimed to exploit Western lands.|
|1751:||George and Lawrence go to Barbados. They stayed at Bush Hill House, hoping Lawrence's tuberculosis would heal.|
|1752:||Lawrence dies. George inherits part of his estate. Takes over some of Lawrence's duties as colony adjutant.|
|1752:||Appointed district adjutant general in Virginia militia. Makes major at 20. "Master Mason" in the organization of Freemasons.|
|1753:||Joins Virginia Militia.|
|Dec 1753:||Asked by VA. Gov. Robert Dinwiddie to carry British ultimatum to French at Ohio frontier.|
|1754:||Dinwiddie commissions Lt. Col. Washington. Orders him to lead expedition to Fort Duquesne to drive out French.|
|1755:||Aide to British Gen. Edward Braddock on ill-fated Monongahela expedition.|
|1758:||Brigadier general in Forbes expedition.
Resigns from active duty. Spends 16 years as Virginia planter and politician.
|1769:||Lead role in colonial resistance: introduces George Mason's proposal to boycott English goods until Townshend Acts repealed.|
|Sep 1771:||Writes to Neil Jameson to recover Jonathan Plowman Jr's ship.|
|1774:||Washington says Intolerable Acts is, "an Invasion of our Rights and Privileges."|
|Jul 1774:||Chaired meeting that adopted Fairfax Resolves. Led to Continental Congress convention.|
|Aug 1774:||Attends First Virginia Convention. Selected as First Continental Congress delegate|
|Apr 1775:||After fighting broke out, Washington appeared at the Second Continental Congress in uniform, signaling he's ready for war.|
|July 1775:||Washington assumes command of the Continental Army at Cambridge, MA during siege of Boston.|
|1776:||Ran British out of Boston, lost New York City, and crosses Delaware River in New Jersey, defeating surprised enemy units later that year.|
|Aug 1776:||British Gen. William Howe launches naval and land campaign to seize New York and negotiate settlement. Washington loses.|
|Dec 1776:||Washington staged a counterattack, leading American forces across Delaware River.|
|Sep 1777:||British defeat Washington at Battle of Brandywine. Howe outmaneuvered Washington and marches into Philadelphia unopposed on Sep 26.|
|Dec 1777:||Washington's army camped at Valley Forge for six months.|
|1778:||British evacuate Philadelphia, and flee to New York. Washington attacked at Monmouth.|
|Sum 1779:||Washington directed Gen. John Sullivan to carry out a scorched earth campaign.|
|1781:||Washington delivered a final blow after French naval victory enables American and French forces to trap British army in Virginia.|
|Oct 1781:||Yorktown surrender ends most fighting.|
|1783:||Washington retires to Mount Vernon.|
|1787:||After Madison's dissatisfaction with the Articles of Confederation, Washington's support is wooed for his public popularity. He presides over the secret Philadelphia Convention that scraps the Articles of Confederation for a new Constitution behind closed doors.|
|1789:||President of newly formed United States.|
|Apr 1789:||Oath of office.|
|Mar 1793:||2nd oath of office.|
|1795:||Jay Treaty brings decade of peace with Britain.|
|1799:||At funeral oration, Henry Lee says that of all Americans, he was "first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen."|
In 1788, the Confederation Congress scheduled the first presidential inauguration for the first Wednesday in March of the following year. However, the early months of 1789 proved to be unseasonably cold and snowy, and bad weather delayed many members of the First Federal Congress from arriving promptly in New York City, the temporary seat of government. Until a quorum could be established in both the House and the Senate, no official business could be conducted. Finally, on April 6, 1789 - over a month late - enough members had reached New York to tally the electoral ballots. The ballots were counted on April 6, and George Washington won unanimously with 69 electoral votes. Washington was then notified of his victory, and traveled to New York City from his home in Virginia.
On April 30, 1789, George Washington took the oath as the first president of the United States. The oath was administered by Robert R. Livingston, the Chancellor of New York, on a second floor balcony of Federal Hall, above a crowd assembled in the streets to witness this historic event. President Washington and the members of Congress then retired to the Senate Chamber, where Washington delivered the first inaugural address to a joint session of Congress. Washington humbly noted the power of the nations' call for him to serve as president, and the shared responsibility of the president and Congress to preserve "the sacred fire of liberty" and a republican form of government.
At that auspicious moment marking the birth of the federal government under the Constitution, Senator William Maclay of Pennsylvania observed that even the great Washington trembled when he faced the assembled representatives and senators. "This great man was agitated and embarrassed," Maclay added, "more than ever he was by the leveled Cannon or pointed Musket." After concluding his remarks, the President and Congress proceeded through crowds lined along Broadway to St. Paul's Church, where a service was conducted. Social gatherings and festivities closed the nation's first inaugural day.
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