George Washington
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George Washington (1732 - 1799)

President George Washington
Born in Pope's Creek, Westmoreland County, Colony of Virginia, British Empiremap
Ancestors ancestors
Husband of — married 6 Jan 1759 (to 14 Dec 1799) in St. Peter's Church, New Kent County, Colony of Virginiamap
Died at age 67 in Mount Vernon, Fairfax, Virginia, United Statesmap
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The Presidential Seal.
George Washington was the President of the United States.
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Preceded by
Office created
March 4, 1789
George Washington
1st President
of the United States
Presidential Seal
1789 - 1797
Succeeded by
2nd President
John Adams



Notables Project
George Washington is Notable.
George Washington was a Freemason.

Early Life

1776 Project
President George Washington was a Founding Father in the American Revolution.

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)

Revolutionary War

1776 Project
Commander in Chief George Washington served with Continental Army during the American Revolution.

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.[1]

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.[1]

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."[1]

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.[1]


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.[2] 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."[3]

Bryant (2004), asserted that George Washington fathered a child with Venus, named West Ford (b. c.1785).[4] Venus was an enslaved woman who belonged to Washington's brother, John Augustine Ford. Morgan (2005), disputes the allegation and calls it doubtful.[5]


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.

By 1775 Washington doubled the size of Mount Vernon to 6,500 acres (26 km²), with over 100 slaves.[6] See Mount Vernon Plantation, Fairfax County, Virginia for more information.


Washington was a member of the Anglican and Episcopal church.[7]

Eyewitness accounts exist of his private devotion.[8]


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.[9]
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.[10] "Master Mason" in the organization of Freemasons.[1]
1753:Joins Virginia Militia.[11]
Dec 1753:Asked by VA. Gov. Robert Dinwiddie to carry British ultimatum to French at Ohio frontier.[12]
1754:Dinwiddie commissions Lt. Col. Washington. Orders him to lead expedition to Fort Duquesne to drive out French.[13]
1755:Aide to British Gen. Edward Braddock on ill-fated Monongahela expedition.[14]
1758:Brigadier general in Forbes expedition.[15]

Resigns from active duty. Spends 16 years as Virginia planter and politician.[16]

1759: Marries Martha.
1769:Lead role in colonial resistance: introduces George Mason's proposal to boycott English goods until Townshend Acts repealed.[17]
Sep 1771: Writes to Neil Jameson to recover Jonathan Plowman Jr's ship.[18]
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.[19]
July 1775:Washington assumes command of the Continental Army at Cambridge, MA during siege of Boston.[20]
1776: Ran British out of Boston, lost New York City, and crosses Delaware River in New Jersey, defeating surprised enemy units later that year.[21]
Aug 1776:British Gen. William Howe launches naval and land campaign to seize New York and negotiate settlement. Washington loses.[22]
Dec 1776: Washington staged a counterattack, leading American forces across Delaware River.[23]
Sep 1777: British defeat Washington at Battle of Brandywine. Howe outmaneuvered Washington and marches into Philadelphia unopposed on Sep 26.[24]
Dec 1777: Washington's army camped at Valley Forge for six months.[25]
1778:British evacuate Philadelphia, and flee to New York. Washington attacked at Monmouth.[26]
Sum 1779:Washington directed Gen. John Sullivan to carry out a scorched earth campaign.[27]
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.[28]
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.[29]
1789:President of newly formed United States.[30]
Apr 1789:Oath of office.
Mar 1793:2nd oath of office.[31]
1795:Jay Treaty brings decade of peace with Britain.[32]
Dec 1799: Dies.[33]
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."

George Washington's First Inaugural Address

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.[34]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Wikipedia
  2. for a full list of enslaved persons at Mount Vernon, search:
    "Slavery Database." George Washington's Mount Vernon. Web.
  3. The blackest name in America: Why are 90pc of Washingtons African-Americans?
  4. History News Network, citing Bryant, L.A. (n.d.). I Cannot Tell a Lie.
  5. West Ford (b. c. 1785), alleged child of Venus & George Washington, (p. 419).
    Morgan, P. (2005). "To Get Quit of Negroes": George Washington and Slavery. Journal of American Studies, 39(3), 403-429. Retrieved June 29, 2020, from
  6. A military hero and large landowner, he held local office and was elected to the Virginia provincial legislature, the House of Burgesses. In 1758, he was a justice of Fairfax, and held court in Alexandria between 1760 and 1774.
  7. Wikipedia: George Washington
  8. Sparks, Jared (1839). The Life of George Washington. Boston: F. Andrews. pp. 522–523.
  9. It was the only time Washington traveled outside what is now the United States.
  10. Charged with training the militia in the quarter assigned to him. At 21, in Fredericksburg, Washington became a "Master Mason" in the organization of Freemasons, a fraternal organization of lifelong influence.
  11. He and six men went to Lake Erie to deliver a message to the French at Fort Le Boeuf, that they must stop settling on land the British already claimed. A battle ensued and George and 160 men lost to the French. This was the start of the French and Indian War, so called because not only were the British and colonist fighting against the French, but they were also fighting some of the Indian Tribes.
  12. Washington assessed French military strength and intentions, and delivered the message to the French at Fort Le Boeuf in present day Waterford, Pennsylvania. It went unheeded, but called for the French to abandon development of the Ohio country, setting off worldwide conflict. Washington's report on the affair was widely read on both sides of the Atlantic.
  13. With American Indian allies led by Tanacharison, Washington and his troops ambushed a French scouting party of some 30 men, led by Joseph Coulon de Jumonville. Washington and his troops were overwhelmed at Fort Necessity by a larger and better positioned French and Indian force. The terms of surrender stated that Washington had assassinated Jumonville after the ambush. Unable to read French, Washington signed off. Released, Washington returned to Virginia where he was cleared of blame for the defeat, but resigned because he did not like the new arrangement of the Virginia Militia.
  14. major effort to retake Ohio Country. Braddock was killed. Expedition ends in disaster, but Washington is Hero of the Monongahela. While his battle role has been debated, biographer Joseph Ellis asserts Washington rode back and forth across the battlefield, rallying British and Virginian forces to retreat. Subsequent to this, Washington was given a difficult frontier command in the Virginia mountains, and was promoted to colonel and named commander of all Virginia forces.
  15. Prompts French evacuation of Fort Duquesne, and British establishment of Pittsburgh.
  16. Frequently purchased additional land in his own name, and was granted land in what is now West Virginia as a bounty for service in the French and Indian War.
  17. Parliament repealed the Acts in 1770.
  18. Baltimore merchant whose ship was seized for exporting non-permitted items by the Boston Frigate.
  19. Washington had prestige, military experience, charisma and military bearing, a reputation for being a strong patriot, and he was supported by the South -- especially Virginia. Although he did not explicitly seek the office of commander and claimed he was not equal to it, there was no competition. Congress created the Continental Army on June 14, 1775; the next day, on the nomination of John Adams of Massachusetts, Washington was appointed Maj. General and elected by Congress to be Commander-in-chief.
  20. His army's was short on gunpowder, so Washington asked for resources.
  21. As a result of his strategy, Revolutionary forces captured two main British combat armies at Saratoga and Yorktown. Negotiating with Congress, the colonial states, and French allies, he held together a tenuous army and a fragile nation amid the threats of disintegration and failure. British arsenals were raided (including some in the Caribbean) and some manufacturing was attempted; a barely adequate supply (about 2.5 million pounds) was obtained by the end of the year, mostly from France. Washington reorganized the army during the long standoff, and forced the British to withdraw by putting artillery on Dorchester Heights overlooking the city. The British evacuated Boston and Washington moved his army to New York City. Although negative toward patriots in the Continental Congress, British papers praise Washington's character as a military commander. Parliament also found the general's courage, endurance, and attentiveness to the welfare of his troops worthy of approbation, and virtues they and other Britons found wanting in their commanders. Washington's refusal to become involved in politics buttressed his reputation as a man fully committed to the military mission at hand and above the factional fray.
  22. Continental Army engages enemy for the first time as an army of a new independent country during the Battle of Long Island. It was the largest fight of the war, but this and several other British victories sent Washington scrambling out of New York and across New Jersey.
  23. Captures nearly 1,000 Hessians in Trenton. Washington follows up victory with another at Princeton in early Jan. Winter victories raise army morale, secure Washington's position as Commander, and inspire young men to join the army.
  24. Washington's army unsuccessfully attacked the British garrison at Germantown in early October. Meanwhile, Burgoyne, out of reach from help from Howe, was trapped and forced to surrender his entire army at Saratoga, New York. France responded to Burgoyne's defeat by entering the war, openly allying with America and turning the Revolutionary War into a major worldwide war. Washington's loss of Philadelphia prompted some members of Congress to discuss removing Washington from command. This attempt failed after Washington's supporters rallied behind him.
  25. 2,500 men of the 10,000-strong force die from disease and exposure during the winter. The next spring, the army was in order, thanks in part to a full-scale training by Baron von Steuben, a veteran of the Prussian general staff.
  26. Washington drove them from the battlefield. Afterwards, the British continued to New York. Washington moved outside the state.
  27. Destroys at least 40 Iroquois villages throughout upstate New York in retaliation for Iroquois and Tory attacks against American settlements earlier in the war.
  28. George III states, "If he does that, he will be the greatest man in the world."
  29. This ended America's brief experiment with direct democracy, and took the states from self-government to centralized government under another new nation, called the United States of America.
  30. Establishes many exec. precedents. Proclamation of Neutrality of 1793 avoids foreign conflict and leads to isolationism. He stood for centralized government, funding national debt, taxation, and a national bank.
  31. He refused a third term, setting a precedent that later became law 20th century law. Currently, no executive head can serve more than two terms according to the Constitution's 22nd Amendment.
  32.  :Washington's prestige got it ratified despite opposition from the Jeffersonians. Although never an official member of the Federalist Party, he supported its cause, and was their prime figurehead. Washington's farewell address was a primer on republican virtue and a stern warning against partisanship, sectionalism, and involvement in foreign wars.
  33. Throat infection turns into laryngitis and pneumonia.

See also:

  • Sparks, Jared (1839). The Life of George Washington. Boston: F. Andrews. pp. 522–523. OCLC 843523. Retrieved 2013-03-23. GoogleBook
  • Gary Boyd Roberts. Ancestors of American Presidents. New England Historic Genealogical Society; Location: Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts, USA; Date: 2009.
  • Find A Grave profiles:
    • George Washington on Find A Grave: Memorial #1075 retrieved 05:16, 31 December 2016 (EST)
    • George Washington on Find A Grave: Memorial #6781 retrieved 05:16, 31 December 2016 (EST)
  • List of Presidents of the United States who were Freemasons [2]

See also:

  • 'Virginia Woolf' a biography by her nephew Quentin Bell, published by The Hogarth Press, Pimlico, London in 1996. ISBN 0 7126 7450 0, includes extensive family trees. Hundreds of friends, professional connections and people in the 'Bloomsbury set' are also mentioned in the text.'Virginia Woolf' a biography by her nephew Quentin Bell

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Comments: 37

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How about a discussion of the young George Washington triggering the 7 Years War aka The French and Indian War. Paying for this war is a big cause of the tax increases that that triggered the American Revolution.
posted by M. Fitzgerald
There seems to be a lack of information on Washington's early career as a soldier. Please see the Fort Necessity websites,, and several others. Washington apparently bought this land later on, as I understand his signature is recorded in the Fayette County Court House. My ancestors once owned this property and had a business there, Mount Washington Tavern, on the National Road, now route 40.

Also missing is his service with regard to General Braddock's defeat in 1755. I know these are instances when Washington lost the battles, but they are part of his life story.

posted by Marie (Sampey) Hvezda
edited by Marie (Sampey) Hvezda
Washington-3743 and Washington-11 appear to represent the same person because: Hello, I would like to merge these because this is the person I was supposed to be adding but I couldn’t add all the information, please accept this!


posted by [Living Rogers]
I highly recommend "Washington: A Life" by Ron Chernow -- which is just a terrific book about him.

I read it last year because he's one of my favorite Presidents, so I shouldn't have been surprised to recently discover he's the one who I'm most closely related to: 15 generations apart per Wikitree.

Btw, the effete novelist Gore Vidal loved to smear President Washington with lies about how poorly educated he was and how he supposedly only read a few books, but in fact Washington would have attended the same prestigious Appleby Grammar School in England just like his father and oldest brother were, had his father only lived long enough to send him there (Appleby is an elite private school that still exists today btw). Therefore Washington had to quit school and go to work and live by his wits at a younger age than he would have otherwise...which probably contributed to his joining the Army. While Washington wasn't an intellectual genius like Thomas Jefferson and many of the books he read were befitting a farmer and a General, he did read a lot and amassed an enormous library.

posted by Travis Fields
General Washington and Mrs Washington as baptism sponsors: Church Record of baptism of Catharina Rensselaer Schuyler, daughter of Philip Schuyler and Catherina Rensselaer was baptised 4 March 1781 in Reformed Dutch Church, Albany, New York. Sponsors Gen'l Washington, James Rensselaer, Mrs Washington, and Margarita Schuyler. Source: Holland Society of New York; New York, New York; Albany, Vol III, Book 3 iamge by subscription:
posted by Beryl Meehan
You have named all the states with a county named for Washington, but no one has mentioned that Washington, the state, is named for him also. A

little bit more than a county.

posted by Eileen (Warren) Hook
And of course, Washington, District of Colombia...
posted by Robin Lee
Hi there profile managers! We are featuring George alongside Alexander Hamilton in the Connection finder on September 30th. Between now and then is a good time to take a look at the sources and biography to see if there are updates and improvements that need made, especially those that will bring it up to WikiTree Style Guide standards.


posted by Abby (Brown) Glann
Here's a link to an article in The Smithonian about George Washington's interest in genealogy: "This Long-Ignored Document, Written by George Washington, Lays Bare the Legal Power of Genealogy", at:

posted by Bonnie Follett
He met the Fairfaxes and they changed his life. They taught him how to eat at fancy paries with fine silve and beautiful china and helped him get work.

He was the head of a group of spies named the Culper Spy Ring. They used numbers instead of names. His number was 711.

After the war, it was asked what he was going to do. He said he was going back to his farm and that is what he did. He left his farm again to be president but then went back when he was no longer president.


Meltzer, Brad, I am George Washington: Ordinary People Change the World, Penguin

posted by Lisa (Kelsey) Murphy
He was the 4th of 9 children born to his parents. They lived in a place called Mount Vernon when he was very young. He had a river really close and lots of forest to explore in his backyard. He did not really chop down a cherry tree, that was just a story.

He loved to read and dance and his best subject in school was math. His spelling was not so great.

His biggest idol was his brother Lawrence who was 14 years older than him. He loved hearing stories from Lawrence and followed him into the military

He was 11 when his dad died and his brothers had to teach him at home as they were too poor to pay for school. This meant he could not go to high school or college. At 15 he had to get a job so he became a surveyor.

posted by Lisa (Kelsey) Murphy
George's profile should mention that he was General of the Armies - rank on held twice: Washington and John J Pershing.

posted by Jo Gill
Another source:

Chernow, Ron, Washington: A Life, The Penguin Press, New York, 2010

posted by Lisa (Kelsey) Murphy
He was born into a long line of males and females who died really young. Most did not make it to see 50. His own father died when George was only 11. Augustine left 10,000 acres to George, his 6 siblings and their mother, along wiith the parceled land they had 49 slaves. Because of being so young when his father died, George's brother Lawrence and the Fairfax Family were responsible for his young developement and Lawrence guided his professional life. He had a fight with his mother and while she lived until after he became president, she did not show any acknowledgement to his carrer or even gave him any praise for his accomplishments.

Source: Ellis, Joseph J, "His Excellency George Washington", pgs 8 - 10, Alfred A Knopf, New York, 2004

posted by Lisa (Kelsey) Murphy
GW is set to be in our connection finder as the example profile of the week. Do you profile managers want to look over his bio and make sure everything is up to snuff (be aware of any copy and paste and lack of citations) by Monday? I'll do a once over sometime Monday.


posted by Abby (Brown) Glann
Not too be knit picky but.. he should have General for his prefix.
posted by [Living Smith]

Rejected matches › George Washington (abt.1870-)