George Washington Fact File: Lifespan: 1732 – 1799 *** Full Name: George Washington *** Occupation: First President of the United States, Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army and a Founding Father of the United States *** Date of Birth: George Washington was born on February 22nd 1732 *** Place of Birth: George Washington was born in Colonial Beach, Westmoreland County, Virginia, USA *** Family background: His father was Augustine Washington and his mother was Mary Ball. His parents were primarily of English antecedents. He was one of ten children born to his father who married twice, his first wife having died *** Early life and childhood: He grew up with two older half-brothers from his father’s first marriage to Jane Butler, as well as two sisters and two further brothers of his own, sadly three of his siblings died, a half-brother and sister and his sister. He spent much of his time growing up at Ferry Farm in Stafford County *** Education: George Washington education began with various tutors, being unable to attend Appleby School in England as his older brother’s had and from a local school near Fredericksburg ***
George Washington Fact 1: George Washington was born on February 22nd 1732 and during the 18th century period in history when France and America both went through revolutions and the Industrial Revolution began in Britain.
George Washington Fact 2: Although his desire was to join the Royal Navy, having lost his father, his mother vetoed the notion. Instead, with the assistance of his other brother Lawrence he would be appointed as the official surveyor for Culpeper County when he was seventeen years old.
George Washington Fact 3: The position was well salaried and permitted George to acquire land in the Shenandoah Valley.
George Washington Fact 4: Travelling with his brother Lawrence, George went to Barbados in 1851. His brother was suffering with tuberculosis and it was hoped the climate would assist his recovery. During the journey, George caught smallpox but it did not prove fatal. However, his brother did not recover as hoped and in fact died the following year on his estate in Mount Vernon in 1752.
George Washington Fact 5: As a result of his brother’s death, having held the position of Adjutant General of Virginia, the position would thereafter be split into four positions, one of which was given to George who would become a major in the Virginia militia.
George Washington Fact 6: Between 1754 and 1762 there was an ongoing conflict that would become known as the Seven Years’ War and would be called the French and Indian War.
George Washington Fact 7: The Braddock disaster took place in 1755 with the intention of expelling the French from Ohio County.
George Washington Fact 8: Although his ultimate goal was to attain a commission in the British army, it was not to be, however, he did gain valuable experience in military tactics as well as gaining an insight into the weaknesses and strengths that proved invaluable in the not too distant future.
George Washington Fact 9: In 1759 George Washington married Martha Dandridge Custis, a wealth widow with intelligence, grace and experience in managing a plantation. Martha had two children from her previous marriage and due to his contracting smallpox, the couple were never able to have children of their own.
George Washington Fact 10: Over the ensuing years he added to his estate in Mount Vernon and although he made a comfortable living growing tobacco he decided to diversify and began growing wheat and included milling his flour, horse breeding, spinning and weaving as well as producing whiskey.
George Washington Fact 11: As a land owner and military hero he would be elected to represent Frederick County in the Virginia provincial legislature in the House of Burgesses and did so for seven years.
George Washington Fact 12: In 1775 after the Battles of Concord and Lexington the colonies were at war.
George Washington Fact 13: The only person suitable, experienced and available to step into the roll to take command, although he did want the position, was George Washington. So when Congress created the Continental Army in June that year, George Washington was appointed as Commander-in-Chief and given the rank of full General.
George Washington Fact 14: With no real order, Washington had to build his army, his command and his support structure from the ground up. At times, Congress would make appointments without Washington's prior knowledge, which was not always successful. Washington’s battles were not always one, but he never surrendered.
George Washington Fact 15: Over time he established capable officers around him and the American soldiers became more superior with the use of more modern equipment in terms of rifles which were far more accurate that the musket and bayonets the British troops were using.
George Washington Fact 16: As the war progressed towards winter, Washington found many of his troops either not reenlisting or deserting and this in turn forced his retreat to some extent. He also insisted every soldier be inoculated against smallpox, the percentage of deaths from the disease went from 17 percent to 1 percent of all deaths. In the summer of 1777 he had improved his army in strength as well as number and his confidence was renewed.
George Washington Fact 17: The changing seasons would see much change in terms of success and failure, the winter months both armies dug in and there was little fighting but there was illness and disease to contend with.
George Washington Fact 18: By July 1780 fresh troops from France arrived to aid the Continental Army with much needed experienced men. They arrived in Virginia and Washington headed south to convene at which point the war was all but over in favour of the Colonials. On September 3rd 1783 the Treaty of Paris was signed by King George III of Great Britain and various representatives of the United States of America, formally ending the American Revolution.
George Washington Fact 19: By November George Washington was disbanding the army with a formal farewell address to his troops. Once his business was complete with the Army he made his return home, to Mount Vernon.
George Washington Fact 20: His return home to put his affairs in order was short lived. He would finally agree to return to Philadelphia for the Constitutional Convention, which was long winded and not entirely successful initially. Finally they decided that a presidency was required and that George Washington would make an ideal candidate.
George Washington Fact 21: In 1789 George Washington would be voted, unanimously as the First President of the United States and was inaugurated. He would be the first President to take the Oath of Office “I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” It was said that he added the words “So help me God” at the end of the oath.
George Washington Fact 22: George Washington served for an eight year term and would retire his presidency in March 1797 and once again returned to his home at Mount Vernon.
George Washington Fact 23: George Washington died on December the 14th of 1799 aged sixty seven years. The exact cause of death has never been definitively identified. He had been overseeing his properties in desperately cold and wet conditions over several days and neglected to take appropriate care of his wellbeing. He awoke with breathing difficulties and managed to request a bloodletting which was common practice at the time. Three physicians would be called to attend him when there was no improvement, each recommending alternative treatments, including further bloodletting. It was later estimated that probably at least half of his blood supply was removed. His body was laid to rest at his home on Mount Vernon.
Influence & Legacy: As the very first President of the United States, as Commander-in-Chief as well as being a hero of the revolutionary war, George Washington remains one of the greatest heroes of American history.