He was the leader of the Continental Army, the head of the Constitutional Convention, and a farmer, all rolled into one: George Washington. Washington’s leadership and character were on display in these positions.
Early Life and Schooling
On February 22, 1732, George Washington was born to Augustine and Mary Ball Washington at the family farm on Popes Creek in Westmoreland County, Virginia. George’s dad was a big shot in the local plantation community and a judge in the county court.
His first wife, Jane Butler, passed away in 1729, leaving him to raise their three children—Lawrence, Augustine, Jr., and Jane. Augustine and Mary had six children, including George, Elizabeth, Samuel, John Augustine, Charles, and Mildred. George was the eldest.
Coupledom and Domesticity
The first lady of the United States, Martha Washington, fought in the Revolutionary War. She was instrumental in the day-to-day operations of her husbands’ businesses. She took care of her kids, grandkids, nieces, and nephews, and was George Washington’s “worthy partner” for nearly 40 years.
Martha Dandridge Custis, who was 27 at the time of her marriage to George Washington and originally hailing from the Tidewater region of Virginia, tied the knot with Washington on January 6, 1759.
Upon the passing of her first husband, Daniel Parke Custis, Martha became the only heir to a large estate (in the form of land and enslaved people). John, popularly known as “Jacky,” and Martha, commonly known as “Patsy,” were two of her small children.
Martha managed the household crew, which included both paid and enslaved butlers, housekeepers, maids, cooks, waiters, laundresses, spinners, seamstresses, gardeners, and more. The 17-year-old Patsy’s seizure and death in 1773 cruelly cut short their joyful years at Mount Vernon.
War of Independence
During the Revolutionary War, Martha Washington administered Mount Vernon with the help of her husband’s cousin while George Washington was away leading the army.
Nearly half of the war was spent in camp, where she hosted dignitaries and colonial and foreign authorities. She also visited the sick and injured in the hospitals and helped copy letters. Martha Washington’s son John died of camp sickness at Yorktown, obscuring much of the joy at the end of the war.