George Washington's Life

George Washington was born on February 22, 1732 in Westmoreland County, Virginia.

George Washington inherited much more than a good mind and a strong body. He belonged to an old colonial family that believed in hard work, public service and in worshiping God.

Washington's father, Augustine Washington was born in 1694 and died in 1743. He had four children with his first wife, Jane Butler Washington. She died in 1729. In March 1731, Augustine married Mary Ball. She was George's mother. Mary was born in 1709 and died in 1789.

Some people think of George Washington as a young boy who chopped down a cherry tree. Some also think he could throw coins across the Rappahannock River. Many people laugh when they think of his false teeth. Almost everybody believes that he was the first president of our country. Only one of these facts are true. Washington did have false teeth. His false teeth were made of whale bone and deer antlers. He never chopped down a cherry tree, and unless his pitching arm was better than that of any professional baseball player, he could have never thrown anything across the river. The most startling fact is that he wasn't even the first president.

Our first president was John Hanson. He was elected president of the thirteen states in the Confederation. After Hanson, there were more before Washington. There was Elias Boudinot, Thomas Mifflin, Richard Henery and Cyrus Griffin.

At the age of 17, Washington began traveling across rivers, mountains and Indian trails to remote parts of Virginia. He learned to survive in the wilderness. When Washington was 20, his brother Lawrence died and Washington became the owner of Mount Vernon. At the age of 21, he fought heroically in the French and Indian War which raged in Canada. He began his military career in late 1752 as an adjutant for the Virginia Military. After that he became a British officer in the French Indian War. In 1775, he was almost killed while serving as an aide to General Edward Braddock. Three years later, Washington was elected to the Virginia House of Burgeses. He then served as Justice of the Peace for Fairfay County. He resigned from the military with the rank of Colonel.

As a young man, Washington was a romantic. He fell in love many times. He was rejected twice before he met the woman he finally married. He married Martha Curtis in 1759. She was a wealthy widow with two children. The Father of our Country had no children of his own, but he loved Martha's children.

Washington suffered from small pox and malaria before he was 30. While he was a survivor, he nearly died twice. Once he fell overboard from a small boat and he almost drowned. Another time an indian shot at him from just 50 feet, but he missed.

During the 1760's, tobacco prices soared and Washington became a wealthy planter. He was highly respected for his military and political activities and was elected to the first and second Continental Congresses in 1774 and 1775. Like many others, he had begun to oppose British rule over the colonies. When war broke out with the British in 1776, Washington was asked to be commander in chief of the new Continental Army. At first he protested that he was not equal to that honor, but he finally accepted the daunting task of organizing the ragged untrained troops. George Washington is known as the father of his country. Washington served two terms as president. He was asked to serve a third, but he refused believing that two terms was as long as any one person should serve as president. This decision to serve only two terms set a precedent for successive presidents that was not broken until 1940 when Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected for a third term.

Washington died in 1799 and was buried at Mount Vernon.


  • Our American Presidents Joan Bumann and John Patterson copyright 1993
  • The Presidents Funk and Wagnalls copyright 1989
  • Presidents of the United States Richard O'Neil and Antonio D. Brian copyright 1992
  • Big Book of U.S. Presidents Victoria Sherrow copyright 1994
  • George Washington & The Making of a Nation Marcus Cunliffe copyright 1966
  • WorldBook Encyclopedia copyright 1986
  • WorldBook Encyclopedia copyright 1993