47 Interesting Facts About George Washington That You Should Know

Last updated on April 11th, 2020

If you’re an American history enthusiast, then you already know that George Washington was arguably among the most celebrated leaders witnessed in the United States. His strong and actionable vision, leadership discipline, and morals enabled him to be the first president of the United States. As the Founding Father, here are the 47 facts about George Washington you need to know. Without much ado, let’s dive into the facts pertaining to early life, presidency, and after the presidency.

George Washington’s early life, family, farming

1. Born at the Pope’s Creek

According to the Gregorian calendar that’s used up to the present day, George Washington was born on February 22, 1732. The birthplace was at his father’s owned plantation at the Pope’s Creek, popularly known as the Wakefield and located in Westmoreland County, Virginia.

2. The George Family Ancient Roots

The family traces its root back from England, where George’s great grandfather came from. John Washington, the great grandfather, migrated to Virginia from England. The family held some distinction, but upon migration, the wealth in England was lost.

George Washington. Mt Rushmore.South Dakota.
Mount Rushmore National Memorial is a massive sculpture carved into Mt. Rushmore in the Black Hills region of South Dakota. Completed under the direction of Gutzon and Lincoln Borglum from 1927–1941, the sculpture’s roughly 60-ft.-high granite faces depict U.S. presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln. Image via Flickr

3. Parents Augustine and Mary Washington

George’s father was known for having a leading plantation. Other than being a leading planter, the father, Augustine Washington, worked in a county court as a justice. The mother and Augustine’s wife, Mary Ball Washington, was the second wife after Jane Butler, who died in 1729.

4. George: Mary’s First Born Son

Among the six children that Augustine Washington had with Mary Ball, George was the eldest. The six include Mildred, Charles, John Augustine, Samuel, Elizabeth, and George. However, before George’s father married her mum, the second wife, he already had two sons and a daughter.

5. The Unique Name

Washington lacked the middle name. During that time, middle names were not common in Europe and related colonies. Things changed later on, and from the early 19th century, people considered adding more words to the naming system.

6. The Little Known Childhood Whereabouts

Not a lot is known concerning Washington’s childhood. Although many biographers have invented and written a lot about the same, they have just filled the gap that many keep questioning. Childhood is the most poorly understood part.

7. The Father Died When Young

When George was 11 years old, his father passed on, and the older half-brothers of George took over the management of Augustine property. Lawrence, the half-brother, who had now inherited some part of the family plantation, played a crucial role in his upbringing.

8. A tale from his childhood

George’s father Augustine Washington raised horses and had immense love for them. After his death, his wife took charge of the horses and there was one particular horse which she loved the most. It was an untrained horse named “Colt.” When one day young George was playing with his friends in the pasture where this horse was kept, he decided to ride the horse. With the help of his friends, he managed to put bridle on the horse. Somehow George managed to seat on the horse but Colt erupted with rage and surprise. In the tussle between George and the horse, the horse tried its best to unseat him; and unfortunately in the attempt a blood vessel of his ruptured and it finally died of the injury. When George returned home; he bravely told his mother about the incident, and that he had killed the horse it an attempt to ride and train him. His mother was sorrowful yet she rejoiced in the fact that her son had told her the truth.

9. Gifted Though Not Educated

Unlike the elder brothers who had schooled back in England, Washington never had a formal education. He didn’t attend any college. George’s mother had plans to send him to England to finish his education. However, his father died when he was just 11, and during that time, the family had limited funds that would see him through formal education. George received the rest of his education in the colonies. 

A Statue of George Washington
A Statue of George Washington.

10. The Mother Refused to Let Him Be

George was in love with the military and wanted to be part of the British Navy. The mother was against the idea, and Washington was left to exploit other alternatives. It was then that he would turn to the survey, which he showed many capabilities.

11. George Math and Survey Prowess

George was gifted in mathematics. At the age of 16, he learned a lot concerning the land survey. He would accompany William Fairfax, a competent surveyor, to the Virginia frontier wilderness towards the western territory. It did not take long before he was appointed an official surveyor of Culpeper County. Almost 199 surveys are credited to Washington.

12. Washington Headed a Prominent Virginia Estate

At a very young age, 20 years, George headed the family Virginia Estates, which were among the most prominent in the area. It was after the elder brother, and his father inheritor, Lawrence, died of tuberculosis, leaving George as the heir of the family lands.

13. His Acquaintance Knowledge

Most of the skills that George Washington showcased in life was as a result of his acquaintance. Whether it was at an early age during the local church attendance, surveying, or through the woodsmen, and as a plantation foreman, he mastered a lot of things that kept him knowledgeable.

14. Value For Farming and Real Estate

Throughout George’s life, farming is one thing he has shown a lot of passion for. It is an honorable profession that made him an icon in Mount Vernon. He grew tobacco and wheat and experimented with different fertilizers like manure. The virtue is evident in not only the farms he owned but the many hectares he continued to acquire across New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Kentucky, and Ohio. He farmed over 3000 acres and ran the largest whiskey distillery in America, with the help of over 300 slaves.

Start of military career, marriage, health issues

15. George and Fairfax Family

George, during his youthful stage, had a lifelong relationship with the Fairfax family. He referred to the closeness as the happiest moments of his life. The social connections would later propel him to become a soldier, surveyor, and politician, while still young.

USS George Washington
USS George Washington, a United States Navy nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, the fourth US Navy ship named after George Washington, the first president of the United States. Image via Flickr

16. The Start of Military Career

When the French military started occupying the Ohio valley to protect the interest of their king, Washington was fast to show his aggressiveness and leadership qualities. The then Virginia Governor, Lieutenant Robert Dinwiddie, noticed Washington capabilities and appointed him as a significant adjutant within Virginia.

17. The Great Ohio Mission

French trappers and settlers had noted the commercial potential of the area because that’s where the rivers met, and they were aggressive to ensure they take control. George, who was only 21 years old then, commenced the journey past the Allegheny Mountains to command French withdrawal.

18. The Wins And Losses

While he was an aggressive general and the commander of Virginia troops at the age of 23, Washington has several accounts when he went to expeditions and was defeated. One time, the British secured a victory taking over the Ohio Valley and leaving behind deaths and wounded soldiers.

19. Washington First Love

Before the official marriage, Washington was in love with Sally Fairfax. Sally was the wife to one of the right and very close friends of Washington. He went ahead to write love letters that showed the affection that George had towards Sally.

20. Washington Married Martha

In 1759, January 6, Washington got into marriage. He married a beautiful woman that brought a lot of change, along with the two kids. Martha Dandridge came from Virginia’s Tidewater area. Although it was a second marriage, to George, it was his first.

21. Marriage Lasted for 40 Years

The marriage went ahead to last for 40 years, irrespective of the couple not adding more kids. His wife Martha, had kids from the previous relationship. Scientists now speculate that there might have been issues with Washington when it comes to fertility.

22. He Resigned Willingly from Army

After the 1758 war, when 14 were killed and 26 soldiers wounded, he decided to quit. It was a frustrating moment. His decision was because many choices on the military were slow, there was limited support, and his soldiers were poorly recruited.

23. Outstanding but Sickly

Although Washington showed dedication in everything he got his hands into, he had undergone several episodes of suffering health-wise. He had suffered from pneumonia, dysentery, smallpox, tuberculosis, among other illnesses. 

George Washington in Utah
George Washington statue in Utah.

24. George Washington Inherited Slaves

At only 11 years, he had already inherited slaves from his father. After retirement, he devoted energetically to take care of the landholdings. By the 1790s, there were over 300 slaves at Mount Vernon. Slavery was then legal.

25. He Loved Being Active

When running errands or during the days in the military, Washington loved horseback riding. Blueskin was the name of George Washington’s favorite horse. It was a gray horse and was one of the two primary mounts during the American Revolutionary War. Besides, he could go out for fishing excursions and hunting. Interestingly, even when off during the weekends, he would join the laborers on the farm.

26. No History of Wooden Teeth

Although Washington lost the first tooth when still in the twenties, there is no evidence that he had wooden teeth. According to the information recorded in his diary, at age 24, he paid 5 shillings to a “Doctr Watson” who removed one of his teeth. Due to dental woes, he had lost all his teeth in his fifties. He had dentures that were made of multiple materials like copper, silver, and ivory and not wood.

27. He Initiated the American Revolution

The British Proclamation Act of 1763 was not something to be happy about. It prohibited settling beyond the Alleghenies, and this hungered Washington to the extent of calling for colonial resistance, which brought about the American Revolution.

28. A General Without Competition

Although he didn’t seek any position, he was appointed as the commander of the continental army without serious competition. As the Major General and Commander-in-Chief of North American colonies against Great Britain, he headed the revolution firmly.

29. Penned a Signature on U.S Constitution

In 1787, Washington was among the individuals involved in drafting the U.S. constitution. Being the president of the Constitutional Convention that took place in Virginia, he was granted a chance to pen the first signature on the document.

“The harder the conflict, the greater the triumph.”

Becoming the President, resolving debt crisis, final address, cause of death

30. Unanimous Election

Moments after he was involved in the constitutional convention, Americans wanted him back to serve the country. He became the first president to win the election, with every elector at the Electoral College voting for him. That must have been a unanimous approval.

31. The Two Term Legacy

He served two terms as the president of the United States. During this time, Americans witnessed massive changes in terms of economy and leadership. He had the right individuals in place with little opposition.

32. An Honorary Citizen of France

As the French Revolution began, an amazing thing happened. He became a French citizen. Interestingly, he never spoke French, and never visited France despite the honorary citizenship. Other Americans awarded the same status will ignore the revolution due to violence.

33. No Political Party Affiliation

Although political parties were showing up and calling themselves Democratic and Republicans, Washington never had affiliations to either of the parties. These opposing views of having political parties, later on, came to actualize later.

34. Washington Almost Stepped Down

After the first term in office, he felt that things were running pretty well, and the institutions could follow the trend for a better United States simply because they enjoy the people’s support. Congress, through Thomas Jefferson, reached him to take a second term.

35. No white House

Unfortunately, the president who did everything possible to have the right governance structures did not enjoy all of them. Since Washington’s terms ended before the White House was completed, he didn’t have that chance. It was completed later on after his death. However, George Washington, selected the site for the White House in 1791; and President John Adams and his wife, Abigail, moved into the unfinished house in 1800.

“We must consult our means rather than our wishes.”

36. Presence of a Structured Government

With a broad government and capable people, all the aspects were looked at keenly. He appointed the secretary of state, secretary of the treasury, and other critical appointments with the consultation of the cabinet. He observed absolute honesty and integrity in leadership.

37. The Salary

The congress offered a $25,000 salary, but George was still reluctant about it. He never wanted much so that the public doesn’t see him as a burden or selfless leader. He was wise when it comes to protecting the personal image.

38. Man of Titles

Of all the titles you might think of, then George Washington fits them all. He’s surely the man of many titles. The Commander in Chief, the President, General, Continental Commander, among other titles. He preferred a simple title, “Mr. President.”

39. An Enemy of Debts

Long before he became the president, the affairs of the United States were always at heart. The authorities were unable to collect revenues, making it hard to pay debts. Through constitutional convention and later election, he resolves the debt crisis.

40. A Man of Peace

While he was an outstanding ‘no nonsense’ military man, he valued peace. People remember him up to date for signing peace treaties. He did so among the Native American tribes to ensure a peaceful coexistence when running errands or during political times.

41. Took International Relations with Caution

Though he got involved in several wars to fight against intruders, he still watched what was happening around cautiously, including France and Great Britain war of 1793. He later signed a peace treaty with Britain to clear the underlying issues.

42. The Battling President

In the history of the United States, no other president has ever lead the troops to a battlefield. Washington was exceptional. Armed with the military skills and with a desire to see people work closely with the federal government.

43. John Adams Took Over

John worked closely with the president. During the last days as the president, Washington turned over the government to his vice president, John Adams, and later, packed to his homeland at Mount Vernon to pursue farming, among other activities.

44. The Final Address

Washington farewell address is among the precise, yet citizens remember it up to today. Hamilton helped him to compose a speech that focused on not only thanking the Americans but urging them to avoid permanent foreign alliances and partisanship.

45. Place of Residence

Upon retirement, he headed to his homeland, Mount Vernon. That was during the 1797 springs. Leaving the government in able hands, he was sure of a smooth transition that guarantees prosperity.

46. The President Books

Other than being a politician, farmer, and a soldier, George Washington loved to read and write. Among the books he wrote is ‘The Rules of Civility.’ There are multiple books that autobiographers and writers have written about the Founding Father. 

47. Cause of death

George Washington died of a throat infection at the age of 67. He suffered from several other illnesses during his life time. Experts estimate that Washington may have had Diphtheria when he was about 15. He was infected by smallpox at the age of 19. This was a serious concern back then which killed almost 1 out of every three person it affected. And then he suffered with dysentery for a length of time during his life.

George Washington – Quick facts and information

Full nameGeorge Washington
# of Terms2
Presidential termApril 30, 1789 – March 4, 1797

Preceded by Office established

Succeeded by John Adams
Vice PresidentJohn Adams
ProfessionFarmer, Soldier, Surveyor, Army Officer, Cartographer, Statesperson.
BornFebruary 22, 1732
Popes Creek, Virginia, British America
DiedDecember 14, 1799 (aged 67)
Mount Vernon, Virginia, U.S.
Cause of deathEpiglottitis
Resting placeMount Vernon
NationalityAmerican
FatherAugustine Washington
MotherMary Ball Washington
Marital StatusMarried
Sexual OrientationStraight
SpousesMartha Dandridge (m. 1759)
ChildrenGeorge Washington did not have any children. They raised Martha Washington's two children from a previous marriage.
Sibling9 siblings: 3 brothers, 2 sisters, 3 half-brothers, and 1 half-sister.

Brothers
Samuel Washington (1734-1781)
John Augustine Washington (1736-1787)
Charles Washington (1738-1799)

Sisters
Betty Washington Lewis (1733 - 1797)
Mildred Washington (1737-1740)

Half-Brothers
Butler Washington (1716-1716)
Lawrence Washington (1718-1752)
Augustine Washington Jr. (1720-1762)

Half-Sister
Jane Washington (1722-1734)
Height6' 2''
Weight79.4 Kg
GenderMale
HandednessRight-handed
EducationWilliam & Mary
Languages KnownEnglish
Field of WorkPolitics
AwardsJohn Newbery Medal
Political affiliationIndependent
Peak net worth (in current dollars)$587.0 million
Zodiac SignPisces
HairRedhead
EyesBlue
Table last updatedApril 08, 2020

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