GEORGE WASHINGTON, the first presjdent of the United States, called the "Father of his Country," was
one of the most celebrated characters in history. He was born February 22, 1732, in Washington Parish, Westmoreland
county, Virginia His father, Augustine Washington, first married Jane Butler, who bore him four children, and March
6, 1730, he married Mary Ball. Of six children by his second marriage, George was the eldest.
Little is known of the early years of Washington, beyond the fact that the house in which he was born was burned
during his early childhood, and that his father thereupon moved to another farm, inherited from his paternal ancestors,
situated in Stafford county, on the north bank of the Rappahannock, and died there in 1743. From earliest childhood
George developed a noble character. His education was somewhat defective, being confined to the elementary branches
taught him by his mother and at a neighboring school. On leaving school he resided some time at Mount Vernon with
his half brother, Lawrence, who acted as his guar dian. George's inclinations were for a seafaring career, and
a midshipman's warrant was procured for him, but through the opposition of his mother the project was abandoned,
and at the age of sixteen he was appointed surveyor to the immense ! estates of the eccentric Lord Fairfax. Three
years were passed by Washington in a rough frontier life; gaining experience which afterwards proved very essential
to him In 1751, when the Virginia militia were put under training with a view to active service against France,
Washington, though only nineteen years of age, was appointed adjutant, with the rank of major. In 1752 Lawrence
Washington died, leaving his large property to an infant daughter. In his will George was named one of the executors
and as an eventual heir to Mount Vernon, and by the death of the infant niece, soon succeeded to that estate. In
1753 George was commissioned adjutant general of the Virginia militia, and performed important work at the outbreak
of the French and Indian war, was rapidly promoted, and at the close of that war we find him commander-in-chief
of all the forces raised in Virginia. A cessation of Indian hostilities on th'e frontier having followed the expulsion
of the French from the Ohio, he resigned his commission as commander-in-chief of the Virginia forces, and then
proceeded to Williamsburg to take his seat in the Virginia Assembly, of which he had been elected a member.
January 17, 1759, Washington married Mrs. Martha (Dandridge) Curtis, a young and beautiful widow! of great wealth,
and devoted himself for the ensuing fifteen years to the quiet pursuits of agriculture, interrupted only by the
annual attendance in winter upon the colonial legislature at Williamsburg, until summoned by his country to enter
upon that other arena in which his fame was to become world wide. The war for independence called Washington into
service again; and he was made commander-in-chief of the colonial forces, and was the most gallant and conspicuous
figure in that bloody struggle, serving until England acknowledged the independence of each of . the thirteen States,
and negotiated with them jointly, as separate sovereignties. December 4, 1783, the great commander took leave of
his officers in most affectionate and patriotic terms, and went to Annapolis, Maryland, where the congress of the
States was in session, and to that body, when peace and order prevailed everywhere, resigned his commission and
retired to Mount Vernon.
It was in 1789 that Washington was called to the chief magistracy of the nation. The inauguration took place April
30, in the presence of an immense multitude which had assembled to witness the new and imposing ceremony. Jn the
manifold details of his civil administration Washington proved himselffullyequal to the requirements of his position.
In 1792, at the second presidential election, Washington was desirous to retire; but he yielded to the general
wish of the country, and was again chosen president. At the third election, in 1796, he was again most urgently
entreated to consent to remain in the executive chair. This he positively refused, and after March 4, 1797, he
again retired to Mount Vernon for peace, quiet, and repose.
Of the call again made on this illustrious chief to quit his repose at Mount Vernon and take command of all the
United States forces, with rank of lieutenant-general, when war was threatened with France in 1798, nothing need
here be stated, except to note the fact as an unmistakable testimonial of the high regard in which he was still
held by his countrymen of all shades of political opihion. He patriotically accepted this trust, but a treaty of
peace put a stop to all action under it. He again retired to Mount Vernon, where he died December 14, 1799, in
the sixty eighth year of his age. His remains were deposited in a family vault on the banks of the Potomac, at
Mount Vernon, where they still he entombed.
A Biographical Record
Of Schuyler County, New York
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company
New York and Chicago 1903.
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