George Washington Biography
Married Life and Mount Vernon
George Washington resigned from the Virginia Regiment in December of 1758. During his time as a militia officer, Washington became a seasoned military veteran. He learned the strategic importance of certain lands, how to fight in the wilderness, how to train colonial farmers into soldiers, and how to lead men into battle. These lessons would serve him well later in life. In 1758, however, soldiering was the last thing on Washington's mind. At twenty-six years old, Washington decided it was time to settle down, start a family, and manage his estate.
When Martha Dandridge Custis lost her first husband in 1757, she quickly became one of the most eligible women in Virginia. Her dowry alone would make her new husband a wealthy and powerful man. George Washington had likely known Martha and her husband socially for some time before her husband passed. She was wealthy and in need of a husband and George was ready to settle down. They made a perfect match.
George and Martha married on January 6, 1759. Although the marriage at first seemed to be one of convenience, the couple certainly cared deeply for each other. They moved into Washington's estate at Mount Vernon and Washington helped to raise Martha's two children from her previous Marriage: John (nicknamed "Jacky") and Patsy. John and Patsy were still young when Washington took on the role as their guardian and father. He adored the children and treated them as his own.
Washington never had any children of his own. Many historians suspect that he became sterile after his bout with smallpox as a young man. Unfortunately, both of Martha's children died relatively young. Patsy suffered from epileptic seizures as a child which only became worse. She died at the age of seventeen in Washington's arms. John died from "camp fever" while serving under his father during the Revolutionary War. The Washington's adopted John's two youngest children, George and Eleanor, and raised them at Mount Vernon.
When Washington returned from fighting in the French and Indian War he turned his attentions to managing his estate. After his marriage to Martha, George owned a significant amount of land in Virginia. He also gained land as a reward for his service during the war and constantly looked to buy more land. Eventually, Washington become one of the largest landowners and wealthiest men in the colony.
Over the next fifteen years or so, Washington lived the life of a wealthy aristocrat. His favorite pastime was fox hunting, but he also enjoyed other activities including parties, dancing, and attending the theater. At one point, he began spending too much money importing luxuries from Europe. In order to get his finances in order, he had to reduce his spending and change the estate's primary crop from tobacco to wheat.
House of Burgesses
In 1758, the same year that he resigned from the Virginia Regiment, Washington was elected to the Virginia House of Burgesses. He served on the House of Burgesses for the next fifteen years. Some of his fellow patriots during the Revolutionary War, including Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry, were also members of the Virginia House of Burgesses during this time. Washington's time spent as a member served him well as he learned statecraft and the intricacies of the political world. In his early career as a politician, he didn't speak out much or get involved in major legislation, but he gained valuable experience in how the British government worked. In the mid-to-late 1760's, Washington became more outspoken as the British began to tax the colonies, much to his disapproval. This disapproval led to his participation in the First Continental Congress and to his eventual involvement in the Revolutionary War.
George Washington Biography Contents
- Overview and Interesting Facts
- Growing Up George Washington
- French and Indian War
- Fort Duquesne
- Married Life and Mount Vernon
- The American Revolution Begins
- Commander in Chief
- Crossing the Delaware
- 1777 and Valley Forge
- Victory in the American Revolution
- End of the War, King Washington, and the Constitutional Convention
- First President of the United States
- The Presidency
- Leaving the Presidency, Retirement, and Death
- George Washington Quotes and Bibliography