Interesting Facts About George Washington
George Washington by the Numbers
In honor of George Washington's birthday, here are some interesting facts and resources for learning about, teaching and experiencing the life and times of our first president. His birthday is celebrated on Presidents Day, the third Monday of each February.
Facts about George Washington or any historic figure are often too abstract for young students. To help kids better understand history, I've found it useful to make age comparisons.
"When George Washington was your age, his house nearly burned down. When he was your brother's age, he became a surveyor..."
Image is author's picture of wax figure of George Washington at age 19, on display at Mount Vernon.
George Washington was ...
8years old when his first home in Fredricksburg, Va, burned nearly to the ground.
11years old when his father died and he inherited his father's estate and slaves.
16years old when he became a surveyor, a professional on par with lawyers and doctors at that time. He was home schooled by his older brother and never went to college.
Image based on an picture from WP Clipart.
Washington for Young Readers
George Washington didn't just lead the fight in the Armerican Revolution. He bred hound dogs that he treated like members of the family. He gave some of them unusual names: Tarter, True Love, and Sweet Lips. Kids enjoy this unique perspective of our first president.
19years old when his brother, Lawrence died, and he inherited Mount Vernon.
21years old when he joined the Virginia militia. His first dangerous military mission was to go to the Ohio River Valley to determine the extent of French occupation of British-claimed territory there. He designed his own uniforms throughout his military service.
26years old when he married Martha Dandridge Custis, a widow who already had two children, Jackie and Patsy. His marriage made him one of the wealthiest men in America and one of the largest landowners in Virginia. By then, he had resigned from the Army to oversee his property, crops and fisheries. He developed skills in espionage and spread false information to deceive the Briitish as the Colonists secretly developed a plan to gain their freedom.
Mount Vernon by Francis Jukes (1745-1812) published in 1800 [published in the US before 1923 and public domain in the US], via Wikimedia Commons.
43years old when he became commander-in-chief of the revolutionary Continental Army. Despite many mistakes and setbacks in the first year of the war, he inspired his bedraggled troops to cross the Delaware for a surprise attack against the British that turned the tide in favor of the revolution.
49years old when he and the Continental Army defeated the British Army in Yorktown, Virginia, to win our independence.
51years old when he resigned his army commission and returned to Mount Vernon.
Image of Washington Crossing the Delaware by Emanuel Leutze [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
57years old when he was elected to be the first President of the United States. He was sworn into office in New York's Federal Hall. The temporary capitol moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the following year.
58years old Congress authorized him to select a site along the Potomac River for the nation's permanent capitol. He oversaw all of the planning for the layout and construction of what would become Washington, D.C.
61years old when he was elected to a second term as President.
65years old when he finished his second term and returned home to Mount Vernon.
67years old when he died. In his will, he made provisions for freeing the more than 100 slaves he owned. He was the only slave-owning president to do so.
Washington's signature on a letter congratulating Congress for ratifying the Articles of Confederation in 1781, stored in the National Archives.
Fun to Know... - George gets regular baths at Mt. Vernon
A Few Last Fun Facts about George Washington
He loved peanut soup.
He left school at 15 to become a surveyor because his mother couldn't afford to send him to college.
He loved to hunt and had hunting dogs named Tarter, True Love and Sweet Lips.
He had one tooth when he was elected president. His false teeth weren't made of wood. They were carved from whale bone, rhinoceros ivory and deer antlers.
He was the only president elected unanimously by the electoral college. No one ran against him for both terms of his presidency.
He was the only president who didn't represent a political party.
Image from Open Clipart Library, extracted from "The Washington State Coloring Book", created by the WA state legislature with taxpayer funds.
Liberty, when it begins to take root, is a plant of rapid growth.
Washington for Middle and High School Students
This award-winning book is a cross between CSI and American History. See the accompanying discussion guide, websites, images, and journal assignment at The Many Faces of George Washington website.
Washington for High School Students
Washington for High School and College Students
Last updated on February 17, 2014
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