Interesting Facts About George Washington

mage is author's picture of wax figure of George Washington at age 19, on display at Mount Vernon.
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mage is author's picture of wax figure of George Washington at age 19, on display at Mount Vernon.

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..."

So here's our first president, by the numbers!

Fun Facts About George Washington
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Fun Facts About George Washington
Source: Image by author

George Washington was ...

  • 8 years old when his first home in Fredricksburg, Va, burned nearly to the ground.
  • 11 years old when his father died and he inherited his father's estate and slaves.
  • 16 years 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.

Washington for Young Readers

George Washington and the General's Dog (Step-Into-Reading, Step 3)
George Washington and the General's Dog (Step-Into-Reading, Step 3)

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.

 
Mount Vernon by Francis Jukes (1745-1812) published in 1800 [published in the US before 1923 and public domain in the US],
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Mount Vernon by Francis Jukes (1745-1812) published in 1800 [published in the US before 1923 and public domain in the US],
  • 19 years old when his brother, Lawrence, died and he inherited Mount Vernon.
  • 21 years 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.
  • 26 years 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.

General George Washington Crosses the Deleware  by Emanuel Leutze [Public domain]
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General George Washington Crosses the Deleware by Emanuel Leutze [Public domain]

43 years 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. This surprise attack against the British that turned the tide in favor of the revolution.

49 years old when he and the Continental Army defeated the British Army in Yorktown, Virginia, to win our independence.

51 years old when he resigned his army commission and returned to Mount Vernon.

Washington's signature on a letter congratulating Congress for ratifying the Articles of Confederation in 1781, stored in the National Archives.
Washington's signature on a letter congratulating Congress for ratifying the Articles of Confederation in 1781, stored in the National Archives.

57 years 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.

58 years 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.

61 years old when he was elected to a second term as President.

65 years old when he finished his second term and returned home to Mount Vernon.

67 years 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

Image extracted from "The Washington State Coloring Book", created by the WA state legislature with taxpayer funds.
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Image extracted from "The Washington State Coloring Book", created by the WA state legislature with taxpayer funds.

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.
  • Washington 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.

Liberty, when it begins to take root, is a plant of rapid growth.

Washington for Middle and High School Students

The Many Faces of George Washington: Remaking a Presidential Icon (Exceptional Social Studies Titles for Intermediate Grades)
The Many Faces of George Washington: Remaking a Presidential Icon (Exceptional Social Studies Titles for Intermediate Grades)

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.

 
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Your Thoughts on our First President? 39 comments

JoanieMRuppel54 profile image

JoanieMRuppel54 15 months ago from Keller, Texas

Excellent first president! Great lens!


cleansweeping 15 months ago

Great resources!!!! Thanks!


cgbroome profile image

cgbroome 15 months ago

I love these little interesting facts! Thank you for doing the research!


appelonia 15 months ago

What a great lens! Thanks!


EdTecher profile image

EdTecher 15 months ago from USA Hub Author

@bobnolley lm: Happy Birthday!


EdTecher profile image

EdTecher 15 months ago from USA Hub Author

@KandH: That's a great story! I've added it to my list of links above. Thanks for sharing it.


Roslicv profile image

Roslicv 15 months ago

Haha, I just watched a recorder on TV about him at home. Thanks for sharing.


TheHonestWebGuru profile image

TheHonestWebGuru 15 months ago

Those are some great facts. Thank you for sharing this lens!!


KandH profile image

KandH 15 months ago

We have a George Washington House in Barbados, named for your president of course... interesting story there: http://www.coedu.usf.edu/culture/Story/Story_Barba...


bobnolley lm profile image

bobnolley lm 15 months ago

Congrats on the LOTD!

I enjoyed this especially because George and I share birthdays!


aminebombom profile image

aminebombom 15 months ago from Doha, Qatar Level 1 Commenter

Great man, the first country to recognise the USA as free country is Morocco, i salute you, thanks for the great info


anonymous 15 months ago

Very smart presentation on George. Congratulations on getting LotD!


favored profile image

favored 15 months ago from USA Level 6 Commenter

Fun and interesting information about a beloved president. Congratulations on LotD Heidi.


ItayaLightbourne profile image

ItayaLightbourne 15 months ago from Topeka, KS Level 1 Commenter

Fascinating story. I enjoyed the video you provided above. I love learning all about the facts of great people in history.


Donna Cook 15 months ago

Fun and interesting! Better than history class!


anonymous 15 months ago

Fantastic and creative lens! Congratulations on LOTD too!


georgepmoola2 profile image

georgepmoola2 15 months ago

Fascinating stuff. Good lens.


Dressage Husband profile image

Dressage Husband 15 months ago from Pine Grove, Nova Scotia, Canada Level 5 Commenter

Thanks for great LOTD and lots of interesting information about Washington. Well written and presented!


David3142 profile image

David3142 15 months ago

Great lens. I love the numbers idea. Thanks for sharing.


Faye Rutledge profile image

Faye Rutledge 15 months ago from Concord VA

Thanks for these educational facts! Congratulations on LotD!


delia-delia profile image

delia-delia 15 months ago Level 2 Commenter

Congratulations on LOTD! Entertaining read, nicely done lens...I watched a program about Washington that was not too favorable...I'll just remember him as being our first President.


SusanDeppner profile image

SusanDeppner 15 months ago from Arkansas USA Level 6 Commenter

I love the way you presented this - perfect for kids of all ages! It's wonderful to be reminded that George Washington really was a well-respected man of great character. Happy President's Day and congratulations on your Lens of the Day honors today!


Merrci profile image

Merrci 15 months ago from Oregon's Southern Coast Level 4 Commenter

Congrats on LotD--Well deserved! Very interesting to look at his life in years. Loved the way you laid it out too!


TerriCarr profile image

TerriCarr 15 months ago

I heard on the radio that entrance to Mt. Vernon is free today in honor of Presidents' Day. Unfortunately, I can't go today. But I did visit a couple of years ago. Many great exhibits as well as a tour of the house.


MVKilgore profile image

MVKilgore 15 months ago

Fun lens...I learned a few things I didn't know. Good job


esmonaco profile image

esmonaco 15 months ago from Lakewood New York Level 4 Commenter

Very interesting facts a lot of which are new to me. Really nice presentation and I enjoyed the read. Thanks for sharing these facts. I learn something new at squidoo every day. :)


EdTecher profile image

EdTecher 21 months ago from USA Hub Author

@skefflingecho: This is my favorite new fun fact about George. Thanks for sharing it!


skefflingecho profile image

skefflingecho 21 months ago from Tobermory Ontario

Did you know George Washington had his cheeks padded with cotton wool for his later portraits to disguise the lack of support for the lips and cheeks and the look of a face with no teeth? I learned that in dental school! Cool lens!


othellos 22 months ago

Very interesting lens. Clever presentation of the topic which doesn't leave any room to get bored. Some of the things you mention in the report are very new to me though. Enjoyable writing:=)


chickie99 2 years ago

never knew that our founder was a surveyor...very interesting!


aesta1 profile image

aesta1 2 years ago from Ontario, Canada Level 7 Commenter

Very creative. I had fun with the numbers.


Kathleen Hiler profile image

Kathleen Hiler 2 years ago from Mountain Home

I checked this video info out with my husband and other history sources and the majority do noy agree with this slant of our first president. "skilled in the art of deception" ? not true..George Washington was more timid and indecisive in the beginning..but had to muster himself to go forth with an idea that turned the tide of the war...not pleased with this view of a great man..read some reviews about this slant..interesting


Kathleen Hiler profile image

Kathleen Hiler 2 years ago from Mountain Home

Very nice lens about our first president..It does seem though that the video accentuates too much about his ambition and ability to lie..even if he did..I will always admire as our 1st president :)


Gabriel360 profile image

Gabriel360 3 years ago

Nice lens!


RobynHanisch LM profile image

RobynHanisch LM 3 years ago

I am in Australia and of course we all know of George Washington but are not taught any history so I found this lens very interesting.


smokeyjoe409 profile image

smokeyjoe409 3 years ago

Who would have thought he loved peanut soup this was a great president.


JohnMichael2 profile image

JohnMichael2 3 years ago

Thank you for the chronology with the interesting facts. Great lens


dwnovacek profile image

dwnovacek 3 years ago

I'm so happy to have found this lens. It's a really great presentation of the history of George Washington - beautiful *and* informative! Angel Blessings!


JoshK47 3 years ago

What a wonderful lens dedicated to an admirable man! Blessed by a SquidAngel!

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