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George Washington

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George Washington

February 11, 1732-December 14, 1799


As a child George Washington was very athletic. His father gave him a pony and taught him how to ride it. George was sent to a school near home. There a minister taught him how to read, write and do mathematics. George wanted to go to sea as a sailor, but his mother said it would be better if he stayed at home and finished school. His older half-brother Lawrence taught George to hunt and shoot. Soon George became a good marksman.

George grew up in a big family. He had two older half-brothers, Lawrence and Augustine. He had three younger brothers, Samuel, John, and Charles and one younger sister Elizabeth. When George was eleven his father died. He then looked to his older brother Lawrence for guidance. When George was 17, his brother fell ill with tuberculosis and died a year later. In 1759 George married Martha Curtis, a widow with 2 young children, John and Patsy. In 1725 when Patsy was only 17 she died from epilepsy. In 1783 John died from a very high fever. After John’s death George took in John’s two kids George Jr. and Nelly.

When he was 17 George got the chance to help survey land on the Virginia frontier. At age 21 he joined the Virginia Militia as a major. In 1757 he went home and started farming again. In 1775 George was called back to duty. He was voted my congress to be the First Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces. In 1783 the Revolutionary War ended. In 1789 George was elected first President of the United States. After his term ended he was elected again. After his second term people wanted him to run again, but he said the time had come for him to retire, for good.

From 1752 to 1757 George fought with Britain against France for the Ohio Mountains and forests. At last the French gave up. George’s commanding officer was killed but George wasn’t wounded at all, even when a horse was shot out from under him.

He was a polite man and when he was young he copied a list of 110 rules for a school assignment. Like many other young men at his age, he tried to live his life from those rules. Here are a few of them:

  1. Sleep not when others speak, sit not when other stand, walk not when others stop.
  2. Do not laugh too much or too loud in public.
  3. Being set at a meal, scratch not; neither spit, cough, nor blow your nose, except if there is a necessity.
  4. Undertake not what you cannot perform, but be careful to keep your promise.

One day in 1779 George came down with a sore throat. The next day his throat was so swollen he could not swallow, and only barely breathe and speak. Many doctors were called, but they couldn’t help. "I am not afraid to go," he whispered to Martha. Near midnight, on December 14th, he died. Although George Washington left no children of his own, he left a great nation. A nation that he had served as its First Commander in chief and also an unforgettable first president. That is why he is known as the "Father of his country."

©Rachel Jones, 1999