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..."
So here's our first president, by the numbers!
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 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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. He had teeth 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.— George Washington
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.