George Washington is one of the founding fathers of the United States of America, and was the first president of the nation. He was a commander in the American Revolutionary War, and is known as ‘The Father of His Country.’ That being said, George Washington’s life events are debated upon by many historians and fans, but some of the facts that are agreed or theorized are nothing if not interesting. Let’s explore George Washington’s life in detail.
George Washington’s Childhood
There are many tales and sceptical accounts relating to George Washington’s childhood that are included in his biography. Mason Lock Weems was one of the first biographers of George Washington, and he conjured up many famous stories that are associated with George Washington’s childhood, like the myth about Washington and the cherry tree. Most of the accounts in Weems’, ‘The Life of Washington,’ are fictitious, and were wrote after Washington’s death, when people were eager to know more about the famous leader and the father of the nation.
Washington was born on the 22nd of February, 1732, to Augustine Washington and Mary Ball Washington, in the colony of Virginia. He was born into an upper-middle class family, as his father was a tobacco planter who owned lands and slaves.
Washington spent most of his childhood in Fredericksburg, Virginia on Ferry Farm, which is where the setting for his ‘cherry tree’ story originated. The story has been manipulated throughout the years, but basically tells the story of young George Washington entertaining himself by girdling an English cherry tree that belonged to his father. It was fabled that he cut through it, and it fell down, after which his father asked George Washington whether he cut the tree or not, to which he (allegedly) replied, “I cannot tell a lie; I cut it with my little hatchet.”
Then, some details get blurry. Some accounts tell us that George’s father passed away when George was only 11 years old, and was then raised primarily by his mother. It was due to the early demise of Augustine Washington that George inherited the Ferry Farm along with 10 slaves.
Again, there is not much known about the formal education received by George Washington. Historians deem that since the other children who belonged to Virginia Gentry were home-schooled by private tutors or enrolled into private schools, Washington must have been privately tutored as well. In most cases, boys at that time started formal schooling when they turned seven, and were given lessons in writing, basic arithmetic and reading. In most cases, wealthy planters also sent their boys to England to be schooled. However, judging by the fact that his father passed away when George Washington was 11, it is unlikely that he was made to go abroad for schooling. It is deduced that Washington went to school probably either in Westmoreland Country, Fredericksburg or Stafford County. It is also determined that he excelled in mathematical subjects, and studied the rudiments of surveillance. He did not learn any foreign language such as Greek or Latin, as opposed to his contemporaries. It is also deemed that he did not attend college, and that his schooling ended when he was 15.
The mystery and discrepancies in stories associated with Washington are what makes his life so interesting to learn about, and give us a deep insight into the times before, during and after the founding of America.