Western Life

George Washington – Later Life

No one during his early life would have assumed that George Washington would turn out to be not only one of the founding fathers of America but also the first president of the nation (who was unanimously re-elected for office a second time as well). With a relatively normal and simple childhood, Washington worked extra hard during his late teen and young adult days to make a name for himself within the gentry.

George Washington The Surveyor

At age 14, Washington badly wanted to apply for the Royal Navy, but his mother was completely against the decision. At the age of 11, his elder brother Lawrence has gotten married to Ann Fairfax who happened to be the daughter of William Fairfax, Virginia Statesman, who was also considered a crucial father figure in Washington’s life. Upon turning 16, he accompanied James Genn who was a surveyor, along with William Fairfax to begin surveying Shenandoah lands, from which Washington learned a lot.

Washington worked his first job as a surveyor at the age of 17, after he had received a surveyor’s license and commission. He was appointed surveyor of county Culpeper due to his relation with Fairfax. When he had turned 20, he had around 2,315 acres of land in Shenandoah Valley. He did stop surveying but did keep purchasing land, and in his lifetime acquired over 70,000 acres in the District of Columbia and the seven states. He expanded the Mount Vernon land to 8000 acres from 2000 acres in 25 years. He had inherited the Mount Vernon estate after Lawrence’s wife and daughter had died.

Military Career

Washington was inspired by his brother, who was an Adjutant General before he died, to pursue a role in the military. Washington was trained in drills and musters before being appointed by Robert Dinwiddie as adjutant. At the mere age of 21, Washington served as adjutant in the South district and then in the Eastern and Northern districts too. In the following year, Washington was promoted to Major. He was then appointed by the British as a military envoy to the Algonquians, Iroquois, and French officials. He performed brilliantly and bravely during the wars, and was even given the title of Conotocaurius by Half-King Tanacharison, which translates as ‘town destroyer.’ However, he is known in history to have lost more wars than he won.

Marriage And Politics

Washington had retired to Mount Vernon from his Virginia Regiment commission in December 1758. Just a month later, he got married to Martha Dandridge Custis, who was a wealthy widow with two children. He settled at Mouth Vernon to become a tobacco and wheat planter, and slowly emerge as a political figure. He became known as one of the wealthiest men in Virginia due to the dower interest he acclaimed through marriage to Martha.

He went on to have many gains and a few losses financially during the American Revolution where he assumed the role of a revolutionary leader and looked up to by all. He ultimately ran for presidency in the newly established United States of America and ended up winning twice. He was the only one of the founding fathers who had freed all of his slaves and had accomplished so much in a life filled with business, politics, and love. He died feeling very fulfilled at the age of 67 on December 14th, 1799, and the cause of death is still debated to this day.

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