How well do you know George Washington: 7 facts about our nation's first president

Posted by Patrick Henry College on 2/25/23 7:14 PM

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"Every post is honorable in which a man can serve his country." - George Washington

George Washington has been called the "Father of his Country" for his manifold leadership in our nation's founding. Washington played an indispensable role in adopting and ratifying the Constitution of the United States, which replaced the Articles of Confederation in 1789 and remains the world's longest-standing written and codified national constitution to this day.

Below are seven facts about our nation's first president! 

1. Where was George Washington born?   

Answer: Pope’s Creek, Virginia

Located in Westmoreland County, VA, Pope’s Creek Plantation (also known as Wakefield) was built in the 1720s by Washington’s father, Augustine.  It was destroyed by fire about sixty years later. The property is currently owned and operated by the National Park Service (NPS).

2. What was Washington's first career? 

Answer: Surveyor

As a surveyor, Washington gained an intimate knowledge of North American land. Surveying represented a respectable profession in 18th century America and held the promise of social and financial advancement. Over the course of fifty years, Washington completed numerous surveys, many of which documented the settlement of the territory along Virginia's western frontier. In October 1750, Washington relinquished his position as county surveyor. He continued professionally for two more years, mostly in Frederick County, before receiving a military appointment as adjutant for southern Virginia.

3. What was the one place Washington left the mainland of North America to visit?

Answer: Barbados

George Washington traveled widely in what would become the United States, but he left the North American mainland only once, when he sailed to Barbados with his older half-brother Lawrence in 1751. Washington also occupied his time at sea learning the practical science of navigation - skills that came easily to a surveyor. George Washington's fascination with the fortifications of the island may have led him toward a military career, but while in Barbados he faced an enemy as dangerous as any he would face on the battlefield: smallpox. On November 17, Washington, in his own words, "Was strongly attacked with the small Pox." Fortunately, he recovered and became immune for the rest of his life (which proved crucial during the Revolution during a smallpox epidemic!).

4. Did Washington have any biological children?

Answer: No

While Washington was supposedly fond of children, he and his wife Martha did not have any biological children together. However, there were always children at Mount Vernon, Washington’s residence. He helped raise his wife’s children from a previous marriage, as well as her four grandchildren and several nieces and nephews.

5. How many terms did Washington serve as the first president of the United States?

Answer: Two

Washington was unanimously elected President of the United States twice. He believed that it was necessary to strike a delicate balance between making the presidency powerful enough to function effectively in a national government, while also avoiding any image of establishing a monarchy or dictatorship.

6. How did Washington die?

Answer: A throat infection (quinsy)

Washington died on December 14, 1799 at the age of 67, surrounded by family and friends. Two days prior, he had been on horseback supervising farm activities when it began to snow. Upon returning home, he did not change out of his wet clothes but went straight to dinner and subsequently developed a sore throat that worsened and proved fatal.

7. What were Washington's last words?

Answer: “Tis well”

The last conversation George Washington had was with his secretary, Tobias Lear, concerning his burial arrangements. "Have me decently buried; and do not let my body be put into the vault in less than three days after I am dead." Fears of being buried too soon were common in the 18th century. According to his wishes, Washington was not buried for three days. During that time his body lay in a mahogany casket in the New Room. On December 18, 1799 a solemn funeral was held at Mount Vernon.


The information in this blog post was pulled from 



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