George Washington: Bibliography
George Washington left behind a legacy as the first president of the United States of America. According to the Old Style calendar, George Washington was born on February 22, 1732, in Westmoreland, Virginia. His family initially lived in North America before moving to Virginia. Washington’s grandfather, John Washington, and their family was distinct back in England. They acquired their land from Henry VIII, however, during the Puritan revolution; all their family wealth was lost. This forced them to move to Virginia in 1657. In this paper, I will discuss George Washington’s early life up to 1752. These critical years laid a foundation for the greater tasks that awaited him later.
George Washington’s father, Augustine Washington, had high ambitions. He owned slaves, land, practiced tobacco farming, built mills and dealt with iron mines. He married George Washington’s mother, Mary Ball in 1731 after the death of his first wife, Jane Butler in 1729 who had left behind three children. George Washington was the first born of the six children born by Mary Ball. Their family was prosperous, and among the top middle class of Virginia (Freeman, Alexander & Ashworth, 2007).
George Washington spent most of his youth on Ferry Farm on the Rappahannock River, Virginia. Little is known about his childhood. However, a widely held notion is that George Washington was home schooled between the ages five and fifteen, and attended sexton classes at a nearby church. Career wise, George Washington first worked as a teacher of Math, Geography, English, and Latin classics. This was important as it prepared him for future leadership roles. His interaction with supervisors in plantations and backwoodsmen made him more knowledgeable. He had learnt surveying, tobacco growing and stock rising by the time he was a teenager.
At the age of eleven, he lost his father and so lived with Lawrence, his half-brother, who brought him up in a commendable way. Here, he received schooling in the colonial culture under the directions of Lawrence’s wife, Anne Fairfax. At the age of sixteen, George was part of a surveying group that plotted land in the Western territory of Virginia. In 1749, Lord Fairfax appointed George, to be the official surveyor of Culpeper, Augusta, and Frederick Counties. The two years’ experience as a surveyor made George a strong and resourceful man, both physically and psychologically. This also enhanced his interest in land buying, which prevailed for the rest of his life, as he bought large pieces of land and believed in colonization of the West (Lewis, 2004). In 1752, George’s half-brother died, making George the heir of all the family lands. At twenty, Washington became the owner of Mount Vernon estate, one of the prominent estates in Virginia. He attached much value to Vernon and practiced farming, while expanding his landholdings there.
Generally, George Washington’s early life efficiently prepared him for the greater task he was to undertake in future. The family and environment he grew in was conducive for him to learn different life skills. The jobs he undertook also gave him experience in leadership, and he took on leadership responsibilities at an early age. All this influenced the important decisions he made as a military officer and as a president.
Freeman, S. D., Alexander J., & Ashworth M. W. (2007). George Washington, a Biography:
First in Peace. Eds. Vol.7.Scribner, 1948.
George Washington. (2012). Biography.com. Retrieved 10:04, Oct 23, 2012
Lewis, C. (2004). George Washington: An illustrated biography. School Library Journal, 50(12),
155-155. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/211750253?accountid=45049
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