…no, this isn’t about Tiger Woods.
Today would be the 278 birthday of George Washington. So, for starters, he’d dead in case you weren’t sure.
We see him everytime we pull out a dollar bill, but do we think of him and what he accomplished?
And back “in the day”, we got the day off from school. Now, it’s just “Presidents’ Day”.
There are many stories about Old GW; some true, some questionable.
The “cannot tell a lie” thing is probably, well, a lie.
I doubt that Little George made it all the way through childhood without telling a lie, I’m sure I didn’t. And I doubt that he was always completely truthful in social situations. I mean really, are any of us gonna’ say “Yes.” to the ‘does this dress make my hips look big?’ question. And at that time, they all looked big. The dresses were ginormous to make the waists look smaller. Ah, Fashion!!
And I seriouldy doubt that “skipping a stone across the Potomac” bit is on the money as well. Physics, physiology, and aero-dynamics make me doubt that one.
But, there are a few things for sure.
He had good manners. He even had a book that he kept which told him things like: don’t drum your fingers on the table at dinner and stuff like that.
He was probably sterile. There are no known descendants of GW. His children were his wife’s children from her marriage to Old Man Custis. Custis was loaded, and left Martha a truck load of cash, slaves, farms, and land. She was the most sought after widow in the Colonies, and the wealthiest. And George was the one who won her.
They were married at “The White House Plantation” near Fredricksburg, VA. It’s not there anymore, the maurading Yankee army during the War of Northern Invasion burned it to the ground, even though her Great Grand daughter, Mary Custis Lee (Mrs. Robert E. Lee) pinned a note to the door begging the army to spare the house for it’s history. Apparently, they couldn’t read.
But, back to George. He was an amazing young man. His father died when he was a child, and his half-brother, Lawrence helped to teach and rear him. Lawrence also left George his “farm” Mount Vernon as well. Washington was a surveyor at the age of 17. He surveyed much of Virginia’s western lands, all of Lord Fairfax’s lands, and was appointed as the official surveyor of Culpepper County when it was created. So, he was a businessman.
He was a “gentleman farmer” as well. His Plantation, Mount Vernon was a successful working business that provided nearly everything needed to survive. Of course, it was worked and partially managed by slaves, with Martha running the show while George was out surveying land, fighting wars, and claiming more land for Great Britain.
He fought brilliantly in the “French and Indian Wars”, and was a Lt. Col at the age of 22. In 1758, at the age of 26, he was a Brigidier General. Not bad for a partially educated half orphaned boy from the Tidewater. After the F and I War was over, he took a break from military service for 16 years and ran Mount Vernon and got into Politics.
He married Martha in 1759, helped to rear her two children from her first marriage, but they had no children of their own. Like I said, he was probably sterile. He had smallpox, and that may have done it. Who knows?
When the colonies decided to break free from Mother England, George went all out. He was appointed the Commander of the Army, won battles, lost battle, survived Valley Forge, and led the troops to victory at Yorktown, with the aid of the French, when they could still fight and all.
He thought his work was over, but not so.
He was unanimously elected as the first President of the newly created United States of America and went to running the country.
He and Martha moved to New York City, which is where the seat of government was before the City of Washington was built. He never lived in the city of his name, and never lived in the White House.
His presidency set the standard for all to follow. Two terms, then retire. Govern with the Constitution, stand for what it means when tested, as in the case of the Whiskey Rebellion, and listen to the people who put him in power.
Is anyone in Washington reading this? Gosh, I hope so.
When he retired from the Presidency, he gave some advice in his farewell speech. He warned against ‘permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world’, saying the United States must concentrate primarily on American interests.
What a great idea!
He stressed the value of the Constitution and the rule of law, the evils of political parties, (holy crap, what a visionary!!) and the proper virtues of a republican people. He called morality “a necessary spring of popular government”. He said, “Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.
Then, he went home. And he shut UP. Entertained his friends, ran his farm, and died at the hands of misguided medical “professionals” who were doing the voodoo that was medicine at the time.
Henry Lighthorse Harry Lee said in his eulogy of Washington that “He was first in war, first in peace and first in the hearts of his countrymen.”
He may never have fathered any children, but he was truly, “The Father of His Country”.