.

Tea Party Winners: Carla Gade's winner is Becky Dempsey, Andrea Boeshaar's winner Caryl Kane, Gina Welborn's winner Jasmine A., Carrie Fancett Pagels' winners book copy -- Lynda Edwards, teacup and saucer -- Wendy Shoults

Monday, February 17, 2014

GEORGE WASHINGTON'S LADY

President's Day celebrates the birthdays of two of our great presidents, Abraham Lincoln, sixteenth president of the United States, and George Washington, the Father of our Country. Abe was born February 12, 1809. 

George's birth date is more interesting. Born during a time when the colonist's used the Julian calendar, his birthday is recorded as February 11, 1731. But in 1752 Britain, and the colonies, adopted the Gregorian calendar, and his birth date became February 22, 1732.

The story of President Washington is fascinating. Though his formal education ended when he was fifteen years old, he was bright, ambitious and athletic. His father died when he was eleven and George worked hard to help his mother on the family plantation, he also spent
time with his elder half-brother, Lawrence Washington, at the Washington family estate, Mount Vernon

It was at Mount Vernon the young Washington would learn the social graces and a love of dancing that would lead him to the love of his life, Martha Dandridge Custis, a young wealthy widow. Five foot tall, she was tiny compared to her husband's height of over six foot two.

It was a novel, interestingly enough, that first really peaked my curiosity about the Washingtons as a couple. Mary Higgins Clark's first novel, a historical romance and written before she became Queen of Suspense, was Aspire to the Heavens, released in 1968. In 1996, Simon and Schuster re-released it as, Mount Vernon Love Story.

George and Martha married on January 6, 1759, shortly after he had resigned his commission. Although they never had children of their own, George became legal guardian of Jacky and Patsy, Martha's two surviving children from her first marriage.

In 1761, George inherited Mount Vernon, the home along the Potomac River that Washington would expand from 2,000 acres to 8,000 in his lifetime. The estate is open to the public, and one of my favorite historical sites.

But a quiet life on their large estate was not to be for many years. When Washington assumed the role of Commander of the Continental Army, Martha threw herself into being a support to her husband and his troops. 

Every year she made the journey from Mount Vernon to George's encampments during the Revolutionary War. She was confidant and secretary to her husband, and boosted not only his morale, but that of the many sick or wounded soldiers with her presence. 

In 1783, victorious and desiring to return the fledgling nation to civilian rather than military control, Washington resigned his commission and returned to Mount Vernon and Martha. But if he thought he'd retire, the new nation had another thought. 







With a unanimous vote, General Washington reluctantly accepted his role as our first president. The family moved to New York city, the first capitol of the new government. Martha once again stepped into the spotlight as supporter of her husband and our new nation. She became known as Lady Washington and was a model for future wives of presidents, who would become known as First Ladies.





Washington's presidency ran from 1789 to 1797, and George and Martha once again returned to their beloved Mount Vernon. Sadly, he died in his bed 2 1/2 years later, and Martha never again slept in the bedroom they shared, but preferred to move into a third story bedroom. She died 2 1/2 years after her husband.




George and Martha are buried in a tomb on Mount Vernon, along with several members of the Washington family.






Rebecca DeMarino is a historical romance author. Her debut A PLACE IN HIS HEART, releases June, 2014 from Revell. For more information please visit www.rebeccademarino.com.You can find her on Facebook.









10 comments:

  1. A wonderful and interesting post, Rebecca.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Rebecca, this is very interesting.
    Thank you for sharing
    Blessings,Tina

    ReplyDelete
  3. I love this article! The lives of George and Martha Washington fascinate me. It's wonderful to see such a well-written article about two important figures in our country's beginnings. I'm glad you included the information and photos of Mount Vernon - it's one of our nation's treasures. (My ancestor, Colonel John Kelly, served under General Washington during several important battles). Well done, Rebecca!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad you enjoyed it, Cynthia. I've been to Mount Vernon many times, and I never tire of it! How thrilling your ancestor served with General Washington! Uncovering connections to our past like that is what makes genealogy and history so much fun!

      Delete
  4. I listened to an audiobook based on their lives and found it fascinating. Of course I can't recall the title but I believe it was by one of the prominent historical authors. I didn't realize she was so small though. (all the first ladies seemed tiny to me when I saw an exhibition of their dresses!)

    Thanks, Rebecca!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Debra, I've seen the dress exhibit of the fist ladies at the Smithsonian, and I agree - they all look tiny! I think Martha was very beautiful and must have been a tiny ball of energy to keep up with George like she did!

      Delete
  5. Thanks Rebecca for such an informative post. I also enjoyed Clark's Mount Vernon Love Story.
    I've always believed that the Lord brought George Washington through many miraculous and challenging times to serve in his unique role "for such a time as this",

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I thought it very neat that her first published novel was a historical romance! And loved that it was the love story of George and Martha.
      And I agree, Janet, I think God was at work in Washington from the time he was a young boy - and I just imagine George never gave a thought throughout his amazing military career to becoming the first president of a new nation. But God did - he had a plan!

      Delete
  6. Rebecca, I sure enjoyed this. So much I didn't know. And, there's so many people like me that never get to see our many historical sites. Too bad. It would seem that Martha was a very interesting lady. And fantastic how she went to the war sites and tended to parts of his business. Didn't know so much of this. Like Mary Higgins' debut book. If I could only remember all that I have learned since being in this part of Facebook. But, my memory isn't what it used to be. Maxie mac262(at)me(dot)com

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for commenting, please check back for our replies!