Who was George Washington’s Wife?
We know George Washington as America’s first president and a key Founding Father who led the Continental Army to victory during the American Revolution. How about George Washington’s wife, who also went down in history as the United States’ first First Lady? At least, generations have taught us that, behind every successful man, there is a woman.
In this vein, let’s learn a brief history of Martha Washington; the beautiful wife of George Washington who stood by her husband’s side during the Revolution.
Biography of Martha Washington
Martha Washington was the daughter of John Dandrige and Frances Jones. Martha’s ancestral family could be traced to Europe. Her dad John emigrated from England to settle in Virginia. There, he worked as a clerk in the county of New Kent. Born in Virginia, Frances Jones tied the knot with Dandrige in 1730. On June 2, 1731, Martha was born in New Kent County, Virginia. She had seven siblings – three brothers and four sisters.
Martha was not the highly educated type of woman, but she learned to read and write. In fact, some people say she had no formal education. Her family trained her to sew, practice music, and manage domestic affairs.
The world thought it had probably underrated Martha’s education when it was discovered that she had knowledge about managing plantations, crop sale, medicine, as well as animal husbandry. Prior to her marriage to Washington, the assumptions were that Martha’s youthful career varied from needlework, singing & dancing, and perhaps preps for plantation management.
Martha Washington’s Marriages
In 1749, 18-year-old Martha entered into marriage with 38 year-old Daniel Parke Custis — quite a successful plantation owner. During their good times together, Martha bore 4 children – Daniel, Frances, John and Patsy – with Parke before his death in 1757. After her first husband’s death, the widowed Martha inherited her husband’s wealth.
A year later, George Washington set eyes on the pretty widow. It was springtime when young Washington – a plantation master himself and a Virginian military commander – started dating Martha. The couple married in 1759 and Washington adopted Martha’s kids from her first marriage. Martha and her kids stayed with Washington at his Mount Vernon plantation.
There were speculations that Martha’s strong financial background may have made Washington’s life more comfortable. Anytime such statements were paraded, George Washington would hear none of it.
Martha Washington’s Support during the Revolution
While at Mount Vernon, Martha proved beyond all reasonable doubts that she was a caring and supportive woman. When Washington was called to command the Continental Army in June 1775, Martha went and stayed with Washington at military camps, and she offered her support to the cause of freedom and independence. She also called on her fellow women to do likewise. Having lost both of her last surviving children, Martha and Washington adopted her grandchildren.
The Inaugural First Lady of the United States (The First First Lady)
In 1789, following America’s gain of Independence, and George Washington’s inauguration as president of the United States, Martha became the first First Lady.
During her husband’s two terms in office (1789 – 1797), Martha exhibited graciousness in her position as Lady Washington. She was very responsible for organizing social gatherings. Her efforts helped lay a strong foundation for future first ladies of the United States.
Read More: 15 Major Achievements of George Washington
Martha Washington’s Death
George Washington died first in December 1799; Martha followed her husband to the grave on May 22, 1802. She was 70 at the time of her death. Her body was laid to rest next to her husband at Mount Vernon, Virginia.
FACT CHECK: At worldhistoryedu.com, we strive for utmost accuracy and objectivity. But if you come across something that doesn’t look right, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below.