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George Washington was born in Westmoreland County, Virginia, on February 22, 1732 to Augustine Washington and his second wife, Mary Ball Washington. Washington grew up on his father’s estate near Popes Creek along the Potomac River, where he never had any formal education, but was taught by tutors. Washington studied mathematics, surveying, classic literature, and “rules of civility” by which he lived his life.
In 1743, when George was 11, his father died. Soon after this, his half brother, Lawrence, asked George’s mother if George could come and live with him, so that he could teach George to be a gentleman. Mary eventually agreed, and George went to live at Mount Vernon, Lawrences plantation on the Potomac. George loved Mount Vernon, and loved living with Lawrence, who had become George’s mentor and best friend. While living with Lawrence, George decided that he wanted to be a surveyor. He got his first surveying job in 1748, when Lawrence’s father-in-law, Lord Fairfax, asked George to survey his land in the Shenandoah Valley. In 1749, he was appointed surveyor for Culpeper County, Virginia.
Not long after this, Lawrence fell ill with tuberculosis, and George and he traveled to Barbados, hoping that the warm weather would cure him. This did not work, and Lawrence died in 1752 soon after they returned to Mount Vernon. After Lawrence’s death, George inherited Mount Vernon and all of Lawrence’s land.
By this time, tensions between the British and French were getting high and war was to break out soon. Washington was always looking for an adventure and new land, so he joined the war. He got his first assignment in October 1753, when Virginia governor Robert Dinwiddie gave him orders to go to the Ohio River Valley and tell the French commander at Fort Le Boeuf that they were on British territory. The French ignored this warning, and Washington went home empty-handed.
In 1754, the French and Indian War broke out, and once again, the new lieutenant colonel Washington was ready to go. In April of that same year, Washington was sent to establish a British post at the Forks of the Ohio. When he arrived at the location, he saw that the French had already established a post there and he quickly retreated to Great Meadows, Pennsylvania where he established a fort. He had heard that the French were marching, and he and his men quickly took off to intercept them. In the battle that ensued, Washington and his men took the French by surprise, killing French commander Jumonville, and taking most of the French troops prisoner. Then men went back to their fort in Great Meadows, Fort Necessity. On July 3rd, the fort was attacked by the French. The fort was built in the middle of a valley, so there were French in the hills surrounding the fort, shooting down on the Virginians. The battle lasted all day until Washington finally surrendered, giving up the fort. Under the terms of the agreement, Washington was allowed to return to Williamsburg with his troops. Building the fort in the middle of a valley was a mistake that Washington would never make again.
In 1758, Washington left the army and returned to Mount Vernon. He spent the next year or so fixing up the plantation and planting new crops. Finally, in 1759, he entered the world of politics. Washington served on Virginia’s House of Burgesses from 1759-1774. In January 1759, he married Martha Dandridge Custis, the wealthiest widow in Virginia. Washington never had children, Martha had two children from previous marriages, and George took them in as his own. With marrying Martha, Washington got more of what he had been after his whole life, land and a higher social position. Washington became a leader against British rule in Virginia in 1769, eventually leading to his selection as a delegate for Virginia to the 1st Continental Congress in 1774. During the deliberations, Washington had little to say, but he wore his old army uniform from the French and Indian war, as a sign to the delegates that he was a military man. So when it came time to select a commander-in-chief of the new Continental Army, in June 1775, Washington was the obvious choice.
Washington took command of the