George Washington Timeline

1732: George Washington was born in Westmoreland County, Virginia to Augustine Washington and his second wife Mary Ball.

1738: Washington family moved to Ferry Farm (a plantation on the Rappahannock River near Fredericksburg); George Washington spent most of his youth here.

1743: Augustine Washington, George’s father, died.  Although George Washington was the older child of the Ball-Washington household, Augustine left most of his property to his sons from his first marriage. George inherited 10 slaves from his father’s estate. Following the death of his father, George Washington’s formal education ended.  George Washington was only 11 years old.

1749: George Washington was appointed county surveyor of the frontier county of Culpeper.  He was seventeen years old.

1751-1752: George Washington traveled to Barbados with his half-brother Lawrence in an attempt to cure the latter of a respiratory illness. George contracted smallpox while on the island. The trip was the only time George Washington traveled outside of the North American continent.

1753: Virginia Governor Robert Dinwiddie sent Major George Washington to the Ohio Valley to deliver a message to the French, demanding that they leave the area.

1754: Major Washington and 150 soldiers traveled to the Ohio Valley to fight for Virginia’s claim of the land.  As part of the campaign, Washington’s men engaged in a combative confrontation with French soldiers.  Following this skirmish, Washington and his men retreated to the makeshift Fort Necessity, where Washington was soon forced to surrender.  This event deeply embarrassed Washington and he resigned his commission.  This failed campaign sparked the French and Indian War.

1755: Washington returned to the Ohio frontier as a volunteer aide for General Braddock.  During a battle between the French and the British near the Monongahela River, Washington exhibited great courage and leadership.  He was later recognized for his conduct in battle with a promotion and was given command of the entire military force of Virginia.

1759: On January 6, 1759, George Washington married Martha Dandridge Custis.  A native of the Tidewater region of Virginia, Martha Custis was a young widow who recently had inherited an enormous amount of wealth after the passing of her husband, Daniel Parke Custis. She was also the mother of two young children, Jacky and Patsy.  Following the marriage between George and Martha, the newlywed couple and Martha’s two children moved to Mount Vernon.

1759-1775: George Washington was a Gentleman Farmer at Mount Vernon in the years between his marriage to Martha and the onset of the American Revolution.  Washington experimented with different farming techniques while also expanding his home at Mount Vernon.

1775: The newly formed Congress appointed George Washington to be the commander of the Continental Army.  Washington held this position for the entirety of the American Revolution, totaling eight years.

1783: Following the end of the American Revolution, Washington addressed Congress on December 23 in Annapolis and resigned his commission.  Through this action, Washington gave the power back to the people and was declared a hero around the world.

1787: Although determined to retire from public life after the Revolutionary War, Washington re-entered the public sphere and was unanimously elected president of what is now known as the Constitutional Convention.

1789: George Washington was unanimously elected as first President of the United States

1793:  Washington began his second term as President

1797: Refusing a third term, Washington retired from the presidency and all public life.  By leaving office after two terms, Washington set a precedent that has been held to by most of the American presidents who followed him.  He returned to Mount Vernon and enjoyed a peaceful retirement.

1799: George Washington passed away on December 14 from a throat infection called epiglottitis in his bedroom at Mount Vernon. He was surrounded by close friends and his loving wife Martha.