My trip to Fredericksburg, Virginia, in November 2015 to see George Washington’s boyhood home at what is now known as Ferry Farm also allowed me to visit the house in town where George Washington’s mother, Mary Ball Washington, lived the final 17 years of her life. Born in 1708, married to the widower Augustine Washington in 1731, and widowed in 1743, Mary Washington never remarried. Until pressured to change by her children, Mary Washington managed Ferry Farm on her own with the help of slaves. Apparently reluctant to move from the farm, she grudgingly agreed only at George’s insistence.
“I cannot tell a lie.” A young George Washington allegedly spoke these words to his father after being caught cutting down a cherry tree, confessing his transgression. While this tale was meant to illustrate young George’s virtues as a worthy hero, it has also been used throughout the years as a moral lesson to American youth. If George Washington could tell the truth in such intimidating circumstances – shouldn’t you?
Having shepherded “George Washington, Day-By-Day, 22 February 1732-14 December 1799” into existence, I very much looked forward to visiting Washington’s childhood home bordering the Rappahannock River directly across from Fredericksburg, Virginia. This visit finally occurred on Monday, November 9.
TOPICS: Eighteenth-Century Life, Featured Document(s), George Washington, GW’s Views, Washington or Custis Family by Christine S. Patrick History classes have given Americans some familiarity with Washington the Revolutionary War general and Washington the first president of the United States, but most people have little knowledge about the more personal aspects […]
While Washington Custis’s letters to his grandfather during his first months away at school have not survived, George Washington’s letters to his grandson provide insight into his role as father figure to the young man. Both the president and the grandson lost their fathers at an early age: George Washington at eleven, and George Washington Parke Custis at only six months. By writing these letters of advice the father of our country was imparting wisdom similar to what he might have received from his own parent.
By Caitlin Conley December 5, 2014 Caitlin is a Research Assistant for the Bibliography Project and is part of the Papers of George Washington social media team. What’s the best thing about the holidays? The food, of course! In our 1999 inaugural newsletter, we celebrated holiday food by talking about one […]