Interesting Facts about George Washington July 11 2008

Learn some interesting information about Americas first president, George WashingtonTo most of us, the name George Washington conjures up images of a handsome and gallant soldier crossing the Delaware River while leading his men bravely through the perils of revolution.

Later, we know him to be a selfless leader, who led his country into democracy as our first president, only to step down after eight years despite popular support in order to protect the enduring longevity of the office he created.

And while his merits and more positive attributes are, by most accounts, true, there are many sides to this mysterious yet infamous figure that are unexplored by the modern citizens of the nation he so dutifully founded.

Few of us know, for example, that he was not the best of communicators and was a painfully awkward public speaker.  And even fewer of us have heard the stories about his legendary hot temper; so much so that one anecdote has a red-faced, screaming Washington stomping on his hat in front of Thomas Jefferson. Another of his qualities, Washington was always said to be a realist when it came to human nature.

Here are more interesting facts about our first president:

  • George Washington was the oldest son of his father’s second marriage.  He grew up with nine brothers and sisters.
  • When George was three years old his family moved to a large tobacco plantation, which they called Mount Vernon.  Despite his lengthy travels and many temporary homes, George considered Mount Vernon to be his true home until the day he died.
  • Though he believed strongly in virtues of education, his own schooling ended at the age of 14.  This is a fact that haunted Washington throughout his life, even though this was not uncommon in his day and age.
  • George joined the British Royal Navy at age 14.
  • Once during battle, a cannonball almost hit him and his men. Everyone hid, except George, who kept on fighting.
  • By the time he was president of the United States, George only had one original tooth left.  He spent the rest of his life in constant pain from ill-fitting dentures that distorted the shape of his mouth.
  • George’s first set of dentures were made from cow’s teeth.  Later, he had a second pair made of hippopotamus ivory.
  • His favorite foods were pineapples and Brazil Nuts.  It was said by John Adams that George lost all his teeth by cracking Brazil nuts between his jaws.
  • George never had any children of his own, though his wife Martha had two from a previous marriage.
  • George always preferred the quiet solitude of farming to politics, and often felt miserable living such a public life.  Upon his election as president, he blurted out to a close friend that he must, “bid adieu to happiness,” as “public life will be a more distressing one than any I have known yet.”
  • He is the only president in history to have been unanimously elected, receiving all 69 votes of the electoral college.  At the time, there was no popular vote for the presidency.
  • He was the only president who did not live in Washington, D.C.
  • Contrary to popular belief, George Washington never wore a wig.
  • Washington gave his name to 1 U.S. state, 1 capital city, 33 counties, 7 mountains, 9 colleges, and 121 post offices.
  • George Washington is the only one of America’s founding fathers to free his slaves.  He freed all 124 of his slaves in his will, and left enough money in his estate to care for all of them for decades after his death.
  • According to Newsweek, 14 percent of all pre-school children think George Washington is still sitting in the oval office.

More George Washington Facts:

Books to Read:

By Stefanie Boucher

Resources/Sources:
http://usgovinfo.about.com
http://www.mountvernon.org