A well known founding father of the United States of America, George Washington has been dissected, praised, lauded and ridiculed for centuries. His life has been scrutinized on a microscopic level in life as well in death. Multitudes of biographies abound on this man who would willingly give over the power to rule for a simple life on his plantation.
My latest book in The Protectorate series intertwines with the life of Mr. Washington. I’ve devoured historical accounts found in newspapers, word of mouth quotes and books in an attempt to unravel this larger than life person. After all, he was a man.
So, upon my research, I’ve stumbled across some little known tidbits of information that struck me as either funny, sad and even surprise. The journey to learn every last morsel of information on this formidable man has left me in awe and with even more questions.
Today, I wish to pass on some little known morsels of information. Enjoy!
- In the Fall of 1787, George Washington drew up a contract with a gardener who had an itch for the drink: “if allowed four dollars at Christmas, with which to be drunk four days and four nights two dollars at Easter, to effect the same purpose; two dollars at Whitsuntide, to be drunk for two days, a dram in the morning, and a drink of grog at dinner and at noon.”
- On the night George Washington passed away, his close friend, Dr. Thornton, rushed to Mount Vernon only to find Washington had already passed away. However, Dr. Thornton wanted to try to resurrect Mr. Washington, “in the following manner. First to thaw him in cold water, then to lay him in blankets, and by degrees and by friction to give him warmth, and to put into activity the minute blood vessels, at the same time to open a passage to the lungs by the trachea, and to inflate them with air, to produce and artificial respiration, and to transfuse blood into him from a lamb.” Now, that’s devotion! Blood transfusions??? Tracheotomy???
- Obviously, the resurrection didn’t happen as family/friends intervened, and he was peacefully buried in “Washington City” under the Capitol building. Wait! That’s not correct;-)
- Washington was originally supposed to be buried in Washington D.C. under the capitol building but never got there. He is buried with his beloved Martha at his home on Mount Vernon.
- George Washington never wore a wig! Even though it was the fashion at the time, he simply powdered his own curly locks. His true color? Reddish brown;-)
- Washington avoided public speaking as much as possible because it would make his hands shake, not to mention the difficulties of speaking with false teeth. It was reported that he was “painfully awkward when delivering a speech.”
- Speaking of false teeth, Washington had them, but they were NOT wooden. Instead, they were made of “bone, hippopotamus ivory, human teeth, brass screws, lead, and gold metal wire.” mountvernon.org
- George Washington was born the first child of a second wife which put him at a disadvantage when his father died. George’s father, Augustine Washington, died when George was eleven. The family estate went to his eldest half-brother Lawrence. Mount Vernon was inherited by Washington in 1761 when Lawrence’s wife, Ann, passed away in 1761 and no heirs were alive. However, he rented Mount Vernon in 1754 from Ann when she remarried.
- Washington wanted to join the Royal Navy at the young age of 14, but his mother refused. So, he became a surveyor and the rest is history.
- Washington had a contentious relationship with his mother. “He visited, but out of obligation rather than affection, and the impression emerges that he simply did not like her.” – Washington’s Circle: The Creation of the President by David S. Heidler and Jeanne T. Heidler
- Washington was unanimously elected to be President of the United States which has yet to happen since.
- George Washington enjoyed mashed sweet potatoes and coconut (Yum!), cherry pies, hoe cakes (pancakes made with corn) and string beans with almonds.
- George Washington popularized the mule in the United States.
- Washington grew hemp on his plantation. However, it was used for making ropes and sailing canvas, not to smoke;-)
Well, I could go on and on about George Washington. He’s simply a fascinating person and one that helped to begin a country. If you’d like more information on this enigmatic giant, please visit www.mountvernon.org OR visit Mount Vernon in person (there’s really nothing quite like it), The Surprising George Washington by Richard Norton Smith or google to your heart’s content.
Now, I must get back to writing the second book in The Protectorate series! Stay tuned!