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Interesting Facts About George Washington

Heidi Reina, M.S., Ed, is an educational technology integrator and teacher, reviewing free educational websites and apps.

Wax figure of George Washington at age 19, on display at Mount Vernon.

Wax figure of George Washington at age 19, on display at Mount Vernon.

George Washington by the Numbers

In honor of George Washington's birthday, here are some interesting facts and resources for learning about, teaching and experiencing the life and times of our first president. His birthday is celebrated on Presidents Day, the third Monday of each February.

Facts about George Washington or any historic figure are often too abstract for young students. To help kids better understand history, I've found it useful to make age comparisons.

"When George Washington was your age, his house nearly burned down. When he was your brother's age, he became a surveyor..."

So here's our first president, by the numbers!

Fun Facts About George Washington

Fun Facts About George Washington

George Washington was ...

  • 8 years old when his first home in Fredricksburg, Va, burned nearly to the ground.
  • 11 years old when his father died and he inherited his father's estate and slaves.
  • 16 years old when he became a surveyor, a professional on par with lawyers and doctors at that time. He was home schooled by his older brother and never went to college.

Washington for Young Readers

Mount Vernon by Francis Jukes (1745-1812)

Mount Vernon by Francis Jukes (1745-1812)

  • 19 years old when his brother, Lawrence, died and he inherited Mount Vernon.
  • 21 years old when he joined the Virginia militia. His first dangerous military mission was to go to the Ohio River Valley to determine the extent of French occupation of British-claimed territory there. He designed his own uniforms throughout his military service.
  • 23 years old when he was promoted to colonel and commanded of the the soldiers of Virginia.
  • 26 years old when he married Martha Dandridge Custis, a widow who already had two children, Jackie and Patsy. His marriage made him one of the wealthiest men in America and one of the largest landowners in Virginia. By then, he had resigned from the Army to oversee his property, crops and fisheries. He developed skills in espionage and spread false information to deceive the Briitish as the Colonists secretly developed a plan to gain their freedom.
General George Washington Crosses the Deleware  by Emanuel Leutze

General George Washington Crosses the Deleware by Emanuel Leutze

  • 43 years old when he became commander-in-chief of the revolutionary Continental Army. Despite many mistakes and setbacks in the first year of the war, he inspired his bedraggled troops to cross the Delaware. This surprise attack against the British that turned the tide in favor of the revolution.
  • 49 years old when he and the Continental Army defeated the British Army in Yorktown, Virginia, to win our independence.
  • 51 years old when he resigned his army commission and returned to Mount Vernon.
Washington's signature on a letter congratulating Congress for ratifying the Articles of Confederation in 1781, stored in the National Archives.

Washington's signature on a letter congratulating Congress for ratifying the Articles of Confederation in 1781, stored in the National Archives.

  • 57 years old when he was elected to be the first President of the United States. He was sworn into office in New York's Federal Hall. The temporary capitol moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the following year.
  • 58 years old Congress authorized him to select a site along the Potomac River for the nation's permanent capitol. He oversaw all of the planning for the layout and construction of what would become Washington, D.C.
  • 61 years old when he was elected to a second term as President.
  • 65 years old when he finished his second term and returned home to Mount Vernon.
  • 67 years old when he died. In his will, he made provisions for freeing the more than 100 slaves he owned. He was the only slave-owning president to do so.


Fun to Know... - George gets regular baths at Mt. Vernon

Image extracted from "The Washington State Coloring Book", created by the WA state legislature with taxpayer funds.

Image extracted from "The Washington State Coloring Book", created by the WA state legislature with taxpayer funds.

A Few Last Fun Facts about George Washington

  • He loved peanut soup.
  • He left school at 15 to become a surveyor because his mother couldn't afford to send him to college.
  • He loved to hunt and had hunting dogs named Tarter, True Love and Sweet Lips.
  • He had one tooth when he was elected president. His false teeth weren't made of wood. He had teeth carved from whale bone, rhinoceros ivory, and deer antlers.
  • Washington was the only president elected unanimously by the electoral college. No one ran against him for both terms of his presidency.
  • He was the only president who didn't represent a political party.

Liberty, when it begins to take root, is a plant of rapid growth.

— George Washington

Washington for Middle and High School Students

Your Thoughts on our First President?

Joanie Ruppel from Keller, Texas on February 25, 2014:

Excellent first president! Great lens!

cleansweeping on February 19, 2014:

Great resources!!!! Thanks!

cgbroome on February 19, 2014:

I love these little interesting facts! Thank you for doing the research!

appelonia on February 18, 2014:

What a great lens! Thanks!

Heidi Reina (author) from USA on February 17, 2014:

@bobnolley lm: Happy Birthday!

Heidi Reina (author) from USA on February 17, 2014:

@KandH: That's a great story! I've added it to my list of links above. Thanks for sharing it.

Roslicv on February 17, 2014:

Haha, I just watched a recorder on TV about him at home. Thanks for sharing.

TheHonestWebGuru on February 17, 2014:

Those are some great facts. Thank you for sharing this lens!!

KandH on February 17, 2014:

We have a George Washington House in Barbados, named for your president of course... interesting story there: http://www.coedu.usf.edu/culture/Story/Story_Barba...

bobnolley lm on February 17, 2014:

Congrats on the LOTD!

I enjoyed this especially because George and I share birthdays!

Amine from Doha, Qatar on February 17, 2014:

Great man, the first country to recognise the USA as free country is Morocco, i salute you, thanks for the great info

anonymous on February 17, 2014:

Very smart presentation on George. Congratulations on getting LotD!

Fay Favored from USA on February 17, 2014:

Fun and interesting information about a beloved president. Congratulations on LotD Heidi.

Itaya Lightbourne from Topeka, KS on February 17, 2014:

Fascinating story. I enjoyed the video you provided above. I love learning all about the facts of great people in history.

Donna Cook on February 17, 2014:

Fun and interesting! Better than history class!

anonymous on February 17, 2014:

Fantastic and creative lens! Congratulations on LOTD too!

georgepmoola2 on February 17, 2014:

Fascinating stuff. Good lens.

Stephen J Parkin from Pine Grove, Nova Scotia, Canada on February 17, 2014:

Thanks for great LOTD and lots of interesting information about Washington. Well written and presented!

David from West Midlands, England on February 17, 2014:

Great lens. I love the numbers idea. Thanks for sharing.

Faye Rutledge from Concord VA on February 17, 2014:

Thanks for these educational facts! Congratulations on LotD!

Delia on February 17, 2014:

Congratulations on LOTD! Entertaining read, nicely done lens...I watched a program about Washington that was not too favorable...I'll just remember him as being our first President.

Susan Deppner from Arkansas USA on February 17, 2014:

I love the way you presented this - perfect for kids of all ages! It's wonderful to be reminded that George Washington really was a well-respected man of great character. Happy President's Day and congratulations on your Lens of the Day honors today!

Merry Citarella from Oregon's Southern Coast on February 17, 2014:

Congrats on LotD--Well deserved! Very interesting to look at his life in years. Loved the way you laid it out too!

TerriCarr on February 17, 2014:

I heard on the radio that entrance to Mt. Vernon is free today in honor of Presidents' Day. Unfortunately, I can't go today. But I did visit a couple of years ago. Many great exhibits as well as a tour of the house.

M. Victor Kilgore on February 17, 2014:

Fun lens...I learned a few things I didn't know. Good job

Eugene Samuel Monaco from Lakewood New York on February 17, 2014:

Very interesting facts a lot of which are new to me. Really nice presentation and I enjoyed the read. Thanks for sharing these facts. I learn something new at squidoo every day. :)

Heidi Reina (author) from USA on August 01, 2013:

@skefflingecho: This is my favorite new fun fact about George. Thanks for sharing it!

skefflingecho from Tobermory Ontario on August 01, 2013:

Did you know George Washington had his cheeks padded with cotton wool for his later portraits to disguise the lack of support for the lips and cheeks and the look of a face with no teeth? I learned that in dental school! Cool lens!

othellos on July 06, 2013:

Very interesting lens. Clever presentation of the topic which doesn't leave any room to get bored. Some of the things you mention in the report are very new to me though. Enjoyable writing:=)

chickie99 on February 18, 2013:

never knew that our founder was a surveyor...very interesting!

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on January 13, 2013:

Very creative. I had fun with the numbers.

Kathleen Hiler on June 20, 2012:

I checked this video info out with my husband and other history sources and the majority do noy agree with this slant of our first president. "skilled in the art of deception" ? not true..George Washington was more timid and indecisive in the beginning..but had to muster himself to go forth with an idea that turned the tide of the war...not pleased with this view of a great man..read some reviews about this slant..interesting

Kathleen Hiler on June 19, 2012:

Very nice lens about our first president..It does seem though that the video accentuates too much about his ambition and ability to lie..even if he did..I will always admire as our 1st president :)

Gabriel360 on February 27, 2012:

Nice lens!

RobynHanisch LM on February 21, 2012:

I am in Australia and of course we all know of George Washington but are not taught any history so I found this lens very interesting.

smokeyjoe409 on February 21, 2012:

Who would have thought he loved peanut soup this was a great president.

JohnMichael2 on February 21, 2012:

Thank you for the chronology with the interesting facts. Great lens

dwnovacek on February 10, 2012:

I'm so happy to have found this lens. It's a really great presentation of the history of George Washington - beautiful *and* informative! Angel Blessings!

JoshK47 on January 31, 2012:

What a wonderful lens dedicated to an admirable man! Blessed by a SquidAngel!

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