George Washington, “The Father of His Country”, was quite the unique man. But how much do you actually know about this great political leader and Founding Father? Besides the fact that he was America’s first president, here are a few other facts about George Washington that you might not know.
18 Facts About George Washington
1. George Washington led forces during the American Revolutionary War.
The American Revolutionary War was a fight for independence from Great Britain. Of course, it was the country’s founding father and first president that helped lead the American people to freedom. Washington was unanimously appointed commander-in-chief of the Army, and would ultimately lead his men to victory at the Siege of Yorktown, ending the conflict.
2. He lost more battles than he won.
Yes, it’s true. George Washington lost more battles than he won. But you know what they say, “We may have lost the battle, but the war is far from over.” That was “The General’s” mode of thinking. By employing an outstanding strategy at both the Battle of Trenton in 1776 and Yorktown in 1781, his victories helped win the American Revolutionary War.
3. No one can or will rank higher in the US military than George Washington.
During his time in the military, George Washington was a Lieutenant General. This rank only held three stars. While at the time this ranking might have been appropriate, we’re not sure anyone took a second look at his accomplishments until 1976. In that year, Washington was awarded the title of General of the US Armies of the United States. He was awarded this not only because of victory over the British but the fact that he created the system and structure that the US Army follows to this day. Washington saw more than just a war, he saw a vision for the future of the state of defense across military lines.
4. George Washington was barely high school educated.
Back in his day, you could live by picking up a trade and not going to college. This was the case for George, as he left school around the age of 15 to become a land surveyor. In that profession, he had created almost 200 land surveys and had a promising career ahead of him before his calling in the military took him.
5. His hair was real!
When you think of those founding fathers back in the day, you imagine men in flowing white wigs, don’t you? Don’t worry. Most people do. Those wigs denoted their political and socially affluent status, so it would make sense. However, the hair that George wore was his own. It only looks white because he powdered it. Men wearing powdered wigs dates back to France in the mid-17th century with King Louis XIII. While we can’t say George was a trendsetter, we can say he was all natural!
6. His teeth were NOT made of wood.
No. George Washington’s teeth were not made of wood. In fact, his teeth, at the most degenerative state, were a full set of dentures made of human teeth, animal teeth, lead, gold, and ivory. He had his first tooth pulled in 1756 at the age of 24. It was downhill from there.
7. No one is a true descendant of the George Washington line.
Married on January 6, 1759, George Washington married a widow named Martha Dandridge Custis. Another fun fact, they got married less than ten months after meeting. Talk about moving quickly! Anyway, Martha already had two children, John “Jacky” Custis and Martha “Patsy” Custis.
8. Mr. Washington was a dog lover.
George loved dogs! Not only did he believe that they were man’s best friend, but he also treated them like family. Giving them unusual names such as Tartar, Truelove, and Sweet Lips, he bred the American Foxhound.
9. George loved his booze!
More specifically, George loved his whiskey and was a purist at that. Washington distilled his own, similar to that of moonshine. And being the law-abiding man that he was, George paid taxes on every drop.
10. He was a big man.
George Washington was 6 feet and 2 inches tall, weighing in about 200 pounds. Historically speaking, Abraham Lincoln and Lyndon B. Johnson were the tallest American presidents coming in at 6’ 4”, while the heftiest president was William Howard Taft with a weight of 332 lbs.
11. He loved the written word, literally.
During his life, he wrote somewhere between 18,000 and 20,000 letters. His handwriting and penmanship were highly respected throughout the colonies. It would take a human, today, if they wrote one letter a day, around 50 years to reach the number of letters George Washington wrote.
12. Ironically, he fought for the British.
George Washington actually fought on the side of the British at the young age of 21. His mission was to lead an opposing force against the French in Ohio. Unfortunately, he lost and contributed to the start of the Seven Years War.
13. George is the only president to go into battle while serving as president.
When a militia had to be led on a month-long march through the Allegheny Mountains to Bedford, George Washington was that leader. During this time, he was a sitting president.
14. The General showed leadership early in his life.
George Washington rose to leadership quickly early military career. In the early 1750s, he was appointed a major in the Virginia militia. In 1755, he was given the honorary rank of Colonel for his work in the French and Indian War. And in the same year, he was appointed the commander of the Virginia troops.
15. George may be the reason why the United States is as stable as it is.
George saw that the experiment with democracy that the United States had embarked on was failing. Between various rebellions and political officials up in arms, he knew something had to be done. In 1786, he called for the Annapolis convention to amend the Articles of Confederation. The assembly produced a plan that the government would use in perpetuity. It was this convening, some say, that led to his election as president in 1789.
16. The states wanted him for a third term. He decided against it and retired.
With the decline of his physical ableness, George wanted to retire to Mount Vernon and return to farming. He declined the proposal for a third term, pardoned the participants in the Whiskey Rebellion, and gave a farewell address that encouraged citizens to hold the union in their heart and avoid permanent foreign alliances.
17. His passing plunged the entire country into a state of mourning.
George Washington passed away after a snowstorm in 1799, where he was tending and surveying his land. He woke up in the middle of the night, told his wife he felt sick, and with the increase of his cold, sore throat, and hoarseness, passed away later that day. The country, along with the world, mourned his death. They held mock funerals and memorials. George is buried at his home.
18. In life, George Washington defied death.
In leading troops throughout the military, George had two horses shot out from under him and he, himself, was shot five times. An Indian chief remarked once that a higher power must have influence over his life for him to have a perceived immunity to things such as bullet wounds.