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Martha Washington

Uploaded by MichMazz on Feb 24, 2001

In 1633, the Reverend Rowland Jones came from England to the colony of Virginia. He had graduated from Oxford University and in Williamsburg had served as minister for fourteen years.

Two generations later Martha Dandridge, his great-granddaughter, was born on June 2, 1731 on a plantation near Williamsburg. She grew up in the Dandridge home, Chestnut Grove. She enjoyed riding horses, gardening, sewing, playing the “spinet” and dancing. Her father made sure that she got a fair education in basic math, reading and writing...something girls didn’t receive at the time. At the age of eighteen, Martha married to Daniel Parke Custis. He was wealthy, handsome and twenty years older than her. Martha set up housekeeping on his plantation, while her husband managed the estate, which covered over 17,000 acres. Her husband adored his young, pretty bride and pampered her with the finest clothes and gifts imported all the way from England. They had four children, two who died before their first birthday. Their two surviving children John Parke, called "Jacky" and Martha, called "Patsy". In 1757, when Martha was twenty-six, Daniel Custis died after a brief illness. Jacky was three and Patsy was less than a year old.

Dying without a will, Martha was left with the duties of running the household, the estate and raising her children. (Fatherless children were usually "raised" under the care of a guardian, even if the mother survived--which meant that another male, primarily a relative, took care of the estates of the children). Her early education proved very helpful in the task. Her husband’s former business manager stayed to help with the operation of the plantation and she consulted with lawyers when she felt she needed it.

Sometime later, Martha met a young colonel (several months younger than her) in the Virginia Militia at a cotillion in Williamsburg. His name was George Washington. Martha fell in love and George found her quite attractive. (That she had a good disposition and inherited wealth was an added bonus to the relationship).

Martha married George on January 6, 1759. The marriage changed George from an ordinary planter to a substantially wealthy landowner. He had resigned his commission in the militia and so, George, Martha, Jacky who was 4, and Patsy who was about 2 moved into the remodeled Mt. Vernon. Martha was careful in running her home, although she and her husband did not pinch pennies when...

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Uploaded by:   MichMazz

Date:   02/24/2001

Category:   Biographies

Length:   8 pages (1,782 words)

Views:   1529

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