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George and Martha Washington Marriage Profile

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Image courtesy of the Library of Congress

"Life of George Washington - The citizen." Wedding of George Washington and Martha Custis. Lithograph from Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress. Paris: Lemercier, c1853. Reproduction #: (b&w) LC-USZ62-3914

Image courtesy of the Library of Congress
Here's information about George and Martha Washington, how they met, their wedding, their children and grandchildren, quotes, and more.

Born:

George Washington: February 22, 1732, in Westmoreland County, Virginia.

His birthdate is controversial since George Washington was born on February 11th according to the Julian Calendar or Old Style calendar.

"Washington was born 20 years prior to the 1752 introduction of the Gregorian Calendar (intended to more accurately reflect a solar year). When the Julian Calendar was "corrected" to the Gregorian Calendar, February 11th became February 22nd."
Source: Library of Congress.

Martha Dandridge Custis Washington: June 2, 1731 at Chestnut Grove, Virginia, near Williamsburg, Virginia.

Died:

George: December 14, 1799 of a throat infection, quinsy. George Washington was 67 years old when he died. Martha was too upset to attend his funeral on December 18, 1799.

Martha: Martha died on May 22, 1802.

After George died, Martha closed the bedroom they shared and didn't enter either their bedroom or George's study. Avoiding memories, Martha then spent her time in a room on the third floor of their estate until she died.

They are both buried at Mount Vernon, Virginia.

How Martha and George Met:

George and Martha were introduced by friends of Martha when George was on leave from the French and Indian War. George only visited her home twice before proposing marriage to her 3 weeks after they met.

Wedding Date and Ceremony:

George and Martha, both 27 years old, were married on January 6, 1759 at her estate, The White House, in New Kent, Virginia. Rev. David Mossom, rector of St. Peter's, performed the ceremony.
Source: Paul Wilstach, Mount Vernon: Washington's Home and the Nation's Shrine, page 59.

Where was George Washington Wed?

A Different Account of George and Martha's Wedding

Wedding Attire:

Martha was married in a yellow brocade dress that was trimmed with lace at the neck and sleeves. Some historians describe her wedding dress as a gold damask dress.

Underneath her gown she wore a white silk petticoat with silver threads. Her shoes were purple satin and trimmed in silver metallic lace and sequins. She wore pearls in her hair.

George wore "a blue suit with a white satin waistcoast and blue buckles on his shoes."
Source: Ruth Ashby, George & Martha Washington, page 17.

They spent their honeymoon in Williamsburg, Virginia.

Previous Marriages:

Martha was previously married to Daniel Parke Custis. They married when she was 18 on May 15, 1750 at St. Peter's Church in Talleysville, Virginia. Daniel died on July 26, 1757.

Children:

Martha had four children with Daniel.
  • Daniel Parke Custis: Daniel was born in 1751. He died when he was 3 in 1754.
  • Frances Parke Custis: Frances was born in 1753. She died when she was 4 in 1757.
  • Martha Parke Custis aka Patsy: Martha was born in 1756 and died when she was 17 of an epileptic seizure on June 19, 1773. She was buried at Mount Vernon.
  • John Parke Custis aka Jacky: Jacky was born on November 27, 1754. He married Eleanor "Nelly" Calvert on February 3, 1774 when she was 16 years old. The wedding took place at her parents' Mount Airy Plantation in Maryland. Still in mourning for Patsy, Martha did not go to the wedding with George.
  • After he volunteered to be an aide to George, John died in Yorktown at 26 years of age on November 5, 1781 of "camp fever" aka typhoid fever.In 1783, his widow, Nelly, married Dr. David Stuart.

Grandchildren:

Martha and George had seven grandchildren.
  • Baby girl Custis, died in 1775.
  • Eliza Parke Custis was born on August 21, 1776 at Mount Airy Plantation in Maryland. She married an Englishman, Thomas Law, on March 21, 1796 at her mother and stepfather's home, Hope Park Plantation, Virginia.
  • Martha Parke aka Patty Custis was born on December 31, 1777 at Mount Vernon. On January 6, 1795, she married Thomas Peter at her mother and stepfather's home, Hope Park Plantation, Virginia.
  • Eleanor "Nelly" Parke Custis. She remained at Mount Vernon after her mother's second marriage. She was born on March 21, 1779. She married Lawrence Lewis, George's nephew, on February 22, 1799 at Mount Vernon. She died in 1852.
  • A set of twins who died.
  • George Washington "Washy, Wash, or Tub" Parke Custis. He was born on April 30, 1781. He remained at Mount Vernon after his mother's second marriage. He was born in 1781, and died in 1857.

Great-Grandchildren:

Martha and George had twenty great-grandchildren. Seven were born before George and Martha had both died.

Residence:

George and Martha lived in Mount Vernon, Washington. According to the Martha Washington Cook Book, "Martha sat at the head of the table, while George sat at her side on the right."
Source: Saturday Evening Post, March-April, 2005

Mt. Vernon's "Secret" Basements

Note: George and Martha never lived in Washington, D.C.

Occupations and Hobbies:

George: Surveyor; General and Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army in the American Revolutionary War; President of the 1787 Constitutional Convention; first President of the United States under the U.S. Constitution from April 30, 1789 to March 4, 1797; farmer. George enjoyed playing cricket.

Martha: Martha enjoyed playing the spinet. Along with George, she loved gardening, horses, and dogs.

Quotes on the Love and Marriage of Martha and George Washington:

Although Martha burned most of the letters that she and George wrote to one another, two letters did survive because they were hidden behind Martha's desk drawers. In one of them, George wrote on June 23, 1775: "I retain an unalterable affection for you, which neither time or distance can change."
Source: MountVernon.org

George to Martha: "Fort Cumberland, July 20, 1758, We have begun our march to the Ohio. A courier is starting for Williamsburg, and i embrace the opportunity to send a few words to one whose life is now inseparable from mine. Since that happy hour when we made our pledges to each other, my thoughts have been continually going to you as to another Self. That All-powerful Providence may keep us both in safety is the prayer of your faithful and ever affectionate friend, G. Washington."
Source: Anne Hollingsworth Wharton, Martha Washington, page 37, published in 1897.

One of George's Generals: "Mrs. Washington is excessively fond of the General and he of her. They are very happy in each other."
Source: MountVernon.org

Martha on returning to Mount Vernon: "The General and I feel like children just released from school."
Source: Beatrice Gormely, First Ladies, page 7.

Martha when George died: "Tis well …. All is now over. I shall soon follow him! I have no more trials to pass through!"
Source: MountVernon.org

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