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Martha Washington

.. advisors confronted her and said that she need to hire a manager to help out, it just wasn’t work for a woman to do. Martha kept the thought in mind, but instead of a manager for the plantation she found something more. She fell in love with George Washington. At a cotillion Martha was attending she was introduced to a military man that had fought in the French and Indian war for the British.

She found George quite handsome and he was very good with her children. George had always had crush on his neighbor Sally Fairfax, but she married someone else so he too realized he had to find a bride for himself, and Martha seemed to be in with her warm personality and her good looks. She was nothing like Sally, for Sally was tall and slender and she was very intelligent but not the kind of woman to run a household very well. George seemed to have met the one other than Sally that he could be with for the rest of his life and on January 6, 1759 George Washington married Martha and they soon moved into the newly enlarged and remolded Mount Vernon, George’s plantation home. For this George resigned from the army and won a seat to become a Burgess.

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There Martha and George lived until the start of the war. Patsy became ill soon and Jacky was sent away to school. Jacky did poorly at school, he would simply rather be doing other gayer things than studying, and Patsy health decreased as a few years went Jacky decided he was in love and wanted to marry a young girl that would later be known as Nelly, but George didn’t think he was ready for marriage so he put it off. Patsy’s health finally failed her completely and she passed away. It was a hard hit on Martha and she would never quite be over the lost of her daughter, but after awhile she went on like always.

She was cheered finally because George gave consent for Jacky to marry, turns out that it was just what he needed to be more responsible. While this all happened in the Washington household, war clouds began to gather over the colonies, and they called on George to lead the troops into the revolution. George of course who always did his duty took the role as Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army, and asked Jacky and Nelly to stay with Martha at Mount Vernon to make it easier for Martha. Martha didn’t see George again until she joined him at Cambridge, Massachusetts in the winter of 1775 when Martha, Jacky, Nelly, and a few other friends traveled to join him for Christmas. They soon left after Christmas, but Martha stayed until June of 1776 when George sent her home because the fighting was to resume again.

Martha did this all through the war and she because the spirit of the soldiers, when she was at camp she would care for the sick and nurse them back to health. She was always busy supporting her George and doing all she could for the army including mending clothes and entertaining George’s officers and there wives who shared their quarters in the winters. Jacky soon gave into his stepfather’s complaints and enlisted in the army, but he was only there for a few days. He died on November 5, 1781 of “camp fever”. Nelly was left with six children, two of who would come to stay with Martha and George and two died shortly after their birth.

The soldiers were lifted when news spread that France was on the way to help. This was a turning point in the war but still it was looking bad for the colonies, for they had troops that went hungry and without good clothes until the French arrived The war ended on November 25, 1783, with the colonies victorious and George resigned once again and returned home to his dear Mount Vernon to live. That they did for some time until The Constitutional Convention called upon George, but this time they were calling on him to become the first President of the United States. George and Martha moved to New York with their grandchildren and Martha was once again overwhelmed, this time by formal dinners, parties, and receptions. Martha disliked the public life and it was very hard for her to realize that she could please everyone. She was extremely unhappy with the public life.

She was convinced that she was older and wanted to enjoy her time at home with her husband and not be bothered with politics and the rest of the country. They soon moved to Philadelphia, which Martha enjoyed a bit more because of friends that had lived there that she could attend parties and other things with, but still she was not happy with the public life. On March 4, 1797 George Washington gave his farewell speech and they returned home. On George’s sixtieth birthday they celebrated with a wedding, his granddaughter Nelly was married to Lawrence Lewis and they lived at Mount Vernon until the death of Martha. One day George returned from his rounds around the plantation with a severe cold and never recovered. He died on December 14, 1799, and Martha was never the same again.

Her spirits were lifted slightly with the birth of Nelly’s first child, Fances Parke Lewis, but she was never in her complete spirits again. Upon George’s death his will set half of the slaves free and the other half of the slaves were too be free when Martha was dead. After a few years the slaves began to become aware of the promised freedom and Martha feared for her life. She became very paranoid and just about locked herself in her room. After George’s death she moved into a little room with a sloped roof directly above Nelly’s. She soon made a will and prepared for her death, but not before she managed to burn all but two of George’s letters that he had written her over the years.

She was finally certain that their private lives would go no further. We can only speculate that she couldn’t bare to burn the other two because they were the ones that touched her the most, one was when they had just become newlyweds and it was the first loving letter he had written her. Martha Washington died on May 22, 1802 while she was with her granddaughter. She was buried next to her husband in the tomb that he had planned for the family and for him and Martha to be buried at Mount Vernon. They finally got their time alone together.



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