Some Great Pictures of Washington!

  • http://mentalfloss.com/article/56532/25-things-you-probably-didnt-know-about-george-washington


Highest Ranking Military Man Ever!

USA, Congress, 1976. General George Washington was posthumously awarded a great honor: the "Highest Rank" in the U.S. military, EVER.

Air Force Magazine:

  • When Washington died, he was a lieutenant general. But as the centuries passed, this three-star rank did not seem commensurate with what he had accomplished. 
  • After all, Washington did more than defeat the British in battle. Along the way he established the framework for how American soldiers should organize themselves, how they should behave, and how they should relate to civilian leaders. 
  • Almost every big decision he made set a precedent. He was the father of the US military as well as the US itself.

This US Law made General George Washington the highest ranking U.S. officer of all time:

  • "General of the Armies of the United States." 
  • Nobody will ever outrank him.

25 Things

You Probably Didn't Know About

George Washington

He never had a day of former schooling in his life!


1. HE DIDN'T HAVE A MIDDLE NAME.

With a name like George Washington, you don't need one.


2. HE WAS NOT BORN ON FEBRUARY 22, 1732.

Washington was actually born on February 11, 1731, but when the colonies switched to the Gregorian calendar from the Julian calendar, his birthday was moved eleven days. Since his birthday fell before the old date for New Year’s Day, but after the new date for New Year’s Day, his birth year was changed to 1732.


3.THAT'S HIS REAL HAIR, NOT A WIG.

And it was brown. It looked white because he powdered it.


4. HE WAS MADE AN HONORARY CITIZEN OF FRANCE.

The quintessential American received this honor in 1792.


5. FOR A TIME, HE WAS A NON-PRESIDENT COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF (BUT DIDN'T DO MUCH).

In 1798 - at age 66 -when fears were growing of a French invasion, Washington was named (by John Adams) Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. military, even though he wasn’t president anymore. Apparently, this was a strategy to help recruiting, as Washington’s name was very well-known.

He only served in an advisory capacity, since he was already pretty old by that point. That being said, he felt he should have been a bit more involved. According to this letter, he was frustrated that even though he was the Commander-in-Chief, nobody really told him much about what was going on with the military.


6. NOBODY WILL EVER RANK HIGHER THAN HIM IN THE U.S. MILITARY.

In 1976 Washington was posthumously awarded the highest rank in the U.S. military, EVER.

From Air Force Magazine:

When Washington died, he was a lieutenant general. But as the centuries passed, this three-star rank did not seem commensurate with what he had accomplished. After all, Washington did more than defeat the British in battle. Along the way he established the framework for how American soldiers should organize themselves, how they should behave, and how they should relate to civilian leaders. Almost every big decision he made set a precedent. He was the father of the US military as well as the US itself.

So, a law was passed to make Washington the highest ranking U.S. officer of all time: General of the Armies of the United States. Nobody will ever outrank him.


7. HE HAD QUITE THE SALARY.

According to the Christian Science Monitor, in 1789, his presidential salary was 2 percent of the total U.S. budget. This would be equal to 80 billion dollars today - equal to Gates and Buffet COMBINED!


8. EVEN SO, HE HAD SOME CASH FLOW PROBLEMS.

He actually had to borrow $675 to attend his own first inauguration.


9. HE WAS ONE OF THE SICKEST PRESIDENTS IN U.S. HISTORY.

Throughout his life, he suffered from a laundry list of ailments: diphtheria, tuberculosis, smallpox, dysentery, malaria, quinsy (tonsillitis), carbuncle, pneumonia, and epiglottitis—to name a few.


10. HE MAY OR MAY NOT HAVE DIED AS A RESULT OF MEDICAL MALPRACTICE.

On the day he died, Washington was treated with four rounds of bloodletting, which removed 5 pints of blood from his body. It seems that it proved to be too much. From the New York Times:

On Washington's fateful day, Albin Rawlins, one of his overseers and a bloodletter, was summoned. Washington bared his arm. The overseer had brought his lancet and made an incision. Washington said, ''Don't be afraid.'' That day, Rawlins drew 12 ounces of blood, then 18 ounces, another 18 ounces and a final 32 ounces into a porcelain bleeding bowl.

After the fourth bloodletting, the patient improved slightly and was able to swallow. By about 10 p.m., his condition deteriorated, but he was still rational enough to whisper burial instructions to Col. Tobias Lear, his secretary.

At 10:20 p.m., Dr. James Craik, 69, an Edinburgh-trained physician who had served with Washington in the French and Indian Wars, closed Washington's eyes. Another Edinburgh-trained physician, Dr. Gustavus Richard Brown, 52, was also present. The third physician, Dr. Elisha Cullen Dick, 37, who had been appointed coroner the previous year, stopped the clock in Washington's bedroom at that moment.


11. HE MIGHT HAVE BEEN INFERTILE.

It is well-known that Washington had no children of his own. In 2007, John K. Amory of the University of Washington School of Medicine proposed that Washington was infertile. Armory goes through a number of possible reasons for Washington’s infertility, including an infection caused by his tuberculosis.

“Classic studies of soldiers with tuberculous pleurisy during World War II demonstrated that two thirds developed chronic organ tuberculosis within 5 years of their initial infection. Infection of the epididymis or testes is seen in 20% of these individuals and frequently results in infertility.”


12. WASHINGTON’S BODY WAS ALMOST BURIED IN THE CAPITOL.

He requested that he be buried at Mount Vernon, and his family upheld his request, despite repeated pleas by Congress. They wanted to put his body underneath a marble statue in the Capitol.


13. HE WAS VERY RELIGIOUS.

According to a highly educated historian, Washington was as religious and dedicated to Christ as the Apostles of Jesus! He read his Bible and had devotions every day and lived by a very strict Christian theology.

He was a most devout Christian as literally hundreds of his quotes prove. However, he despised denominations fussing and fighting.

The story of him kneeling in the snow at Valley Forge to pray was witness by neighbors and some of his fellow officers who had to go get him for an emergency now and then.

While he would attend church, Washington wouldn't take communion after the war, because he was a man of much bloodshed.


14. HE REALLY CHOPPED ON THAT CHERRY TREE.

Parson Weems - Washington's Pastor - wrote a wonderful biography of Washington just before George died, with Washington's Aunt telling Weems the cherry tree story. 


15. HE WAS AN INVETERATE LETTER-WRITER.

We don’t have an exact number, but the best estimates seem to put the number of letters he penned somewhere between 18,000 and 20,000. If you wrote one letter a day, it would take you between 50 and 55 years to write that many.


16. BEFORE BECOMING THE FATHER OF THE NATION, WASHINGTON WAS A MASTER SURVEYOR.

He spent the early part of his career as a professional surveyor. Here’s one of the earliest maps he created, of his half brother Lawrence Washington’s turnip garden:

Over the course of his life, Washington created some 199 land surveys. Washington took this skill with him into his role as a military leader. Read much more about that here.


17. BEFORE FIGHTING THE BRITISH, HE FOUGHT FOR THE BRITISH.

At the age of 21, Washington was sent to lead a British colonial force against the French in Ohio. He lost, and this helped spark the Seven Years War in North America.


18. HE WAS A DOG-LOVER.

Washington kept and bred many hunting hounds. He is known as the "Father of the American Foxhound," and kept more than 30 of the dogs. According to his journals, three of the hounds' names were Drunkard, Tipler, and Tipsy.


19. HE LOST MORE BATTLES THAN HE WON.

According to Joseph J. Ellis' His Excellency: George Washington, “he lost more battles than any victorious general in modern history.” - HOWEVER . . . he won the war!!!


20. HE WAS DIVINELY PROTECTED:

In the Braddock disaster of 1755, Washington’s troops were caught in the crossfire between British and Native American soldiers. Two horses were shot from under Washington, and his coat was pierced by four musket balls, none of which hit his actual body.


21. HE DIDN’T HAVE WOODEN TEETH.

But he did have teeth problems. When he attended his first inauguration, he only had one real tooth left in his head.


22. HE IS THE ONLY PRESIDENT TO ACTUALLY GO INTO BATTLE WHILE SERVING AS PRESIDENT.

But only if you don't count Bill Pullman in Independence Day. According to the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, “On September 19, 1794, George Washington became the only sitting U.S. President to personally lead troops in the field when he led the militia on a nearly month-long march west over the Allegheny Mountains to the town of Bedford.”


23. HE FELL IN LOVE WITH HIS BEST FRIEND’S WIFE.

According to Joseph Ellis' His Excellency, several letters show that before he married Martha, Washington was in love with Sally Fairfax, who was the wife of George William Fairfax.


In 1758, Washington wrote to Sally his famous “Votary to Love” letter:

  • Tis true I profess myself a votary to Love. I acknowledge that a Lady is in the case; and, further, I confess that this lady is known to you. 
  • Yes, Madam, as well as she is to one who is too sensible of her Charms to deny the Power whose influence he feels and must ever submit to....
  • You have drawn me, my dear Madam, or rather I have drawn myself, into an honest confession of a Simple Fact.
  • Misconstrue not my meaning, 'tis obvious; doubt it not or expose it. 
  • The world has no business to know the object of my love, declared in this manner to - you, when I want to conceal it. 
  • One thing above all things, in this World I wish to know, and only one person of your acquaintance can solve me that or guess my meaning - 
  • but adieu to this till happier times, if ever I shall see them.


24. HE WAS WIDELY CRITICIZED IN THE PRESS IN THE LATER YEARS OF HIS PRESIDENCY.

He was accused of having an overly monarchical style and was criticized for his declaration of neutrality in overseas conflicts. Thomas Jefferson was among the most critical of Washington in the press, and John Adams recalled that after the Jay Treaty, the presidential mansion “was surrounded by innumerable multitudes, from day to day buzzing, demanding war against England, cursing Washington.”


25. HE OWNED A WHISKEY DISTILLERY FOR MEDICINE:

He installed it at Mount Vernon in 1798 and it was profitable. According to Julian Niemcewicz, a Polish visitor to the estate, it distilled 12,000 gallons a year. In 1799, Washington wrote to his nephew: “Two hundred gallons of Whiskey will be ready this day for your call, and the sooner it is taken the better, as the demand for this article (in these parts) is brisk.”

NOTE: All American kept whiskey for PAIN MEDICINE - not drunken brawls. There was NO aspirin or any such medicine and alcohol was all there was for surgeries, tooth ache / removal, etc., so it had NOTHING to do with George being a "party guy!"

Washington HATED alcohol beverages and had men in his army WHIPPED with a LASH for drinking!

George Washington and the Mastodon

In the fall of 1780, a young man was hired to drain a swampy area on a farm belonging to the Reverend Robert Annan near West Point, New York. While digging, he came upon “the remains of a very surprising animal.” Additional digging by Reverend Annan and a neighbor revealed many different kinds of bones from the same animal, as well as surviving molars or “grinders” from the body.

From what the gentlemen could discover, the creature was similar to an elephant. That same winter, news of the amazing find brought an important visitor to the Annan farm: “His Excellency, General Washington, came to my house to see these relicts [sic]. He told me, he had in his house a grinder which was found on the Ohio, much resembling these.” 

The molar in Washington’s collection had been a gift to him in 1772 from a Pennsylvanian named John Connolly, who had met Washington in 1770, during one of the latter’s trips to the frontier. In the presentation letter, Connolly described finding the tooth at Big Bone Lick in Kentucky:

  • “I just stumbled upon the Tooth I now present you with, begging your Acceptance thereof, as a Testimonial of my regard for your Person, & those Abilities contributing to the protection, & formerly to the reduction of this extensive, & valuable Territory.”

The tooth would remain at Mount Vernon for the remainder of Washington’s life.

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George Washington May Have Owned One of the First Goldfish in the United States

On May 23, 1786, Josiah Parker, a naval officer and collector for the port of Portsmouth, wrote to George Washington to tell him to expect an interesting gift: “Captn[.] Nicholson has left with me a pair of Gold Fish which would have been sent to you before but feared to remove them dureing [sic] the Winter. I have now sent them to Genl[.] Weedons [sic] care; to whom I Sent a box from New York last winter for you….” No further references have been found to this gift in George Washington’s papers.

Additional research in a 1797 edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica indicates that goldfish were first imported to England in 1691, but weren’t generally known there until 1728, when a large number were presented to a man named Sir Matthew Dekker, “and by him circulated round the neighbourhood of London, from whence they have been distributed to most parts of the country.”

The article then discusses the fact that “Nothing can be more amusing than a glass bowl containing such fishes.” 

According to an 1804 edition of The Domestic Encyclopaedia; or, A Dictionary of Facts, And Useful Knowledge, which was published in Philadelphia, goldfish were bred at that date in the United States, where “they are chiefly kept in glass vessels for ornament.”

This is especially interesting, because according goldfish experts, the lovely creatures were not imported to the United States until after the Civil War. Given evidence from paintings dating to the first half of the nineteenth century, showing goldfish in American homes, it seems those experts may need to revise their websites.


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George Washington and a Mysterious Creek

Communications between England and America took weeks, if not months, in the eighteenth century, a process which had the effect of drawing out the close of the American Revolution. A preliminary peace treaty had been signed on November 2, 1782, but it was not ratified by Congress until five months later. Two months after that, most of the American army was disbanded. The final treaty was signed in Paris on September 3, 1783. When word of the signing reached the United States, George Washington issued his Farewell Orders to the remainder of the army on November 2; they went home the following day.  

George Washington - Natural Born Soldier (TV-14; 2:37) George Washington had both the physical and mental presence to become a dedicated soldier.

In the month between when the army was completely disbanded and the night Washington said farewell to his officers at Fraunces Tavern, as they waited for the British move out of New York City, Washington his officers found themselves with time on their hands in New Jersey. Having heard local stories about a body of water that often caught fire, they decided to investigate. Their actions that November 5th were recorded by writer Thomas Paine, the author of The American Crisis (1776) and Common Sense (1776), who was with them that day:

"In the fall of the year that New York was evacuated (1783,) General Washington had his headquarters at Mrs. Berrian's, at Rocky Hill, in Jersey, and I was there: the Congress then sat at Prince Town. We had several times been told that the river or creek, that runs near the bottom of Rocky Hill, and over which there is a mill, might be set on fire, for that was the term the country people used; and as General Washington had a mind to try the experiment, General Lincoln, who was also there, undertook to make preparation for it against the next evening, November 5th. This was to be done, as we were told, by distributing the mud at the bottom of the river, and holding something in a blaze, as paper or straw, a little above the surface of the water.

"Colonels Humphreys and Cobb were at that time Aids-de-Camp of General Washington, and those two gentlemen and myself got into an argument respecting the cause. Their opinion was that, on disturbing the bottom of the river, some bituminous matter arose to the surface, which took fire when the light was put to it; I, on the contrary, supposed that a quantity of inflammable air was let loose, which ascended through the water, and took fire above the surface. Each party held to his opinion, and the next evening the experiment was to be made.

"A scow had been stationed in the mill dam, and General Washington, General Lincoln, and myself, and I believe Colonel Cobb (for Humphreys was sick,) and three or four soldiers with poles, were put on board the scow. General Washington placed himself at one end of the scow, and I at the other; each of us had a roll of cartridge paper, which we lighted and held over the water, about two or three inches from the surface, when the soldiers began disturbing the bottom of the river with the poles.

  • "As General Washington sat at one end of the scow, and I at the other, I could see better any thing that might happen from his light, than I could from my own, over which I was nearly perpendicular. When the mud at the bottom was disturbed by the poles, the air bubbles rose fast, 
  • and I saw the fire take from General Washington's light and descend from thence to the surface of the water, in a similar manner as when a lighted candle is held so as to touch the smoke of a candle just blown out, the smoke will take fire, and the fire will descend and light up the candle. 
  • This was demonstrative evidence that what was called setting the river on fire was setting on fire the inflammable air that arose out of the mud."




George Washington and the American West

In January of 1793, eleven years before the start of the Lewis and  Clark Expedition, President George Washington agreed to donate $100 to help fund an exploratory journey to the west by French botanist, André Michaux, on behalf of the American Philosophical Society.

The contract, drawn up largely by Thomas Jefferson, called for Michaux “to explore the interior country of North America from the Missisipi [sic] along the Missouri, and Westwardly to the Pacific ocean. . .and on his return to communicate to the said society the information he shall have acquired of the geography of the said country it’s [sic] inhabitants, soil, climate, animals, vegetables, minerals and other circumstances of note.” 

The first of the subscription monies were collected that April and Washington’s financial records noted that $25 were delivered to cover that part of the “President’s Subscription towards enabling M. Micheau [sic] to explore the Western Country to the South Sea.”

Unfortunately, Michaux became embroiled in some questionable dealings with the French minister, Citizen Genet, and his exploration of the west never took place.

George Washington and the Exotic Pipe

One of the most important diplomatic goals during George Washington’s presidency involved making treaties with all the Native American Nations bordering the new United States, in order to prevent the country being drawn into a war it could not afford. These negotiations often took place in the the president’s home.

In the summer of 1794, budding American diplomat John Quincy Adams, the son of Vice President John Adams, recorded the scene in the Philadelphia presidential mansion, as Washington entertained a delegation of Chickasaws, when an unusual peace pipe was the center of attention:

  •  “…By the invitation of the President, I attended the reception he gave to Piomingo and a number of other Chickasaw Indians. Five Chiefs, seven Warriors, four boys and an interpreter constituted the company. As soon as the whole were seated, the ceremony of smoking began. A large East Indian pipe was placed in the middle of the Hall. 
  • The tube, which appeared to be of leather, was twelve or fifteen feet in length. The President began, and after two or three whiffs, passed the tube to Piomingo; he to the next Chief, and so all round. 
  • Whether this ceremony be really of Indian origin, as is generally supposed, I confess I have some doubt. At least these Indians appeared to be quite unused to it, and from their manner of going through it, looked as if they were submitting to a process in compliance with our custom. 
  • Some of them, I thought, smiled with such an expression of countenance as denoted a sense of novelty, and of frivolity too; as if the ceremony struck them, not only as new, but also as ridiculous….
  • The informal conversation was held while wine, punch, and cake were carrying round….”

What had not registered with the young Adams was that the Chickasaw guests had undoubtedly never seen a hookah before and that it was the source of their amusement.


George Washington and a Summer Phenomenon

One thing anyone studying animals must do is spend hours watching them closely. Recalling a visit to Mount Vernon in the summer of 1796, a Boston merchant named Thomas Handasyd Perkins remembered that, after dinner, he sat on the piazza over looking the Potomac River as he talked with members of the Washington family. 

As they were sitting in that pleasant spot, Perkins noted that “a toad passed near to where I sat conversing with Gen. Washington; which led him to ask me if I had ever observed this reptile swallow a fire-fly.

Upon my answering in the negative, he told me that he had; and that, from the thinness of the skin of the toad, he had seen the light of the fire-fly after it had been swallowed. This was a new, and to me a surprising, fact in natural history.”