George Washington: Before His Presidency
George Washington was born in Westmoreland County, Virginia on February 22,
1732. His childhood was uneventful while he was educated in mathematics, The Classics
and surveying. In 1743, his father died and his older half-brother Lawrence became a
substitute father. Lawrence Washington had married into the wealthy Fairfax family
which would help launch George's own career.
In 1748, while Washington was living with his brother at Mount Vernon, he
secured the position of surveyor for Lord Fairfax's lands in the Shenandoah Valley. He
assisted in laying out the town of Belhaven which is now Alexandria, Virginia in 1749
and became the surveyor of Culpepper County. He then went with Lawrence to Barbados
in 1751 in an effort to cure Lawrence's tuberculosis. Lawrence died of his illness in 1752
not long after they returned from the West Indies and George inherited Mount Vernon.
In October 1753, Washington was sent by Virginia Governor Robert Dinwiddle to
warn the commander at Fort Le Boeuf to halt French encroachment into British-claimed
territory in the Northwest.
Shortly after he returned, Washington was promoted to
Lieutenant Colonel of the militia. In April 1754, Washington returned to the Northwest
leading two companies of militia with intentions of erecting fortifications at Forks of the
Ohio, which is now Pittsburgh. However, he learned that the French already had fortified
the site and were marching to meet him.
Washington quickly began erecting his own fortifications at Great Meadows,
Pennsylvania. On May 28, he defeated a French and Indian force there. However on July
3, Washington was forced to surrender at Fort Necessity. Unhappy with the disparity in
pay between British and colonial officers, he resigned his commission later in 1754. In
1755, he volunteered to join Maj. General Edward Braddock's Wilderness expedition
against the French...