a bio on george washington

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George Washington

Born February 22, 1732, in Westmoreland County, he was the first son of his father Augustine's second marriage; his mother was the former Mary Ball of Epping Forest. When George was about three, his family moved to Little Hunting Creek on the Potomac, then to Ferry Farm opposite Fredericksburg on the Rappahannock in King George County. In the interim, the powerful Fairfax family of neighboring Belvoir introduced him to the accomplishments and appropriateness of mannered wealth and, in 1748, provided him his first adventure. That year Lord Fairfax dispatched him with a party that spent a month surveying Fairfax lands in the still-wild Shenandoah. In the expedition, he began to appreciate the uses and value of land, an appreciation that grew the following year with his appointment as Culpeper County surveyor, certified by the College of William and Mary. Washington also succeeded to Lawrence's militia office. Governor Robert Dinwiddie first appointed him adjutant for the southern district of the colony's militia, but soon conferred on him Lawrence's aide for the Northern Neck and Eastern Shore.

So it happened that in 1753 the governor sent 21-year-old Washington to warn French troops at Fort Duquesne at the forks of the Ohio (modern Pittsburgh) that they were infiltrating in territory claimed by Virginia. The French ignored the warning and the mission failed, but when Washington returned Dinwiddie had Williamsburg printer William Hunter publish his official report as The Journal of Major George Washington. It made the young officer well-known at home and abroad. Returning to the Ohio in April with 150 men to remove the intruders, Washington got his first taste of war in a fight with a French scouting party. He wrote to his brother Jack, "I heard the bullets whistle, and, believe me, there is something charming in the...