George Washington’s Boyhood Home Is Found
The boyhood home of George Washington has been found as researchers have confirmed that remains found in Virginia are those of the long-sought after family-farm of young George Washington.
The house appears to have stood on a terrace overlooking the Rappahannock River, where the legend tells of young George throwing a stone or a coin across to Fredericksburg.
On the subject of legend, the archaeologists who made the discovery could no more tell a lie than young George. No, there was not a single cherry tree anywhere around, not even a stump or a rusty hatchet. The tale of the boy owning up to whacking his father’s prized cherry tree, the one thing most people think they know of Washington’s youth, has long since been discredited as apocryphal.
But finding the house, archaeologists and historians say, may yield insights into the circumstances in which Washington grew up. Actual documentary evidence of his formative years is scant.
“What we see at this site is the best available window into the setting that nurtured the father of our country,” Philip Levy, an archaeologist and associate professor of history at the University of South Florida, said in an announcement of the discovery.
Dr. Levy and other members of the excavation team said the foundations, stone-lined cellars and other remains suggested that this was far from being the rustic cottage of common perception, but one befitting a family of the local gentry. It was a much larger one-and-a-half story residence, with perhaps eight rooms and an adjacent structure for the kitchen.
David Muraca, director of archaeology for the George Washington Foundation, said the size, characteristics and location of the structure, as well as many artifacts from the time of Washington’s youth, led experts to conclude that this was indeed the house they were looking for. “This is it,” he said firmly.
George Washington was born in 1732.
George Washington was born on February 22, 1732 [O.S. February 11, 1731] the first son of Augustine Washington and his second wife, Mary Ball Washington, on the family's Pope's Creek Estate near present-day Colonial Beach in Westmoreland County, Virginia. He was educated in the home by his father and older brother.
In his youth, Washington worked as a surveyor, and acquired what would become invaluable knowledge of the terrain around his native Colony of Virginia. Washington embarked upon a career as a planter and in 1748 was invited to help survey Baron Fairfax's lands west of the Blue Ridge. In 1749, he was appointed to his first public office, surveyor of newly created Culpeper County, and through his half-brother, Lawrence Washington, he became interested in the Ohio Company, which aimed to exploit Western lands. In 1751, George and his half-brother travelled to Barbados, staying at Bush Hill House, hoping for an improvement in Lawrence's tuberculosis. This was the only time George Washington travelled outside what is now the United States. After Lawrence's death in 1752, George inherited part of his estate and took over some of Lawrence's duties as adjutant of the colony.
Washington was appointed a district adjutant general in the Virginia militia in 1752, which made him Major Washington at the age of 20. He was charged with training the militia in the quarter assigned him. At age 21, in Fredericksburg, Washington became a Master Mason in the organization of Freemasons, a fraternal organization that was a lifelong influence.