Wednesday, September 20, 2006

George Washington Some interesting facts Part 1

Jared Sparks collection of Washington 's letters
1836 12 volumes
JFS collection

The room where Washington died as it looked in 1857 EMPTY!!

I wanted to put out a few stories about Washington, Mt Vernon,and Washington's death, burial and reburial in the 1830's.

George Washington was the 1st President of the United States serving from 1789-1797. the Consitution and the office of the Presidentcy was more or less designed with him in mind.

We know much about Washington so we think, he was quite a heavy drinker, and was quite a power player on the dinner table. He wore false teeth...I know what you are thinking........No his teeth were not made of wood!!!! That was a tale made up by the British during the Revolution to embarrass Washington. He did not (do I really have to tell you this) chop down a cherry tree and tell his father that he did it.....Of course he did not! That story was devised by Parson Weems who wrote a early biography (if we must call it that) of Washington. Weems knew nothing of Washington's early life so he used a little creative licence...after this he wrote a biography of Napoleon (and we wonder why our history is screwed up) using the same skills.

Washington was a big man around 6 feet 2 inches tall and around 200 plus in weight. He has always been discribed as a man of great strength always looking the part of the leader, yet more often than not no one seems to mention that Washington was not know for his intellectual prowess. In fact one of his nicknames was "Old Muttonhead" that was created by Thomas Jefferson. It is also interesting to note that there was little love between Washington and Jefferson.

Washington loved to pose, he had terrible trouble and often had a sore bottom ( he had a true pain in the ass) So it was much easier for him to stand and bow than to sit.

In his last years of life he spent it quietly at Mt Vernon which he loved. His death occured on Dec 14 1799. he had a severe sore throat and he was bled several times..well several pints were removed from him and amazingly he died!!!! He was very worried about being buried alive so his corpse was kept in Mt Vernon for 3 days, then put into a coffin and buried with honors.
His home went to Bushrod Washington who was a Supreme Court Justice. The home stayed in his hands till his death in the late 1820's.
He was working with Chief Justice Marshall to get all of Washington's letters together. They worked with Jared Sparks who wrote a 12 volume history of Washington and all of his correspondence....(except what Sparks thought was not Washington like). He distroyed several letters and cut up some and sent to autograph collectors. Terrible but true.

Washington's home was emptied of most of its contents by the 1830's and the rooms were empty as you can see in the picture from Harpers Magazine 1857. Also Washington's home was in very bad condition.

One of the amazing things about Washington was that when he died in 1799 he left a provision in his will that all of his slaves would be freed when his wife died...

Well, Washington's wife lived in mortal fear that her life would be helped to come to swift conclusion.
She died in 1802. After that Bushrod Washington moved in.

End of Part one


Anonymous said...

nice to know that he had a great pain in the ass but its a good article

Anonymous said...

I love ur article!

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