President George Washington has rightfully gained tremendous honor and respect for his contribution to the establishment of America. When quantifying his success, it would go amiss to neglect the silent support offered to him by his most beloved female companion.
In the hearts of Americans the nation over, George Washington is remembered as a hero. A hero who founded the new nation of the USA and made it a prosperous and powerful country. He led Patriot forces to victory in the American Revolutionary War. He presided at the Constitutional Convention of 1787 which established the U.S. Constitution and a federal government and later was elected the first President of the United States. He went on to run the country successfully even through the struggling early days of the fledgling nation. Therefore, his name has become a symbol of honor, loyalty, and love for the country.
An instantaneous romance
When George Washington was 24 years old, he met Martha Custis, a young widow, who was left with an abundant dower inheritance of land and property. They fell in love and the pair were married in 1759. Despite their wealth, they led a simple life. Much of Washington’s clothing was humbly and lovingly hand-made by Martha herself. They understood each other, loved and respected each other and enjoyed peaceful and happy days together.
During the American War of Independence, Washington served as the Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army. Martha was willing to stand by her husband, shoulder to shoulder, through every trial, loss, and victory. Her love for Washington was so immense that she was willing to leave behind her wealthy and comfortable life to follow him through the follies of war.
The life of the wife of the Commander-in-Chef
During her time on the battlefield alongside her husband, Martha attended to Washington wholeheartedly and thoughtfully.
By all accounts, she approached these days of hardship amongst the army with a gentle and calm manner and went without a single complaint. She dressed simply and was very sociable, not much distinguished herself from the wives of the ordinary soldiers. In her camp, together with other family members of the soldiers, she organized the sewing of clothing and cloth weaving for the soldiers.
She steadfastly held a strong conviction in Washington’s leadership and the triumph of the United States.
Given her keen attachment to nature and the countryside, her dedication to accompanying her husband could be deemed as a personal sacrifice. During her days on the battlefield, she would fondly recall her life in Mount Vernon, where she and her husband spent peaceful days in their home surrounded by gardens, rivers, hills and hunting terrain. Despite her longing for her country home, Martha, who wanted to be with her husband, was not afraid to follow him to the battlefield. This being said, she was a person who was not in favor of a political career. Therefore, when the war was won, she returned to her manor with joy and contentment. Two years later, when Great Britain recognized American independence, Washington also returned to their farm to reunite with Martha.
After the war was won
During their early days back on the land, the couple rejoiced in horseback riding, watching the sunset together and leisurely wandering around the family plantations.
However, a few years later, Washington had to leave the farm once again to assume office as the first President of the United States, and Martha and her husband moved into the presidential residence.
After two terms of the US presidency, George Washington resolutely refused to run for a third term. First Lady Martha Washington was extremely happy with her husband’s decision, as she was looking forward to his official retirement so that they could return to their beloved home at Mount Vernon, and live out their days in peace and freedom.
Therefore, in 1799, the Washington presidential couple lived in seclusion on their farm in the hope of enjoying peace and comfort for the rest of their lives. However, shortly after returning to Mount Vernon, Mr. Washington fell ill and died on December 14, 1799.
When Washington drew his last breath, Martha sat by his bedside in amazement and shock, her expression blank. She asked the doctor, “Is he gone? So everything is over, I’ll probably follow him quickly. I don’t have much to experience or enjoy anymore.”
The Washington couple displayed their love for each other through sacrifice, for each other and for their country. They gave of themselves as best as they could. American history remembers them with kindness and adoration and says this of their excellence, “In the history of the country, it may not be possible to find a special couple like George Washington and Martha Washington.”