George Washington, the first president of the U.S. is a legendary figure who left a great legacy through the accomplishments in his life. Because of his fame, there are also many legends and stories about him that are doing the rounds. Let’s explore some of the fun facts about this great legend, and bust some myths:
- Unlike many other U.S. presidents, George Washington had no middle name
- Washington planned to become a surveyor and had a promising career awaiting him
- The story about Washington throwing a silver dollar over the Potomac is false, but according to his step-grandson, he did throw a piece of slate across the Fredericksburg’s Rappahannock River.
- Washington’s forces launched an attack under his command which started a world war in 1754. His attack on the French soldiers in Pennsylvania triggered the seven year’s war that stretched over America, Europe, India, the Philippines and West Africa.
- Washington had two kids, but they were not his biological children. He married a young widow, Martha Dandridge Custis who had two small children, Patsy and Jacky.
- Washington was not always successful in battle: he lost more often than he won, but he won the important ones and had the ability to sustain the morale of his men.
- Washington was the only president who the Electoral College has ever elected unanimously.
- Washington was not inaugurated in Washington D.C. but became the only president that had this ceremony in two cities: New York City in 1789 and Philadelphia in 1793.
- Washington had to borrow money to move to NYC to become president
- Washington signed the first American copyright act into law.
- Washington was a bit of a distiller – he made his own whiskey, similar to moonshine, but he did so legally and paid taxes.
- George Washington grew hemp – it was very common in those days to grow hemp for paper, rope and other useful product. Hemp was not smoked at the time.
- Washington introduced the crop rotation concept.
- George Washington bred the first mules in America, using the King of Spain’s donkeys to breed with his own horses.
- Washington had a lot of dental issues and had a set of dentures made of animal and human teeth, lead, ivory and gold.
This article is part of our larger resource on the Colonial America culture, society, economics, and warfare. Click here for our comprehensive article on Colonial America.