Martha Washington was an amazing woman. She grew up in a slightly better than average lifestyle. Then she became a wife, mother, and then a widow. Martha also became one of the richest women in Virginia. Then she became George Washington’s wife and went on to become the first first lady. She lived to the age of seventy and managed to outlive her husband and many others. Martha Washington also was a part of the American Revolution and helped her husband throughout the war. She did all this and much more.
Martha Dandridge was born on June 2, 1731, to Frances Jones Dandridge and Colonel John Dandridge. She was the eldest of seven brothers and sisters to come. Martha was born in New Kent County, Virginia on the Chestnut Grove plantation. She grew up among other plantation families of the Tidewater region of eastern Virginia. Martha did not receive any formal education; however, she did receive the traditional education for young women of her time. This included domestic skills and the arts rather than science and math. The skills that she learned were the skills needed to run a household. Unlike other young women in her time, Martha did learn how to read and write as a child. She had several hobbies too; such as: horseback riding, sewing, and dancing.
Martha Dandridge married Daniel Parke Custis on May 15, 1750, at the age of eighteen. Daniel was supposedly twenty years older than her and he was also one of the wealthiest men in Virginia. Their first son, Daniel Parke Custis, was born on September 19, 1751. Then their daughter, Frances Parke Custis, was born in April of 1753. Martha’s son, Daniel, died in 1957; her daughter, Frances, died in 1757. Neither of them had reached the age of five. Her second son, John Parke Custis, was born in 1754. Her second daughter, Martha Parke Custis, was born in 1756. They were nicknames “Jacky” and “Patsy.” Martha’s husband, Daniel, died on July 8, 1757; Martha was twenty-six at the time and was already a widow and had two small children to take care of. She took control, however, and received a third of her husband’s estate. This made her one of the richest women in Virginia. On January 6, 1759, Martha Dandridge Custis married George Washington. They moved to Mount Vernon around April of 1759. Washington treated Martha’s children as his own. At the age of twelve, though, “Patsy” began having violent seizures and died on June 19, 1773, at the age of seventeen. “Jacky” married on February 3, 1774, at the age of nineteen; he and his wife, Eleanor, had four children. Unfortunately, he died on November 5, 1781, at the age of twenty-six. His wife and their four children stayed at Mount Vernon after he died.
During the 1760’s, Martha Dandridge Custis Washington settled down and her life revolved around her home and her family. As tensions with Britain rose, she became a target and Washington convinced her to leave Mount Vernon. She would spend time with family and friends while moving from location to location....