"MAKERS OF AMERICAN HISTORY" SERIES
By CALISTA McCABE COURTENAY
A. M. TURNER
[Illustration: George Washington]
Copyright, 1917, by
SAM'L GABRIEL SONS & COMPANY
CHAPTER I 5
Washington's Early Life--Appointed as Surveyor--First
Trip into the Wilderness--Entrusted with Message
to the French.
CHAPTER II 20
Washington Appointed a Member of Gen. Braddock's
Staff--French and Indian War--Washington Made
Commander of Virginia Forces--Causes of the American
Revolution--Washington a Member of the First Continental
CHAPTER III 30
Beginning of the Revolution--Washington
of the Continental
to Leave Boston.
CHAPTER IV 40
Declaration of Independence
of Long Island--Battle
of White Plains--Washington
Crosses the Delaware
and Surprises the
Hessians at Trenton.
CHAPTER V 52
Recapture of Fort Ticonderoga
by Gen. Burgoyne--Battle
at Valley Forge--Alliance with France.
CHAPTER VI 62
Battle of Monmouth--Patriots Receive Aid from France--Recapture
of Fort at Stony Point by Gen. Anthony
Wayne--Washington at Morristown--Surrender of
Charleston, S. C., to the British--Treason of Benedict
CHAPTER VII 73
Gen. Gates Defeated at Camden, S. C.--Battle of King's
Mountain--Washington Sends Aid to the South--Siege of
Yorktown--Surrender of Lord Cornwallis--Peace Treaty
Signed--Washington's Farewell to His Officers.
CHAPTER VIII 83
Washington Retires to Mount Vernon--Inaugurated as
First President of the United States--His Reelection--His
Death at Mount Vernon.
[Illustration: The Washington Monument]
LIST OF COLORED PLATES
Washington Leaving His Home _Frontispiece_
Washington Taking Command of the Army 20
Washington Crossing the Delaware 40
At Valley Forge 52
Washington Bidding Farewell to His Officers 73
Washington Welcomed in New York 83
WASHINGTON'S EARLY LIFE--APPOINTED AS SURVEYOR--FIRST TRIP INTO THE
WILDERNESS--ENTRUSTED WITH MESSAGE TO THE FRENCH--1732-1754
The twenty-second day of February is a national holiday
because, as everybody knows, it is the anniversary
Washington's birthday. All loyal Americans love and honor him, the
greatest man in the history of the Republic.
He was born in 1732, in Westmoreland County, Virginia, where the Potomac
River flowed past his father's farm. The farm-house, called "Wakefield,"
was burned, but the United States Government built a monument
the place where it stood.
When "Wakefield" was destroyed, the family lived for a time in a home,
later called Mount Vernon, in Fairfax County. But the real boyhood
of George Washington was a farm overlooking the Rappahannock River,
where his parents went when he was about eight years old. His father,
Augustine Washington, was a prosperous
Virginia planter, and owned
several fine estates.
His mother's name was Mary Ball. She was a beautiful and sensible
and a wise, firm and loving
mother. She was his father's second wife and
there were two little lads already in the home, Lawrence and Augustine,
when she came to take the place of their mother who had died. Besides
these two half-brothers, George had two sisters and three brothers. The
two older sons were sent to England to school.
When George was eight years old, Lawrence returned home, having finished
his studies. A great affection
at once sprang
up between them. George
was a fine, manly little fellow whom any big brother could love, and he
looked up to Lawrence as a model. Before long, Lawrence went away to the
wars, serving under Admiral Vernon in the West Indies. His letters
filled George with admiration
and he at once became commander-in-chief
of all the boys at school; they had parades and battles in imitation
those Lawrence wrote about.
George's father died when he was twelve years old, but, fortunately, he
had a wise and careful mother. She taught him respect and obedience
authority; justice and courtesy
to others; loyalty
to God and his
country. He had a high temper
and a spirit of command, which she taught
him to control. A few times only in his life, when greatly provoked, did
his anger get beyond bounds. He loved and honored his mother deeply and
never forgot her teachings.
George and his younger brothers were educated in the country schools of
Virginia. George soon showed that he had a practical mind, caring little
and literature. He liked mathematics
and wanted to know about
business and keeping accounts. He spent hours copying into a book the
exact forms of legal papers of all kinds. He was very neat and accurate
in his school work and learned
the value of system
and order. He never
began a thing without finishing it. He never did anything without
knowing the reason why. When he grew up, these fine principles and this
skill and accuracy, fitted him to take a great part in the history of
All boys in those early days knew how to handle guns and manage horses.
George was an expert
rider and loved the life of the woods. Being
exceptionally tall and strong, he was the championathlete
at school. It
is said he could throw a stone farther than any man in Virginia.
Besides, he was so fair-minded that the boys always let him settle their
disputes and quarrels, knowing
he would give every one a square deal. He
was the admired and trusted leader of them all.
to his mother's care, George soon had the loving
devoted friendship of his brother Lawrence. The war was over and that
splendid young gentleman had come home, and had married the charming
Anne Fairfax. His house, willed to him by his father, stood upon a hill
overlooking the beautiful Potomac River. To this lovely home, surrounded
by lawns and stately
trees, Lawrence gave the name Mount Vernon, in
honor of the Admiral under whom he had served. George spent as much time
as possible here, where he met many persons of education and refinement.
While he was still a young boy, he wrote out for himself a long list of
rules of politeness
and good behavior. He had observed that older people
do not like careless
children, who forget the comforts and rights of
others. As a result, he was well liked by his brother's friends. Among
them were often military and naval officers, who told him stories of war
and adventure in foreign lands. When he was fourteen, one of these
officers would have appointed him midshipman in the British navy. He was
eager to go, but his mother needed his help in the management
property. So he continued two years more at school, studying
The country was then new and wild and there was much work for land
surveyors, whose business it was to measure
off boundaries and describe
the positions of rivers, mountains and forests in a piece of land.
to do this so well that by the time he was sixteen, he
was appointed public surveyor of his county. His chief work for the next
three years was on the vast tracts of land owned by Lord Fairfax, the
uncle of Lawrence Washington's wife. Though very young, George was a
great favorite with his lordship, who often took him fox hunting.
George was a bold and skillfulhorseman
and rode well after the hounds.
of Lord Fairfax, lying between the Potomac and Rappahannock
rivers and extending to the Alleghany Mountains, had been given to his
grandfather by King Charles II. These lands had never been settled nor
surveyed. People known as squatters were now moving in and taking
possession of the best places without permission. It became necessary to
have the land surveyed, and these settlers either driven
out or made to
pay for certain definite
parts. Lord Fairfax knew no one who could do
this so well as George Washington, for he was strong and fair enough to
with the rough settlers. It was just what George wanted to
do, and he gladly
accepted the offer.
In March, George set out for his first trip into the wilderness. He was
just sixteen years old, and it was his first big undertaking. George
Fairfax, Anne's brother, went with him. They crossed the mountains into
the lovely valley
of the Shenandoah River. George's letters home were
full of the beauty of the country and the richness
of the land. After
the first night, they found it more comfortable to sleep out under the
sky than in the poor, untidy lodgings of the settlers. They lived on
and other game. They did their own cooking, roasting the
meat on sticks over the fire and eating it on broad, clean chips.
They met a party of war-painted Indians, and for the first time George
saw an Indian war dance. He studied
the Indians carefully, for he wanted
to understand their ways so that he might know how to deal with them.
All through his life, he was kind and just in his treatment
The work of surveying grants of land took them long distances among the
mountains and through the valleys. They traveled
woodland trails, for there were as yet no roads. Sometimes they found
the rivers so high that they crossed in canoes, their horses swimming.
George returned in a month, well pleased with his adventures, and Lord
with his success, paid him well.
The cordial, friendly, free life of Virginia pleased Lord Fairfax more
than did the life in England. When he heard the account
fertility and beauty of the Shenandoah Valley, he decided
to make his
home there. George laid out for him a fine farm of ten thousand acres.
The long stone farm-house, surrounded by servants' quarters, stables and
kennels, was located on a charming
hillside. The place was called
"Greenway Court," and visitors always found a warm welcome, whether
Indians, woodsmen, or friends from the cities. Here George stayed when
on his surveying trips and during the hunting
Until he was nineteen, George spent his time at his work, or at home
with his mother or at Mount Vernon with Lawrence. The society of his
home and friends kept him from being spoiled by the roughness of the
wilderness. He was now six feet, two inches in height, with a fresh,
out-door complexion, blue eyes and brown hair. He had attractive
manners, he was careful about his dress, and presented a pleasing
appearance. Through all his life, George Washington was a true
He was so well paid for his work that he was able to buy several pieces
of fine land. His noble character
gave him a high place among the
leading men of his colony. When he was nineteen, he was appointed one of
four military officers in the colonies, with the rank and pay of a
major, $750 a year--a considerable
sum at that time.
Troubles had now arisen
between the French and the English about the
ownership of lands west of the Alleghany Mountains. The Indians,
regarding the lands as theirs, took part in the disturbance. To protect
her frontiers, Virginia was divided into four districts, each under a
leader, whose duty it was to organize
and drill militia. George at once
began to study military tactics
and the arts of war. This was
interrupted by a trip to the West Indies with his beloved
Lawrence, who was ill of consumption.
They had hardly arrived there when George had a severe
smallpox; though he soon got well, his face was scarred for life. He
wrote home about the beauty of the island, the wonderful trees and
fruits, and his social pleasures--dinners, parties and drives. For the
first time in his life, he attended a theater. He visited the courts of
justice and the fortifications; studied
the laws, the soil and the
all that could be learned
about the island. The trip
resulted in no lasting
good for Lawrence, however, for he died the
following summer, beloved
and honored by the colonists.
George was only twenty, but Lawrence left Mount Vernon in his charge,
and the care of his wife and little daughter. The farm on the
Rappahannock had been given to George by their father. These two fine
estates, with the property he had bought for himself, made George a
large land owner when still a very young man. The care of all this
property and his military duties kept him busy.
During this time, the trouble with the French had grown more serious.
The English, having settled the eastern sea-coast, claimed the lands to
the west for their settlers. The French claimed the same lands by reason
of having explored them first. The rich country lying west of the
Alleghany Mountains, between the Great Lakes and the Ohio River, was
the region in question. The French were planning to hold it by a line of
forts from the Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico, and near the eastern end of
Lake Erie, they had built two forts.
Governor Robert Dinwiddie of Virginia decided
to send a message to the
French commandant, Saint Pierre, warning
him to keep off English soil.
He needed someone brave and strong enough to travel in the winter,
through hundreds and hundreds of miles of forests and across mountains
and swift rivers; who knew how to take care of himself in the woods; who
could get along with the Indians, and meet the French officers with
courtesy and wisdom.
Of all the men in Virginia, the Governor chose George Washington, only
twenty-one years old, for this dangerous and important journey!
So, late in the autumn of 1753, Major Washington set out for the Ohio
River, accompanied by Christopher Gist, a brave and daring
and an Indian chief called Half King, as guides, together with