George Washington, a formidable character who has made his name echo through generations, few are as celebrated in American history as this American president. The first president of the United States and the commander in chief of the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War, George Washington is also known as the ‘Father of the Nation’ due to his importance as an icon.
No middle name
George Washington, interestingly did not have a middle name. This was beside the norm as per the custom of the day.
It is easy to assume that the hair that we notice on his head is a wig. In reality, this was his actual hair, powdered to make it white.
George Washington was not born on 22 February, he was actually born on 11th February 1731. However, when the colonies switched to the Gregorian calendar from the Julian calendar, it was necessary that his birthday be moved eleven days from the original date. His birthday being in February fell before the old date for New Year’s Day, when the new date for the New Year was assigned, his birth year too was changed to 1932.
Citizen of France
In 1792, George Washington, the American president was made an honorary citizen of France.
A salary to be envied
According to the Christian Science Monitor, his salary was 2 percent of the total U.S. budget but he still suffered cash flow problems as he had to borrow money to attend his own inauguration.
In 1798 as concerns of a French invasion grew, John Adams named him the Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. military even though Washington was no longer president. This was done as a strategy to help recruit as Washington’s name was well known. However, he only played an advisory part in it as by this time, George Washington was well past his prime. However he was rather frustrated that despite being the Commander-in-Chief, nobody really told him anything and that he could have done so much more.
Also known as the ‘Father of the American Foxhound’ Washington kept and bred many hounds, amounting to as many as 30 at a time. Three of his dogs were apparently named as Drunkard, Tipler, and Tipsy.
The most ailing US president
Despite his legendary character, George Washington suffered from a long list of ailments – tuberculosis, diphtheria, dysentery, smallpox, malaria, carbuncle, quinsy (tonsillitis), pneumonia, and epiglottitis to name just a few.
George Washington had no children of his own. It was in 2007 that John K. Amory suggested that he may have been infertile, stating that an infection caused by tuberculosis may have been the main cause. “Classic studies of soldiers with tuberculosis pleurisy during World War II demonstrated that two thirds developed chronic organ tuberculosis within 5 years of their initial infection. Infection of the epididymis or testes is seen in 20% of these individuals and frequently results in infertility” says Amory.
Cause of his death may be wrong
It is made known that he died as a result of a medical malpractice. However, this may or may not be the case. On the day of his death, George Washington is said to have been subjected to four rounds of bloodletting, which equals to 5 pints of blood. This may have been a little too much for the patient to bear.
Almost buried in the Capitol
Despite the congress’s repeated pleas of burying him under a marble statue in the Capitol, George Washington’s family upheld his burial request and buried him at Mount Vernon.
The Cherry tree myth
He did not chop down that cherry tree. It was Parson Weems who wrote his mythical biography about George Washington who made that one up.
Image Courtesy: George Washington by Joye~ via flickr