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Mary Washington

Mary Washington

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Published by glennpease
A biography of the mother of George Washington, the first president of the US. We see the strong Christian faith of this mother of a famous son.
A biography of the mother of George Washington, the first president of the US. We see the strong Christian faith of this mother of a famous son.

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Published by: glennpease on Oct 01, 2011
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12/13/2013

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MARY WASHIGTO
By LAURA C. HOLLOWAY 1892Had the mother of Washington been associated withthe daily life of her distinguished son after he reachedman's estate, hers would have been a familiar historicalcharacter. As she was not, the world knows but thebarest incidents of her life as compared with itsknowledge of Washington's wife. In the various biog-raphies of Washington there is the same brief state-ment of general facts concerning her, and allusions toher death, and the monument that was erected to hermemory during the administration of President An-drew Jackson. There are nowhere to be found anyletters of hers to her son, and not many of his friendsof later years ever saw her. She lived to a good oldage — eighty- three years— and in the half -century thatpreceded her death her son was the foremost actor insome of the most stirring and important events thathave ever transpired in the world's history. That shewas an intelligent and interested observer of publicaffairs cannot be questioned in view of the fact thatshe was a woman of strong character and native ability.Her son wrote her regularly whUe engaged in his busi-26 MARY WASHIGTO.ness of surveyor, and afterward when an officer of theVirginia militia, and subsequently while absent fromhome for six years, during the Revolutionary War. Itis to be regretted that none of her letters have a placein the popular histories of colonial times, for doubtlessthey were a readal^le record of her quiet life in Fred-ericksburg. And it is more to be deplored that theyoung of this country have not had better opportunityto study her noble character than has been i)ossible.Like the mothers of all great and earnest men, she
 
was a praying woman. Her Bible was her constantcompanion, audits precepts were ever on her lips. Sherealized most perfectly De Tocqueville' s definition of life — "a state of neither pain nor pleasure, but a seriousbusiness to be entered ujion with courage in the spuitof self-sacrifice." A silent, serious woman she was,self-contained, self-respecting, and reserved. Duringthe forty-six years of her widowhood she managedher household and farm without the assistance of anyadviser, and reared her children to usefulness andhonor, and saw them go forth into the world equippedfor its work and pain. That they each and all reveredher, and sought her counsel in every emergency, issufficient testimony of her worth and ability.Mrs. Washington's lack of personal ambition andher constitutional reserve were qualities whi(;h pre-vented her from becoming popularly known to the pub-lic, even at a time when the people were eager for anyopportunity to show her honor. But no demonstra-tion was ever made in her behalf, and there is but oneinstance recorded when she appeared in public withher son. This was after the surrender of Lord Corn-SIMILARITY BETWEE MOTHER AD SO. 27■u'allis, when AVasliington, accompanied by his suiteand many distinguished military men, went to Fred-ericksburg. A grand ball was given in his honor, andthe proud old mother was the belle of the evening, theobserved of all observers as she passed from group togroup, leaning on the arm of lier happy son. Thebeautiful devotion of Washington to his mother en-deared him to her neighbors and to the people of Virginia, and the honors that were paid him on thatoccasion were doubly sincere because they were a'recognition of his worth, not alone as a patriot, but asa son.Mother and son were much alike in character, per-
 
sonal appearance, and conduct. Both were wantingin humor and imagination, and both possessed in an ex-treme degree conscientiousness, gentleness, and deter-mination. AVashington, in the most trying emergencyof his career as commander-in-chief, did not displaymore self-control and courage than did his mother inhiding from her children for months and years thedistressing fact that she was a sufferer from cancer.This circumstance it was that strengthened her resolveto live alone, which she did up to the last few monthsof her life, and her mode of life probably had muchto do with prolonging her existence to the great ageshe attained.The last duty that Washington performed previousto leaving Virginia for the seat of Avar at the breakingout of the rebellion, was to go to Fredericksburg andremove his mother from the country into thecitv, whereher married daughter was residing. He was unwillingto go away leaving her on the fann, and to overcome28 MARY WASHIGTO.her opposition lie knew that a i:)ersonal appeal mustbe made. The i^rospects of a long war and the un-certainty of his return were shown her in their con-versation, and when convinced that it was to add to hispeace of mind when away, she consented, and removedat once, leaving a competeht man in charge of thefarm, subject to her daily supervision. And sui^erviseit she did every day of her life, riding about the fields,du'ecting the planting and the gathering of crops,ordering repairs, and buying supplies. She had whatwould now be termed an old-fashioned buggy and a gen-tle horse, and every morning both were before her doorawaiting her. She lived out of doors the greater partof the later years of her life. Her children weregrown and gone from her, and her eldest son was en-gaged in duties that exposed him more or less to con-stant danger and separated him almost entu'ely from

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