Washington's Birthday eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 217 pages of information about Washington's Birthday.

ANONYMOUS

From The Evangelist

George Washington was born at a time when savagery had just departed from the country, leaving freshness and vigor behind.  The Indian had scarcely left the woods, and the pirate the shore near his home.  His grandfather had seen his neighbor lying tomahawked at his door-sill, and his father had helped to chase beyond the mountains the whooping savages that carried the scalps of his friends at their girdle.  The year his brother was born, John Maynard’s ship had sailed up the James River with the bloody head of Blackbeard hanging to the bowsprit.

He had only one uncle, a brother Lawrence, and a cousin Augustine, all older than he, but the youngest of his older brothers was twelve years of age when George was born, while his cousin Augustine was only four years older, and his cousin Lawrence six years older than himself.  When he was seven years old his sister Betty was a little lass of six.  Two brothers, Samuel and John, were nearing their fourth and fifth birthdays.  Charles, his baby brother, was still in his nurse’s arms.  Early the shadow of death crossed his boyish path, for his baby sister, Mildred, born soon after he was seven, died before he was nine.

The first playmate Washington had, out of his own immediate family, was another Lawrence Washington, a very distant cousin, who lived at Chotauk on the Potomac, and who, with his brother, Robert Washington, early won Washington’s regard, and kept it through life.  When Washington made his will he remembered them, writing, “to the acquaintances and friends of my juvenile years, Lawrence Washington and Robert Washington, I give my other two gold-headed canes having my arms engraved on them.”

It was at Chotauk, with Lal and Bob Washington, that George Washington first met with traffic between the old world and the new.  There was no money used except tobacco notes, which passed among merchants in London and Amsterdam as cash.  Foreign ships brought across the ocean goods that the Virginians needed, and the captains sold the goods for these tobacco notes.  Much of Washington’s time was spent with these boys, and when he grew old he recalled the young eyes of the Chotauk lads, as they, with him, had stood on the river-bank vainly trying to see clearly some object beyond vision, and in memory of the time he wrote in his will, “To each I leave one of my spy-glasses which constituted part of my equipage during the late war.”

Of Washington’s first school there is no record or tradition other than that gathered by Parson Weems.  He says:  “The first place of education to which George was ever sent was a little old field school kept by one of his father’s tenants, named Hobby, an honest, poor old man, who acted in the double capacity of sexton and schoolmaster.  Of his skill as a gravedigger tradition is silent; but for a teacher of youth his qualifications were certainly of the

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Washington's Birthday from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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