Friday 5: Facts You May Not Know about George Washington
Our offices will be closed on Monday, February 17 in observance of Presidents Day.
We all know the basics about George Washington — he was the first president of the United States, the commander-in-chief during the American Revolutionary War, and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. We also know the most famous story of Washington’s life: the story of the cherry tree. We know he cannot tell a lie. But what don’t we know about Washington? Here are some relatively unknown facts:
- George Washington was born on Feb. 22, 1732, which happened to be before the colonies switched from the Julian Calendar to the Gregorian Calendar, which means his birthday is now celebrated on February 11. This past Tuesday would have been his 282nd birthday. Happy birthday, George!
- George Washington did not attend college. This seems crazy to many now who have to attend college or even graduate school to get their dream job. Many of us can’t even fathom the idea of a president without a college degree. Lack of money in the Washington family prevented George from any formal education after the death of his family. But, luckily for the United States, George went on a journey of self-education, learning by reading texts on a variety of subjects including military arts, agriculture, and politics.
- What is George Washington’s middle name? Does anyone know? Neither did we. It ends up George did not have a middle name. The tradition of giving children middle names did not come into fashion in the United States until the 1830s. When George was born, it was common to refer to someone by their given (first) name, their family (last) name, and their town or region. Many of Washington’s friends, including his wife, simply called him “The General.”
- George Washington made liquor. He built a distillery, which at the time was state-of-the-art, near Mt. Vernon, VA. There, he made rye whiskey, apple brandy, and peach brandy. The distillery has recently been restored and is open to visitors.
- George Washington’s favorite breakfast was hoecakes — pancakes made from cornmeal — which he ate with butter and honey. These sound delicious; here is the recipe that his step-granddaughter used to bake them for him.