Five Things You Didn’t Know About George Washington
Although there is little that is not known about George Washington’s life, some of it is a mixture of fact and fiction. Most know that he was the first U.S. president and that he freed all of his slaves in his last will and testament. However, even with all that has been written about George Washington, there are still a few facts about the man and his life that you may not know.
5 Never a Washington Resident
While Washington, D.C. was named after George Washington, he was the only U.S. president who never lived in the White House. During his two terms in office, Washington lived in New York, America’s first capital, and then in Philadelphia. He did play a huge role in developing the city of Washington and in the design of the White House and the Capitol Building. Sadly, the White House wasn’t completed until after his death, so he never got to enjoy the fruits of his labor.
4 Dog Lover
Many people know that George Washington loved dogs, and that he even treated the hounds that he bred as members of the family, but many people may not know how creative he was in naming his pets. Washington gave his dogs unusual names like Tarter, True Love and Sweet Lips. Perhaps it’s a good thing he never had any children of his own.
3 High School Drop-Out
Although he was a successful man, George Washington never finished school. He left school at age 15 and went to work, because his mother couldn’t afford to send him to college. However, despite the lack of higher education, in addition to being President of the United States, Washington was also a successful liquor distributor, with a state-of-the-art distillery at Mount Vernon, and a plantation owner. Don’t tell little Jimmy about this or you might never get him to do his homework.
2 Wooden Teeth Myth
Most Americans know that George Washington had false teeth, but those fake chompers were not made of wood as the popular legend says. They were actually made of a combination of animal bone, ivory and human teeth. Yes, seriously. The human teeth he purchased from his slaves. Sounds nasty and cruel, but as a slave owner, Washington could have just taken the teeth. Instead, he offered them payment, because he truly was a decent guy.
1 Birthday Confusion
George Washington was born on Feb. 22, 1732, but this was under the Julian calendar. When the Virginia colonies switched to the Gregorian calendar we use today, all the dates were pushed back 11 days. This means that Washington’s actual birthday now falls on Feb. 11. However, he preferred the original date, so he celebrated on Feb. 22, and this date was officially deemed a federal holiday by the U.S. government in 1885, but later changed to the third Monday in February after the “Monday Holiday Law” was enacted in 1971.