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George Washington
by Ingri & Edgar Parin D'Aulaire
Narration dictated by Sarah Ward
2/2/04 & 2/3/04

George Washington, great grandson of John Washington, was born on Wakefield Farm many years ago. As soon as he was old enough, he started to learn how to ride horses, because he didn't have any brothers or sisters to play with, except for Betty, who was a baby at the time. He started riding lessons with a pony, which he grew to love. When he learned to ride his pony, he visited the neighboring plantation.

When he was old enough to go to school, he, his father, mother, sister, and brothers moved to Mount Vernon, near the Potomac River. He was a good student, and decided he wanted to be a surveyor. He was also a very good horse rider, and beat many boys in races on his pony.

Eventually, he, his parents and his siblings moved to Ferry Farm, near the Rappahanock River. When he was about 10, he met his half brothers. The one he loved most was Lawrence, who was an officer. George wanted to be an officer too, so he played war with his brothers and sister.

When George was 11, his father died. After his father died, George Washington started to study surveying. He surveyed the plantation for hours at a time. He started visiting his half brother Lawrence, who lived at Mount Vernon, and visited his wealthy friends. When Lord Fairfax found out what a good surveyor he was, he paid him to survey his plantation. He became very popular with surveying and surveyed many areas. While he surveyed people’s farms, he visited their children as well. One day, he met some Indians, who showed him their war dance and became his friends.

But when the French-Indian War began, the government sent him to take a letter to the French leader, asking him to make peace. He and a few comrades to help him went through the wilderness and faced wild animals, and met a friendly Indian called Half King who showed them the fortress. He came back with the reply, and the people greeted him heartily. The general thanked him, only to hear the news: the French commander was not making peace. When the men knew how well he had done, they told him to be General and fight against the French and hostile Indians. He came with a few hundred men to the battle. For four years, he fought against them. But one day, his men refused to hide in the bushes before the Indians came, and wanted to charge them instead. Unfortunately, the Indians were waiting for them in the bushes and attacked them. Thus the first part of the French-Indian War was lost. George Washington got more men, and once again he was back to fight the French and Indians. The English sent an even bigger army with George, and this time they succeeded.

So George came back greeted by many happy people, and married a widow named Martha Custis and her children, Patsy and John Custis. Then they traveled to Mount Vernon to live, since his older brother Lawrence had died. They happily lived on a large plantation for fifteen years, with their two children and a good many slaves. Many people came to visit, as well as his grandchildren.

But when George hard that the English king had made the colonists pay taxes, he was sent to fight again. Then the Revolutionary War began. For seven years, George Washington and his men fought in Cambridge and many other battles. He had an army of farmers and hunters, which he trained to fight. They won many victories and lost many battles, but eventually they couldn’t stop the British from invading New York. This was about the time that the Liberty Bell rang and that the Declaration of Independence was signed, on July 4, 1776.

Then Washington and his men went across the great Delaware River and won a victory at Trenton, New Jersey. They had a long, hard winter at Valley Forge, even though people came to give them food and whatever they could spare. Then General Lafayette, a French general, came with his men to help, and Van Steuben, a German general, came to help train Washington’s men. He fought some more battles, until General Corwallis, the general of Britain, surrendered and handed over his sword.

George Washington went back to his plantation, where his wife and children were waiting for him, and lived happy years on his farm. But the Americans needed somebody to lead them, so they chose Washington as the first president. And General Washington became the first president, and Martha Washington his first lady.


The End



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