About this Famous Person
First President of the United States
George Washington was born the first child of Augustine Washington and his second wife, Mary Ball Washington, on their Pope's Creek Estate near present-day Colonial Beach in Westmoreland County, Virginia. His father had four children by his first wife, Jane Butler: two died young, but two sons survived (Lawrence, born circa 1718, and Augustine, born circa 1720), making George the third son, but very much younger. Moving to Ferry Farm in Stafford County at age six, George was educated in the home by his father and eldest brother. Washington's ancestors were from Sulgrave, England. His great-grandfather, John Washington, immigrated to Virginia in 1657. The growth of tobacco as a commodity in Virginia could be measured by the number of slaves imported to cultivate it. When Washington was born, the population of the colony was 50 percent black, mostly people enslaved in the African diaspora.
In his youth, Washington worked as a surveyor, and acquired what would become invaluable knowledge of the terrain around his native Colony of Virginia. His eldest brother's marriage into the powerful Fairfax family gained young George the patronage of Thomas Fairfax, 6th Lord Fairfax of Cameron and the Proprietor of the Northern Neck, which encompassed some five million acres. In late July 1749, immediately following the establishment of the town of Alexandria, Virginia along the Potomac River, 17-year old George was commissioned as the first Surveyor of the newly created Culpeper County, Virginia in the interior of the colony. This appointment was undoubtedly secured at the behest of Lord Fairfax and his cousin (and resident land agent) William Fairfax of Belvoir, who sat on the Governor's Council.