CASE 1—GETTING TO KNOW THE MAN BEHIND THE IMAGE

CASE 2—VIRGINIA ENVIRONMENT,PART I

CASE 3—VIRGINIA ENVIRONMENT, PART II

CASE 4—THE NORTHERN NECK

CASE 5—FAMILY BACKGROUND, PART I

CASE 6—FAMILY BACKGROUND, PART II

CASE 7—THE FRENCH AND INDIAN WAR, PART I

CASE 8—THE FRENCH AND INDIAN WAR, PART II

CASE 9—PLANTER, POLITICIAN, AND PATRIOT

CASE 10—THE MAN, PART I

CASE 11—THE MAN, PART II

CASE 12—THE MAN, PART III

CASE 13—THE MAN, PART IV

CASE 14—THE MAN, PART V

CASE 15—DEATH AND APOTHEOSIS

CASE 16—PRESERVING THE MEMORY

CLEMENTS LIBRARY

George Washington: getting to know the man behind the image

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Case 6 —Family Background—Part II

 

Lawrence Washington (1718-52), the oldest brother, was clearly an important role model for George Washington. He had been educated in England and had volunteered for and survived the Cartegena Expedition of 1741. He inherited the Potomac River estate that his father had begun to improve in the 1740s and renamed it Mount Vernon in honor of the British admiral he had served with in the South American military siege. The campaign, to capture one of the important trade centers of the Spanish colonial empire, had been a disaster, but Admiral Vernon, already the hero in the capture of Porto Bello, had not been the culprit.

Lawrence married Ann Fairfax. He was a rising force in the House of Burgesses and one of the leaders in the Ohio Company when he was struck by tuberculosis. In an attempt to restore his health, he and his brother sailed to Barbadoes in 1751, the only time during his lifetime that George Washington left the country. George himself caught smallpox while there, but recovered, although it apparently rendered him sterile and ruined his teeth. Lawrence went on to Bermuda and then back to Virginia, where he died in 1752.

In Augustine Washington's will, Mount Vernon was to revert to George in case Lawrence died without issue. Life tenancy was provided to Lawrence's widow. Lawrence's will confirmed this. By a 1754 agreement with the widow, now remarried, George Washington took over management of the estate, paying his former sister-in-law annual rent. Lawrence's only surviving daughter had died in infancy in 1753, and his widow died in 1769.

The locations of Cartegena and Barbadoes are marked on this map.