Top Five Masonic Presidents: George Washington
The first child of Augustine and Mary Ball Washington, George Washington was born on Pope’s Creek Estate, in present day Westmoreland County, Virginia. He was born on February 22, 1732, according to the Gregorian Calendar. Growing up, George’s father was a tobacco planter who also had small ventures in iron-mining. Not much is known about the education Washington received. It most likely came from a variety of tutors and a school run by Anglican clergymen near Fredericksburg. Despite a lack of formal education, Washington was able to get a job as a surveyor at the age of 17. By 1752 he had completed more than 200 surveys totalling more than 600,000 acres of land.
In 1753, Washington began his military career acting as a British Ambassador to French and Indian Officials in the area that is now Erie, Pennsylvania. In late 1753 he was tasked with delivering a letter to the French, asking them to vacate the Ohio Valley. The French Commander politely refused to leave the area. While this outing was not a major success, the journal Washington kept describing his time in Ohio was eventually published. This gave him the star power he needed to receive a commision to raise a force of 100 men, and start his military career. In 1755, he received a commision from Lt. Governor Dinwiddie as “Colonel of the Virginia Regiment and Commander in Chief of all forces now raised in the defense of his Majesty’s Colonies.” The Virginia Regiment was the first full-time American Military Unit in the Colonies, and was tasked with defending Virginia’s frontier. In 1758, Washington participated in the Forbes Expedition to capture Fort Duquesne. This expedition was Washington’s last military outing until the outbreak of the revolution in 1775.
Between 1759 and 1774, Washington spent most of his time at Mount Vernon in Virginia. On January 6, 1759, he married Martha Dandridge Custis and became a loving stepfather to her two children. He enjoyed hobbies such as fox hunting, billiards, dancing, attending the theater and races. In 1766 Washington began the switch away from Tobacco as his only cash crop. Instead he began growing wheat and several other operations like flour milling, horse breeding and whiskey production. The success of his plantation lead to him being a leader in the social elite in Virginia, hosting more than 2000 guests between 1768 and 1775.
George Washington’s involvement in the American Revolution began in the 1760’s, when he began to openly criticize acts of Parliament. Starting in with the Stamp Act in 1765, then the Townshend Acts in 1767 and finally the Intolerable Acts in 1774. In July 1774 he chaired the meeting which called for the convening of a Continental Congress. After the Battle of Lexington and Concord, the Second Continental Congress met and voted to form the Continental Army. At that same meeting George Washington was elected Commander-in-Chief after his nomination by John Adams. Washington lead the Army through many historic moments such as the crossing of the Delaware, victory Yorktown, and the harsh winter at Valley Forge. Washington did not have the most successful military career, however he was known for inspiring his men and this inevitably lead to him be elected the first President of the United States.
In 1789 and 1792, the Electoral College unanimously elected Washington to the Presidency, making him the only President to receive the totality of electoral votes. He was inaugurated on April 30, 1789, on the Balcony of Federal Hall in New York City. He was well aware that everything he did was going to set the precedent for the Presidents to follow him, so he attended carefully to the pomp and ceremony of the office. His time in office is known for his relatively neutral foreign policy in terms of conflict. However, he made great efforts in keeping trade open with Britain.
Washington began his masonic career on the evening of November 4, 1752 when he joined the lodge at Fredericksburg. He was raised a Master Mason on August 4 of 1753. While he did not regularly attend lodge meeting, he was always vocal of his support of Freemasonry. In 1788, he was named Master in the Virginian charter of Alexandria Lodge #22. Bro. Washington passed away on Saturday, December 14, 1799, at the age of 67.
Bro. Washington was a man of many talents and hobbies, infinitely more than what we could fit in one article. To read more about the Father of our country, click here. To read about the #3 president on our list, click here!
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The Bodies of the Scottish Rite, sitting in the Valley of Boston, Commonwealth of Massachusetts, acknowledge and yield allegiance to the Supreme Council, 33°, of the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry for the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction of the United States of America, whose Grand East is in Lexington, Massachusetts.