George Washington was born in Westmoreland County, Virginia on February 22, 1732. His great grandfather had come from England and settled in Virginia in 1658. George was the son of Augustine Washington and his second wife Mary Ball. His childhood was uneventful while he was educated in mathematics, The Classics and surveying. In 1743, his father died and his older half-brother Lawrence became a substitute father. Lawrence Washington had married into the wealthy Fairfax family which would help launch George's own career.
In 1748, while Washington was living with his brother at Mount Vernon, he secured the position of surveyor for Lord Fairfax's lands in the Shenandoah Valley. He assisted in laying out the town of Belhaven which is now Alexandria, Virginia in 1749 and became the surveyor of Culpepper County. He then went with Lawrence to Barbados in 1751 in an effort to cure Lawrence's tuberculosis. While there, George caught smallpox. Lawrence died of his illness in 1752 not long after they returned from the West Indies and George inherited Mount Vernon.
French and Indian War: 1754-1759
In October 1753, Washington was sent by Virginia Governor Robert Dinwiddle to warn the commander at Fort Le Boeuf to halt French encroachment into British-claimed territory in the Northwest. Shortly after he returned, Washington was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel of the militia. In April 1754, Washington returned to the Northwest leading two companies of militia with intentions of erecting fortifications at Forks of the Ohio, which is now Pittsburgh. However, he learned that the French already had fortified the site and were marching to meet him.
Washington quickly began erecting his own fortifications at Great Meadows, Pennsylvania. On May 28, he defeated a French and Indian force there. However on July 3, Washington was forced to surrender at Fort Necessity. Unhappy with the disparity in pay between British and colonial officers, he resigned his commission later in 1754. In 1755, he volunteered to join Maj. General Edward Braddock's Wilderness expedition against the French serving as Braddock's Aide de Camp. Also on the expedition were future British Commander-in-Chief in America Thomas Gage, Horatio Gates and Charles Lee. Daniel Morgan was also along as a civilian wagoner. On July 9, Braddock was defeated by a French and Indian force and mortally wounded at the Battle of the Wilderness near Fort Duquesne.
In July 1755, only a month after his return, Lt. Colonel Washington was promoted to a full Colonel, given command of Virginia's militia and assigned the duty of guarding the 350-mile frontier. In 1758, he participated in General John Forbes' expedition against Fort Duquesne. In January 1759, he married widow Martha Dandridge Custis, whose fortune when added to his own made Washington one of the wealthiest men in the colonies. Though he had not been active in the war during 1759, he did not officially resign his commission until the end of the year.
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