Woman of the Century/Mrs. Mary Washington

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2295775Woman of the Century — Mrs. Mary Washington

WASHINGTON, Mrs. Mary, mother of George Washington, the first President of the United Stales, born in Westmoreland county, Va., about 1713, and died in 1789. Her maiden name was Mary Ball, and her descent was English. On 6th March, 1730, she became the wife of Augustine Washington, the second son of Lawrence Washington and the grandson of John Washington, the first of the family to come from England to the Colonies. He purchased lands in Westmoreland county, became a wealthy planter, and was successively a county magistrate, a member of the house of burgesses, and colonel of the Virginia forces that drove away the invading Seneca Indians. In honor of his public services and private character, the parish in which he lived was named Washington. There his son, Lawrence, and his grandson. Augustine, were born. Augustine Washington was married twice. By his first wife he had four children, two of whom. Lawrence and Augustine, outlived their mother, who died in 1728. By his second wife, Mary Ball, he was the father of the immortal George Washington, who was the first child of his second marriage. Mrs. Mary Washington was a devoted mother, and her son George was a most faithful and affectionate son. He was born 22nd February-, 1732, and his father died in 1743, leaving a family of five children for his widow to rear. She took the management of her estate into her own hands, and supervised the education of her children. To her George Washington owed as much as any other great man of history ever owed to a woman. While he was absent in the army, for nearly seven years, she managed the home and kept up the estate, and when the victory was won and Cornwallis had surrendered, he visited his aged mother. She consented to appear in a ball given in Fredericksburg in honor of her son, and she surprised the foreigners by her simple dress and quiet dignity. One of her most earnest commendations of her illustrious son was that "George had always been a good son." She lived to see him reach the proudest position in the new-born nation. He bade her farewell for the last time in the home of her childhood, in Stafford county, across the Rappahannock from Fredericksburg, where his father had purchased an estate several years before his death. The parting was affectionate, and the venerable woman died shortly afterward, too suddenly to make it possible for her son to reach her. Mary Washington, more than any other one woman, is to be remembered for having given to the world one of the greatest men of history. Her simple virtues were reflected in her glorious son, and the name of George Washington will never be mentioned without calling up pleasant thoughts of the noble, simple mother who gave him birth— Mary Washington.