Martha Washington was born on June 2, 1731, at Chestnut Grove plantation in New Kent County, Virginia, according to the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association website. She was the first of eight children and was born eight months before George Washington.Continue Reading
Unlike most women in the early 1700s, Martha Washington learned to read and write, notes the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association. She grew to be around 5 feet tall, which was around the average for European women in early Colonial America. On May 15, 1750, Martha married Daniel Parke Custis, who was nearly 20 years older than her. Their marriage lasted just over seven years until Custis died in 1757. They had four children together, and she ended up outliving all of them.
At 26 years old, Martha owned nearly 300 slaves and more than 17,500 acres of land. On January 6th, 1759, less than 10 months after they first met, Martha married George Washington at her home in New Kent County. Martha would later become the United States' first First Lady. Only about a year after George's death, Martha freed all 123 of his slaves because she feared she'd be killed by them if she didn't. On May 22, 1802, Martha died due to ill health. She lies near George Washington in Mount Vernon, as reported by the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association website.Learn more about US History