The United States Department of the Treasury does not indicate a specific reason why George Washington, the first president of the nation, is depicted on the $1 bill. In fact, the very first $1 bills, called "United States Notes" and issued in 1863 bore the portrait of Salmon P. Chase, Secretary of the Treasury under President Abraham Lincoln.
Washington first appeared on $1 bills in 1869. The design of the modern $1 bill was established in 1963 and features Washington on the face in a portrait painted by artist Gilbert Stuart. In fact, the painting is one that was left unfinished at Washington's death and was commissioned by Martha Washington.