American Heritage: The early life of George WashingtonPublished 12:50am Thursday, August 23, 2012
“Let your recreations be manful, not sinful.” (George Washington, age 15)
As we continue our look at the life of George Washington, we need to realize that he was not a highly educated individual.
Writers tell us that his mother read to him from some of the finest books that were available. We know that books such as the McGuffey’s Reader were available at that time, which taught the Biblical moral concept. It is evident from the later writings of George that he was very familiar with the writings of Matthew Hale, a writer with very high, Biblical ideas, concepts and principles.
Some of the things that are known of his education are seen in a notebook he kept with his arithmetic exercises and exercises in geometry. He took those courses while attendingHenry William’s school while living with his half-brother, Lawrence. He also had a notebook, which showed his work in bookkeeping and business forms.
Lawrence, had some influence on George’s life. George lived with Lawrence for several years after his father’s sudden death, which took place on April 12, 1743, when he was about 11 years old. Lawrence inherited the farm in Fairfax County. He later named the place Mount Vernon. The name was given in honor of a British admiral under whom he had served.
Lawrence served in the British navy. Often, George would see Lawrence dressed in his fine military uniform. He would also hear Lawrence speak of his many military activities when his friends would come to visit him at Mount Vernon.
George decided to apply to become a midshipman in the British navy. His application was accepted. But, his mother was not really fond of that idea for him. Out of his love and respect for her, he withdrew.