Birth and Early Life
The Washington family was a wealthy Virginia planter family that had made its fortune through land speculation and the cultivation of tobacco. Washington's great-grandfather John Washington emigrated in 1656 from Sulgrave, Northamptonshire, England, to the English colony of Virginia where he accumulated 5,000 acres of land, including Little Hunting Creek on the Potomac River. George Washington was born on February 22, 1732,at Popes Creek in Westmoreland County, in the British colony of Virginia, and was the first of six children of Augustine and Mary Ball Washington. His father was a justice of the peace and a prominent public figure who had four additional children from his first marriage to Jane Butler. The family moved to Little Hunting Creek in 1735. In 1738, they moved to Ferry Farm near Fredericksburg, Virginia, on the Rappahannock River. When Augustine died in 1743, Washington inherited Ferry Farm and ten slaves; his older half-brother Lawrence inherited Little Hunting Creek and renamed it Mount Vernon.
Washington did not have the formal education his elder brothers received at Appleby Grammar School in England, but he did attend the Lower Church School in Hartfield. He learned mathematics, trigonometry, and land surveying and became a talented draftsman and map-maker. By early adulthood, he was writing with "considerable force" and "precision". In his pursuit of admiration, status, and power, his writing displayed little wit or humor.