Did the man whose portrait is on the one dollar bill ever tell a lie? Were his teeth really made of wood? Did George Washington actually throw a silver dollar across the Potomac River? And where’s that cherry tree that he reportedly cut down as a youth? Few figures in American history are surrounded by more well-intended mythology than George Washington. Throughout much of his adult life, many sought to perfect the image of the Father of our Nation, and after his death, others sought to deify the man.
What’s clear from a full examination of the facts is that George Washington was a real man who exhibited real passions, desires, ambitions, disappointments, and great achievements. Behind that steely gaze that many know today, was a man who loved to dance and was a tremendous athlete. And despite never receiving a formal education, you find a man constantly in search of knowledge and self-improvement.
Mount Vernon recently had the opportunity to sit down with Phillip Levy, author of Where the Cherry Tree Grew: The Story of Ferry Farm, George Washington’s Boyhood Home to discuss Washington’s childhood.
Before the age of sixteen, George Washington copied out the 110 rules covered in The Rules of Civility and Decent Behaviour in Company and Conversation.
Separate fact from fiction and learn more about George Washington and his troublesome teeth. Were his dentures really made of wood?