On April 6 or 7, 1759, Martha Washington arrived at Mount Vernon with her newlywed husband, Colonel George Washington, and her two children, John Parke Custis (called Jacky) and Martha Parke Custis (called Patsy).

Martha Dandridge Custis and Colonel Washington were married on January 6, 1759, after a brief courtship in New Kent County, Virginia. A few months later, George Washington moved his new family to Mount Vernon. Wanting to please his new wife and her young children, who were moving far from the home they knew, Colonel Washington waited until April to bring his new family to the home he had loved since childhood. 

The Washingtons' Arrival at Mount Vernon


Martha Washington reminisces about arriving at Mount Vernon for the first time in 1759.

White House plantation, Martha Washington's former residence in New Kent County, Virginia (Wikimedia)

White House plantation, Martha Washington's former residence in New Kent County, Virginia (Wikimedia)

By this point in her life, Martha Washington had never traveled more than 40 miles beyond her childhood home in New Kent County, near Williamsburg. Marriage to Washington meant she left behind her mother, siblings, and friends to begin a new life in northern Virginia.

However, she was not the only one who was uprooted by this life change. She brought along many enslaved workers, including Doll. Doll worked as a cook at Mount Vernon and later became a matriarch of one of the enslaved families. Doll’s descendants include daughter Lucy, who was also a cook and grandson Christopher Sheels, who served as Washington's valet. Both Martha Washington and Doll created new lives at Mount Vernon through strength and determination.

Martha Washington as a slaveowner

 

"The Golden Years"

Martha Washington enjoyed the time she spent at home, especially early evenings serving tea surrounded by family and guests. And there were always children — first her two young children, Patsy and Jacky, then later her two grandchildren, George Washington Parke Custis, “Washy,” and his older sister, Eleanor, “Nelly,” Custis. Along with a number of nieces and nephews. 

The Washingtons spent fifteen happy years at Mount Vernon before the Revolutionary War.

The Washingtons in Love

As the two were at the forefront of events that changed history and shaped the United States, George and Martha Washington led by example of what a marriage of their stature should be.

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