Happy Birthday Bro. Washington

February 16, 2024

Next Thursday is the 291 birthday of Bro. George Washington, one of the greatest figures in the pantheon of American history. Monday is the official Federal Holiday of President’s Day, which celebrates all 46 Presidents of the United States and is in February specifically for Bro. Washington.

Bro. Washington was born in 1732 to the wealthy Augustine and Mary Bell Washington. Augustine was a Justice of the Peace and public figure in Virginia but passed away in 1743. Washington inherited a large portion of his father’s estate.

Inspired by his half-brother, Lawerance Washington, George sought a military commission within the Crown Colony of Virginia. Soon, he was commander of a military district and was sent to demand the French vacate land claimed by the British in the French and Indian War. This resulted in the Battle of Jumonville Glen, where the few French Troops were killed and land captured. The rest of the war was of little mention for Washington, as he spent time under other Generals and was plagued by illness. At the war’s conclusion, Bro. Washington was left without a royal commission. Before the outbreak of the War, Bro. Washington became a Master Mason at the lodge in Fredericksburg, Virginia in 1752. 

After the war, Washington married Martha Dandridge Custis in 1756. They soon moved to the Mount Vernon Estate and continued to grow their holdings. He quickly became a powerful public figure in Virginian life, using his vast wealth to wow the elite. 

Just before the American Revolutionary War, he became a delegate to the Continental Congress and was a vehement opponent of British intervention in the colonies. The Continental Congress worked to establish an army and Washington was appointed the Commander in Chief. In this position, he supervised all the activities of the army against the British. His Masonic career was active during the war. In 1780, as the war waged on, the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania deemed that a “Grand Master of the United States,” should be created and elected Washington to the position. The movement quickly died when Massachusetts Grand Lodge failed to reach a conclusion on the necessity of the position. After the war, fellow mason General Layfayette gifted Washington a Masonic Apron embossed with the seal of the Royal Arch, and other Masonic symbols in 1784.

With the Independence of the United States secured Washington resigned his Command to the Continental Congress in a historic move of entrusting the power to the people and their elected representatives. After Shays Rebellion, the States once again met in Philadelphia, this time to create a new constitution.  Bro. Washington was elected President of the Convention. Here, they designed a strong but reserved government for the United States that survives to this day. Just after the Convention, Washington was elected chartering Master for Alexandria Lodge No. 22’s rechartering. He served as the Master for 20 months.

In 1789, he was inaugurated as the first President of the United States. He is best known for setting the precedent of a Presidency that is powerful in its limitations, humble in its demeanor, and like Masonry positions, temporary. Bro. Washington refused to stand for reelection after two terms.

In retirement, Washington was weary and sought to keep the country moving forward. After checking his fields in the snow in 1799, sickness consumed Washington and he died in Mount Vernon. Modern interpretations of the story conclude that he most likely died from complications of epiglottitis. The entire country mourned his death, as a truly great American.

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