Martha Washington was born on June 2, 1731 at Chestnut Grove Plantation, Virginia.
Early life and First Marriage
When Martha was 17, she met a wealthy plantation owner named Daniel Parke Custis at her church. He was 20 years older than her but they fell in love. In 1750 the couple were married and went to live in Daniel's large estate. Martha learned how to manage larger households, that would help her out later when she was the wife of the president. Martha and Daniel had 4 children, although 2 died in childhood.
Marrying George Washington
Soon after her husband Daniel died, she met another plantation owner named George Washington. They soon agreed to get married. They had a big wedding at Martha's house on January 6, 1759. Then Martha and her 2 children moved to Mount Vernon to live with George.
As the Revolutionary War was formed, Martha's husband George was chosen to be commander of the Continental Army. As Martha was being hated by the loyalists, many people feared she would get kidnapped to be used as leverage against her husband. She had experience for taking care of the estate when her husband was gone when she was a widow. She helped the patriots by raising money to help pay for uniforms and food. Martha gave over $20,000 to the war, which was a lot in the 1700's.
During the war Martha would visit George at the Continental Army's winter camp. Her presence help boost the morale of her husband and the troops. Martha's trips to Valley Forge were a personal sacrifice. She could have stayed home in her nice estate, but she chose to support the troops. The camp was not only uncomfortable but also more dangerous according to diseases like smallpox.
When and where did she die?
Martha Washington died on May 22, 1802 at Mount Vernon, Virginia.