Saturday, December 14, 2013



Mount Vernon, Virginia (JFK+50) George Washington*, Father of our Nation and First President of the United States passed away, at the age of sixty-seven, 224 years ago this evening, December 14, 1799, at his Mount Vernon estate.*

According to the Mount Vernon Organization, the former president had been "out supervising farming activities" most of the day, Thursday, December 12th.

Known for punctuality, Mr. Washington did not want to be late for dinner and did not change into dry clothing.

On Friday, December 13th, GW developed a sore throat which caused hoarseness and became increasingly worse during the day.

He awoke on Saturday morning, December 14th at 2 a.m. with breathing difficulty.

James Craik, the Washington family doctor of 40 years, arrived at 9 a.m. and immediately determined the former president's condition to be serious.

Accepted treatments of the day included "bleeding," and so GW's was "bled" 4 times resulting in a loss of 32 ounces of blood.

At 5 p.m., Washington got up from his bed and dressed, but had to go back to bed 30 minutes later.  

He said to his doctor...

"I die hard, but I am not afraid to go."

President George Washington passed away between 10 and 11 p.m.  His beloved wife, Martha, sat at the foot of his bed.

His last words were "It is well."

George Washington on Deathbed
Harper's New Monthly Magazine

The President's remains were placed in a mahogany casket and lay in state in the New Room of his home.

Burial was, as he requested, not sooner than 3 days after his death, December 18, 1799.

In France, Napoleon declared a ten day period of mourning.

The First President of the United States, "First in war, First in peace, and First in the hearts of his countrymen," was interred at Mount Vernon.  In 1837, a new tomb was completed for his remains and those of his wife.

Tomb of George and Martha Washington
Mount Vernon, Virginia
Historic American Building Survey

*George Washington (1732-1799) was born in Westmoreland County, VA to Augustine and Mary Ball Washington. He began his military career in 1753 as a major in the Virginia Militia.

After service in the French and Indian War, GW became Commander in Chief of the Continental Army.  
He was president of the Constitutional Convention and elected president of the US in 1789.  He was re-elected in 1793.

According to Mike Purdy, this was the last entry in Washington's Journal, dated Dec 14, 1799:

"Morning snowing, and about 3 inches deep.  Wind at ne, and mercury at 30. Continued snowing till one o'clock, and about four it became perfectly clear. Wind at the same place, but not hard.  Mercury 28 at night."