Study Guide

George Washington Martha Washington

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Martha Washington

In December 1758, with the official end of the war still five years away, Washington abruptly resigned his commission. It's not completely clear exactly what caused him to withdraw. Diminishing hostilities in Virginia, along with his increasing frustration with the British, probably played a part in his resignation. But the most important factor was probably love. In 1757, when her wealthy husband suddenly died, Martha Custis became the most eligible widow in all of Virginia. She was still young, almost inconceivably rich, and a total babe to boot. As for Washington, all that we know for sure is that he had love on his mind. In September 1758, he wrote a letter to his best friend's wife, Sally Fairfax, which most historians read as a confession of his love for her. Unfortunately, we don't know how George felt about Martha when he first met her; after his death, Martha destroyed all of their correspondence. But his actions speak for themselves: he courted Martha assiduously and beat out a rival to win her hand. Within ten days of resigning his commission, the two were married.blank">Mount Vernon, which he was then leasing from his brother's widow. And he promptly put himself into debt with his London agent by ordering a never-ending supply of luxury goods. It was like a dream come true; George Washington was living the life he'd been aspiring to since childhood.

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