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Within months of beginning their courtship, both George Washington and Martha Custis began to plan a future together.
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As a young, attractive, wealthy widow, Martha Dandridge Custis probably enjoyed more freedom to choose her own destiny than at any other point in her life. Because her husband had died without a will, she was the executor of his estate, however, upon her death, the estate would automatically transfer to their descendants. Freed from the strictures of coverture, she had many of the same legal rights as men: she could buy and sell property, make contracts, sue and be sued in court.
Yet Martha may not have reveled in this freedom. Having had a happy first marriage, she probably craved the companionship and intimacy of the wedded state. Having grown up in a large family, she loved children and hoped to have more. Most widows under thirty in colonial Virginia did, in fact, remarry.
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One of those who undoubtedly heard about her availability was a young military man named George Washington. Born on February 22,Washington had grown up in a modestly prosperous Virginia family who lived on a plantation near Fredericksburg.
Hearing the news about the Custis widow, he contemplated his own future and turned his mind to his marriage prospects. George and Martha's first meeting is lost to history, but it is possible they met while Martha and Daniel Custis were married as they had many acquaintances in common. After returning for another visit on March 25, Washington returned to his military post.
Within months of these meetings, both parties began to plan a future together. Washington began renovating and improving his home at Mount Vernon. Their attraction was mutual, powerful, and immediate. Martha was charming, accomplished, and, of course, wealthy.
George & martha’s courtship
George had his own appeal. Over six foot two inches tall compared with Martha, who was only five feet tallGeorge was an imposing figure whose reputation as a military leader preceded him. After his half-brother Lawrence and his widow died, Washington would inherit Mount Vernon, a beautiful acre estate located high above the Potomac River in Northern Virginia.
For her part, Martha must have believed that in George she had found someone she could trust as well as love. Although some widows wrote legally binding premarital contracts that protected the assets they had from their marriage, Martha did not.
At the end ofWashington reed his military commission. For both Martha and for George, a new era had dawned. Joseph E. Fields Westport, Ct. Although George and Martha Washington never had any children together, they raised many at Mount Vernon.
Widowhood As a young, attractive, wealthy widow, Martha Dandridge Custis probably enjoyed more freedom to choose her own destiny than at any other point in her life. Marriage Their attraction was mutual, powerful, and immediate. Learn More. Back to Main menu Martha Washington. Metro Area.
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