Mary Washington


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Mary WashingtonWashington, MARY, mother of George Washington. She is believed to have been a lineal descendant of John Ball, the mediaeval champion of the rights of man, who was executed at Coventry in the year 1381 for participating in Wat Tyler's rebellion. Colonel William Ball, a native of Kent, came from England with his family about the year 1650, and settled in Lancaster county, Virginia, where he died in 1659, leaving two sons, William and Joseph, and one daughter, Hannah. William left eight sons and one daughter, Mary, who was born in the year 1706. Joseph Ball was a well-to-do planter on the Rappahannock River, a vestryman of Christ Church in Lancaster. He was commissioned colonel by Governor Alexander Spottswoode, and was known as Colonel Ball, of Lancaster, to distinguish him from another Colonel Ball, his cousin.

When Mary Ball was about seventeen years of age she wrote to her brother in England on family matters a letter which is still in existence, the conclusion of which is as follows: "We have not had a school-master in our neighborhood until now (January 14, 1728) in nearly four years. We have now a young master living with us, who was educated at Oxford, took orders, and came over as assistant to Reverend Kemp, of Gloucester. That parish is too poor to keep both, and he teaches school for his board. He teaches sister Susie and me and Madam Carter's boy and two other scholars. I am now learning pretty fast. Mamma, Susie, and I all send love to you and Mary. This letter from your loving sister, Mary Ball."

Mary Ball married Augustine Washington in 1730. Their first child was George Washington, who, when seventeen years of age, wrote the following memorandum in his mother's Bible: "George Washington, son to Augustine and Mary, his wife, was born the eleventh day of February, 1731-32, about ten in the morning, and was baptized the 3d of April following. Mr. Beverley Whiting and Captain Christopher Brooks, god-fathers, and Mrs. Mildred Gregory, god-mother."

Early in April, 1743, Augustine Washington rode several hours in a cold rain storm, became chilled, and died of fever on the 12th of the month, aged forty-nine years, leaving an ample estate for his widow and children; and directing that the proceeds of all the property of Mrs. Washington's children should be at her disposal until they had attained their majority. Mrs. Washington managed the estate with great judgment. The marriage of George Washington to Mrs. Custis made his mother very happy. The social position, the fortune, and the lovely character of his bride were extremely satisfactory to her. The assurance that her eldest son was now settled for life not far from his mother, where she might enjoy his society and consult with him about her affairs, was a great comfort.

Mary Washington Monument

Mary Washington Monument at Fredericksburg, Virginia

At the outbreak of the French and Indian War, Washington persuaded his mother to leave her exposed house on the Rappahannock, and remove to Fredericksburg, where she continued to live until her death, August 25, 1789. In 1894, through the instrumentality of the National Mary Washington Memorial Association, a monument was erected in honor of her memory at Fredericksburg, Va. The shaft rises from a pedestal 11 feet square, and carries the following inscription: " Mary, the Mother of Washington. Erected by her Countrywomen."



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