George Washington (1732--1799), commander-in-chief of the Continental Army and first President of the United States, was born in Westmoreland County, Virginia, to Augustine Washington and Mary Ball. In 1753, Washington entered the Virginia militia as a major. After several skirmishes with the French in Ohio Country, the enemy captured him at Fort Necessity in July 1754. The French allowed him to return to Virginia, but the clash set in motion a greater conflict between France and England in North America. In 1755, Virginia Governor Robert Dinwiddie appointed him commander-in-chief of the Virginia Regiment. Washington participated in several battles in the French and Indian War, and left the service in 1778.
Washington married Martha Dandridge Custis on January 6, 1759. They had no children. In 1775, the Second Continental Congress appointed him commander-in-chief of the Continental Army, a post he held until the American army defeated the British in 1783. Washington forced the British out of Boston in 1776, but the British chased the Continental army out of New York later that year. In 1777, Washington suffered defeats at Brandywine and Germantown, and his troops suffered a harsh 1777-1778 winter at Valley Forge. In 1778, Washington drove the British from Philadelphia and fought them at Monmouth, New Jersey. In the autumn of 1781, the British surrendered at Yorktown, Virginia, ending the major military engagements of the war. Washington left military service in December 1783.
Washington enjoyed a brief retirement from public life, but in 1787 served as president for the Constitutional Convention. The newly formed Electoral College unanimously nominated him 1st President of the United States in 1789 and 1793. Finally, Washington retired from public life in 1797 and returned to Mount Vernon. He died there on December 14, 1799.