George Washington, who served as the first president of the United States from 1789 to 1797, was born on February 22, 1732 in Pope's Creek, Westmoreland County, in the colony of Virginia. His father was Augustine Washington, who grew tobacco and kept slaves on his plantation. His father's first wife, Jane Butler, had three children, but she died in 1729. George was the oldest of six children by Augustine's second wife, Mary Ball, whom Augustine married in 1731.
In 1735, the family relocated upriver to Little Hunting Creek Plantation, which later came to be called Mount Vernon, along the Potomac River. In 1738, the Washington family once again relocated to a place along the Rappahannock River called Ferry Farm. That's where young George spent most of his early life.
George was home schooled by a local minister and a schoolmaster. The subjects he learned included Latin, geography, mathematics, and English classical literature. Through experience he also learned practical skills such as raising stock, growing tobacco, and surveying land. His father died when George was only 11, and after that, George was a ward of Lawrence Washington, his half-brother.
Due to his aptitude for mathematics, George became a skilled surveyor. By the age of 16, he was traveling with surveying parties around Virginia, and at the age of 17, he was appointed Culpeper County's official surveyor. George was well over six feet tall, and his travels as a surveyor made him tough and strong. In 1751, while on a trip to Barbados with Lawrence, George contracted small pox. He recovered, but his face was permanently scarred from the disease.
After Lawrence died in 1752, George inherited his half-brother's plantation in Mount Vernon. He eventually expanded it into a large property where he grew crops and raised livestock. A sad part of George Washington's history is that the plantation at Mount Vernon eventually kept over 300 slaves. Later in 1752, George was made an officer in the Virginia militia, and in the following years became involved in the fighting in the French and Indian War. In 1758, he resigned his commission and began his political career.
In 1759, George met and married Martha Custis, a widow who had two young children.
As an interesting side-fact, from an early age George Washington had terrible teeth. His first tooth was pulled when he was only 24 years old, and by the time he became president, he had only one natural tooth left. His dentures were not wood, but were made up of his own pulled teeth, the teeth of slaves, animal teeth, and ivory. Some say that his lack of teeth made him reticent to give speeches.