Martha Washington Martha Washington lived a life full of love and sacrifice.
She was born as a simple little girl Martha Dandridge to her plantation home in New Kent; she was married at 18 to become Martha Dandridge Custis. Still yet she was widowed at the age of twenty-six with two children and a land of over 17,000 acres to run on her own. Then she met a gentleman by the name of George Washington and Martha became the figure we know today as Martha Dandridge Custis Washington or Martha Washington. Martha was born on June 2, 1731 on the plantation near Williamsburg in New Kent, Chestnut Grove, to her father0, John Dandridge, and mother, Frances Jones Dandridge. She was the eldest daughter of the family and the spirited one.She enjoyed horseback riding, working in her gardens, sewing, dancing, she came to enjoy cooking, and it was said she had a great love for playing the spinet.
Her father insisted that his children be educated, so he called for a tutor. The Dandridge children had lessons in the mornings before breakfast, Martha always dreaded them, especially spelling. She would much rather be out playing than sitting inside learning how some words were not spelled the same was as they sounded.
Although these studies seemed like a waste of time then, later she would find that they would become quite useful.At the age of fifteen her mother was quite sure that she should learn to act like a lady and practice the etiquette of the day, she had began to help her mother with some of the chores around the house. It was also that same year that she was able to attend her first ball at Williamsburg. Young Martha Dandridge was extremely excited until she arrived at Williamsburg to find things quite different than what she expected and entered the ball to be terribly disappointed. She didn’t know any of the other young ladies, who seemed to all know each other well, and she hadn’t been prepared by the fashion of the day.
She had made her dress herself and though it was of fine material it wasn’t like that gowns imported from England that the other girls were wearing.She had not had her hair powdered like the rest of the girls, and she was completely miserable until she met Daniel Parke Custis. He seemed like an honest simple man in his thirties. He probably had an attraction to Martha’s simple nature and beauty, Martha was about five feet tall with dark eyes and dark hair, so he asked her to dance. Suddenly simple Martha Dandridge had become the belle of the ball; she was dancing with one of the richest bachelor’s in Virginia. After a few years Martha and Daniel began to see more of each other and there was talk of an engagement, but first Daniel had to send off for his fathers permission to do so.Although Daniel was a man twenty years older than Martha was he was still under the rule of his father who had become bitter by his marriage and was angry with Daniel for refusing to marry the girl that his father had wished him to. Daniel came back to Martha with a grim look and had decided to give up; he thought it no use to argue with his father.
His father was determined that he would not marry anyone that he didn’t approve of, especially Martha for she wasn’t even known; it was just impossible for his son to marry a nobody. Hurt, Martha went home to her mother in tears. She felt as if she wasn’t good enough for the old man. She loved Daniel and wanted more than anything to be with him and the only thing that was stopping them was his father. The man who was miserable in his marriage and apparently wanted Daniel to be just as miserable as he was.
Martha was scheduled to return back to New Kent that evening, but not if her mother and her cousin had anything to do with it. They had decided that Martha should stay two more weeks with her cousin Nat and his wife Dorthea, a very popular well known girl of the city. So for the next two weeks Martha and Dorthea went every morning to get their hair powdered and were gay with the other young ladies of the towns at parties, balls, and other social events that happen to come up.
Martha was soon known through the city as the lovely young girl from New Kent. Before too long this news reached old John Custis and he had convinced himself that maybe he had misjudged this girl. The only way to set it right was to go down and meet her himself, and that he did.One afternoon John Custis went to Williamsburg to see for himself what all the fuss was about and he found himself infront of the home of Nat and Dorthea to find a little young girl working in the garden. He stopped and chatted with her for a second and soon she found herself telling him about her gardens and her home back in New Kent.
Martha had made such an impression on this bitter old man that when he returned back to his home he sent out word immediately to his son for his permission for the marriage of the two. Martha and Daniel were over joyed at the news and so when Martha was eighteen she was married for the first time to the rich Daniel Custis. She was delightfully happy for the next for years, and she had even won the heart of her father-in-law, who was before the bitter old Custis gentleman. Daniel was in love with his new bride and he loved to see her happy, he pampered her with finery from England.He wanted to give her anything in the world that she wanted. Unfortunately the years were few; Daniel died after a brief illness when Martha was only twenty-six. She was left widowed with two children, Jacky who was three and Patsy who was less than a year old, and without a will she was also left with the running of their plantation; which alone held over seventeen thousand acres.
Martha was heartbroken and she swore then that her life was over, but slowly, she was back to her ways of working around the plantation and taking care of things to which she knew she had to do, with the help of friends and the love she had for her children. Without a master to run the plantation it soon suffered and was in great need for care that Martha was just not sure how to give.The slaves seemed to act up for her and the plantation soon became unprofitable, her …