Mary Ball Washington

George Washington's Mother

Mary Ball Washington was born in either 1708 or 1709 in Lancaster County, Virginia. She was the only child of Joseph Ball and his second wife, Mary Johnson. Her father died when Mary was 3 years old. Her mother remarried and young Mary’s step-father died a short time later.

Mary inherited considerable land, livestock, slaves, and possessions from her father and her step-father. When her mother died in 1721, Mary lived with her half-sister, and that same year her half-brother died and left her more land. By the time she was a young teen, Mary had inherited over 1,000 acres of land.

Mary Ball married Augustine Washington on March 6, 1731. The Washingtons lived at Popes Creek in the Northern Neck of Virginia where they had 3 children: George (1732), Betty (1733) and Samuel (1734).

In 1735, the family moved to Little Hunting Creek (later called Mount Vernon) and 2 more children were born: John Augustine (1736) and Charles (1738).

Three years later, the family moved to Ferry Farm in what was then King George County, Virginia (now Stafford County). Mary’s last child, a daughter named Mildred, was born soon after the move, but lived only a short time.

Mary was a typical gentry wife until 1743 when Augustine suddenly died, leaving her with a plantation to run and 5 young children.. Mary was faced with the decision to remarry or remain a widow. Either choice would impact her life and the lives of her children. Mary chose to operate the Washington farm and raise her children by herself.

She lived at Ferry Farm until 1772, when she moved to Fredericksburg, Virginia. She lived to see her son, George, lead the American Revolution and be elected as the country’s first president. She died in August of 1789 and was buried in Fredericksburg near Kenmore, the home of her daughter Betty. There is a monument erected in her honor at her grave site.

There are no paintings of Mary in existence so any image of her is conjectural. Here are two:

Mary says farewell to her son, George""

George Washington and his mother, Mary, at Ferry Farm

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