previous next

Washington, Mary 1706-1659

Mother of George Washington. She is believed to have been a lineal descendant of John Ball, the medieval champion of the rights of man, who was executed at Coventry in the year 1381 for participating in Wat Tyler's rebellion. Col. William Ball, a native of Kent, came from England with his family about the year 1650, and settled in Lancaster county, Va., 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 Gov. 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 (Jan. 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 Capt. Christopher Brooks, god-fathers, and Mrs. Mildred Gregory, god-mother.”

Early in April, 1743, Augustine Wash- [189]

Mary Washington (from an old print).

ington rode several hours in a cold rainstorm, 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 settied for life not far from his mother, where she might enjoy his society and

Mary Washington's signature.

consult with him about her affairs, was a great comfort.

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 [190] her death, Aug. 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,

Monument in memory of Mary Washington at Fredericksburg, Va.

and carries the following inscription: “Mary, the Mother of Washington. Erected by her Countrywomen.”

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide People (automatically extracted)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
1706 AD (2)
1659 AD (2)
1894 AD (1)
August 25th, 1789 AD (1)
April, 1743 AD (1)
February 11th, 1731 AD (1)
1730 AD (1)
January 14th, 1728 AD (1)
1650 AD (1)
1381 AD (1)
April 3rd (1)
12th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: