|Title||Martha Dandridge (Custis) Washington|
|Collection||First Lady Dolls|
Martha Dandridge (Custis) Washington (1731-1802)
Wife of George Washington
First Lady from 1789 to 1797
Martha Dandridge (Custis) Washington was born on the Chestnut Grove Plantation in New Kent County, Virginia on June 2, 1731. Although there are no surviving records, tradition describes her as a smaller woman, less than five feet tall with dark brown hair. She was fiercely dedicated to her country and served in a myriad of ways.
In 1750 and at the youthful age of 19, Martha married Daniel Parke Custis. Together they resided at a mansion known as the "White House," on the Pumunkey River in Virginia. Daniel Custis was 20 years older than Martha; he passed away in 1757, leaving Martha behind as a widow and mother of two children at age 26. In 1759, she married a second time to Colonel George Washington.
During the American Revolution, she assumed the prominent role as caretaker for her husband along with countless other soldiers. Throughout the famously astringent winter spent at Valley Forge she gave herself the responsibility of tending to the soldiers. Her ultimate dedication to the welfare of the soldiers during the American Revolutionary War would remain permanent throughout her life. In appreciation, American servicemen addressed her as "Lady Washington."
Martha Washington became the First Lady of the United States of America on April 30, 1789 at age 57 and continued until March 4, 1797. Her first eight years as the First Lady were extremely troublesome to her personally, but she viewed it as her obligation to her husband and her country.
Martha died three years after President Washington, on May 22, 1802 at age 70 at Mount Vernon, Virginia. Her death was national news that spread quickly. As the First Lady, Martha was forever iconized in numerous forms of remembrance alongside the image of her husband. Among the various engravings and illustrations created to honor and celebrate the life of George Washington, his wife was almost always portrayed with him. She was also the first historical woman figure to be illustrated by the federal government on postage stamps and currency.
|Event||Bicentennial First Lady Doll Exhibit - Community Project|
|Creator||Park, Phyllis Juhlin|
|Costume||Costume by Helen Dorsey Bennett|
|Given||Given by Marguerite Maughan Colton|
|Source||Uintah County Library|