Washington is the only president that never lived in the “Presidential Mansion”
that we now know as the “White House” in Washington DC - which was originally
named “The Federal City”. The White House was completed enough for a residency
in November of 1800, a year after our first President died. Washington did
however, often discuss the plans for “Federal City” and the “Presidential
Mansion” as their construction processes were being considered and initiated
prior to his death.
days before Washington expired he spent about five hours riding horseback
through the cold December air of his Mount Vernon estate. Apparently a virulent
bacterial infection concentrated in his respiratory system would bring his
death two days later on December 14, 1899. His last day on earth was
of the little known facts about Mr. Washington’s death occurred on the last day
of his life. As incredible as it seems, it has been well documented that George
Washington was baptized into the Roman Catholic faith just a few hours prior to
his death by a Jesuit priest named Father Leonard Neale.
This account is confirmed in many of Washington’s slaves memoirs and by several
official documents of the colonial Roman Catholic Church in America. The
historical account has been issued many times in the last two centuries by
public newspapers and also in both national and international Roman Catholic
December 18, 1799 Washington’s funeral was held completely at his Mount Vernon
estate. Four members of the clergy, his immediate family, his closest friends
and neighbors and many of the Freemasons from his local lodge joined the brief
procession to the appointed grave site. A clergyman gave a short speech, and
the Freemasons performed their rites. The infantry then fired three volleys of
musketry – eleven artillery pieces discharged, and Washington,
commander-in-chief of the United States Army was laid to rest.
days later on December 26, 1799 the United States would host a public memorial
service in its then capitol – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Some ten thousand
people lined the streets along the procession route to watch the various
governmental dignitaries, including Alexander Hamilton as they led an empty
flag draped coffin to the German Lutheran Church which was chosen because it
had the largest seating capacity of any church in the city.
Episcopalian Bishop in Philadelphia presided over the service. However, the
only memorable quote that was uttered came from the 25 minute eulogy rendered
by Virginian congressman Henry Lee. Lee declared that George Washington had
been “first in war, first in peace and first in the hearts of his country.”
and Martha are entombed side by side in an open faced gated mausoleum on the
Mount Vernon Estate. At one point years after his death when the Nation’s
Capitol building was being built, it was suggested that Washington should be
buried beneath the floor of the great rotunda in that structure. This proposal
was promptly rejected by Washington’s heirs who continued to live at the Mount
Vernon estate at that time.
his death, congress adopted a resolution. It said Washington was a citizen
first in war, first in peace and first in the hearts of his countrymen.
Mr. Washington had lived a life that was appreciated by his family, his
friends, his Nation and all of us who look back in history and realize the
values that he put in place.
the rotunda of the Capitol Building in Washington DC is a large panoramic
fresco painted by an Italian artist named Constantino Brumidi. The Apotheosis
of Washington is Brumidi’s best-known work and was completed in 1865. It
depicts George Washington rising to heaven flanked by the goddess Liberty to
his right, and the goddess Victory to his left.
painting, like Washington’s own spiritual projections, makes him out to be
almost a saint. While many secular historians have referred to him as a type of
a patron saint of all American patriots, it must be noted that this reference
to sainthood has nothing to do with the culture of Biblical and Christian
leaders often canonized in various branches and denominations of Christianity
as saints. In fact the more conservative side of Christianity quietly
categorizes paintings like Brumidi’s as somewhat blasphemous to the Christian
community of saints.
is in these serious facts and opinions that have previously been presented, that
we must note that George Washington must be evaluated as a historical figure
that played very strongly into the formation of our Nation and the
establishment of the office of the President. To historians he is a generally
considered to be a man of integrity, character and exemplary moral fiber. To
various and many religious sects and their leaders Washington may obviously be
somewhat of a chameleonic mystery. His spiritual beliefs were well disguised in
his personal practices, his correspondences and other communications, and even
eventually as he postured himself for mortal death. George Washington was a
very unique leader who often withdrew emotionally and spiritually into a world
we have no record of. Those who interacted with him had obvious opinions as to
who he actually was, both spiritually and psychologically.
questions about George Washington are still rendered by those who examine his
life closely. Did he accomplish as much as those who have come to know him
throughout the course of American history think he did? Was he the genuine
leader that he portrayed in his military decisions and his personal lifestyle?
What were the genuine spiritual and religious values that motivated him
throughout his life? Was he almost a saint of the Revolutionary War or have we
just chose to make him out to be that?
one may come to about Mr.
Washington, we all can be thankful that he was a part of the founding fathers
of this great land we live in. Though we may never know all of the quiet
nuances of his life we can always remember the contributions he yielded to the
formation of that new republic we now know as the United States of
Peter R. Realistic Visionary: A Portrait
of George Washington (University of Virginia Press, 2006 ) p.192
Christian J. The Hidden Faith of the
Founding Fathers (Adullam Films, 2010) DVD
 Lengel, Edward
G. General George Washington : A Military Life (New York, Random House
 Ferling, John The Ascent of George Washington (New
York, Bloomsbury Press, 2009) p.4
 Bianco, John The Story of America (Chicago, Illinois,
Questar Inc. 2013) DVD
the Lost Symbol (New York, Berkley Books,2009) p. 14