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Mary Washington (Ball)

Also Known As: "Mary Washington (Mrs Augustine Washington)", "The First First Lady"
Birthplace: Epping Forest, Lancaster, Virginia, United States
Death: August 25, 1789 (80)
Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania, Virginia, United States (Breast Cancer)
Place of Burial: Kenmore, Virginia, United States
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Colonel Joseph Ball, of "Epping Forest" and Mary Hewes
Wife of Augustine Washington, Sr.
Mother of George Washington, 1st President of the United States; Elizabeth 'Betty' Lewis; Col. Samuel Washington; John Augustine Washington; Col. Charles Washington and 1 other
Half sister of John Johnson; Eliza Johnson; Frances Carter; Hannah Pearson; Elizabeth Carnegie and 3 others

Occupation: Mother of George Washington, Farmer
Cancer Documentation: "Diary Entry, 27 April 1787," George Washington Papers, Library of Congress.
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Mary Washington

A Patriot of the American Revolution for VIRGINIA. DAR Ancestor #: A121971

Mary Ball was the mother of President George Washington. The father of our country.

Mary Ball Washington

Mary Ball Washington was born as Mary Ball in 1708 in Lancaster County, Virginia, British America. She was the only child of Joseph Ball and his second wife, the widow Mary Johnson [1].

Mary Ball met Augustine Washington and they married in 1730. It was her first marriage and his second. Augustine had four children with his first wife, Jane Butler Washington however, only 2 of them lived to adulthood.

Together, Mary Ball and Augustine Washington had the following children:

  1. George - (1732-1799)
  2. Betty - (1733-1797)
  3. Samuel - (1734-1781)
  4. John Augustine - (1736-1787)
  5. Charles - (1738-1799)
  6. Mildred - (1739-1740)

Augustine died in 1743. Unlike most widows in Virginia at the time, Mary Ball Washington never remarried. She lived to see her son, George Washington, inaugurated as President in 1789. She died four months later.

Mary Ball Washington was buried on the Lewis Plantation a few steps from "Meditation Rock." Tradition has it that this was her favorite retreat for reading, prayer, and meditation.


There are many monuments to Mary Ball Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia, where she lived from 1772 until her death in 1789.

The house purchased for her by her son George has been preserved by APVA Preservation Virginia and is open to the public as a historic house museum. It contains a fine collection of antique furnishings, some with Washington family provenance.

Mary Ball Washington is buried near Kenmore, the former home of her daughter and son-in-law Fielding and Betty Lewis. Kenmore is also open regularly for public tours.

A monument to Mary Ball Washington was erected in 1833 and dedicated by President Andrew Jackson. But was left unfinished until a new one was dedicated by President Grover Cleveland in 1894. [2]

The University of Mary Washington, a public university in Fredericksburg, Virginia, was also named after Mary Washington.

Washington's relationship with his mother was forever strained. Although she was by no means poor, she regularly complained to outsiders that she was destitute and neglected by her children, much to George's embarrassment. Animosity between mother and son persisted until her death from cancer in the first year of his presidency.

The Mary Ball Washington Museum and Library is a museum and historical archive in the Northern Neck of The Chesapeake Bay, Virginia. Its purpose is to preserve the history of Lancaster County, Virginia. It opened in 1958 and was named in honor of George Washington's mother, Mary Ball, a Lancaster County, Virginia native and granddaughter of the ca 1653 emigrant, William Ball I.

The Library has an extensive collection of books and genealogical research material dating back to 1651, covering some 350 years of history in Lancaster County in particular and the Northern Neck in general, as well as Middlesex and Essex counties. It contains approximately 10,000 books, periodicals and manuscripts concerning Virginia and the Northern Neck, as well as research material on adjoining states. The Museum seeks to recapture the stories and the rich history of the people of The Northern Neck.

The museum and library are open to the public, who may tour the historic buildings, view exhibits, participate in educational programs and trace family histories.

In addition to the museum and library, the five building complex, located in the Lancaster Courthouse Historic District, includes the Old Jail (1820), Clerk's Office (c. 1797), Lancaster House and the Steuart Blakemore Building (c.1900).

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Mary Washington's Timeline

November 30, 1708
Epping Forest, Lancaster, Virginia, United States
February 22, 1732
Popes Creek, Westmoreland County, Virginia Colony, British Colonial America
June 20, 1733
Pope's Creek, Wakefield, Westmoreland County, Virginia, British Colonial America
November 16, 1734
Wakefield, Westmoreland County, Virginia, Colonial America
January 13, 1736
Wakefield, Westmoreland, Virginia, United States
May 2, 1738
Hunting Creek, Stafford, Virginia
June 21, 1739
Wakefield Corner, Westmoreland County, Virginia, United States
August 25, 1789
Age 80
Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania, Virginia, United States
August 1789
Age 80
Bridges Creek Washington Family Cemetery, Kenmore, Virginia, United States