Mount Vernon’s Curt Viebranz on the Real George & Martha Washington

Grateful American™ TV Show co-hosts David Bruce Smith and Hope Katz Gibbs talked to Curt Viebranz, president and CEO of the Mt. Vernon Foundation, about the Real George and Martha Washington.

In this episode, you’ll learn:

1. At many points in his life, Washington was in danger — starting with being 17 and landing the job (thanks to William Fairfax) as a surveyor.

2. That as a surveyor, Washington earned more than many of the lawyers of the time.

3. Washington was a savvy businessman, perhaps the savviest of all the Founding Fathers. For instance, he had a very successful fishing business — one year harvesting more than 1.3 million herring. He also had a successful whiskey operation.

4. He knew the importance of investing in a family home like Mount Vernon, which was originally built by his half-brother. After his early death, Washington bought it from his brother’s widow Anne Fairfax.

5. Washington continued to add on to the home throughout his life, even when he was at Valley Forge, and later when he was president. But he spent many years away from the plantation while he was President. Who did he entrust to take care of such a big and important project?

6. Similar to his fellow founding father Thomas Jefferson, Washington had an extensive garden and grew quite a number of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and flowers.

7. Unfortunately, Washington had a bad set of teeth. His dentures are in fact on display at Mount Vernon, as is Martha’s wedding dress and shoes — which are tinier than you might expect.

8. What about Washington’s relationship with Martha? While many of us think of her as an older, matronly woman — the portrait you have of her here shows her as being quite lovely as a young woman. How did they come to meet? And what do we know about their love affair?

Find out about all of that and more in this episode of the Grateful American ™ TV Show.