5 Things You Didn't Know About George Washington

On April 30, 1789, George Washington was sworn in as the first American president and delivered the first inaugural speech at Federal Hall in New York City. Here are 5 things we bet you didn't know about George Washington...


He Has Two Birthdays Have you ever Googled George Washington? You may have noticed that he often has two birthdays listed. Believe it or not, both dates are actually correct. Here's why. George Washington was born in Virginia on February 11, 1731, according to the then-used Julian calendar. In 1752, however, Britain and all its colonies adopted the Gregorian calendar which moved Washington's birthday a year and 11 days to February 22, 1732.

That Cherry Tree Story? It's a Myth If you know anything about George Washington, you probably know the story of him supposedly chopping down his father's cherry tree and coming clean about it.  It is totally false. The myth was invented by one of Washington’s first biographers, Mason Locke Weems, in The Life and Memorable Actions of Washington. The tall tale first appeared in the book’s fifth edition, published in 1806. Its purpose was to paint Washington as a role model for young Americans, proving that the man's public greatness was due to his private virtues (honesty, courage, etc.). In 1836, the story was recast as a children’s story.


He Racked Up a $300,000 Fine On October 5, 1789,  some five months into his presidency, Washington checked out two books from the New York Society Library: Law of Nations and Volume 12 of Common Debates. An apparently excited librarian marked his name down as “The President” in the ledger, told him to return the books before November 2nd. Washington never came back, though, and his late fees kept building up. In 2010, Washington’s Mount Vernon estate ordered copies of the books online and sent them to the library. By then, Washington had technically accrued a record-setting late fee of more than $300,000.

He Will Always Hold The Highest Rank in The U.S. Military No one in any military branch can outrank George. This is because, in 1976, a resolution was passed by Congress for the posthumous appointment of Washington to the grade of General of the Armies of The United States. Basically, he is the general of all military branches the US has, and no one has a rank higher than this or can achieve the same rank. This was done out of honor for our first president. 

He Created His Own Dog Breed George Washington loved dogs and fox hunting, so it was only natural for him to want to breed the perfect foxhound. He began to crossbreed big French hounds with his own black and tan hounds to create a new breed of hound. Today, the American Kennel Club recognizes our first president as the founder of the American foxhound. He owned 36 of these pups, and gave them unusually mushy names like True Love, Sweet Lips, Venus, and Tipsy.