On December 14, 1799, George Washington breathed his last breath. He knew he was dying, yet even in his weakness, he was thoughtful of others. Washington wasn't a perfect man, and we don't need to entertain the idea that he was, but he often sets an example that others in our nation can follow.
The following quotations and links are from Mount Vernon's website. Choose one area that you would like to research and report to the class about. When groups choose different sections and report about them, we should get a complete picture of George Washington's death and funeral.
Between ten and eleven at night on December 14, 1799, George Washington passed away. He was surrounded by people who were close to him including his wife who sat at the foot of the bed, his friends Dr. Craik and Tobias Lear, housemaids Caroline, Molly, and Charlotte, and his valet Christopher Sheels who stood in the room throughout the day.
For more, read The Death of George Washington.
On December 13, 1799, Craik was summoned to Mount Vernon to attend to a gravely ill Washington. Serving with two other doctors, Craik repeatedly attempted to cure what ailed the sickly former president. Washington passed away the next day, despite the best efforts of his long time friend and physician.
Find out more about the doctor, James Craik.
On the eve of his death on December 14, 1799, the gravely ill George Washington asked his wife Martha to bring him the two versions of his will. After reviewing them, Washington had one thrown in the fire and asked Martha to safeguard the other. Washington's will provides significant insight into his life, deeply held beliefs, and affections for family and friends.
Read more about George Washington's Will.
"First in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen." These famous words about George Washington come from a eulogy written by Henry “Light Horse Harry” Lee. Lee was a major general in the Continental Army, member of the Continental Congress, governor of Virginia, father of the famous Civil War general Robert E. Lee, and close friend of George Washington.
Read more about the eulogy for George Washington.
''Within this Enclosure Rest the remains of Gen.l George Washington." This is the brief legend inscribed on a stone tablet over the entrance to the tomb vault at Mount Vernon.
In 1999, several watched as people reenacted the funeral of George Washington. The ceremony, held on the 200th anniversary of the real funeral, was aired live on C-SPAN. The whole video below is nearly three and a half hours.