Highlights from Previous Speakers
March 4, 2014: Carol Spacht
General’s Wife and President’s Lady
Carol Spacht’s interpretation of Martha Washington was a delight! From her first words, the diminutive visitor from the 18th century held the attention of the capacity crowd with her informative and fun presentation. Not only did Mrs. Washington share her experiences as a general’s wife and president’s lady, but she also invited several children in the audience forward to help demonstrate familiar Washington myths – like Washington cutting down the cherry tree, for example. Mrs. Washington’s Friday night levees were acted out by several adults in the audience, too. What a glorious, memorable evening!
From Martha Washington we learned that:
- Martha Dandridge married Daniel Parke Custis, who was twenty years older than she, when she was a teenager.
- Daniel Parke Custis’ father objected to the marriage – until he spoke with Martha.
- Martha and Daniel Custis had four children; two died at an early age.
- Daniel himself died suddenly after seven years of marriage, leaving Martha a very wealthy woman.
- Martha’s children were four and two when their mother married Colonel George Washington on January 6, 1759.
- Tall George Washington fondly said his short wife was “five buttons high.”
- Martha Custis Washington was eight months older than George Washington; still she called him “her old man.”
- Martha traveled to all eight of the winter encampments during the American Revolution.
- A souvenir of Washington’s first inaugural was a fan printed with a profile of George Washington.
- President Washington spent $200.00 a year on hairdressers for himself.
- “His Highness Most Serene” was a suggested title for the first President of the United States of America.
- “Our Presidentress” was suggested as a title for the first First Lady.
- You were welcome to Lady Washington’s Friday night levees, held when her husband became President, as long as you were properly dressed.
- “Our happiness depends, not on our circumstance, but on our attitude” was a favorite saying of Martha Washington’s.