In 1751, a young George Washington accompanied his half-brother Lawrence, who was stricken with consumption, to the West Indies, where they hoped the climate would be beneficial to his health. During their visit, however, George developed a severe case of small-pox which left him scarred for life. Lawrence died the following year, leaving George as heir of Mount Vernon, the family estate.
In October 1753, on the eve of the last French and Indian war, George Washington was chosen by Governor Robert Dinwiddie as the agent to warn the French away from their new posts on the Ohio, in western Pennsylvania. He accomplished the winter journey safely, though with considerable danger and hardship; and shortly after his return was appointed lieutenant-colonel of a Virginia regiment, under Colonel Joshua Fry. In April 1754 he set out with two companies for the Ohio, defeated (28th May) a force of French and Indians at Great Meadows (in the present Fayette county, Pennsylvania), but at Fort Necessity in this vicinity was forced to capitulate (3rd July), though only after a vigorous defence. For his services he received the thanks of the House of Burgesses. When General Edward Braddock arrived in Virginia in February 1755,Washington wrote him a diplomatically worded letter, and was presently made a member of the staff, with the rank of colonel. His personal relations with Braddock were friendly throughout, and in the calamitous defeat he showed for the first time that fiery energy which always lay hidden beneath his calm and unruffled exterior. He ranged the whole field on horseback, making himself the most conspicuous target for Indian bullets, and, in spite of what he called the dastardly behaviour of the regular troops, saved the expedition from annihilation, and brought the remnant of his Virginians out of action in fair order. In spite of his reckless exposure, he was one of the few unwounded officers. In August, after his return, he was commissioned commander of the Virginia forces, being then only twenty-three years old.
In 1775, after the violence at Lexington and Concord, the second Continental Congress resolved that the colonies ought to be put in a position of defense, and the first practical step was the unanimous selection in June 15, 1775, of George Washington as commander-in-chief of the armed forces of the United Colonies. Refusing any salary and asking only the reimbursement of his expenses, Washington accepted the position, asking every gentleman in the room, however, to remember his declaration that he did not believe himself to be equal to the command, and that he accepted it only as a duty made imperative by the unanimity of the call.
John Adams served as Vice President of the United States during George Washington's Presidency (1789-1797). After Washington refused to serve a third term, Adams was elected the second President of the United States (1797-1801). His son, John Quincy Adams, also became President (1825-1829).
George Washington suffered from toothaches for much of his adult life. At the age of 57, he finally had all of his teeth pulled, and from that point on he always wore false teeth. Although legend has it that these false teeth were carved from wood, they were actually carved from ivory and set in a silver plate.