At his estate Mount Vernon he owned a large house and a plantation, which were, of course, tended by slaves. In his will, Washington provided for all of his slaves to be freed, but only upon the death of his widow Martha.
First U.S. President George Washington died on this day in 1799, two years after he voluntarily retired. He, in fact, could have become the president for the third term, but decided to retire after serving his second term. Today this voluntary retirement is taken as an example of republicanism and a good role model for the current restriction according to which the presidents of the United States may serve a maximum of two terms.
Washington, after retiring, retreated to his estate Mount Vernon, along the Potomac River, not far from the U.S. capital Washington, which is, after all, named after him. On this estate he owned a large house and a plantation, which were, of course, tended by slaves (at the time of Washington’s death as many as 316 slaves lived at the estate). In his will, Washington provided for all of his slaves to be freed, but only upon the death of his widow Martha.
Most likely, Washington died of a disease that developed after he, in this winter time, rode across his estate inspecting his plantation, in snow, hail, and freezing rain. When he came home, he ate dinner without changing from his wet clothes. The next morning he had a sore throat. The disease worsened, and he was treated according to the then usual practice – bloodletting. He died in the evening on this da, and was buried at his Mount Vernon property.