Tag Archives: Martha Washington

Martha Washington’s Cure for Respiratory Ills

Indian Turnip

     One of the duties of the mistress of the home was to treat the injuries and illnesses of the household.  Martha Custis Washington was known for her proficiency as a household manager.  As a young widow with children, she even managed the business dealings of her plantations which was uncommon for the time.  Although she didn’t want to leave Mount Vernon to move to New York to become the first First Lady, she supported her husband (as she always had) and was a gracious hostess to all.  Check out her recipe for respiratory illnesses.

     Take the wild or Indian Turnip when it is in blossom or has the fruit on it, wash and cut it in thin slices Run a thread thro it, and hang it in the chimney corner to dry quickly but do not let the fire come to it – when it is very dry power it in a mortar – the potion to take as much as will lay on the point of a knife when the difficulty of breathing or coughing come on make it in to a bolus with honey – it may be repeated as often as the stomack will bear till it gives ease.

For more information:   http://marthawashington.us/items/browse?tags=medicine

Tomorrow, George Washington in his own words on the right to carry and when weapons should be used.  Rita Bay


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George Washington’s Love Letter

George Washington

   After a whirlwind courtship,  on January 6, 1759 George Washington—a handsome man who stood 6’3”—married the wealthy widow Martha Custis who was only five feet tall.  She had been widowed about six months when she met George in March, 1758.  George returned to his military post after three weeks but within months Martha ordered her wedding clothes from London.   She wore a yellow brocade dress with royal purple silk slippers trimmed with sparkling sequins and silver metallic lace. 

Martha Washington

     Portraits from their youth challenge the traditional picture of George as a solemn statesman and Martha as a dumpy, gray-haired matron.  The engraving of Martha is from the “Recollections and Private Memoirs of Washington by his Adopted Son George Washington Parke Custis,” New York, 1860.  Charles Wilson Peale’s portrait is the earliest known portrait of Washington.  Painted in 1772, George was about 40 years old and a colonel in the Virginia militia.

George & Martha?

  During their courtship, Washington wrote:  “Fort Cumberland, July 20, 1758, We have begun our march to the Ohio. A courier is starting for Williamsburg, and i embrace the opportunity to send a few words to one whose life is now inseparable from mine. Since that happy hour when we made our pledges to each other, my thoughts have been continually going to you as to another Self. That All-powerful Providence may keep us both in safety is the prayer of your faithful and ever affectionate friend, G. Washington.”

     George Washington called Martha “My dearest.” She called him “My love.”  When George died in 1799, Martha said “Tis well …. All is now over. I shall soon follow him! I have no more trials to pass through!”  Martha closed the bedroom they had shared and never entered it or George’s study again. She destroyed their love letters except for the two fallen behind the drawer.  She spent the rest of her life in a room on the third floor of their estate awaiting death which came in 1802.

            The portrait of the couple together is only a whimsical representation copied from the internet with no citation. Any ideas?


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Rita Bay’s Blog Launches February 1st

     Rita Bay’s Blog will feature daily posts on history and culture that you won’t read about in a history book.  The post titles–Sunday’s Storytellers, Monday’s Myths & Legends. Tuesday’s Gems, Wednesday’s Worthy Words, Thursday’s Risque Ripostes & Prurient Pics, Friday’s Medicine & Magic, and Saturday’s Seconds –tell part of the story.  This February, we salute the Presidents–Washington, Jefferson, Jackson, and Lincoln.  In March, we salute Americana.

     I’ll write about myths and legends and the people who tell them, the words and deeds that have changed the course of history or insulted or titillated nations, how people and cultures lived and loved and died, and how wars were waged and the weapons the warriors wielded.  Patriots and presidents, pirates and philsophers, Celtic warriors and Viking berserkers, kings and their mistresses, and druids and dragons will fill my pages.  Check out the February Salute to President’s page to review the posts scheduled for the month as we salute the Presidents.  Read about me on the About Rita page and about the daily posts on the About Rita’s Blog page. 

     As a romance writer, I’m working on a couple of novellas (Devil’s Angel, a paranormal Regency romance, and For Want of a Woman , a futuristic paranormal romance with steampunk elements) and editing my completed Georgian and Regency historicals.  Read excerpts of these and my other stories at ritabay.com.  Each Monday, I blog with the Sizzlers at Southern Sizzle Romance on Moonday’s Heroic Hunk in History. Check it out at http://southernsizzleromance.wordpress.com/.  Rita Bay

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