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But in Washington's case, objective history more often than not takes a back seat to myth. His face adorns the dollar bill and the 25 cents coin.Across the modern US, 26 mountains are named after him, as well as 740 schools, a dozen colleges and universities, 155 towns and counties, various bridges, parks and forts; not to mention an entire state of the union and the very capital of the country he did so much to found.
Her action was understandable enough, to preserve her privacy and relationship with a man who by the end of his life had become America's first mega-celebrity, on whom the mantle of divinity was already descending.
By then he was an arresting figure, slender, exceptionally tall for the period at 6ft 2in, and an outstanding horseman.
However, most crucially for US history, he took over Lawrence's position as a major in Virginia's militia – again at the instigation of the Fairfax family.
Undeterred, the Fairfaxes gave him another job, as a surveyor on a trip to establish the boundaries of their vast estates in what was then America's inland wilderness.
In 1749, at the age of only 17, the future President gained his first public office, as a surveyor for Culpeper County.