Have a safe and enjoyable Washington's Birthday
Posted on
February 20, 2018
Washington's Birthday is a U.S. federal holiday that honors George Washington.

The Certification Magazine home office is closed today in honor of the U.S. holiday of Washington’s Birthday. We’ll be back tomorrow (Feb. 20), with more of the all-around IT certification goodness that you crave. Until then, please enjoy the following quiz in honor of the Pride of Mount Vernon. (Here comes the general!)

1) Wait, what? Isn’t the holiday we celebrate on the third Monday in February called Presidents Day?

2) Did George Washington ever encounter the notorious British militia commander Conotocaurious?

3) True or False: George Washington inherited the plantation estate of Mount Vernon upon the death of his father, Augustine.

4) What was the first public office held by George Washington?

5) How many horses did George Washington use in the Battle of the Monogahela during the French and Indian War?

6) How much older than George Washington was the wealthy widow Martha Dandridge Custis at the time of their marriage in 1759?

7) Wasn’t George Washington in love with another woman when he married Martha Custis?

8) Who appointed George Washington Commander in Chief of the Continental Army in 1775?

9) What was the Culper Ring, established by General George Washington in 1778?

10) Who wrote the letter that became known as George Washington’s Farewell Address?


1) No. The holiday so designated by an act of Congress in 1879 is formally known as Washington’s Birthday, in honor of the first U.S. president, George Washington. Presidents Day is an informal designation that took hold in the 1980s. Legislation that would have changed the name of the holiday from Washington’s Birthday to Presidents Day was proposed, but never put to a vote, in 1968.

2) Trick question! George Washington was the notorious British militia commander Conotocaurious. The name, an Algonquian appellation that means “Town Destroyer,” was first bestowed on Washington’s great-grandfather, John Washington, and later given to Washington himself during the French and Indian War.

3) False. When Augustine died, George Washington inherited Ferry Farm. His brother, Lawrence, inherited a plantation at Little Hunting Creek on the Potomac River, which he later named Mount Vernon in honor of Vice Admiral Edward Vernon of the British Navy. George inherited Mount Vernon after Lawrence died of tuberculosis in 1752.

4) Washington became a surveyor at age 17, after have informally apprenticed with George Fairfax the previous year. Shortly after embarking into the field, he was appointed official surveyor of Virginia’s Culpeper County through the influence of brother Lawrence Washington.

5) At least two. After the ranking British officer at the battle, General Edward Braddock, was gravely wounded in the fighting, Washington rallied the British forces into an organized retreat, dashing to and fro across the battlefield. Twice in the course of his heroics, the horse he was riding was shot and killed by enemy combatants.

Washington's Birthday is a U.S. federal holiday that honors George Washington.

6) Martha Custis, a widow and mother of four children (two were still living in 1759), was roughly 16 months older than George Washington. At the time of the marriage, George was 26, about to turn 27, and Martha was 27, about to turn 28. Custis had inherited a large fortune upon the death of her first husband (when she was 25), and Washington’s wealth and social standing were greatly increased via the marriage.

7) Most likely. Washington was deeply infatuated for a time with Sally Fairfax, wife of his friend and mentor George Fairfax. After Washington’s marriage, the Fairafaxes remained goods friends of the Washingtons and were frequent visitors at Mount Vernon until moving to England in 1773.

8) Washington’s appointment was legislated by the Continental Congress, following a formal nomination from John Adams.

9) A military espionage organization commanded by Major Benjamin Tallmadge — and frequently given direct instructions by Washington himself — the Culper Ring is especially notable for uncovering the treachery of Benedict Arnold.

10) An early draft of the letter was put together by James Madison in 1792. Washington revised the letter with assistance from Alexander Hamilton in 1796, shortly before the close of his second term in office as President of the United States.

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Certification Magazine was launched in 1999 and remained in print until mid-2008. Publication was restarted on a quarterly basis in February 2014. Subscribe to CertMag here.

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