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Washington Slept Here

A look at the first president's "best bed" leads to a recollection of the real man and his exemplary life

George Washington died at age 67 in the big family bed on the second floor at Mount Vernon, on December 14, 1799. He was exhausted; a sudden inflammation of the throat stopped his breathing. At Mount Vernon, you can see the room as it was, complete with blood-letting implements and bloody rags. "'Tis well," he whispered as he died, perhaps thinking of a lifetime of effort, perhaps merely that the hours of pain were over. Martha died just two years later. She had never slept in that bed again.

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