As of 2015, a deceased person can leave gifts to other individuals upon their death, worth up to $5.43 million free from federal estate tax. But for some descendants of George Washington, they weren’t so lucky. Until now.
Ever since the historic figure’s death, the founding father’s family has evaded rumors concerning biracial members of their family tree. These descendants come from his step-grandson, who was said to have fathered illegitimate children with Washington’s slaves on his Mount Vernon plantation.
While Washington and his wife Martha did not have any biological children together, the president adopted his wife’s grandchildren from a previous marriage and raised them as their own. The son, George Washington “Wash” Parke Curtis was raised on the Mount Vernon estate, which was home to over 100 slaves.
Even though Wash married Mary Fitzhug, he was known to have had children with two slaves, Arianna Carter and Caroline Branham. For generations, these couplings have fueled the rumor mill, and the National Parks Service along with the nonprofit that runs Washington’s Mount Vernon estate has set out to fix this.
As slaves back in the time of Washington were not considered to be American citizens, it was — to say the least — quite a scandal for these biracial children to be considered part of America’s first family. But, these two organizations have officially added exhibits to Washington’s estate to give these members the recognition they deserve.
No DNA evidence has been used to back up the claims, but these researchers believe they have enough evidence from historical documents. They’re also unsure that the surviving descendants would be willing to submit to a DNA test and would like to respect their privacy.
This move of official recognition is a push to unveil earlier moments of African American slave history that often goes ignored.
“There is no more pushing this history to the side,” Matthew Penrod, a National Park Service ranger explained, as reported to The Christian Science Monitor.
This move also opens up questions about slave life at Mount Vernon under Washington’s reign. The president was known to be strict — a slave owner driven by efficiency — but also relaxed in some other ways of life. Case in point, he advocated hemp.
It was this love for marijuana that inspired Colorado beer drinkers to develop a cannabis-infused drink named after the president. Nationwide, the craft beer market is worth $19.6 billion, but that may change with this brand new craft beer that gives a whole new meaning to the legalization of marijuana.
Dads and Dudes Breweria in Aurora, C.O. just received approval from the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau to sell its George Washington’s Secret Stash IPA Brew in all 50 states.
The drink contains cannabinoids, but not the element THC.
“Cannabinoids are a miracle compound, and I thought it would be a responsible choice to put them into beer,” explains Dad and Dudes co-owner Mason Hembree. “They are an antioxidant and neuro-protectant that have a lot of health benefits.”
For Hembree, the decision to add cannabinoids into the drink is not to make the consumer high, but to introduce them to hemp’s medical benefits. The owners of Dads and Dudes believe the plant should be legalized nationwide, but for now, they’re concentrating their sales in Colorado, a state that’s legalized cannabis for recreational use.
The beer’s label is a nod to George Washington’s love for hemp, as he was known to regularly smoke the marijuana he grew on his Mount Vernon farm. Hembree goes on to explain to Men’s Journal, “He was a rebel leader, and this beer is a rebellious idea.”
For those interested, the beer comes as an IPA, a double IPA, a cream ale, and a Berliner Weiss.