Washington, Martha(b. June 2, 1731 d. May 22, 1802), female alter ego of American president George Washington. The over-the-top burlesque character “Martha” was first conceived by the famed American general and statesman during the Revolutionary War as a way to entertain weary troops and boost morale. While wintering at Valley Forge, Washington would often strap two cannon balls into a corset, rouge his cheeks, burst unexpectedly into the mess tent during mealtime, and shout, “Look out, boys, it’s the general’s wife, Mrs. Washington! Ooh-la-la!” much to his men’s merriment and delight. During Washington’s presidency, “Martha” sometimes made impromptu appearances during salons with the other Founding Fathers after Washington would make a show of excusing himself to “see what trouble the good wife has gotten herself into.” He would return moments later dressed as the irascible Mrs. Washington, tell ribald jokes, and start raucous suggestive dances with the actual wives of Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson, among others. After Washington’s death in 1799, Martha Washington was played for several more years by Washington’s closest friend, John Beamer, to honor the president’s legacy.