In 1749, Martha Dandridge married Daniel Parke Custis, the wealthiest planter in the Virginia colony. Seven years and four children later, she was a very wealthy widow. She married George Washington in 1759, pulling him upward in Virginia's social and economic strata. Martha was viewed by contemporaries as a quiet, reserved woman capable of managing an estate, a comfortable fit for an ambitious planter.
She contributed to her husband's climb to national leadership in numerous ways. During the Revolutionary War, Martha stayed with her husband in the army's winter encampment; she was a great comfort to George and a major factor in his being able to keep the army intact. She was also, along with her husband, influential in setting the atmosphere and tone of the presidency, which was of critical importance to the new republic.