Washington's leadership was rewarded with shares in both the Potomac Company and the James River Company. Rather than reap the potential profits, he decided to use the shares to advance education.
The Potomac project failed, dooming Washington's dream of a national university. The James River canal, shown here in 1865, had been surveyed and planned by Washington himself. The project repeatedly went broke and the canal was never finished. After the Civil War much of the completed portion was filled in to become the road bed for trains.