Skip to comments.Guide to American Presidents GEORGE WASHINGTON 1732-99 [GW's English Ancestry]
Posted on 06/18/2013 8:25:00 PM PDT by Pharmboy
1st PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1789-97
FAMILY ESSAY "Washington came of very good blood - aw, quite good - I b'lieve."
Attributed by his classmates to Amory Blaine in F. Scott Fitzgerald's This Side of Paradise.
The Washingtons are of unusual antiquity in European terms, let alone American ones. A direct male ancestry has been traced back to William de Wessington or Wessyngton (i.e., Washington, a town in Tyne and Wear, formerly County Durham, in northern England), who was living in the late 12th century. The remoter ancestry is not absolutely certain but a detailed argument has been put forward for William de Wessington's descent in the male line from Eochu Mugmedon, High King of Ireland in the mid-4th century, through his son Niall of the Nine Hostages. Niall reigned as King of Ireland at a time when the Romans had not yet gone home to Italy from across the water in Britain. Indeed he may have been the Irish king who waged war on Stilicho, father-in-law of the Emperor Honorius who was the last Roman ruler of Britain. From Eochu and Niall descend the O'Neills, the oldest family traceable in the male line in Europe. If the link between William de Wessington and Eochu is accepted, it makes Washington the first of many American Presidents with direct male line Irish ancestry, though he must have been the only one not to boast about it to win votes.
In 1264 William de Wessington's grandson (or conceivably son) Sir Walter de Washington fought on King Henry III's side against Simon de Montfort at the battle of Lewes, where he was killed. So far George Washington's ancestors had been the senior male line, but after Sir Walter's son they descend through a junior branch. This branch seems to have maintained the family loyalty to the kings of England. Robert, Sir Walter's grandson, chose as his wife Joan de Stirkeland, a member of a north country family who have supplied several sheriffs of their county, a deputy lieutenant of their county, the bearer of the banner of St George at the Battle of Agincourt during the Hundred Years War against the French and a leader of a royalist infantry regiment at the Battle of Edgehill in the Civil War of the 17th century.
Despite their marrying several heiresses this junior branch of Washingtons could not arrest the decline over the next two centuries of their own younger sons - and George Washington's recent ancestors descended from a younger branch of a younger branch. By the mid-16th century this junior branch of Washingtons was settled at Sulgrave in the English Midland county of Northamptonshire. Even now they enjoyed the status of lesser gentry (Robert Washington in 1584 inherited 1,250 acres, a respectable property). George Washington, however, descends from a fifth son of Lawrence Washington, who predeceased his father, the Robert who had inherited 1,250 acres, after having sold the bulk of the estate at Sulgrave in 1605, perhaps under some financial pressure. This fifth son became a parson but was expelled from his parish as a royalist by the Parliamentarians during the Civil War. It was therefore understandable that the parson's son Colonel John Washington should emigrate to America. There he eventually acquired 6,000 acres (including 700 as his wife's dowry), which was more than respectable by English standards.
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From the research that I have done, and it’s not in front of me at the moment, Washington is my 2nd cousin 8 or 9 generations removed. Incidentally, I am also related to Thomas Jefferson, but he is a 3rd or 4th cousin 7 or 8 generations removed. There have been several people who have published books about a couple branches of my Mom’s side of the family. Really cool interesting stuff.
Very nice. You’ve got a lot to be proud of there.
Charles Carroll of Carrollton, a signer of the Declaration of Independence is a distant relative of mine.
I like to brag that we beat the Pilgrims by a decade. I have been trying to find information about my grandfather’s WWII service history but apparently the records were burnt in a fire in the ‘70s.
Do you know what branch of service and where he served?
The ensign Washington used to ride around with during the Revolution was 13 white stars on a blue field, which became the upper left part of our flag.
George Washington is a direct descendant of the Pilgrimage of Grace leader Robert Aske.
I’m a descendent of English pirates (conservative pirates).
Very interesting stuff. Most of my lineage is British Isles. I’m a descendent of the first secretary of the state of Rhode Island.
He was in the Army. I know that he fought in Italy and was part of the Normandy invasion on D-Day. He died pretty young, at age 66. He refused to eat spaghetti because he saw how the noodles were made. He said that when they make the noodles, the noodles are put on the roofs to dry, and flies would get all over them. As for D-Day, I think that affected him the most. He would get real quiet and just say that he didn’t understand why God let him live through that day.
Thanks Pharmboy. Great read on the greatest American
That’s touching. He felt survivors guilt...and shouldn’t have.
Vets from D-Day say the opening 20-30 minutes of “Saving Private Ryan” was very realistic.
My Dad was in CBI Theater of War.
God bless them all.
Wow!! I had not a bloody clue about that! Indeed...VERY similar. I have read that the red stripes on the Washington Coat of Arms were put there to commemorate the blood smeared on one of Washington ancestor’s shield by the king after he dipped his fingers in the wound of the enemy leader that Washington had killed in battle.
And it makes total sense since the O’Neils (all the various spellings) are patrilineal relatives of Niall of the Nine Hostages and the Washingtons...and us. Wow again.
Very interesting. I’m not surprised Washington’s father came to America to make rather dim prospects into very good prospects. An American story, told over and over.
Augustine Washington, George’s dad, was a 4th generation American. His grandad came here in the 1660s. Augie was a mine owner and a farmer...not landed gentry. He had to work for a living. He died when George was 11.