George Washington: A Biography - Vol. 1

By Douglas Southall Freeman | Go to book overview

been introduced already-- Anne Lee Fitzhugh, daughter of the second Richard Lee.14

These, to repeat, are a few only of the many crossing lines of Northern Neck kinship. The most surprising aspect of it all is the small number of marriages outside the dominant caste.


APPENDIX I-4
WASHINGTON'S ENGLISH ANCESTORS OF THE DIRECT PATERNAL LINE

CONCERNING HIS ancestors, George Washington knew scarcely anything. All he remembered at sixty was that in youth he had been told the family had come from one of the northern Counties of England. He was not sure whether it was Lancashire or Yorkshire or a region still farther North.1 Two brothers, John and Lawrence Washington, he understood, had settled in Virginia about 1657. His ancestor was John, whose son Lawrence was his grandfather.2 George was acquainted in youth with many of his cousins, but with them both interest and information ended. Genealogy seemed to him as of "very little moment."3 Inquirers later traced his male line to Lawrence Washington, whose name appeared in the records of the town of Northampton in 1530/31. By the assumption of kinship that seems probable, though unprovable in at least five instances, the ancestors of Lawrence of Northampton can be carried back ten generations to the second half of the thirteenth century when a family of de Wessington was residing near the border of Lancashire and Westmorland.4 As far as can be ascertained from scanty records, none of the early members of the de Wessington or Washington family was either notable or notorious. Lawrence, born about 1500, apparently became a Successful wool merchant, who in 1532 was Mayor of Northampton. Seven years later, after the dissolution of the monasteries, he acquired St. Andrew's Priory, one of the three estates of Sulgrave Manor.5

____________________
1
Letter to Sir Isaac Heard, May 2, 1792; 32 G. W., 32-33.
14
See M. J. O'Brien, The McCarthys in Early American History, and 2 W ( 2) p. 125. The will of Daniel McCarty, Mch. 29, 1724, is in 8 Westmoreland Deeds and Wills, 17. His inventory, June 15, 1724, appears in Westmoreland Records and 1723-46, p. 28.
2
Letter to William Augustine Washington, Nov. 14, 1796; 35 G. W., 281.
3
36 G. W., 173.
4
The evidence is amassed, with much ingenuity and after long research, in 1 Hoppin, 1-247. Attention again is directed to the briefer genealogy, containing more information concerning Washington's nearer kin and immediate generation, in Washington C. Ford, the Washington Family. See supra, p. 15 ff.
5
1 Hoppin, 56, 57, 61-64, 70.

-527-

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