John Washington

John Washington

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John Washington was an English
English people
The English are a nation and ethnic group native to England, who speak English. The English identity is of early mediaeval origin, when they were known in Old English as the Anglecynn. England is now a country of the United Kingdom, and the majority of English people in England are British Citizens...

The Commonwealth of Virginia , is a U.S. state on the Atlantic Coast of the Southern United States. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" and sometimes the "Mother of Presidents" after the eight U.S. presidents born there...

Plantations in the American South
Plantations were an important aspect of the history of the American South, particularly the antebellum .-Planter :The owner of a plantation was called a planter...

 and politician
A politician, political leader, or political figure is an individual who is involved in influencing public policy and decision making...

. He was the immigrant ancestor and great-grandfather of George Washington
George Washington
George Washington was the dominant military and political leader of the new United States of America from 1775 to 1799. He led the American victory over Great Britain in the American Revolutionary War as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army from 1775 to 1783, and presided over the writing of...

, first president
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 of the United States of America.

Early life and family

Washington, son of Lawrence
Lawrence Washington (1602-1655)
Rev. Lawrence Washington was an English rector, and the great-great-grandfather of George Washington. Rev. Washington was born about 1602 in Sulgrave Manor, Northampton, England, and died about Jan 1652/53 in Little Braxted, Essex, England. Rev. Washington was buried 21 Jan 1652/53 in Maldon,...

 and Amphillis Twigden, was born in Purleigh
Purleigh is a village on the Dengie peninsula about south of Maldon in the English county of Essex. The village is part of the Purleigh ward of the Maldon district.-History:...

, Essex
Essex is a ceremonial and non-metropolitan county in the East region of England, and one of the home counties. It is located to the northeast of Greater London. It borders with Cambridgeshire and Suffolk to the north, Hertfordshire to the west, Kent to the South and London to the south west...

, England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 around 1631 and emigrated to the Colony of Virginia in 1656. He had been second officer on a merchant ship that foundered in the Potomac River
Potomac River
The Potomac River flows into the Chesapeake Bay, located along the mid-Atlantic coast of the United States. The river is approximately long, with a drainage area of about 14,700 square miles...

, but left after the ship was refloated.

Colony of Virginia

Washington first came to Virginia in 1656 and stayed at the house of Col. Nathaniel Pope, a plantation
A plantation is a long artificially established forest, farm or estate, where crops are grown for sale, often in distant markets rather than for local on-site consumption...

 owner. During this stay, he fell in love with his host's daughter Anne.

After his marriage to Anne Pope and the wedding gift of 700 acres (2.8 km²) on Mattox Creek in Westmoreland County
Westmoreland County, Virginia
As of the census of 2000, there were 16,718 people, 6,846 households, and 4,689 families residing in the county. The population density was . There were 9,286 housing units at an average density of...

 of the Northern Neck
Northern Neck
The Northern Neck is the northernmost of three peninsulas on the western shore of the Chesapeake Bay in the Commonwealth of Virginia. This peninsula is bounded by the Potomac River on the north and the Rappahannock River on the south. It encompasses the following Virginia counties: Lancaster,...

 from Anne's father, Washington became a successful planter. He depended on the labor of slaves to cultivate tobacco
Tobacco is an agricultural product processed from the leaves of plants in the genus Nicotiana. It can be consumed, used as a pesticide and, in the form of nicotine tartrate, used in some medicines...

 and kitchen crops. He was selected for the Virginia House of Burgesses
House of Burgesses
The House of Burgesses was the first assembly of elected representatives of English colonists in North America. The House was established by the Virginia Company, who created the body as part of an effort to encourage English craftsmen to settle in North America...

 and became a politician in the colony.

During the events leading to Bacon's Rebellion
Bacon's Rebellion
Bacon's Rebellion was an uprising in 1676 in the Virginia Colony in North America, led by a 29-year-old planter, Nathaniel Bacon.About a thousand Virginians rose because they resented Virginia Governor William Berkeley's friendly policies towards the Native Americans...

, Washington was appointed a colonel in the Virginia militia
The term militia is commonly used today to refer to a military force composed of ordinary citizens to provide defense, emergency law enforcement, or paramilitary service, in times of emergency without being paid a regular salary or committed to a fixed term of service. It is a polyseme with...

. He led a company to back a group of Marylanders during a planned parley with the opposition and American Indian
Native Americans in the United States
Native Americans in the United States are the indigenous peoples in North America within the boundaries of the present-day continental United States, parts of Alaska, and the island state of Hawaii. They are composed of numerous, distinct tribes, states, and ethnic groups, many of which survive as...

 leaders. The militia killed six chiefs of various tribes, and their peoples retaliated for the massacre in later raids and attacks against the colonists. The governor William Berkeley strongly criticized Washington for the murders of the American Indian chiefs, but colonists supported Washington in the massacre. Relations between the Indians and colonists deteriorated.

Marriage and family

He married Anne Pope in 1657.

They had three children together:
  • Lawrence Washington, born 1659;
  • John Washington II, born 1661; and
  • Anne Washington, born 1662.

After Anne Pope's death, Washington married Anne Gerrard. She also died before him. For his third wife, he married her younger sister Frances Gerrard.

Washington and his first wife Anne are buried at what is now called the George Washington Birthplace National Monument in present-day Colonial Beach, Virginia
Colonial Beach, Virginia
Colonial Beach is a town in Westmoreland County, Virginia, United States. The population was 3,228 at the 2000 census. Possessing the second largest beach front in the state, Colonial Beach was a popular resort town in the early to mid-20th century, before the Chesapeake Bay Bridge made ocean...

. His vault is the largest in the small family burial plot.

Legacy and honors

The name of the local parish of the Anglican Church (the established church in Virginia, and thereby a tax district of the county) was changed to Washington in his honor.

External links