John Washington

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
For other people named John Washington, see John Washington (disambiguation).
John Washington
Born 1633
Purleigh, Essex, England
Died 1677 (aged 45–46)
Washington Parish, Westmoreland County, Virginia, British America
Ethnicity English
Occupation Planter and politician
Religion Anglicanism
Spouse(s) Anne Pope (1st), Anne Gerrard (2nd), Frances Gerrard (3rd),
Children Lawrence, John II and Anne.
Parent(s) Lawrence Washington, Amphillis Twigden.

John Washington (1633–1677) was an English Virginia planter and politician. He was the immigrant ancestor and great-grandfather of George Washington, first president of the United States of America.

Early life and family[edit]

John Washington was born in 1633 in Purleigh, Essex, England, the son of Amphilis (Twigden) and Lawrence Washington. Prior to Lawrence Washington's marriage, he had been a don at the University of Oxford.

When John was eight his father enrolled him in Charterhouse School in London to begin preparing for an academic career. In the wake of the English Civil War, however, the royalist Lawrence Washington was stripped of his clerical 'don' post and became an Anglican rector[1] who ministered to an impoverished parish in Essex.[1] During this time, his sons were barred from entering Oxford.[1] John Washington, his mother and siblings were given shelter by his relative Sir Edwin Sandys.

John Washington found an apprenticeship with a London merchant through his Sandys relatives, which provided a valuable education in colonial trade.

In 1656 Washington invested in a merchant ship engaged in transporting tobacco to European markets. He travelled with the ship to the Colony of Virginia in 1657, where they foundered in the Potomac River. The vessel was repaired but Washington nonetheless elected to remain in the colony[2]

Survey of 1674, certified by Thomas Lee, for 5,000-acre land grant to John Washington and Nicholas Spencer. Acreage later known as Mount Vernon

Colony of Virginia[edit]

While first in Virginia, Washington stayed at the house of Col. Nathaniel Pope, a plantation owner. During this stay, he fell in love with his host's daughter Anne.

After his marriage to Anne Pope and the wedding gift from Anne's father of 700 acres (2.8 km2) on Mattox Creek in Westmoreland County of the Northern Neck,[2] Washington became a successful planter. He depended on the labor of slaves and indentured servants to cultivate tobacco and kitchen crops. He was selected for the Virginia House of Burgesses and became a politician in the colony.[2]

During the events leading to Bacon's Rebellion in 1676, Washington was appointed a colonel in the Virginia militia. He led a company to back a group of Marylanders during a planned parley with the opposition and American Indian leaders. The militia killed six chiefs of various tribes, and their peoples retaliated for the massacre in later raids and attacks against the colonists.[3] 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.[4]

Marriage and family[edit]

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. When his second wife died, as well, John Washington married Anne's 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. His vault is the largest in the small family burial plot.

Legacy and honors[edit]

The name of the local parish of the Anglican Church (the established church in colonial Virginia, and thereby a tax district of the county) was changed to Washington in his honor.[2]



  • Randall, Willard Sterne (1997). George Washington: A Life. New York: Holt & Co. 

External links[edit]