Washburn (alternatively Washbourne, Washburne, Washborn, de Washborne, Washband, Washbon, Washbond, etc.) is an uncommon surname of English origins. The family can be traced back to the lands in Worcestershire and Gloucestershire, England called "Little Washbourne" and "Great Washbourne". The name comes from the Saxon for "from the flooding brook," with "wash" meaning "swift moving current of a stream," and "burn" referring to a brook or a small stream. It may originate from the River Isbourne, which flowed near Little and Great Washbourne, or it may have also originated from Waseborn in Devonshire. The first known Washburn was Sir Roger Washbourne who lived in the 11th century. John Washburn, a descendant sailed to the Plymouth Colony in Massachusetts in the 17th century. He later married Elizabeth Mitchell who was the granddaughter of Francis Cooke, who sailed to America on the Mayflower. According to the 1990 U.S. Census, there were 17,409 Washburns in the United States making it the 1,763rd most common name in the U.S. There are also a number of Washburns in Canada, many of whom are descendants of United Empire Loyalists (Ebenezer Washburn was a Loyalist).
Coat of arms
William the Conqueror granted a coat of arms to an early Washburn of Norman ancestry upon knighting him in 1066, also granting the lands of Little Washbourne and Great Washbourne. The motto "PURIFICATUS NON CONSUMPTUS" means "Purified, not consumed" in Latin. The birds are believed to be Martins. Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas has adopted this coat of arms as its own.
Washburns in Canada
- Ebenezer Washburn - (1756–1826) businessman and political figure in Upper Canada. Member of the Legislative Assembly of Upper Canada. Born in Attleboro, Massachusetts. A Tory loyal to the Crown, he escaped to Quebec and eventually settled in Picton, Ontario.
- Simon Ebenezer Washburn - (1794–1837) Son of Ebenezer. Born in Fredericksburgh Township, Ontario. An alderman in Toronto and a lawyer, clerk of the peace of the Home District, Ontario. 
- Steve Washburn - (1975–present) Ice hockey player. Born in Ottawa, Ontario. Played 93 games in the NHL for the Florida Panthers, Vancouver Canucks and the Philadelphia Flyers. Currently playing in the Österreichischer Eishockeyverband.
Washburns in the United States
- Israel Washburn, Sr. (1784–1876) - Father of Israel, Jr., Elihu Benjamin, Charles Ames, and William D. Washburn. Member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives (1815–16, 1818–19).
- Cephas Washburn (1793–1860) - Noted Christian missionary and educator who worked with the Indians of northwest Arkansas and eastern Oklahoma; father of the painter Edward Washburn.
- Ichabod Washburn (1798–1868) - Owner of the world's largest wire mill, the Washburn and Moen Manufacturing Company, in Worcester, Massachusetts. Co-founder of the Worcester Polytechnic Institute (1865); beneficiary and namesake of Washburn University (1865). Church deacon.
- Emory Washburn (1800–1877) - Born in Leicester, Massachusetts. Graduate of Dartmouth College and Williams College; studied law at Harvard. Massachusetts state representative (1826–28), state senator (1841–42) and governor (1854–55). For two decades, a popular professor at Harvard Law School. Distant relation of Ichabod Washburn.
- Israel Washburn, Jr. (1813–1883) - Born in Livermore, Maine. Son of Israel Washburn, Sr.; brother of Elihu Benjamin, Cadwallader Colden, Charles Ames and William D. Washburn. Member of Maine House of Representatives (1842); U.S. representative from Maine (6th District 1851-53, 5th District 1853-61); governor of Maine (1861–63).
- Peter Thacher Washburn (1814–1870) - Born in Woodstock, Vermont. Delegate to Republican National Convention from Vermont (1860); governor of Vermont (1869–70).
- Elihu Washburne (1816–1887) - "Watchdog of the Treasury." Born in Livermore, Maine. Son of Israel Washburn, Sr.; nephew of Reuel Washburn; brother of Israel, Jr., Cadwallader Colden, Charles Ames and William D. Washburn. U.S. Representative from Illinois, 1853-69 (1st District 1853-63, 3rd District 1863-69); U.S. Secretary of State, 1869; U.S. Minister to France, 1869–77; candidate for Republican nomination for President, 1880; candidate for Republican nomination for Vice President, 1880.
- Cadwallader Colden Washburn (1818–1882) - Born in Livermore, Maine. Son of Israel Washburn, Sr.; brother of Israel, Jr., Elihu Benjamin, Charles Ames and William D. Washburn. U.S. representative from Wisconsin (2nd District 1855-61, 6th District 1867-71); general in the Union Army during the Civil War; governor of Wisconsin (1872–74). Washburn County, Wisconsin is named for him.
- Cadwallader Lincoln Washburn (1866–1965) - Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Son of William Drew Washburn. Noted deaf artist and news correspondent who pioneered many new painting techniques in the west. The arts center at his alma mater Gallaudet College is named for him.
- William Washburn (1820–1887) - Born in Greenfield, Massachusetts. U.S. representative from Massachusetts 9th District, (1863–71); governor of Massachusetts (1872–74); U.S. senator from Massachusetts (1874–75).
- Charles Ames Washburn (1822–1889) - Born in Livermore, Maine. Son of Israel Washburn, Sr.; nephew of Reuel Washburn; cousin of Ganem W. Washburn; brother of Israel, Jr., Elihu Benjamin, Cadwallader Colden and William D. Washburn. Went to California for the 1849 Gold Rush; presidential elector for California, 1860; U.S. diplomatic commissioner to Paraguay (1861–63); U.S. minister to Paraguay, 1863–68; novelist; invented an early typewriter.
- William D. Washburn (1831–1912) - Born in Livermore, Maine. Son of Israel Washburn, Sr.; brother of Israel, Jr., Elihu Benjamin, Cadwallader Colden and Charles Ames Washburn. Graduate of Bowdoin College (1854). Member of Minnesota House of Representatives (1861); U.S. representative from Minnesota (3rd District 1879-83, 4th District 1883-85); U.S. senator from Minnesota (1889–95); son William Drew Washburn, Jr..
- Edward Washburn (1831–1860) - American artist, son of Indian missionary Cephas Washburn.
- Henry Washburn (1832–1871) - Born in Windsor, Vermont. General in the Union Army during the Civil War; U.S. representative from Indiana (7th District, 1866–69). As Surveyor-General of Montana Territory in 1870, led the Washburn Expedition into what is now Yellowstone National Park.
- John Davis Washburn (1833–1903) - U.S. minister to Switzerland (1889–92).
- George Washburn (educator) (1833-1915) - Born in Middleboro, Massachusetts. American missionary and educator, president of Robert College.
- Hempstead Washburne (1852–1918) - Mayor of Chicago, Illinois (1891–93)
- Charles Grenfill Washburn (1857–1928) - Born in Worcester, Massachusetts. Member of Massachusetts House of Representatives (1897–98); member of Massachusetts Senate (1899–1900); U.S. representative from Massachusetts (3rd District, 1906–11).
- Albert Henry Washburn (1866–1930) - U.S. minister to Austria (1922–30).
- Margaret Floy Washburn (1871–1939) - Born in Harlem, New York. Graduate of Vassar College (1891); Ph.D. Cornell University (1894). The first woman to receive a doctorate in psychology; work focused on animal behavior and motor theory development. Professor at Wells College, Cornell, the University of Cincinnati, and Vassar.
- Bradford Washburn (1910–2007) - Explorer, mountaineer, photographer, cartographer, and director of the Boston Museum of Science (1939–1980).
- George Washburn (1914-1979) - major league baseball player born Solon, Maine.
- Barbara Washburn (1914–present) - The first woman to climb Mount McKinley (1947), the tallest mountain in North America. Wife of Bradford.
- Deric Washburn - screenwriter, Silent Running, The Deer Hunter, Extreme Prejudice, The Border.
- Ray Washburn (1938-present) - Born in Pasco, Washington. Major League Baseball pitcher with the St. Louis Cardinals (1961–1969) and Cincinnati Reds (1970).
- Jarrod Washburn (1974-present) - Born in La Crosse, Wisconsin. Attended the University of Wisconsin–Oshkosh. Major League Baseball pitcher with the Los Angeles Angels (1998–2005), Seattle Mariners (2006-2009), and Detroit Tigers (2009-present).
- Halbert Washburn (1960-present) - American businessman. Co-Founder and CEO BreitBurn Energy.
- Ted Washburn (born 1941) - American politician, member of the Montana House of Representatives.
- Official Crest, Washburn University
- Washburn Ancestry in Europe
- Family Tree of Gordon Green
- Baby names
- Surnames in the U.S.: W
- Washbourne Family Line
- Roger DeWashborne
- House of Arms.com
- Bengt Washburn Official Website
Washburns in Fiction
- A character in the 1962 film The Music Man is named Marcellus Washburn, played by Buddy Hackett.
- One of the major characters in the classic Joss Whedon science fiction series Firefly was Hoban "Wash" Washburne.
- A character in the novel The Bourne Identity is named Dr. Geoffrey Washburn.
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