Jamestown Descendants: Who’s Who, Part 4

Introduction: In this article, Melissa Davenport Berry continues her series on descendants of the Jamestown settlers, writing about the familial ties between George Washington and Queen Elizabeth II. Melissa is a genealogist who has a blog, AnceStory Archives, and a Facebook group, New England Family Genealogy and History.

Today I continue with my “Jamestown Descendants: Who’s Who” series, focusing on General George Washington, whose ancestors were part of the English noblemen who came to Jamestown, Virginia. Washington shares familial lines to Queen Elizabeth II (see: Jamestown Descendants: Who’s Who, Part 3) and the Spencers.

Illustration: portrait of General George Washington, Commander of the Continental Army, by Charles Willson Peale (1776). Credit: Brooklyn Museum; Wikimedia Commons.
Illustration: portrait of General George Washington, Commander of the Continental Army, by Charles Willson Peale (1776). Credit: Brooklyn Museum; Wikimedia Commons.

“No nobler figure than George Washington ever stood in the forefront of a national life.”

— John Richard Green, “History of the English People”

In 1953, a month before Queen Elizabeth II was crowned, the press was buzzing about the future monarch’s blood lines that she shared with America’s first president, George Washington.

The San Diego Union picked up the story. The genealogical research was furnished by the highly regarded Debrett’s Peerage, a guide to the British peerage (titled aristocracy).

An article about Queen Elizabeth II, San Diego Union newspaper article 3 May 1953
San Diego Union (San Diego, California), 3 May 1953, page 115

Washington, who led the American Revolution against King George III, had the noble blood lines of the Plantagenets, Sir Henry “Hotspur” Percy, and the famed beauty Bessie Blount, King Henry VIII’s notorious mistress who bore him a son: Henry Fitzroy.

George Washington’s Lineage

  • Maude de Broose and Roger Mortimer, 1st Baron Mortimer of Wigmore
  • Philippa Plantagenet and Edmund Mortimer, 3rd Earl of March
  • Elizabeth Mortimer and Sir Henry “Hotspur” Percy, Earl of Northumberland
  • Henry Percy, 2nd Earl of Northumberland, and Eleanor Neville
  • Henry Percy, 3rd Earl of Northumberland, and Eleanor Poyings
  • Margret Percy and Sir William Gascoigne
  • Elizabeth Gascoigne and Sir George de Talboys, 2nd Baron Talboys of Kyme (another son of Elizabeth “Bessie” Blount)
  • Anne de Talboys and Sir Edward Dymoke
  • Francis Dymoke and Sir Thomas Windebank
  • Mildred Windebank and Robert Reade
  • George Reade (Virginia, 1637) and Elizabeth Martiau, descended from the Royal House of England starting with Henry the III thru Edward I, King of England
  • Mildred Reade and Augustine Warner II, son of Augustine Warner I and Mary Towneley
  • Mildred Warner and Lawrence Washington, son of John Washington and Ann Pope
  • Augustine Washington and Mary Ball, daughter of Joseph Matthaus Ball and Mary Montague (also Jamestown/Royal line William Ball I and House of Burgesses)
  • George Washington married Martha Dandridge, daughter of John Dandridge Jr. and Francis Jones

Here Is the English Side of the Picture

Photo: Queen Elizabeth II during her visit to HMS “Ocean” in Devonport at a ceremony to rededicate the ship, 20 March 2015. Credit: Joel Rouse/ Ministry of Defence; Wikimedia Commons.
Photo: Queen Elizabeth II during her visit to HMS “Ocean” in Devonport at a ceremony to rededicate the ship, 20 March 2015. Credit: Joel Rouse/ Ministry of Defence; Wikimedia Commons.

Queen Elizabeth II is the granddaughter of the Earl of Strathmore, Claude George Bowes-Lyon. The Strathmores are relatives by marriage to the Spencers (so are the Churchills, the family of cigar-smoking Winston Churchill).

Early in the 1600s the Spencers married into the Washington family before any of its members came to America.

The Washington surname was originally “Wessington,” the name of the English manor and village George’s 12th century ancestor leased from the Bishop of Dunham in 1183 A.D.

The great grandfather of George Washington was John Washington, the patriarch of the Washington family in America, who immigrated to Virginia. His father, Lawrence Washington, married into the Spencer family and lived at Sulgrave Manor with his wife and 11 children. He served as the Mayor of Northampton, England.

Also, the Spencer family connects with the Washingtons in Virginia through Lord Thomas Culpeper’s 5,000-acre land grant at Mount Vernon to Lt. Col. John Washington and Col. Nicholas Spencer in 1674.

Photo: 1690 Survey of the Spencer-Washington Tract. In 1690, the original land granted by Lord Culpeper was divided equally between the Washington and Spencer families. Lawrence claimed the eastern half of the land bordered by Little Hunting Creek, which would become the core of George Washington’s five farms. Courtesy of Mount Vernon, Mount Vernon, Virginia.
Photo: 1690 Survey of the Spencer-Washington Tract. In 1690, the original land granted by Lord Culpeper was divided equally between the Washington and Spencer families. Lawrence claimed the eastern half of the land bordered by Little Hunting Creek, which would become the core of George Washington’s five farms. Courtesy of Mount Vernon, Mount Vernon, Virginia.

Here is a photo of Sulgrave Manor, the Washington family seat in England.

Photo: Sulgrave Manor. Courtesy of the Friends of Sulgrave Manor & Gardens Museum
Photo: Sulgrave Manor. Courtesy of the Friends of Sulgrave Manor & Gardens Museum

According to the Friends of Sulgrave Manor & Garden, in 1914 a British Peace Centenary Committee purchased Sulgrave Manor through a public subscription, marking 100 years of peace between Great Britain and the United States following the signing of the Treaty of Ghent that ended the War of 1812. To this day, Sulgrave Manor continues to serve as a memorial to Anglo-American friendship.

The Chicago Daily News covered the story.

An article about Sulgrave Manor, Chicago Daily News newspaper article 25 July 1914
Chicago Daily News (Chicago, Illinois), 25 July 1914, page 7

This article reported:

“The first formal ceremony in honor of the 100 years of peace between English speaking nations occurred here today when Sulgrave Manor, the home of the family of George Washington, purchased for $42,500 subscribed in Great Britain, was handed over to members of the centenary committee as a gift to the American people.”

Ten days later, England declared war on Germany and the final restoration project was delayed. In 1917, through the great contributions from the Colonial Dames of America and wealthy philanthropists such ss William K. Vanderbilt and Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, the Washington ancestral home was restored and the museum opened in 1921.

Next up: the American story on Washington’s Jamestown ancestors.

Note: An online collection of newspapers, such as GenealogyBank’s Historical Newspaper Archives, is not only a great way to learn about the lives of your ancestors – the old newspaper articles also help you understand American history and the times your ancestors lived in, and the news they talked about and read in their local papers.

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2 thoughts on “Jamestown Descendants: Who’s Who, Part 4

  1. Thanks for the interesting article. Many of the names sounded familiar and when I checked my database, discovered that I too am related to Washington as a distant cousin. It’s hard to imagine how difficult even the titled gentry’s lives were and how short their lives in a time before modern medicine.

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