General George Washington

President of the United States

By D. A. Sharpe



United States President George Washington was born February 22, 1732 at PopeÕs Creek, Virginia.  He is the 27th cousin, six times removed to me.  He is the 11th great grandson of English King Edward I, the last of the three Kings to issue the Magna Carta that had such place in the documents of governance as the New World developed.  Our common ancestors are Eystein Glumra Ivarsson and his wife, Aseda Rognvaldsdatter, who are my 32nd great grandparents and George's 25th great grandparents.

George Washington is the 12th great grandson of English King Edward I, who is the 11th great grandfather of Edward Southworth, the first husband of Alice Carpenter, my 7th great grandmother. The descending to me is through AliceÕs second husband, Plymouth Colony Governor William Bradford. 



Henry Spencer, Esquire, born about 1392, represents the ancestor who is common both to the United States President George Washington and to President George W. Bush (and his father).  Henry Spencer is the 17th and 18th great grandfathers of these two Bushes.  Henry Spencer is the tenth great grandfather of President George Washington.


Henry Spencer, Esquire, born about 1392 is the 6th great grandfather of Amphilis Twigden (who lived 1602 - 1654).  She is the wife of Lawrence Washington (1602 - 1653), the 8th great grandson of English King Edward I (1239 - 1307).  Edward I is the 11th great grandfather of Edward Southworth (1590 - 1620) the first husband of Alice Carpenter, my 7th great grandmother.  My descending from Alice is through her second husband, Plymouth Colony Governor William Bradford.  


Washington is the half thirteenth cousin, thirteen times removed of my Westmoreland grandchildren, Katie, Jack, twins Lily and Sarah, and Sam.


English King Henry V is the half 4th cousin, nine times removed to George Washington.  George is the half 13th cousin, 12 times removed of my son-in-law, Steven O. Westmoreland.



President George Washington is a half 13th cousin, twice removed to President Thomas Jefferson!  Their ancestor in common is English King Edward I.  Washington is descended through King Edward's second wife, Marguerite of France. Edward is Washington's 12th great grandfather.  Jefferson is descended through King Edward's first wife, Eleanor of Castile.  Edward is Jefferson's 14th great grandfather.


President Zachary Taylor is a half 13th cousin, six times removed to President Washington.


In 1732, the year of George Washington's birth, Benjamin Franklin began publishing ''Poor Richard's Almanac'' on December 19.




George was the first electrd President of the United States of America, he was the General and Commander of the Continental Armies, member of 1st and 2nd Continental Congresses, and member of Virginia House of Burgess.  He married Martha Dandridge (1732-1802), the first of what became known as First Lady of the White House.




"On April 30, 1789, George Washington, standing on the balcony of Federal Hall on Wall Street in New York, took his oath of office as the first elected President of the United States. 


Before this oath of office could take place, it was necessary to have a functioning President several years prior to 1789, which Congress appointed under the Articles of Confederation. The first one was John Hanson, appointed in November 1781. In fact, the Articles of Confederation, the predecessor to the Constitution, also called for a president- albeit one with greatly diminished powers. Eight men were appointed to serve one year terms as president under the Articles of Confederation. So, George Washington was the 9th President of the United States, but the first elected. 


Another interesting fact about George Washington is that he is the only President elected by a 100% vote of the Electoral College!


The fact that the United States is in its 9th location as a national capital is known realized by many people today.  Here are the eight capitals used, prior to the establishment of Washington D. C. in 1802.


What is of interest to me is that John HansonÕs descendants reside today in Maryland, and it has been the privilege of Suzanne and me to visit and dine in their two homes.  Both the males in those two generations are named John Hanson.


'As the first of everything, in our situation will serve to establish a precedent,' he wrote James Madison, 'it is devoutly wished on my part, that the precedents may be fixed on true principles "Born in 1732 into a Virginia planter family, he learned the morals, manners, and body of knowledge requisite for an 18th century Virginia gentleman.


"He pursued two intertwined interests:  military arts and western expansion.  At 16 he helped survey Shenandoah lands for Thomas, Lord Fairfax. Commissioned a lieutenant colonel in 1754, he fought the first skirmishes of what grew into the French and Indian War.  The next year, as an aide to Gen. Edward Braddock, he escaped injury although four bullets ripped his coat and two horses were shot from under him.


"From 1759 to the outbreak of the American Revolution, Washington managed his lands around Mount Vernon and served in the Virginia House of Burgesses.  Married to a widow, Martha Dandridge Custis, he devoted himself to a busy and happy life.  But, like his fellow planters, Washington felt himself exploited by British merchants and hampered by British regulations.  As the quarrel with the mother country grew acute, he moderately but firmly voiced his resistance to the restrictions.


"When the Second Continental Congress assembled in Philadelphia in May1775, Washington, one of the Virginia delegates, was elected Commander in Chief of the Continental Army.  On July 3, 1775, at Cambridge, Massachusetts, he took command of his ill-trained troops and embarked upon a war that was to last six grueling years.









"He realized early that the best strategy was to harass the British.  He reported to Congress, ' we should on all Occasions avoid a general action, or put anything to the risque, unless compelled by necessity, into which we ought never to be drawn.' Ensuing battles saw him fall back slowly, then strike unexpectedly.  Finally, in 1781 with the aid of French allies--he forced the surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown.


"Washington longed to retire to his fields at Mount Vernon.  But he soon realized that the Nation, under its Articles of Confederation, was not functioning well, so he became a prime mover in the steps leading to the Constitutional Convention at Philadelphia in 1787. When the new Constitution was ratified, the Electoral College unanimously elected Washington President.  However, the official U.S. Government Electoral College website Electoral College today only begins giving vote returns as of 1789.  None of the Electoral College votes were unanimous since then.  


He did nominate and Congress approved quite a distinguished Presidential Cabinet. 


"He did not infringe upon the policy making powers that he felt the Constitution gave Congress.  But the determination of foreign policy became preponderantly a Presidential concern.  When the French Revolution led to a major war between France and England, Washington refused to accept entirely the recommendations of either his Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson, who was pro-French, or his Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton, who was pro-British. Rather, he insisted upon a neutral course until the United States could grow stronger.


"To his disappointment, two parties were developing by the end of his first term.  Wearied of politics, feeling old, he retired at the end of his second term.  In his Farewell Address, he urged his countrymen to forswear excessive party spirit and geographical distinctions. In foreign affairs, he warned against long-term alliances.


"Washington enjoyed less than three years of retirement at Mount Vernon, for he died of a throat infection December 14, 1799.  For months, the Nation mourned him.




One of the famous paintings of George Washington and his troops in the American Revolution was that scene where they were poised on Christmas Day, 1776, on the banks of the Delaware River.  They were in retreat from the British army.   When winter came, many of Washington's soldiers were going to leave soon.  Washington decided that, if they were going to fight at all, they would have to move quickly.  


Washington decided to attack a group of Hessians, German soldiers who were paid to fight for the British, who were at Trenton, New Jersey.  On Christmas night 1776, in a snowstorm, Washington took 2,400 of his 3,000 soldiers across the Delaware River to New Jersey.  Washington decided to attack early in the morning of December 26, because he was sure that the Hessians would be tired from the celebration the night before.  

The river was icy. The army marched nine miles to outside Trenton. The American forces split into two groups.  Both sides closed in together. The 1,200 Germans were completely surprised.  The Hessians quickly surrendered after their leader, Colonel Rall, was killed.  The Americans took more than 900 prisoners.  


When the news of the British defeat got to lord Cornwallis, a British general stationed in New York, he quickly moved his men toward Trenton.  He was very determined to defeat Washington's army.  But, while Cornwallis was determined, Washington made plans for his army.  When Cornwallis arrived at Trenton, fires of the American troops were still burning, but Washington's army had secretly moved from the area.  They went to Princeton, which was close.  The British were marching in that direction and heard canon fire.  Cornwallis rushed there, but it was too late.  On January 3, 1777, the British troops at Princeton were defeated by Washington's army.  Because Cornwallis' army was too worried about supplies and ammunition, they retreated to New York.  The American army controlled New Jersey.


The bit of humor about the famous painting cited is to raise the question, "What issue did George Washington face on Christmas Day,1776, as he and his soldiers were poised on the banks of the Delaware River ... an issue that even today is faced in our political environment?"  The answer is, "It was the issue of row versus wade (1973 US Supreme case of Roe Vs. Wade - the famous abortion issue decision).


George and Martha were members of and worshiped regularly at St. Peter's Parish Church, near Richmond, Virginia.







George Washington created the Order of the Purple Heart on August 7,1782, a decoration to recognize merit in enlisted men and non-commissioned officers.




One character bears recognition in the story of the American Revolution and as a friend of General George Washington.  Haym Salomon (also Solomon; April 7, 1740 Đ January 6, 1785) was a Polish-born American Jewish businessman and political financial broker who immigrated to New York City from Poland during the period of the American Revolution. He helped convert the French loans into ready cash by selling bills of exchange for Robert Morris, the Superintendent of Finance. In this way he aided the Continental Army and was possibly, along with Morris, the prime financier of the American side during the American Revolutionary War against Great Britain. It was estimated that the aid of Haym Salomon provided for George WashingtonÕs armyÕs expenses $650,000.   Translated into 2013 American dollars, that is $16,870,213! 


There should be no doubt that there have been Jewish people close to the hearts of the needs and purposes of America in many regards and over many times!



George and Martha did not give issue to any children.  However, Martha did have children from a previous marriage.  So, there are no direct lineal descendants from President George Washington.


"When he died, Washington provided in his will for the emancipation of his slaves on the death of Martha, his wife.  Washington was the only member of the Virginia dynasty to free all his slaves.


"Washington was one of the richest men in America.  At his death, his holdings were worth about half a million dollars and included:  33,000 acres of land in Virginia, Kentucky, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Washington, D.C. and the Northwest Territory; $25,000 worth of stocks; 640 sheep, 329 cows, 42 mules and 20 workhorses.


"Things named after George Washington:  one state, seven mountains, eight streams, ten lakes, 33 counties, nine colleges and 121 towns and villages."


Source:Marcus Cunliffe, "George Washington (New York: Mentor, 1958)Page 16.



Here is that famous sculpture on the face of Mount Rushmore.  George is here with three other of our familyÕs cousins. Read about it here.



George Washington was made an honorary citizen of France in 1792. 


When Washington died, he was a lieutenant general. But as the centuries passed, this three-star rank did not seem commensurate with what he had accomplished. After all, Washington did more than defeat the British in battle. Along the way he established the framework for how American soldiers should organize themselves, how they should behave, and how they should relate to civilian leaders. Almost every big decision he made set a precedent. He was the father of the US military as well as the US itself.

So, a law was passed to make Washington the highest ranking U.S. officer of all time: General of the Armies of the United States. Nobody will ever outrank him.


George Washington truly was what we call a ŌMan of Letters.Ķ We donÕt have an exact number, but the best estimates seem to put the number of letters he penned somewhere between 18,000 and 20,000. If you wrote one letter a day, it would take you between 50 and 55 years to write that many.


Before becoming the Father of the Nation, Washington was a master surveyor. He spent the early part of his career as a professional surveyor. HereÕs one of the earliest maps he created. It is for his half-brother, Lawrence WashingtonÕs, turnip garden.


He was lucky, but his coat wasn't. In the Braddock disaster of 1755, WashingtonÕs troops were caught in the crossfire between British and Native American soldiers. Two horses were shot from under Washington, and his coat was pierced by four musket balls, none of which hit his actual body.

George Washington is noted as the first man to send an air mail letter between Philadelphia (then the U.S. Capital) and New Jersey.  It was a letter said to have been delivered by balloonist Jean Pierre Blanchard. 

George Washington was eulogized on December 26, 1799 by Col. Henry Lee as ''first in war, first in peace and first in the hearts of his countrymen.''


Washington has a traceable ancestry that ventures back 55 generations to a Norwegian Viking named Godwulf, born about 80 AD, living to about 125 AD.  This ancestor report is 70+ pages.  Bear in mind that professional genealogists advise that genealogical information dated prior to the 1600Õs is doubtful as to its accuracy.  However, it is interesting to see, at least, what some genealogists may have thought!


Compiled by:


Dwight Albert (D. A.) Sharpe

805 Derting Road East

Aurora, TX 76078-3712









WashingtonÕs Mount Vernon Home. This was me when we visited it in 2008