President George Washingtons Escaped Slave, Ona "Oney" Maria Staines (Judge)

Started by Linda Kathleen Thompson, (c) on Monday, January 6, 2014
Problem with this page?


Profiles Mentioned:

Related Projects:

Showing all 15 posts

Over the last few days I've been busy exploring the escape of [Ona Maria Staines, escaped slave of George Washington Ona "Oney" Maria Staines (Judge)]. Not only was she a runaway, but she was a runaway from our founding father, George Washington, and his wife Martha. She was a dower slave that came to Martha upon the death of her 1st husband, Daniel Parke Custis.

Oney decided to make her escape when she found out that she was going to be a wedding gift for Martha's granddaughter. The escape was made easier by the fact that she was in Pennsylvania at this time with the Washington family. Pennsylvania was a "free" state so there were friends there that were willing to help her in her escape. Along with the ones that helped her escape were also those that helped remain free even after [George Washington, 1st President of the United States George Washington] found out where she was.

Among those that helped her escape to New Hampshire was Capt. John Bolles (or Bowles). Capt. John Bolles partner, Thomas Leigh, might have been involved at least indirectly. [Gov. John Langdon, Signer of the US Constitution Gov. John Langdon] and [Joseph Whipple Joseph Whipple] helped her remain free after she got to New Hampshire.

I had her mini tree almost complete. All I had expected from the start was to do was a small family tree. I had added her sister, half brother, children, and parents. The tree was complete, or so I thought. Then I thought I'd give it one more google to see if I could find out more about Oney's parents. I googled "Delphy Judge". What an unexpected surprise! It didn't lead me to more about their parent. It was even better. It got Oney's mini tree connected to the World Tree. I just followed the trail blindly, and it lead me there. The story was out there waiting to be found.

Delphia's full name was [Philadelphia Costin, freed slave of Custis family Philadelphia Judge]. She had married another slave named [William Custis Costin, freed slave of Custis family William Custis Costin]. He was the son of [Ann Costin, freed slave of Custis family Ann Dandridge] a slave, and half sister to Martha Washington! However, it didn't end there. William Custis Costin's father was Martha Washington's son, [John Parke Custis John "Jack" Custis]. This means that Oney's brother-in-law was the grandson (and also half-nephew) of Martha Washington. I had my mini tree attached!!

Thank you [Erica Howton Erica] for recommending that I research Oney! Thank you [Private User Tammy] for your assistance! I had no idea what an interesting journey it would be!

I invite all who are interested to read Oney's profile. It tells about her journey to freedom in her own words.

Sorry about the tags. I wasn't sure how to do them in discussions.

photo owned by Tamara Tucker Swingle

I think this story is a great side note to history.

Oh my word! I love this story. Thanks so much for sharing it.

You're welcome, Justin.

As you both know, when we are doing genealogy we often don't have any idea where the trail will lead us. There are alway surprises waiting around the next corner. We just have to remain open to these twists and turns. I also love Oney's story.

Thank you for your work on this!

Oney was a brave, strong minded woman. She didn't let it be known who had helped her get to New Hampshire until that person was dead.

I still can't find where Capt Bowles should fit on Geni. It was looking for him that led to Oney's story.

I've tried, too, Erica. I had no success. That is why I gave him a profile and linked it to Oney's profile. Just hoping that someone will add him on their tree.

Good thinking! It is still tripping me out that this started with turn of the 20th century rural Maine.

You never know where a little research will lead. Reminds me of times when Marv and I used to talk about how we had been side-tracked. Started with one thing on the tree and ended up off in a totally different direction. We used to laugh about it. Miss him.....

Very interesting. Thanks for all the hard work!

It was my pleasure, Private User :) very intresting story on my ancestor linda.. thank you.


Thank you for reading about her, Private I read somewhere that Ona's brother-in-law married his cousin. That would make William Costin Ona's cousin also. I couldn't find that exact relationship. It would be interesting to find out.

Showing all 15 posts

Create a free account or login to participate in this discussion