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John Washington

Birthplace: Tring, Hertfordshire, England
Death: September 16, 1677 (43-44)
Washington Parish, Westmoreland County, Virginia, Colonial America (Col. of militia. Elected to House of Burgesses)
Place of Burial: Westmoreland County, Virginia, British Colonial America
Immediate Family:

Son of Reverend Lawrence Washington and Amphyllis Washington
Husband of Anne Washington; Anne Washington and Frances Hardidge
Father of Mildred Washington; Anne Wright; Capt. Lawrence Washington; Nathaniel Washington; Capt. John Washington, Jr. and 6 others
Brother of Lawrence Washington, III; Elizabeth Rumbold; Margaret Talbot; William Washington and Martha Hayward

Occupation: merchant, planter, soldier, politician, politician and military officer. Born
Military Service: Col. Colonial Militia
Notable Kin: Gr. grandfather of Pres. Geo. Washington
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About John Washington

John Washington (c. 1631-1677) 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.


Born in Tring, Hertfordshire, he subsequently emigrated to the colony of Virginia, where he became a planter. In addition to serving in the Virginia militia and owning several plantations operated using a combination of indentured and later enslaved labor, Washington also served for many years in the House of Burgesses, representing Westmoreland County. He was the first member of the Washington family to live in North America as well as the paternal great-grandfather of George Washington, the first president of the United States.[2][a]

(Updated: John Washington was born to rector Lawrence Washington and the former Amphillis Twigden, about 1633 (when his father resigned his fellowship at Oxford that required him to remain unmarried),[1] [3] likely at his maternal grandparents' home in Tring, Hertfordshire, England.[4] However, as an adult, John Washington gave his age in a Virginia deposition as 45, which would put his birth two years earlier.[5][6] Before his marriage Lawrence had been a don at the University of Oxford.[7] He had been born at Sulgrave Manor near Banbury in Oxfordshire.[8])

Parents:  Lawrence Washington and Amphillis Twigden


  1. before 1658 to perhaps Margaret Haywood born around 1635.  (according to  She was perhaps the sister of merchant Nicholas Haywood.
  2.  1 Dec 1658 in Westmoreland Co., VA to Anne Pope.  Anne was born in 1635 in St. Mary, MD and died in 1668 in Bridge Creek, Westmoreland Co., VA., daughter of plantation owner Nathaniel Pope. Their wedding gift from Pope consisted of 700 acres on Mattox Creek in Westmoreland County of Virginia's Northern Neck.  5 children.. 
  3. about 1670 to Anne [maiden name unknown, though often given as Gerrard], the widow of Walter Brodhurst and Henry Brett. No children.
  4. 10 May 1676 to Frances Gerrard, Anne's sister and widow of Francis Appleton. (1)  No children.

Children of Anne Pope & John Washington:

  1. Lawrence Washington (1659 - 1697) Married Mildred Warner (1671-1701).  Grandfather of Pres. George Washington.
  2. Anne Pope Washington (1660 - 1697).  Married Francis Wright (1660-1713)
  3.  John Washington (1661 - 1698).  Married Anne Wicliffe (d 1704)    
  4. (daughter) Washington  (died young; before Sept. 21, 1675) 
  5. (son) Washington (died young; before Sept. 21, 1675) 

Rickard or Richard Washington (1660-1774) married Elizabeth Jordan does not seem to be part of this family.


  • Eldest son John Washington (1633-1677) was about 19 years of age when his father died, and two years later when his mother died he went to London, probably taking his brother Lawrence with him. The brothers saw the new opportunities in trade with the American colonies, and John, already married, sailed for Virginia in 1656 as mate and voyage partner of Edward Prescott, owner of the Sea Horse of London. His first wife died, and he re-married the daughter of an American planter, Lieutenant-Colonel Nathaniel Pope. Their wedding present was a 700 acre estate at Mattox Creek where their eldest son , Lawrence, was born in 1659 and the American line of the Washington Family was established.  Washington Ancestry
  • It is said that John Washington arrived in Virginia in 1658 in a ship owned by Edward Prescott and commanded by Captain John Greene. On the voyage, a passenger named Elizabeth Richardson was suspected of being a witch by Captain Greene and his sailors. She was hung and her body tossed into the sea. Washington later received a summons to appear in court as a witness to the execution.
  • The will of John Washington who died in 1677 gave four thousand weight of tobacco to the rector of the church with orders that a tablet of the Ten Commandments be set up as his memorial stone. John had followed his father’s religious upbringing and was elected to the parish vestry in 1661. In May 1664 the name of the parish was changed from Appomattox to Washington in his honor, being bounded from “upper Marchoticke downward to ye foote of ye westernmost side of Mr. Popes Cliffes.”  History of Pope's Creek

Brief Biography - early life

Born into comfort and wealth

John Washington was born in 1631 - 2 most likely in the Parish Purleigh, in Northern England. His parents Lawrence and Amphillis Twigden enjoyed the comforts of life near the rural village of Sulgrave. His father Lawrence was both a scholar and a cleric. The Washington ancestral home of Sulgrave Manor, situated near Banbury and about 30 miles from both Stratford-upon-Avon and Oxford, was a palatial home. The family's comfortable life was established by John's grandfather Lawrence Washington in 1539 based on his wealth as a wool merchant and his position as Mayor of Northampton during the reign of King Henery VIII. The Washingtons were Royalists and property owners, which placed them in the upper classes of English society. At the age of 8 years in 1640, young John Washington was enrolled in a prestigious education program at Sutton's Hospital in London based on a nomination by King Charles I of England. His future looked very promising.

English civil war and Washington family despair

From 1642-48 a conflict between King Charles I of England and large body of his subjects known as parliamentarians led by the zealous Oliver Cromwell erupted. King Charles was overthrown and executed on the chopping block at the hands of an ax wielding and masked executioner. Oliver Cromwell set about to establish a republican Commonwealth or a legal rule by the masses. The parliamentary army turned on any English citizen allied with the King. Unfortunately this included the Washingtons. The countryside was turned upside down, property was seized, some churches and graves desecrated. The Washington home at Sulgrave was seized after 120 years of ownership. The Washingtons were forced out of their comfortable life style. Lawrence and Amphillis Twigden were forced to move from the Parish Purleigh to the lesser Parish of Littled Braxted, Essex. John's promising education and comfortable future abruptly ended. In 1655 as a young adult, John Washington had no other option, but to seek success and attempt to continue the Washington family level of wealth elsewhere. He departed England with his brother-in-law Edward Prescott by sail ship in route to the young colonies in the Americas. It is ironic that John's great-grandson George Washington would embrace the exact opposite of what forced John from Great Britain- popular rule versus a monarchy.   See more:

More Biography:

Col. John Washington was born Feb 1632  in Purleigh, Essex Co., England, son of Rev. Lawrence Washington and Amphyllis Twigden  of Sulgrave, England.   He died 1677 in Washington Parish, Westmoreland Co., VA.    John Washington arrived in Virginia in 1655.   He was a merchant, in partnership with Edward Prescott.    Washington ended the partnership, causing bitter legal disputes with Prescott.   But his fortunes “turned for the better when he is befriended by National Pope, a well seated land owner in Westmoreland County,” who helped young Washington with his debts.   Pope grew fond o f John, and on 1 Dec 1658 he married Anne Pope in Mattox, Westmoreland Co., VA.   In 1664 John purchased from David Anderson 150 acres on the east side of Bridges Creek, later settling on it.  His house was, and the old graveyard is, on this tract.  After him, his son John Washington lived here, while another son, Lawrence, George's grandfather, lived west of Bridges Creek. 

The following account is from Dr. Glenn:    

Nathaniel Pope died 26 Apr 1660, and though his will brought no new land to Anne, it did include a cancellation of John's debt. Bright and ambitious, John slowly began to win honors and carve out an ever larger estate in young Westmoreland County. He served as a trustee of estates, guardian of children, vestryman of Appomattox Parish, Justice of the County Court, lt. col. of the county militia, and member of the House of Burgesses [serving first in 1666, last in 1675-1676]. By 1668 he was busy growing tobacco on holdings that well exceeded 5,000 acres. By 1668 Anne had presented him with five children, of whom three would live to maturity. That year she died, however, and, with three young children John soon took a second wife. His new bride was Anne [maiden name unknown, though often given as Gerrard], the widow Walter Brodhurst and Henry Brett.          His role as Lt. Col. of the Westmoreland Co. militia embroiled John Washington in a controversy which remains obscure to this day. In early Sept., 1675, Washington was ordered to lead a force of Virginia militia, in cooperation with Maryland forces, against a band of Indians accused of murdering three colonials. During the course of the expedition, five Indians who had surrendered but claimed to be innocent were apparently murdered. The Marylanders and Virginians blamed each other, and conflicting testimonies had left the incident under a dark, obscure cloud.           It was apparently very soon afterward [in late 1675 or early 1676] Washington's second wife died; there were no children from this union. About the time of Anne [Brett] Washington's death, her sister Frances lost her husband also.  Not surprisingly, particularly in the light of local custom, John and Frances were apparently married soon after a pre-nuptial agreement dated 5/10/1676. That fall Bacon's rebellion struck Virginia like a whirlwind. While Washington's estate suffered some plundering and was temporarily seized by Bacon's supporters, the crisis soon passed and no permanent harm was done. Within a few months, however, John was dead. The approximate date is framed by two events: his attending a meeting about taxes and Bacon's rebellion on 8/14/1677, and his will being admitted to probate on 9/26/1677. 


  1.  "In Westmoreland County is recorded a marriage contract between Col. John Washington and Frances Appleton, widow of Col. John Appleton and born Frances Gerrard. This contract is dated May 10, 1676, so, of course, Mrs. Anne Washington, the second, must have died before that date." Source: Some Prominent Virginia Families By Louise Pecquet du Bellet, Edward Jaquelin, Martha Cary Jaquelin - Page 52



  • Irvin Haas (1992). Historic Homes of the American Presidents. Courier Dover Publications. ISBN 0-486-26751-2.
  • Abby Sage Richardson (1875). The History of Our Country: From Its Discovery by Columbus to the Celebration of the Centennial Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. H. O. Houghton and Company.
  • Henry Cabot Lodge (1917). George Washington. Houghton Mifflin.
  • Great Houses of Britain, by Nigel Nicolson, p. 68. “Colonel John Washington , a great-great grandson of Lawrence the builder of Sulgrave Manor emigrated to Virginia for business reasons in in 1656, and he was the great-grandfather of George Washington, First President of the United State who was born in 1732."
  • Reference: Ancestry Genealogy - SmartCopy: Apr 25 2018, 19:31:24 UTC
  • Reference: MyHeritage Genealogy - SmartCopy: Apr 25 2018, 19:35:27 UTC
  • Reference: MyHeritage Genealogy - SmartCopy: Apr 25 2018, 19:36:47 UTC
  • [g675.ftw] when Col. John Washington, whose great-grandson, Francis Wright, married Capt. Robert Massey's granddaughter, Anne, and his brother, Lawrence Washington, whose grandson, John Washington, married Capt. Massey's granddaughter, Mary, were present, Sept. 26, 1675, with Virginia soldiers under the command of Col. Washington and Maryland soldiers under the command of Major Truman, at the fort of the Susquehanna Indians, near present Mt. Vernon, to decide peace or war. And when the Marylanders murdered the official Indian conferees and charged Col. Washington with the responsibility, it was Capt. Massey who, later, before a commission of inquier, cleared Col. Washington.
  • Some Prominent Virginia Families, Vol. IV. Chapter III, Washington. Page 146 - < AncestrySharing >
  • Burial record:
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John Washington's Timeline

Tring, Hertfordshire, England
Age 24
Arrived in US
September 1, 1659
Bridge Creek, Westmoreland County, Virginia, Colonial America
September 1, 1659
Bridges Creek, Washington Parish, Westmoreland County, Virginia, British Colonial America
Bridge Creek, Westmoreland County, Virginia, Colonial America