Augustine Washington Sr.
Posthumous 1867 lithograph by John C. McRae after a painting by G. G. White
BornNovember 12, 1694
DiedApril 12, 1743 (aged 48)
Resting placePope's Creek, Colony of Virginia, British America
OccupationPlanter, iron ore mining
Spouse(s)
Jane Butler
(m. 1715; died 1729)

(m. 1731)
ChildrenButler Washington
Lawrence Washington
Augustine Washington Jr.
Jane Washington
George Washington
Betty Washington Lewis
Samuel Washington
John Augustine Washington
Charles Washington
Mildred Washington
Parent(s)Lawrence Washington
Mildred Warner
FamilyWashington family
Washington arms.

Augustine Washington Sr. (November 12, 1694 – April 12, 1743) was the father of the first U.S. president, George Washington. He belonged to the Colony of Virginia's landed gentry. Like his father and sons, Washington owned plantations which he operated by the use of enslaved labor, as well as speculated in less developed land and even operated an iron mine. Although Washington did not serve as a legislator (unlike his father and son), he held various offices in the counties in which he held land.

Early and family life

Augustine Washington was born in Westmoreland County, Virginia, on November 12, 1694, to Mildred Warner and her husband, Capt. Lawrence Washington, a militia captain and a member of the Virginia House of Burgesses. His paternal grandparents were Lt. Col. John Washington (c. 1631–1677) and his first wife, Anne Pope. His maternal grandparents owned Warner Hall and associated plantations in Gloucester County.

Augustine was four years old when his father died. His mother remarried and moved her family to England, where she died when all were still children; although their mother's will named their stepfather George Gale as their guardian, their cousin John Washington fought to have himself named the children's guardian and brought them back to Virginia.

When Washington came of age (and into his inheritance) in 1715, he married Jane Butler, another orphan, who had inherited about 640 acres (2.6 km2) from her father, Caleb Butler. The young couple settled on the Bridges Creek property and had four children, only two of whom (Lawrence and Augustine Jr.) lived to adulthood. After Jane's death in November 1728[1] or 1729,[2] Washington married Mary Ball in 1731, and the couple had three children (George, Betty and Samuel), none of whom had reached adulthood before their father died.[3]

Career

When he reached legal age in 1715, Augustine Washington inherited about 1,000 acres (4.0 km2) on Bridges Creek in Westmoreland County; his sister Mildred inherited what was called the Little Hunting Creek property;[4] they both inherited slaves. In 1718, Washington purchased land on Pope's Creek, adjoining his property on Bridges Creek, and set about establishing himself. Between 1723 and 1735 he hired a local contractor to build a house, which was probably completed about 1726 despite the contractor's death (later called Wakefield).[5] In the same year, Washington purchased the Little Hunting Creek property from his sister Mildred.[6]

In 1725, Augustine Washington entered into an agreement with the Principio Company of England to start an iron works on Accokeek Creek in Stafford County, and he also owned a stake in their Maryland ironworks.[7] In 1735, the family moved to the Little Hunting Creek property, which was closer to the Accokeek Furnace.[4]

In 1738, Augustine Washington purchased the 150-acre Strother property across the Rappahannock River (now known as Ferry Farm) and moved the family there at the end of that same year.[4][8]

Augustine Washington was active in the Anglican Church, the local militia and politics.[9] He took the oath as justice of the peace for the Westmoreland county court in July 1716,[10] and served as county sheriff.

Death and legacy

After Augustine Washington died in 1743 at the age of 48, his 11-year old son George inherited the former Strother property and its slaves.[11] Because he had not reached legal age, his mother Mary managed the property for him until he came of age. She lived on the property until 1772 when she was 64, when George moved her to a house in Fredericksburg.

Lawrence Washington inherited the Little Hunting Creek property and renamed it "Mount Vernon," to honor Admiral Edward Vernon, with whom he had served in the Royal Navy in 1741 during the Battle of Cartagena de Indias during the War of Jenkins' Ear.

Augustine Jr. chose to inherit the Popes Creek property and slaves rather than the former Strother property which became Mount Vernon. According to Augustine's will, if Lawrence died without children, the Little Hunting Creek property would be given to Augustine Jr. with the stipulation that he must then give Popes Creek to George. If Augustine Jr. did not want the Little Hunting Creek property, it would then be inherited by George. At Lawrence's death, Augustine Jr. did not want to give up Popes Creek, and Lawrence's only surviving child Sarah lived only until 1754; therefore, George Washington ultimately inherited the Little Hunting Creek property. At his death, Augustine Washington Sr. held a total of 64 slaves who were assigned among the various plantations.[12]

Lawrence Washington's widow Ann had a life interest in the Little Hunting Creek plantation. Because she remarried and was not living at Mount Vernon, she leased the property to George beginning in 1754. Upon her death in 1761, George Washington inherited the plantation outright.

Children (by Jane Butler)

Children (by Mary Ball)

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Whipple, Wayne, ed. (1911). The story-life of Washington: a life-history in five hundred true stories. John C. Winston Company. p. 17. Retrieved February 20, 2018. ...died November 24, 1728
  2. ^ Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society. 1880. p. 241.
  3. ^ Lyon Gardinar Tyler, Encyclopedia of Virginia Biography (New York 1915) vol. 5. p. 698
  4. ^ a b c ""Augustine Washington", The George Washington Foundation". Archived from the original on September 9, 2019. Retrieved November 2, 2015.
  5. ^ Norris p. 152
  6. ^ Wayland p. 8
  7. ^ Norris p. 153
  8. ^ Wayland p. 8
  9. ^ Norris p. 153
  10. ^ Freeman 1948, p. 34
  11. ^ "10 Facts About Washington & Slavery - 1. George Washington first became a slave owner at the early age of eleven". www.mountvernon.org. Mount Vernon Ladies' Association. Retrieved June 6, 2020.
  12. ^ "Slavery at Popes Creek Plantation", George Washington Birthplace National Monument, National Park Service, accessed April 15, 2009

References