George Reade
Acting Governor of Virginia Colony
In office
MonarchCharles I
Preceded byJohn Harvey
Succeeded byFrancis Wyatt
Personal details
BornOctober 25, 1608
Linkenholt, Hampshire, England
DiedNovember 21, 1671 (aged 63)
Yorktown, Virginia,
British America
SpouseElizabeth Martiau (m. 1641)
RelationsGeorge Washington (great-great grandson)
Thomas Nelson Jr. (great-great grandson)
Military service
Branch/serviceVirginia Militia

George Reade (October 25, 1608 – November 21, 1671) was a prominent landowner, military officer, judge, and politician who served as a member of the House of Burgesses and as Acting Governor of Virginia Colony.[1][2] He is the great-great-grandfather of the first President of the United States, George Washington.[3][4]

Early life and family

Reade was born on October 25, 1608, in Linkenholt, Hampshire, England, the son of Sir Robert Reade and Mildred Windebank Reade.[5] He descended from Magna Charta Sureties. His paternal grandparents were Andrew Reade and Alice Cooke, and his maternal grandparents were Frances Dymoke and Sir Thomas Windebank.[6] His uncle was Sir Francis Windebank, Secretary of State to King Charles I.[7] After his mother died, Reade traveled to Virginia in January 1637 at the age of 28 as a member of John Harvey's staff.

Marriage and children

In 1641, Reade married Elizabeth Martiau, daughter of Nicolas Martiau. They were likely married in what is now known as Yorktown in York County, Virginia. They had seven children, including:[8]


Coat of Arms of George Reade

Reade settled first in a plantation home in Williamsburg, and later resided in York and Gloucester Counties.[9] Reade acquired considerable land holdings throughout Virginia colony.[10] He was granted 600 acres of land in Lancaster County in 1651, 500 acres in Northumberland County in 1653, 2,000 acres in Westmoreland County in 1657, and 2,000 acres of land along the Piankatank River by the General Assembly in 1667.[11] Reade served in the Virginia Militia beginning in the late 1630s, achieving the ranks of Captain, Major, and Colonel.[12]

Virginia political career

After Charles I restored John Harvey to the post of Governor of Virginia in 1636, Reade joined him as a member of his party to return to Virginia. Reade worked as an advisor to Harvey and resided at the governor's mansion for a period. From 1638 to 1639, Reade served in the post of Acting Governor of Virginia during Harvey's absence, and until Sir Francis Wyatt was appointed to succeed Harvey.[10] Reade worked closely with Richard Kemp who was the Secretary of the Virginia Colony, and he assumed the post in an acting capacity during Kemp's absence from 1640 until 1642.[13]

From 1649 until 1656, Reade served as a member of the House of Burgesses representing James City County.[14] Reade served as a member of the Virginia Governor's Council from around 1656 until his death.[15] On August 25, 1656, Reade was a justice of the General Court of Virginia, sitting for York County.[16]


Reade died in 1671 at the age of 63.[17] He is buried at the Grace Episcopal Churchyard in Yorktown.[3]

Notable descendants

See also


  1. ^ Salmon, Emily J. and Edward D. C. Campbell Jr., eds. The Hornbook of Virginia History: A Ready-Reference Guide to the Old Dominion’s People, Places, and Past. Fourth Edition. Richmond, Virginia: The Library of Virginia, 1994.
  2. ^ Ancestral Records and Portraits: A Compilation from the Archives of Chapter I, the Colonial Dames of America. Grafton Press. 1910. p. 441.
  3. ^ a b "Encyclopedia of Virginia Biography". Retrieved 2022-12-18.
  4. ^ a b Cutter, William Richard (1924). American Biography: A New Cyclopedia. Pub. under the direction of the American historical society. p. 298.
  5. ^ "George Reade Pedigree". Retrieved 2022-12-18.
  6. ^ Ancestral Records and Portraits: A Compilation from the Archives of Chapter I, the Colonial Dames of America. Grafton Press. 1910. p. 130.
  7. ^ Tyler, Lyon G. (1897). "Notes on the York County, Virginia, Goodwins". The William and Mary Quarterly. 6 (2): 140–159. doi:10.2307/1914672. ISSN 0043-5597. JSTOR 1914672.
  8. ^ Watson, Annah Robinson (1898). Some Notable Families of America. p. 76.
  9. ^ Bruce, Philip Alexander; Stanard, William Glover (1896). The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography. Virginia Historical Society. p. 206.
  10. ^ a b "Jamestown Colony, 1607 - 1700". Bedinger Family History and Genealogy. Retrieved 2022-12-18.
  11. ^ McDonough, Sandy. Our Foundings Fathers Homes and Churches in Virginia. ISBN 978-0-615-28854-3.
  12. ^ Wilson, York Lowry (1962). A Carolina-Virginia Genealogy. Gale & Polden.
  13. ^ Richardson, Royal Ancestry, IV:468 READE 21
  14. ^ McIlwaine, H. R., ed. Journals of the House of Burgesses 1619-1658/9. (Richmond, VA: Library Board, Virginia State Library, 1915), online at, Vol. 1 (1619-1658/1659), pages 29, 99, 113.
  15. ^ Collins, Holdridge Ozro (1900). Genealogy of the Washington Family. Sons of the Rev. Calif.
  16. ^ "Fortiter Ubique: The Martiau Family". Fortiter Ubique. 2014-09-25. Retrieved 2022-12-18.
  17. ^ Fox, Tommy. "Colonel Governor George Reade Esq". Genealogy Online. Retrieved 2022-12-18.
  18. ^ Rowland, Jane Thomas (1997). Col. George Reade: immigrant, burgess, sec[retary] of state, memb[er] of the Council, gov[ernor], ancestor of Geo[rge] Washington: papers from the family files with Rowland/Thomas connections and some ancestors and descendants of Jane Thomas Rowland and Arthur Ray Rowland. Augusta, Ga. (One 7th St., Suite 1503, Augusta 30901): RR Books. OL 310862M.((cite book)): CS1 maint: location (link)
  19. ^ The Patriotic Marylander. The Maryland Society Daughters of the American Revolution. 1914. p. 17.
  20. ^ Reinhart, Janet. "The Meriwether Society, Inc. - Biographical Sketch". Retrieved 2022-12-19.
  21. ^ Wurts, John S. (1942). Magna Charta. Brookfield Publishing Company.
  22. ^ Albert H. Spencer, Genealogy of the Spencer family (1956), p. v (snippet)