Famous Families

Bush

Western Families Despite the similarity in name, former President George Bush is not a descendant of the George Bush who was one of the early pioneers of the state of Washington. Indeed, it is a commonly held historical opinion that the state of Washington owes its origins to the fact that this particular George Bush was mulatto.

The government had prohibited blacks from settling anywhere in Oregon territory during the migrations west in the first few decades of the last century. To avoid this, Bush and the party of white pioneer families he had travelled with from Missouri, pushed upward into British territory in 1844. It was not likely that he would be disturbed if the wagon train he led set down stakes across the Columbia river since the sheriff was not required by law to travel that far north.

Because of the care and generosity he showed to other newcomers like himself, there were soon enough American settlers in this area ready to nullify whatever claims the British had originally laid to it. In 1853 this newly enlarged territory of Oregon was officially declared an American State. In 1889, this portion north of the Columbia, because of its size, formally entered the union as the State of Washington.

Once under American jurisdiction, however, Bush found himself in Oregon the target of the same "black laws" he had travelled so far north to escape. It took a special bill introduced by a particularly close friend of his who had been elected to the senate, to have him exempted from so racist a piece of legislation.

Despite the political significance of this incident, it nevertheless is a demonstration of the kind of social influence George Bush and his family enjoyed. Indeed, the eldest of his six sons, George Owen Bush, was himself elected to serve as one of Washington State's first senators. Today, Bush's descendants are all white. A great many thanks to Mr. Roger H. Newman of Olympia, Washington for providing the names of those families which can trace their lines back to this pioneer:

Gaston
Hackett
West
Sheldon
Sutcliffe
Scudder
Sparks


Researched and Written by Mario de Valdes y Cocom.

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