Famous Families

Fairfax

Southern Families George Washington is connected to this particular family of mixed race Bahamian heritage (read the story of the Fairfaxes and George Washington). Suspicions are that Anne Fairfax, Mount Vernon's first mistress and the wife of Lawrence Washington, the President's brother, was a woman of colour whose mother was born in the Bahamas. A number of George Washington's historians have pointed out that when Anne's brother, George William, visited his Fairfax aunts in England, he had been utterly humiliated by their curiosity over whether he would turn black at puberty. Since the Fairfaxes were a wealthy, titled English family whose members corresponded regularly with each other, there must have been some foundation for this assumption regarding George William's race. Indeed, from one of his father's letters I came across, I discovered that his Fairfax relatives, in point of fact, actually knew his mother, Sarah Walker, the daughter of the Chief Justice of the Bahamas, since she had resided with them in England while on a visit from the West Indies. It is all too obvious then that there must have been a substantial proportion of her ethnic heritage evident, if her in laws expected George William to inherit these African traits as well.

Besides their relationship to Mount Vernon, another historical point about this family is that because of their enormous wealth and their social position in the British Colonial government of the time, William, Sarah's husband, was the first person for whom George Washington ever worked. George William, their son, would, for the rest of his life, be counted as the president's closest friend.

Laurence Washington, like his brother George, did not father any children. However, Ann Fairfax's second marriage was to one of the Lees. With George Lee, Anne finally succeeded in leaving a line even if not a political or culturally dynamic one. From her sister, Sarah's marriage to Major John Carlyle, however, are descended some of the most politically influential families of the South.


Researched and Written by Mario de Valdes y Cocom

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