- I'm a ninth generation Virginian.
- A direct line grandfather, Richard Blackburn, built Rippon Lodge in Prince William County. The house still stands and is a historic house museum. The website for Rippon Lodge states the house was built in 1747. The Baylis Family of Virginia genealogy says "That the house, Rippon Lodge, was built in 1725 was established in 1932, when the then owner, Wade Hampton Ellis, found it necessary to remove some of the sheathing to destroy a hive of bees located in the outer wall. On one of the beams then disclosed was carved the date 1725". I was more inclined to believe the 1747 date reckoning that professional historic researchers knew what they were talking about and that a genealogy book might be a 'bit embellished'. Until... I read further that the same Richard Blackburn helped George Washington's older half-brother build the original Mount Vernon in 1743. Now it makes me wonder? Oh well, it's only a twenty-two year span 'Once upon a time'.
- The same Richard Blackburn helped Lawrence Washington build the original house at Mount Vernon. In those days before George owned it Mount Vernon had four ground-floor rooms with a cramped dormer style upstairs. George Washington is the one who greatly enlarged Mount Vernon to how it appears today.
- One of my long ago aunts and a distant cousin were the mistresses of Mount Vernon. Julia Ann Blackburn married Bushrod Washington, who inherited Mount Vernon after George and Martha. Bushrod was a Supreme Court Associate Justice. Jane Blackburn married John Augustine Washington who owned Mount Vernon after Bushrod.
- One of my great long ago aunts was James Monroe’s grandmother. Does this make James Monroe my second cousin five times removed? Dagone if I know? I do know Monroe is the guy responsible for the Monroe Doctrine (learned that in a Virginia history grade school textbook) and did a lot of the wheeling-dealing, nitty-gritty work for the Louisiana Purchase. That darn Mr. Jefferson got all the credit with the stroke of a quill. OMG! What hath he done to us!
Other names that I have some sort of kinship; five or ten times removed, I quit counting (not enough fingers and toes)? I’m not listing any horse thieves, bandits, rabble rousers, or otherwise similar relations who seem to show up in a lot of families. They are there and they are colorful. Maybe too colorful for this blog.
- I do have relatives who died in a duel, killed by Indians, fought for both sides in the Civil War, and a young man who died charging up San Juan Hill with Teddy Roosevelt. Ancestors fought in all of the American wars. Some kin were wealthy and others seemed to struggle to survive. It’s a diversified history rich in lore that I never really appreciated.
- Lewis ‘Lew’ Wallace – Lawyer, Union General in the Civil War, Governor of New Mexico Territory, and the author of Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ.
- Daniel Boone – His name kept popping up in a few places but I couldn't trace a direct link. Probably not related, but kind of cool wishing I was. I did have a coonskin hat when I was a little boy and my dad called me Daniel Boone. Does that count?
- John Baylis – Member of the House of Burgesses of Virginia representing Prince William County
- Thomas Blackburn – Colonel in the American Revolution and friend of George Washington. Yeah, yeah, I know. Wait for it…….. George Washington probably really did sleep there.
- Henry Baylis – an original member of the Society of Cincinnati
- From that first set of ancestral grandparents who arrived in the New World sprang forth thousands of relatives. Amazing!