Born at Pope’s Creek, in Westmoreland County, Virginia, on November 25, 1757, William Augustine Washington was the youngest child of George Washington’s older half-brother, Augustine Washington II, and his wife, Anne (née Aylett).  As the only surviving male heir, William Augustine inherited Wakefield – the home where his well-known Uncle was born – upon his mother’s death in 1774.  As Virginia began to prepare for war with the Kingdom of Great Britain, William Augustine was elected Captain of the Westmoreland County militia company on February 5, 1776.  That summer, he was stationed with his unit along the Potomac River to guard against enemy incursions.   An accident with a firearm in 1778 seems to have prevented further military service during the War for Independence.  However, he was later appointed Colonel of the Westmoreland County militia, in the summer of 1789.  He also served as Sherriff for Westmoreland County from 1784 to 1786,

By the start of 1781, Wakefield was destroyed by fire and William Augustine Washington moved his growing family to Blenheim, an existing house located a mile inland from the Potomac River.  He would later build Haywood with – according to family tradition – bricks from Wakefield and was residing there by 1790.  In 1802, William Augustine advertised this property for sale and described it as some 6,000 acres “peculiarly adapted to the production of Indian corn, wheat and barley…at present cultivated as four farms.” 

William Augustine Washington had cordial relations with George Washington after the American Revolution, occasionally corresponding with his uncle about family history and supplying him with produce.  George Washington remembered William Augustine Washington in his Last Will and Testament, naming him an executor and bequeathing him first choice of one of his swords, among other shares of his estate.  In 1804, William Augustine moved to “Rock Hill” in Georgetown, District of Columbia, where he died on October 2, 1810.  He was interred at the vault at Mount Vernon two days later. 

 

Samuel K. Fore

Harlan Crow Library

 

Bibliography

Hatch, Charles E., Jr.  Popes Creek Plantation: Birthplace of George Washington.  Washington’s Birthplace, Va.: The Wakefield National Memorial Association in cooperation with the National Park Service, 1979. 

Wayland, John W. The Washingtons and Their Homes.  Berryville, Va.: Virginia Book Co., 1973. 

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