Posts Tagged ‘Surnames’

Washington Surname Most Common among African Americans in America—and in Robertson County, Tennessee

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011

According to an interesting article by Jesse Washington of the Associated Press  entitled “Washington Named the ‘Blackest Name’ in America,”

Based on the 2000 U. S. census, Washington is the most prominent surname among African Americans.  90% of  163,036 individuals with the Washington surname are African Americans, a far greater percentage than any other name.

The descendants of  African Americans once enslaved on Wessyngton Plantation are part of this group.  Before and after Emancipation, they chose to use the Washington surname—the surname of the slaveholding Washington family (were distant cousins of the president). 

At the onset of the Civil War there were nearly 300 African Americans on Wessyngton Plantation.  In 1870, 212 former slaves and their descendants from Wessyngton in Robertson County carried the Washington surname.  This was nearly 5% of the total number of African Americans in the county.

In the years following the Civil War hundreds of Washingtons from Robertson County migrated out of the area.  Today there are still African Americans in the area who carry the Washington surname (although far fewer than decades earlier), and  some African American Washingtons throughout the country are descended from the Wessyngton Washingtons.






Gardner Family Tours Wessyngton Plantation for 75th Family Reunion

Friday, May 29th, 2009
Gardner Family Tour at Wessyngton Plantation

Gardner Family Tour at Wessyngton Plantation

In 2008 the Gardners celebrated their 75th annual family reunion.  As part of the reunion festivities I led them on a tour of Wessyngton Plantation.   The tour included the Wessyngton mansion, Washington family cemetery, slave cemetery and a restored slave cabin.  The Gardner earliest ancestors, Aaron Gardner, his wife Betty and their three sons, Daniel, George and Jackson came to Wessyngton in the late 1830s.  There are more African Americans in Robertson County, Tennessee with the Gardner surname than any other family.