Posts Tagged ‘Washington family’

Washington Hall Mansion Before its Fiery End

Monday, May 23rd, 2011
Washington Hall

Washington Hall

On May 3rd, I had the honor of giving a presentation on The Washingtons of Wessyngton Plantation to the Austin Peay Women’s Book Club in Clarksville, Tennessee.  To my surprise, one of the book club members presented me with a photo of Washington Hall taken in 1965 a few months before it burned.

George Augustine Washington Jr. and his wife Marina “Queenie” Woods, began construction on the magnificent home in 1896.  Washington Hall was a three-story white brick mansion with forty-four rooms.  In its heyday Washington Hall was one of the showplaces in the South, where some of the crowned heads of Europe had been entertained.

In 1965 the Washington Hall mansion burned to the ground.  The grand entrance gate is the only remnant of its former glory.

Washington Descendants Visit Wessyngton Plantation During Family Reunion

Friday, June 25th, 2010
Washington Family at Wessyngton Plantation

Washington Family at Wessyngton Plantation

On June 19th members of the Washington family visited Wessyngton Plantation as part of their family reunion.  The tour included a visit to the mansion, Washington family cemetery, and a restored slave cabin.  Family members descend from Temperance Washington born 1795, who was enslaved on the plantation along with her son Sam and daughter Jane in 1815.  Sam Washington born 1812 married Jane Hadley 1835-1916.  After emancipation the Washington family remained in the Cedar Hill, Tennessee area.  Members of the family were instrumental in establishing the St. James Baptist Church in Cedar Hill.  On June 20th the church celebrated its anniversary where numerous Washington descendants still worship.  These members descend from Sam and Jane’s children:  Nelson Washington, Irvin Washington, Temperance Washington Sherrod, and Betty Washington Smothers. 

 

Author Shows History Begins at Home

Thursday, March 4th, 2010

The Washingtons of Wessyngton Plantation reviewed in Nashville City Paper by Todd Dills.  Click here to see review.

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama Issue Statement on Passing of Mrs. Ann Nixon Cooper

Sunday, January 31st, 2010

“Michelle and I wish to express our deepest condolences on the passing of Mrs. Ann Nixon Cooper. From her beginnings in Shelbyville and Nashville, Tennessee to her many years as a pillar of the Atlanta community, Ann lived a life of service.  Whether it was helping to found the Girls Club for African American Youth, serving on the board of directors for the Gate City Nursery, working as a tutor at Ebenezer Baptist Church or registering voters, Ann had a broad and lasting impact on her community.  I also understand that as a wife, mother and grandmother, Ann was a source of strength for her entire family, and that she always put them first.    

Over the course of her extraordinary 107 years, Ann saw both the brightest lights of our nation’s history and some of its darkest hours as well. It is especially meaningful for me that she lived to cast a vote on Election Day 2008, and it was a deep honor for me to mark her life in the speech I delivered that night. It was a life that captured the spirit of community and change and progress that is at the heart of the American experience; a life that inspired – and will continue to inspire – me in the years to come. During this time of sadness, Michelle and I offer our deepest condolences to all who loved Ann Nixon Cooper. But even as we mourn her loss, we will also be rejoicing in all that she meant for her family, her community, and so many Americans.”

Ann Nixon Cooper 1902-2009 Tribute

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009

I was deeply saddened upon learning that my dear friend Mrs. Ann Nixon Cooper had passed away at her home on Monday evening.

I first became acquainted with Mrs. Cooper in 1996, when she was 94 years young through my genealogical research on Wessyngton Plantation, which she also had family ties to.

Mrs. Cooper was a very beautiful person and I treasured our friendship over the years.  She was always very loving and kind when I visited her and also very helpful in providing me with information. 

Mrs. Cooper lived a very long, productive and interesting life.  I loved to listen to stories about her childhood in Tennessee and her adult life in Atlanta. She was so sharp it was hard to believe that she was more than 100 years old.

Mrs. Cooper became known worldwide last year when CNN television news chronicled her voting early for then Senator Barack Obama.

Although Mrs. Cooper became well known for voting for President Obama, she led a very interesting life before then which is told in her forthcoming book A Century and Some Change: My Life Before the President Called My Name.

I will truly miss my dear friend.

With Love,

 

John

 

A Century and Some Change: My Life Before the President Called My Name by Ann Nixon Cooper

Tuesday, November 17th, 2009

On Tuesday November 4, 2008, President Barack Obama reflected on the life of Mrs. Ann Nixon Cooper: “she’s seen throughout her century in America─the heartache and the hope; the struggle and the progress; the times we were told we can’t; and the people who pressed on with that American creed: Yes, we can.”

Empowered and energized by this history-making presidential campaign, Mrs. Cooper told her story in her own voice.  A Century and Some Change is the portrait of an American who lived a rewarding and culturally rich life.

Mrs. Cooper was raised in Nashville in the home of her aunt-in-law Joyce Washington Nixon, who was born a slave at Wessyngton Plantation during the last days of the Civil War. I  had the honor of interviewing Mrs. Cooper and recording her memories in my book The Washingtons of Wessyngton Plantation, which she mentioned in her book. 

A Century and Some Change: My Life Before the President Called My Name will be released on January 5, 2010 by Atria Books, a division of Simon & Schuster.  Mrs. Cooper passed away on December 21st at her home, nineteen days short of her 108th birthday.

Order A Century and Some Change by clicking the icon of her book cover

 

Wessyngton Plantation Named in Honor of Washingtons’ Ancestral Home

Sunday, October 11th, 2009
Washington Family Crest

Washington Family Crest

The Washingtons trace their ancestry back to William de Hertburn in twelfth-century England where their family owned a manor estate called Wessyngton─the Norman spelling of Washington.  William de Hertburn changed his name to William de Wessyngton.  The first Washington to come to America in Joseph Washington’s line was John Washington, who immigrated to Surry County, Virginia, in 1658.  One of John’s cousins also named John immigrated to Westmoreland County, Virginia, in 1656.  This John Washington was the great-grandfather of President George Washington.  Joseph Washington came to Robertson County, Tennessee in 1796 and established Wessyngton Plantation, which he named in honor of his ancestral home.

A Thank You Letter from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth

Tuesday, August 4th, 2009

Letter from Queen Elizabeth

Letter from Queen Elizabeth

Queen Elizabeth acknowledged the receipt of a signed copy of my book. As is the custom, her lady-in-waiting wrote me.  The royal seal indicated that the Queen was at her summer residence, Balmoral Castle in Scotland.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balmoral_Castle– for your info.

Terry Family to Tour Wessyngton Plantation for Bi-Annual Reunion

Thursday, July 16th, 2009

On Saturday August 8th the Terry family will tour Wessyngton Plantation as part of their bi-annual family reunion.  The group will tour the Wessyngton slave cemetery, the Washington family cemetery, the grounds around the mansion and a restored slave cabin.  Members of the National Black Arts Festival from Atlanta will also attend the reunion festivities.  Following the tour the group will dine at the Tennessee National Guard Armory.  I will also autograph copies of my new book The Washingtons of Wessyngton Plantation: Stories of My Family’s Journey to Freedom.   The Terrys descend from Dick Terry 1818-1879 and Aggy Washington Terry born 1824.  Today there are more than 1,000 Terry family members.

Terry Family Tree

Terry Family Tree

Washingtons of Wessyngton Plantation Featured on BlackPast.org

Monday, July 13th, 2009

Check out my article on BlackPast.org.   It is an excellent resource for African American history and genealogy.