Genealogy of a Colony: Matrimonial Matters

January 30, 2016

1.

William Byrd married
a 21-year-old widow
whose dead husband
was the son
of a former governor
of Virginia.
She agreed
that William’s first son
would be named
after him;
a heritage the son wore so proudly
he went on to become
the future founder of Richmond.

2.

William Byrd, the son, married Lucy,
one of two daughters
of Daniel Parke
who holds the honor
of being the only British
colonial governor to be lynched
out of existence.

Lucy’s sister married John Custis
and they had one son
Daniel Parke Custis
the first husband of Martha Washington.
3

Daniel died and left Martha
17,500 acres, 300 slaves
and control of the inheritance
of two of their children still alive
and two years after he died
Martha married George.

When George was eleven
his father died
and he inherited ten slaves.
In the Virginian scheme
of things
ten was middling, minor;
certainly not enough to recast(e) him
into the upper echelons
of plantation society

Martha brought George great wealth
and George bought land and more slaves
before sailing across the Delaware
to a future first presidency.

 

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