“‘Col. John,’ ‘Uncle Dick’ and the ‘Hunchback’ Washington” – John Washington (Family Historian)

“It seems puzzling that there were no soldiers from Blakeley or Mt. Vernon going into the Confederate Army, except for ‘Col. John,’ who was killed in 1861, and his brother, Richard, who, after that, was sent home by General Lee to take care of his family responsibilities.” – John Washington

While Blakeley was Richard and Christian’s home, the dominant figure certainly there certainly was his mother, the widowed Jane Charlotte Blackburn Washington, who had been given by her husband’s will of 1832, ownership of Mt. Vernon

and Blakeley with the power to give or leave it to any of their children that she chose to. Indeed, she owned her husband’s entire estate. When her older son married in 1843, she set him up at Mt. Vernon, and when her younger son married in 1844 she set him up at Blakeley. But she continued to live back and forth between the two places. And it’s really unclear to me to what extent either of the boys actually owned the properties during her widowhood after they were married, or whether they really only received them by her will of 1855. It seems

puzzling that there were no soldiers from Blakeley or Mt. Vernon going into the Confederate Army, except for “Col. John,” who was killed in 1861, and his brother, Richard, who, after that, was sent home by

General Lee to take care of his family responsibilities, and was too old really to be in the ranks and felt he was insufficiently experienced to be an officer, having no military experience or background. Of course he was a famous squirrel shot and would have been a great sharpshooter and indeed, has credit for killing from some great distance one of John Brown’s men at Harper’s Ferry at the time of the John Brown Raid. Of course the reason they didn’t send any more soldiers to the army was that the oldest male in the Mt. Vernon set of children was seven years old at the beginning of the war, and what we’ll call the Blakeley family – Richard’s (Blackburn Washington-ED) family – he had one son who was seventeen and the next son was born in 1852, was only nine years old when the war began. The seventeen-year old son was a hunchback, a very small man – bent way over

– family always said he’d been dropped when he was a baby. Of course we know now it’s obvious he really had Pott’s disease, which is tuberculosis of the spine, and that’s the cause of most young hunchbacks. Of course you don’t see them anymore. Anyway, he was obviously not qualified to join the army, but he did manage to get himself imprisoned by the Yankees, nonetheless. He was herding some cattle from one field to another down one of the roads here, when they came along and picked him up, captured him, put him in a prisoner of war prison in Washington. His mother’s mother, who had been a

Philadelphia woman who had all sorts of Northern connections, her name was Clemson – Louisa Clemson – just got on the train and went down to Washington and went in and talked to

Mr. Lincoln about this situation and Abraham Lincoln gave her a note which, I think, the family still has someplace, saying: “Let the boy stay in Washington with his relatives, as long as he goes to school and stays out of trouble.” And so he stayed with some Lee cousins – named Miller I think – in Washington for, I always thought for the rest of the war – which was only a year or so.

5:54 – John Augustine somehow got down to Richmond and got a job at the age of seventeen, as a clerk down there, helping out – shall we say – in the war effort. Anyway “Uncle John” was not qualified – and the only other males in those two family groups – the oldest was born in 1852 and was thirteen at the end of the war. The many daughters of the Mt. Vernon family and one daughter of the Blakeley family, did marry Confederate veterans after the war – perhaps the most prominent and best remembered of those veterans was Col. Roger Preston Chew,

who married Louisa Washington, the oldest of the seven Mt. Vernon children and he had been Colonel of the Horse Artillery of the Army of Northern Virginia and certainly is the best remembered as a military figure of the various sons-in-law.

John Augustine Washington came to know as a young boy in the 1920s many of his relations when he visited Charles Town in the 1920s. Among many years of activities, he graduated from Harvard College, cum laude, worked for Alex. Brown & Sons, and was one of three founders of Farr, Mill and Washington, an investment management firm. He has documented and researched the history of his family for over sixty years. He is a direct descendant of John Augustine Washington, the brother of George Washington.

Useful Local Sites:

The Mt. Vernon Washingtons’ Second Home

2 Brothers, Their 2 Wives & Sisters, Their 2 Homes

Washingtons Who Fought in the Civil War

Deadly TB Stalked The Washington Family

Robert E. Lee & George Washington Are Not Kin


Mt. Vernon. Wikipedia English. Latest update 27 Oct. 2009. Web. 20 May 2011.

Battle_of_Cheat_Mountain. Wikipedia English. Latest update 27 Oct. 2009. Web. 20 May 2011.


Washington, John A. “The Mt. Vernon Washingtons’ Second Home.” {Video}. (14:08). Retrieved 6 Sept. 2011. http://www.youtube.com/user/AmericanPublicU#p/u/30/mP67WWzTz50

Washington, John A. “‘Col. John,’ ‘Uncle Dick’ and the ‘Hunchback’ Washington.” {Video}. (7:39). Retrieved 6 Sept. 2011.

Surkamp, Jim. “Last Washington to Own Mt. Vernon Killed at War Sept., 1861.” {Video}. (5:52). Retrieved 6 Sept. 2011. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SQKlL0vRlvk

Washington, John. “2 Brothers, Their 2 Wives & Sisters, Their 2 Homes.” {Video}. (16:46). Retrieved 6 Sept. 2011. http://www.youtube.com/user/AmericanPublicU#p/u/29/oGvRAGo53ho

Washington, John.” Washingtons Who Fought in the Civil War.” {Video} (11:08). Retrieved 6 Sept. 2011.

Washington, John. “Deadly TB Stalked The Washington Family.” {Video} 7:32. Retrieved 6 Sept. 2011.

Washington, John. “Robert E. Lee & George Washington Are Not Kin.” {Video}. (2:14). Retrieved 6 Sept. 2011. http://www.youtube.com/user/AmericanPublicU#p/u/27/HXzSyst4rWg

Flickr Sets:

John Washington – courtesy American Public University and John Washington

Mt. Vernon
Mt. Vernon. Wikipedia English. Latest update 27 Oct. 2009. Web. 20 May 2011.

Blakeley. Wikipedia English. Latest update 27 Oct. 2009. Web. 20 May 2011.

Christian Maria Washington – Washington Family

“Uncle Dick” (Richard) Blackburn Washington – Washington Family

Jane Charlotte Blackburn Washington,John Augustine Washington (1821-1861), Noblet Herbert (1826-1852), Richard Scott Blackburn Washington (1822-1910), and Anne Maria Thomasina Blackburn Washington (1816-1850) – Artwork at the Masonic Temple, Alexandria, Va.

John Augustine Washington III – Washington Family

Bickle Knob Looking Southwest and Cheat Mountain, West Virgina
Wikipedia English. Latest update 27 Oct. 2009. Web. 20 May 2011.

John Augustine Washington IV – The Washington Family

Louisa Clemson Washington – The Washington Family

The White House in 1864
“Lincoln Original.” Cincinnati Museum Center. 22 June 2009 Web. 12 Sept. 2011

Abraham Lincoln, sitting with reading glasses – Detail from photo, Library of Congress

Lt. Col. Roger Preston Chew (CSA)
McDonald, William Naylor. (1907). “A history of the Laurel brigade.” Baltimore, MD: Baltimore, Sun job printing office.

McDonald, William Naylor. (1907). “A history of the Laurel brigade.” Internet Archives: Digital Library of Free Books, Movies, Music, and Wayback Machine. 31 July 2008 Web. 3 March 2011.

Washingtons of Jefferson County – Jim Surkamp

TAGS: John A. Washington, John Augustine Washington IV, Louisa Clemson Washington, Mount Vernon, Blakeley, Jefferson County, West Virginia, Charles town, Civil War, John Augustine Washington III, Cheat Mountain, Civil War, Abraham Lincoln, hunchback, John A. Washington

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