Augustine Warner and our Cousin George Washington

1628

Jamestown

Mullins family cousins include George Washington and Robert E. Lee, with whom we share our Virginia ancestor Augustine Warner. Augustine was George Washington's great-great-grandfather and Robert E. Lee's 5th great-grandfather.

Augustine Warner was born in Norwich, England, and came to America at the age of 17 in 1628. He soon started acquiring land and growing tobacco, the most profitable enterprise in colonial Virginia. Warner may have been our wealthiest ancestor; by the time of his death, he owned thousands of acres of land in Gloucester County, Virginia, on the north bank of the Severn River. The Warner plantation home, "Warner Hall," survives today as a tourist site.

Augustine was elected to the House of Burgesses in 1652, where he eventually became Speaker of the House and joined the King's Council in 1659. His son, Augustine Warner II, George Washington's paternal great-grandfather, was also a prominent politician in colonial Virginia. The next in our lineage is Sarah Warner, daughter of Augustine Warner.

Warner Hall involuntarily served as the military base for Bacon's Rebellion in 1676. That year, farmers in central and northern Virginia asked permission from the Royal Governor William Berkeley to raise a militia to quell Indians who were conducting lethal raids on the settlers. Berkeley refused permission; the Governor supported a more peaceful, diplomatic approach with the local Indians, an approach supported by the Warner's. Nathaniel Bacon raised a militia nonetheless and proceeded to rout the raiding Indian tribes. The militia seized Warner Hall as its headquarters.

After defeating the Indians, Bacon went after the Governor. In September 1676, he and his band of several hundred marched to Jamestown (then the capital of Virginia), ran Governor Berkeley out of the city, and burned it to the ground. At that time, we had many ancestral families living in Jamestown including the Wilson, Curle, Oldis, and Walker families, so the troublesome Nathaniel Bacon affected many of our ancestors. The rebellion fell apart one month later when Bacon died of cholera.

Many years later, in 1833, a cousin of ours, Judge David Walker of Fayetteville, married another relative of George Washington, Jane Lewis Washington. Jane was a direct descendant of George Washington's grandfather, Captain Lawrence Washington. This is an example of how the plantation-owning families of the South tended to marry within their own social group. It was not unusual for there to be several marriages between two families, sometimes in different generations.