George Washington Bush

George Washington Bush

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George Washington Bush

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George Washington Bush (1779 –April 5, 1863) was one of the first American settlers and the first black settler in what would later become the U.S. state of Washington.

Early life

George Washington Bush was born in Pennsylvania around 1778. An only child, he was raised as a Quaker and educated in Philadelphia. Bush’s father, Matthew, was born in India but was of African descent. Matthew Bush worked for a wealthy English merchant named Stevenson for most of his life. At Stevenson’s home in Philadelphia, Matthew Bush met his wife, an Irish maid who also worked for Stevenson. George's parents served Stevenson until his death. Stevenson had no other family and so left the Bushes a substantial fortune.

Soldier and trapper

George Washington Bush fought in the War of 1812 at the Battle of New Orleans. He later worked as a voyageur and fur trapper, including several years spent in Oregon Country working for Hudson's Bay Company (HBC).

Missouri and marriage

Around 1830, Bush returned to Missouri where he married Isabella James, the daughter of a Baptist minister of German descent, on July 4, 1831. Missouri was a slave state at the time. Bush was a free man and had never been a slave but, because he was black, Missouri did not provide him the same legal status as a white man, and his family faced severe prejudice.

To the......

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