How the African-American Syphax Family Traces Its Lineage to Martha Washington | At the Smithsonian

When Stephen Hammond was growing up, he scoffed when relatives told him he was related to the family of the nation’s first president, George Washington. It turns out, they were absolutely right.

“We’ve discovered many documents that have been written that have talked about the Washingtons and their connection to the Syphaxes,” Hammond explains.

The patriarch of the family, William Anderson Syphax, was a freed slave, born in 1773. His son, Charles Syphax, was a slave at Mount Vernon, the home of George and Martha Washington. Charles Syphax was among nearly 60 slaves inherited by George Washington Parke Custis, the grandson of Martha Washington. Charles Syphax eventually married a…

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