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Apr 13, 2017

The Noble Family Tree of Justice Neil Gorsuch

Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch Descends from English Kings

Yes, many Americans have royal heritage although they may not be aware of it.

Well, recently in my family research, I ran across a digitized book about early American immigrants who had Plantagenet Ancestry and found a tiny handful of my own family surnames including some spot-on early settlers (exs: William Farrar who founded Farrar's Island, VA and Kent-born Col. William Claiborne, surveyor of Jamestown Colony and founder of Kent Island, MD) on the list who sailed to Colonial Virginia and Maryland with royal lineages tucked away in their back pockets.

Then, thinking I had never heard the name 'Gorsuch' until now-Justice Neil Gorsuch hit the news cycle, a surprise awaited me for on the Plantagenet list of kingly descendants is Anne Lovelace Gorsuch who immigrated from England to America as a widow with children. (Anne's father was Sir William Lovelace, Knight). Wondering how many branches of the Gorsuch tree there can be, I searched and discovered that, yes, Justice Neil Gorsuch is indeed descended from immigrant Anne Lovelace Gorsuch and her husband, the Reverend John Gorsuch. You may climb their family tree if you dare.

And since Justice Neil Gorsuch will be 'with us' on the SCOTUS bench for decades, if you're curious enough about this illustrious family of London merchants and attorneys-at-law (and one, John of Baltimore, Maryland, was a labor arbitrator!) and would appreciate a fuller accounting of them, here's a JSTOR link which takes you way back to Bishopsgate Ward, London, England, Northumberland, and beyond. Included you'll find allied families such as the Coles, the Ensors, the McGills, and the Lovelaces (which reminds me of Ada, Countess Lovelace, daughter of romantic poet Lord Byron).

So now I must wonder if Anne Lovelace Gorsuch (circa 1610--1652) is related to that particular bunch of Lovelaces in some way. After all, how many Lovelace branches could there possibly be?


Previous Post: The Prenatal Eclipse and Unaspected Saturn of Justice Neil Gorsuch.

Image: Remains of Historical Jamestown Colony {public domain}

Please be advised that you are cordially invited to visit the Genealogy and Family Ties effort of yours truly at Stricklands' Blog for articles and links concerning Claibornes, Farrars, Taylors, Stricklands, Jamestown Colony, and more!


Anonymous said...

Many people in the West and in America descend from Charlemagne and, thus, a number of kings.
Such an descent is really not extraordinary. Knowing of it is.

I commend to you an article published in The Atlantic called "The Royal We". Fascinating.

Courtney Toms

Jude Cowell said...

TY Courtney Yes many many people have royal ancestors in their trees as do I and it isn't rare. They were a busy bunch! I mention because the fellow may have an exalted self opinion over it! Jude

Anna Murray said...

Related to Edward Gorsuch??

Gorsuch was a Maryland slave owner who organized a legal party of kidnappers to go to Pennsylvania and retrieve former slaves who escaped from his plantation.

Gorsuch was killed at the home of William Parker in Christiana, Pa. September 11, 1851 when free and formerly enslaved African Americans staged armed resistance to the kidnappers. Gorsuch’s son and another relative were wounded in the battle.

Parker and the former slaves that Gorsuch sought successfully fled to Canada following the incident.

The Parker group suffered only two slightly wounded men.

The confrontation over the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 is seen by many as the opening salvo in the Civil War followed by the armed conflict in Kansas and John Brown’s raid on Harper’s Ferry.

The Fugitive Slave Act required any white man to assist in capturing fugitive slaves and denied African Americans recourse to the courts to protest their return to slavery. The result was that free African Americans as well as escaping slaves were captured and forced into bondage.

A local Christiana white Quaker named Castner Hanway was charged with treason as a result of the incident, but was acquitted. The prosecution assumed that African Americans could not have organized such a defense on their own and that Hanway must be the leader since he was the first Quaker on the scene.

Charges against three other white men and 37 African Americans were then dropped. However, most of the remaining defendants still faced state charges of murder and riot. They remained in custody for another month until Deputy Marshal Henry Kline was himself indicted for lying at the defendants' pretrial hearing.

The incident and subsequent acquittal of Hanway outraged slave owners and invigorated abolitionists since the “riot” and trial verdicts effectively nullified the Fugitive Slave Act.