James Washington


Personal and Family Information

James was born on 1 APR 1850 in Astbury Parish, Congleton, Cheshire, England, the son of John Washington and Mary Hersfield.

He died on 26 OCT 1929 in Burlingame, Osage County, Kansas.

His wife was Harriet Jane Wilkinson, who he married on 21 DEC 1871 in StJamesCathedral, Congelton, Cheshire, England. Their twelve known children were Sarah Ann (1871-1946), Thomas (1873-1959), William G. (1875-1961), Emma (1879-1965), Mary E. [Polly] (1881-1967), Annie May (1884-1964), Martha (1886-1968), Nellie Louise (1889-1977), George (1891-1910), Ada (1893-1955), Arthur (1896-1979) and Artie (1896-1973).

Pedigree Chart (3 generations)


James Washington


John Washington


Thomas Washington




Mary Hersfield


Thomas Hersfield





Birth1 APR 1850
Place: Astbury Parish, Congleton, Cheshire, England
Death26 OCT 1929
Place: Burlingame, Osage County, Kansas
Burial28 OCT 1929
Place: Burlingame Cmtry, Burlingame, Osage County, Kansas


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Note 1

!Source: Kansas State Census for Osage County, 1 Mar 1885 [Scranton, Kansas], Page 46, film 99 and 100.

!Nsource: Connie Gibbar gave me James Washington - info from death certificate & burial record

!Notes: Birthdate from birth registration recorded 12 Apr 1830 in Congleton, England. Born in a greenstone house. Went to school in England, and could read and write. He liked to sing and play the accordian or concertina.

!Notes: Two different death dates are found in James A. Hotchkiss' records, 31 Oct 1929, and 20 Oct 1929. His obituary seems to indicate the former.

!P: Witnesses at wedding were: A. Wilkinson [James' brother and Mary Baily.

!P: Sometime during the year of 1880, approximately June or July, James Washington, a coal miner, migrated from Congleton, Cheshire County, England, to Shawnee, Ohio in the United States. His family joined him in the U.S. in 1883.

!P: James came over from England first, bringing his family later. This was not unusual, as immigration laws often allow only one member of the family to come into the U.S. to work, until that member has obtained citizenship and can sponsor the others. However, colorful stories have sprung up in order to explain his situation.

!P: James father, and most of the people in the Congleton area were employeed in the textile industry. It has been said that there must have been some reason that James didn't follow his father's trade, and instead became a coal miner. Purhaps he got into some kind of trouble. One story, attributed to Harriet Washington, tells of a time in England when James was placed in jail for being intoxicated. However, it would seem that things were bad in the textile industry at the time. Most likely there just weren't enough jobs to go around. James first took work in the local mines and then went to America on a work permit. There he worked and saved and became a citizen.

!P: Once he had accomplished this, he sent for his family. One colorful story has it that James was neglecting his family by not sending for them for so long. A friend who knew of his situation, is supposed to have confronted him with his neglect and then beat him unconsious, thus causing him to finally send the $40 needed for his family's fare from England to Shawnee, Ohio.

!P: Certainly things were not easy for his family as they waited for him in England. Although James could not have known it, Harriet Washington was two months pregnant when he left England. Harriet worked as a silk worker in a garment factory to help support the family, which already included four children ranging in age from one to nine years old. Mary [or Polly] Washington was born while the family was separated, and named after James' mother Mary Hersfield. Gladys Washington has written that Thomas would rub his mother's feet at night when she got home from the mill.

!P: However, there were good memories from this time as well. There was still family there to help them. Harriet used to speak of how pretty the Christmases were in Congleton.

!P: His family joined him in the U.S. in 1883. The family spent one year in Ohio, apparently in about 1884. Hannah Washington was born during their stay in Ohio.

!P: In April 1885, the Washington's moved to Scranton, Kansas, where they stayed for a short time. In July, they moved on to Burlingame, Osage County, Kansas, where they raised their family of twelve children, and lived out their lives.

!P: In Burlingame, James purchased a 40 acre farm one mile west and one mile south of the main Burlingame intersection of Topeka Avenue and Sante Fe Street. This fourty acre farm was composed of 1/36 of a section of land and was about 1/4 square mile of land. The Manhattan Branch of the Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad cuts diagonally across the property from the northwest to the south-central sides. On the land to the southwest of the railroad tracks were built the house, the chicken coups, and the buggy sheds. The garden and orchards were also located on the southwest side of the tracks. On the northeast side of the tracks were the pasture, the pond, a corn field, and an alfalfa patch.

!P: Gladys Washington has written that Thomas says he was twelve years old and Willaim ten, when James began sinking the coal mine on the northeast side of the tracks. This would have been in 1885. An airshaft for this coal mine was located on the southwest side of the tracks. James' ambition to have a coal mine caused him much grief. All the money he could provide went into the mine. Sometime before Thomas Washington and Mary Hotchkiss were married in 1896, after the coal mine was already sunk, Mary Hotchkiss is supposed to have inquired as to what happened to the Washington's milk cow. Hariet answered that they had sold the cow to support the mine. Eventually the mine prospered.

!P: As the girls in the family grew up they each went to work in somebody's kitchen for $2 per week.

!Obituary: [Burlingame Enterprise Chronical, 31 Oct 1929, page 1, col. 2] -- James Washington, an Old Resident, Dead --

!P: James Washington, aged 79 years, and a resident of the Burlingame community for the past 44 years, died at his home southwest of town, Saturday morning, following an illness of several months.

!P: He was born in Congleton, Cheshire England and came to this country in 1880, first settling in Ohio. In 1885 the family came to Burlingame, following a short sojourn of a few months at Scranton [Kansas]. Mr. Washington was a coal miner by occupation and followed this trade for the greater part of the time spent in Osage county, until his health and age forced his retirement.

!P: In 1871 he was married to Harriet Wilkison, who died January 8, 1926. Eleven children, five of whom were born in England, survive him, and are: Mrs. Anna Hagge of Chicago; Mrs. Mary Meggison of St.. Joseph, Mo.; Mrs. Ada Gimm of Davenport, Iowa; Mrs. Emma Beeson of Topeka; Mrs. Artie Kilgore of Davenport, Iowa; William Washington of Vilrad, Mo.; Arthur of Los Angeles; Thomas, Mrs. Sarah Vandervord, Mrs. Martha Burkett and Mrs. Nellie Hotchkiss, all of Burlingame. There are also 46 grandchildren and 22 great grand children.

!P: The funeral services were held at the Methodist church here, Monday afternoon, at two-thirty o'clock, conducted by the pastor, Rev. C. P. Broadfoot, following which burial was in the Burlingame cemetery under the direction of C. L. Carey.----