This time our colorful character is Lawrence Washington, a blood-relative of George Washington.
The story comes to us from the February 23, 1908 issue of the New York Times.
[A repost, and somewhat related to the 4th of July.]
The story was mainly about the heirs of George Washington wanting to settle claims about land in the Ohio Valley. George Washington had surveyed out and claimed quite a bit of land there, but somehow those claims weren’t honored because of conflicting grants.
And, geez, the story goes, we really need to do something for these people carrying such illustrious blood. And even worse, one of them goes barefooted.
Most of the claimants, who are especially numerous in the Potomac Valley, need the money. A large number dwelling in Washington City and Alexandria have small government jobs in token of their blood, but there are not enough jobs to accommodate all. To some people it is a painful thing to meet an elderly Washington barefooted, a Washington catching dogs, a Washington dwelling in a shack, a Washington washerwoman.
The barefooted one would be Lawrence Washington, who is a descendant of Augustine Washington, George’s half-brother.
Lawrence Washington himself was unconcerned about his bare feet.
The heir of Washington said his shoes hurt him, so he always went barefooted, winter and summer, except to church.
That was back when somebody could just do that. Yeah, they were looked upon as oddities, at least in the big cities, but it wasn’t the sort of big deal that it is today.