Washington, George (15 August 1817–26 August 1905)
American National Biography
Washington, George (15 August 1817–26 August 1905), frontiersman and Oregon Trail pioneer, was born near Winchester in Frederick County, Virginia, the son of a mixed-race African-American slave father named Washington and a white mother whose name is unrecorded. The nature of his parentage violated social conventions; his father was immediately sold, never to be involved in his life again, and his mother allowed baby George to be adopted by James C. Cochran and his wife, a white family. At age four George moved west with the Cochrans, setting first near Delaware City, Ohio; when he was nine the family moved farther west, eventually to Bloomington on the Missouri frontier. As a black youth in the slave state of Missouri, Washington was denied a formal education, but he taught himself the rudiments of reading, writing, and mathematics. He also acquired the skills in woodcraft and marksmanship for which he would later become renowned....
Locate the Document
Millner, D. "George Washington" in American National Biography, Oxford University Press, 1997.