Jacob WIRT Mildred GILMER Elizabeth Washington GAMBLE Henrietta UNKNOWN Mini tree diagram

William WIRT1,6,4,5,5,7

8th Nov 17721,2,3,4,5 - 18th Feb 18341,2,3,5,5

Life History

8th Nov 1772

Born in Bladensburg, Prince George's, Maryland.1,2,3,4,5

28th May 1795

Married Mildred GILMER.8,4


Death of Mildred GILMER in Albemarle County, Virginia.8,6

7th Sep 1802

Married Elizabeth Washington GAMBLE.1,6,7

18th Feb 1834

Died in Washington, DC, USA.1,2,3,5,5

"His disorder is inflamation of the brain."


  • The Wirt family name continues as a given name in the descendant Lowrey and McSwain families in Arkansas.  Kenneth McSwain, a cousin of my wife, Edith Marie McSwain, referred to his Aunt Octavia, genealogy and provided information on their ancestor William Wirt.

    "Aunt Octavia's genealogy work from many years back. I was able to link her work to the biography of William Wirt, by tracing the names of his relatives from the book. My wife and I made a trip about 5 years ago to Virginia, where I met the author, a newspaper editor in Orange VA, and interviewed him.  We then traveled to Richmond to the Wirt home and I interviewed the old lawyer who owned it. He said the home had been featured on an episode of This Old House. We also visited The Mariner's Museum in Norfolk VA, and I was taken to their warehouse where they had a ship's figurehead of William Wirt stored. Many years back WW was known as a brilliant speaker and his work was memorized by school children of the day."
    --  Kenneth Writ McSwain, email to Orville Boyd Jenkins, 1 September 2008

    "Ruth Lowrey McSwain ... was a descendant of ... [Barbara Wirt, a cousin of] William Wirt ..., who was our longest serving Attorney General of the US at 12 years.  He was appointed by Madison and Adams, and was an advisor to Thomas Jefferson and the defender of Aaron Burr.  He was a well known orator of his day (Adopted Son, Life, Wit and Wisdom of William Wirt by Gregory K. Glassner, whom I visited and interviewed, a newspaper editor in Orange and Madison, Virginia).  Wirt was also the author of The Biography of Patrick Henry, which he wrote some 50 years after Henry's death, and  most of whose actual speeches were not recorded, but Wirt compiled the speeches from eye witnesses who had heard them.  It is widely assumed that Wirt is responsible for many of the well turned phrases attributed to Patrick Henry.
    --  Kenneth Writ McSwain, email to Orville Boyd Jenkins, 17 April 2008

    "Married - On Tuesday last, the Honorable William Wirt, Esq., Judge of the High Court of Chancery, for Williamsburg District, to Miss Elizabeth Washington Gamble, daughter of Col. Robert Gamble, of this city, merchant."
    --  The Virginia Gazette, and General Advertiser, Saturday, September 11, 1802, page 3, column 5;  info courtesy of E Middleton, RootsWeb comment on this genealogy, 8 April 2017

    "Feb. 17: “1 am sorry lo hear that the Hon William Wirt now lies at the point ot death at his lodgings in this city [Dateline Washington?].  His disorder is inflamation of the brain.  He has been ill but a few days.  Yesterday he was given over by his physicians."
    --  Boston Morning Post, Boston, Massachusetts, 21 Feb 1834, via NewspaperArchive.com

    "National Intelligencer of Feb. 19.  Died, about meridian, yesterday [18 Feb 1834[, in Washington, William Wirt, Esq. aged about 62 years. In him his family have lost all that can be lost, in one among the most tender, devoted and enlightened of husbands and fathers."
    --  Gettysburg Republican Banner, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, 25 Feb 1834, via NewspaperArchive.com

    "... to give the House the opportunity of attending the funeral obsequies of William Wirt. At the adjournment of the House on Wednesday, I did not know what the arrangements were, or would be, for that mournlul ceremony."
    --  Gettysburg Republican Banner, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, 4 Mar 1834, via NewspaperArchive.com

    There was a saga about William Wirt's tomb being robbed, and the mystery of his skull, being lost, then being handed over 175 years later to the Smithsonian Institution.

    Tale From the Crypt

    When the stone was pulled off the tomb, Douglas Owsley peered down into the burial vault. He could see rotted coffins that had been dragged off a shelf and bones strewn around the floor. Meanwhile, the skull has been resting since July [2005] in the Owsley's lair at the Smithsonian's Museum of Natural History.

    --  Washington Post, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/10/19/AR2005101902374.html


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