Mary Hewes, widow Johnson

Is your surname Hewes?

Research the Hewes family

Mary Hewes, widow Johnson's Geni Profile

Share your family tree and photos with the people you know and love

  • Build your family tree online
  • Share photos and videos
  • Smart Matching™ technology
  • Free!


Related Projects

Mary Hewes (unknown), widow Johnson

Also Known As: "Mary (--) Johnson Ball Hewes", "not Mary Montague"
Birthplace: "tradition says", West Chester, Cheshire, England
Death: after December 13, 1721
Cherry Point Farm, Northumberland, Virginia
Place of Burial: Ferry Farm, Stafford County, Virginia, United States
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Mary Ball's father and Mary Ball's mother
Wife of (unknown) Johnson; Colonel Joseph Ball, of "Epping Forest" and Capt. Richard Hewes
Mother of John Johnson; Eliza Johnson and Mary Washington

Occupation: George Washington's grandmother
Managed by: David William Stein
Last Updated:

About Mary Hewes, widow Johnson

Mary was the maternal grandmother of George Washington. Her parentage is unknown. Prior to marrying Col. Joseph Ball, she was married to (1) a ___ Johnson, and had children Elizabeth Bonham(Johnson) and John Johnson (mentioned in her will). She then married (2) Col. Joseph Ball, and had one daughter, Mary Washington (Ball). She then married (3) Richard Hewes (Hughes).

Mary ___ Johnson Ball Hewes died in 1721 at Cherry Point Farm in Northumberland Co., VA.


After the death of his first wife, Joseph Ball married Mary Johnson (died 1721), a widow who had two children from her previous marriage. Together they had one child, a daughter named Mary Ball (1708-1789). Joseph passed away, however, soon after when Mary Ball was only three years old.

Mary Johnson Ball was remarried the following year to a man named Richard Hewes, who left her a widow for the third time in 1713.

Her daughter, Mary Ball, was completely orphaned by the age of 12 or 13 and was subsequently raised by a guardian named Col. George Eskridge, a local lawyer, land speculator, and Burgess, whose plantation was called Sandy Point. In 1731, at the age of 23, Mary Ball married Augustine Washington (1694-1743), a middle-aged widower with three children, who ranged in age from 13 to 9. Their first child, a little boy they named George Washington (1732-1799), was born early the following year.

The will of Mary Johnson Ball, which was unearthed by G. W. Beale of more recent years, is dated December 17, 1721. It was made at St. Stephens parish and mentions Mary Ball, John Johnson, and her daughter, Elizabeth Bonim (Mrs. Samuel Bonim). John Johnson and George Eskridge are named as executors.


  1. Pierce, Elizabeth Combs. "Mary Johnson, second wife of Col. Joseph Ball," William and Mary College Quarterly Historical Magazine 15, no. 2: 176-7.
  2. "MOUNT VERNON, ITS CHILDREN, ITS ROMANCES, ITS ALLIED FAMILIES AND MANSIONS" by Minnie Kendall Lowther (contributed by Marcia Hovenden)
  3. Roberts, Gary Boyd. Ancestors of American Presidents. (Boston, Massachusetts: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2009), p. 1.


will of Joseph Ball

↑ Will Abstract of Joseph Ball, in Lee, Ida J. Abstracts Lancaster County, Virginia, Wills, 1653-1800. (Richmond: Dietz Press, 1959).

p 6 -  BALL, Joseph,. Psh. St. Mary's White Chapel. Will. 25 June 1711. Rec. 11 July 1711. Wife Mary; son Joseph; daus. Hannah Travers; Anne Conway; Esther Chinn; Elizabeth Cornegie; Mary Ball; Eliza Johnson (dau. of his wife), dau. Mary, 400 acres of land in Richmond county; grandson James Cornegie (not 21) acknowledges gift to son Joseph Ball, and daus. Hannah Travers, Anne Conway and Esther Chinn made 11 Feb. 1707; Overseer John Hagan; negroes formerly belonging to Jon. Carnegie, decd. Extr. Joseph Ball. Wits. Geo. Finch, Elizabeth Finch, Margaret Miller, Joseph Taylor. W.B. 10, p. 88.

[identifies Eliza(beth) Johnson as a daughter of Joseph Ball's wife, Mary]



Little is known of Mary Johnson Ball, the mother of Mary Ball, other than the fact of her English birth and the supposition that she was descended from the Montagues. She was a widow with two children, Elizabeth and John Johnson, when she became housekeeper for Joseph Ball. Many are the romantic fancies that have been woven about her name without the least fact to support them. That she was good and true and worthy to be the mother of such a woman as Mary Ball Washington and the grandmother of such a hero as General Washington is sufficient for us. Her name will live when many of royal blood are forgotten.

After the death of Mr. Ball, Mary Johnson Ball became the wife of Captain Richard Hewes, a vestrynam of St Stephen's parish, Northumberland, and removed to this parish with her three children, John and Elizabeth Johnson, and Mary Ball, who had not reached her fifth birthday. Captain Hewes died in 1713, and she followed him to the other world when Mary Ball was but thirteen. Her will, which was unearthed by G. W. Beale of more recent years, is dated December 17, 1721.

It was made at St. Stephens parish and mentions Mary Ball, John Johnson, and her daughter, Elizabeth Bonim (Mrs. Samuel Bonim). John Johnson and George Eskridge are named as executors. John Johnson did not long survive his mother, for his will was probated on February 22, 1726, in Westmoreland. He left all that his stepfather had given him in Stafford County to Mary Ball, and a young dappled-gray riding horse besides. Mary was then just eighteen.


George Washington's maternal grandmother is likely Mary Bennett, rather than Mary Montague.



A tradition has existed for fifty years or more, that George Washington was of Montague descent, through his mother Mary Ball. It probably originated from the fact that William Montague married, 1727, a dau. of Capt. Richard Ball, who was Mary Ball's cousin [their fathers were brothers]. This subject has been thoroughly investigated by Rev. Horace E. Hayden in his Va. Genealogies, published Wilkes-Barre, Pa., 1891. The compiler also has made a thorough search, and left no means untried to obtain the truth.

The result is, that the only place where such descent could be possible, was through Mary Ball's mother who was, before Col. Ball married her, a Mrs. Mary Johnson, a widow, of Lancaster Co., Va. A tradition exists in the Ball family that Mrs. Mary Johnson was born in England. This tradition has been traced to Mrs. Ann Shearman, whose mother was Esther Ball, the half sister of Mary Ball. If it is true, that she was born in England, then - any descent from Peter Montague was impossible. No record has been found to show the maiden name of Mrs. Mary Johnson, or who she was before her marriage to Johnson. If she was a Miss Montague, she would have to be a daughter of one of the sons of the emigrant Peter Montague. One of his sons did have a daughter whose name was Mary Montague, but church records prove that she married, Oct. 24, 1682, Thomas Payne, and no record exists to show that she ever afterward married any one else. Records of that time and locality are lost, and the maiden name of Mrs. Mary Johnson [Washington's grandmother] will probably never be known.

MARRIAGES: Many references indicate that Mary Montague had been married several times. No one knows for sure just how many times nor which surname she used when marrying Capt. Joseph Ball. This has become a confusing factor in doing family research and led to many claiming Capt. Ball's wife as an ancestor. My most convincing source of information is my Grandfather, Fielding Montague. Many is the time that he told us about his Great Grandfather Andrew Montague being a Cousin and friend of George Washington.

George Washington's Grandmother, Mary Montague, and Andrew Montague's Great Grandfather, Peter Montague, were brother and sister.


Mary's maiden name may have been Bennett. A Mary Bennet married a William Johnson 10 Feb 1688/89 at Christ Church Parish. This was the same church she later attended. However, no record of this Mr. Johnson's death exists. Her maiden name has also been speculated to be Montague, as a Mary Montague of roughly the same age attended the same church, and had a cousin marry in to the Ball family. But this Mary Montague is known to have married a Thomas Payne prior to Mary Ball's marriage to Joseph Ball. Further, a burial record for Mary Payne is found int he Christ Church parish register.

Source: Various records, primarily from the Christ Church Parish Records. See here for a summary timeline of both Mary Ball and Mary Montague and citations to all records.

view all

Mary Hewes, widow Johnson's Timeline

West Chester, Cheshire, England
Age 23
Age 23
November 30, 1708
Age 36
Epping Forest, Lancaster, Virginia, United States
December 13, 1721
Age 49
Northumberland, Virginia
April 1743
Age 49
Ferry Farm, Stafford County, Virginia, United States