Saturday, June 29, 2019

Family tree: I'm the king of wishful thinking

George II at age 44 (portrait by Charles Jervas)—see the resemblance?
 When you start researching your family tree, you never know what secrets you might find. Ancestry.com tells me that England's King George II may have been my seventh great-grandfather.
George II was the grandfather of George III, whose reign is remembered for the American Revolution. He's the one who unwittingly wrote in his diary on July 4, 1776: "Nothing important happened today."
The lineage goes through my mother's mother, Macie Sherard (1887-1973), daughter of Charles McLaren Sherard (1858-1894) son of James Wiley Sherard (1828-1910), son of Phoebe Hardin Buchanan (1798-1872), daughter of Mary Pack (1775-1837), daughter of Joseph Carroll Pack (1748-1827). Joseph Pack was supposedly the son of the Duke of Cumberland (1721-1765), the son (or perhaps the brother) of King George II (1683-1760).
Here, the documentation is weak, and we may be on the brink of wishful thinking. The duke, William Augustus Hanover, was unlikely to ever reach the throne, and he got involved with a commoner, Mary Anne Packard. Their son supposedly took his surname from his mother and became Joseph Carroll Pack. He settled in the Carolinas in 1770 with royal land grants from his cousin (or uncle), King George III.
Ancestry.com has a 1976 manuscript called Children, Meet Your Ancestors written by one of my Mississippi cousins named Genevieve Broome Jones (1900-1985). Mrs. Jones spent years trying to track down the Pack branch of her family tree, until a relative in Columbia, S.C., shared a story that supposedly came from a book called England's Turbulent Eighteenth Century, by the acclaimed English author, James Boswell. As far as I can tell, no such book exists. Boswell did write a similar title called The Ominous Years 1774-1776, but it does not contain the passage that Mrs. Jones quotes:
 Then in 1760, George III, twenty-five years old, handsome and well-educated, came to the throne. There was great rejoicing. He felt himself English, and had shaken off the Hanover ties. He was resolved to be a good English ruler. But the rejoicing was short-lived. King George III was a vacillator between generosity to those in his favor and vices of a despot with others.
 (Then an example of despotism is given.)
 On the other hand, he lavishly doled out grants of land in America for colonization. One of the adventurers who got grants was a favorite cousin, Joseph, son of William, brother of the king's grandfather George II. Unlike other members of the royal family, William was tremendously attracted to English customs and living: to the point that he married an English commoner, Mary Anne Packard, who was Joseph's mother.
 Since Joseph was not in the royal line, upon receipt of a grant of land in Carolinas of the America by the king, adopted a portion of his mother's maiden name, Pack, as his surname. Over and beyond this generosity, the king financed the journey to America and the expenses of Joseph's first year in America. 
Mrs. Jones acknowledged that she could not be certain that her ancestor Joseph Pack, who settled in South Carolina in 1770, was the same person mentioned in the royal family. "My skepticism arises from the fact that no living Pack descendant that I have met ever had any inkling of any royal ancestry. Why? Was Joseph so ashamed of it that it was never told to any of his children? If any one of his twelve children ever heard of it, surely some hint of it would have come down as family tradition."
Joseph Pack's grave at Paxville Baptist Church
 Pack may have become estranged from his royal family, considering that he enlisted in the S.C. Militia at the end of the American Revolution, where he might have fought against his cousin's army. 
Also, some sources say that the Duke never married. If that's the case, maybe Miss Packard was his mistress, which also might explain why Joseph never told his children where they came from.
 Joseph Pack received two grants in the Camden District and two more in the Sumter District, where he is buried in a town called Paxville. He also received grants on the Tyger River and Enoree River, which would seem to indicate Greenville or Spartanburg County in upstate South Carolina. In fact, there are Pack families in northern Greenville, and I once owned a couple of acres there on a scenic ridge called Packs Mountain.
If George II is indeed my seventh great-grandfather, then I am also a descendant of King James I, known for the King James Bible.
 There is also a chance that my link should go through George I rather than II, since Mrs. Jones' account (and the 1982 clipping below) describes the Duke as the brother (rather than the son) of George II. 
The following clipping is from the Sumter Daily Item in 1982:


2 comments:

  1. Today of all days to find out I’m British royalty... πŸ¦…πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ

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  2. On Jeopardy last night (July 8) one of the questions in the category Augustus involved the Duke of Cumberland and the Jacobite rebellion.

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