Elnora Gregory: county woman finds ancestral link to George Washington, Meriwether Lewis

11

For much of her life, Elnora Scudder Gregory has lived quietly here in Switzerland County. Born to Horace R. and Cecil Callahan Scudder, Elnora’s father was a school teacher and gentleman farmer in the Florence area. She met and married Harry Gregory from the Patriot area in 1946; and for more than 50 years the couple lived quietly and happily at their Patriot residence.

Everything was pretty quiet until a month ago, when a relative wrote to Elnora Gregory to give her the findings of his genealogy search of the family tree.

Come to find out — Elnora Gregory’s past is anything but normal.

In fact, her ancestral line traces back to include George Washington, explorer Meriwether Lewis, and nine kings that governed England and France — all the way back to the Emperor Charlemagne.

“It was pretty much a shock,” Elnora Gregory said from her small kitchen at Switzer Square. “I had always heard about George Washington and Meriwether Lewis, but I had no idea how far back things went.”

Elnora Gregory’s second cousin, Bill Callahan of Foster City, California, has been researching the family line for several years. He found the link between Elnora Gregory and her famous family members when he found George Reade.

George Esquire Reade was born in Hampshire, England, on October 25th, 1608. He was one of the first colonizers of what is now Virginia; serving as the colony’s Secretary of State under Colonial Governor Sir John Harvey — assuming the Governor’s duties when John Harvey was called away.

George Reade died in Yorktown, Virginia, on November 21st, 1671.

George Reade had a daughter, Mildred Reade, who married Colonel Augustine Warner III. They had two daughters: Elizabeth Warner and Mildred Warner.

Meriwether Lewis’ paternal grandmother was Elizabeth Warner; while George Washington’s paternal grandmother was Mildred Warner — making the two famous Americans second cousins and the great-great grandsons of George Reade.

The George Reade line continues through history to include the Webber family.

Mary Chatham Webber married Thomas R. Callahan, and they had a daughter: Cecil Callahan — Elnora Gregory’s mother.

That makes Elnora Scudder Gregory the great-great-great-great-great-great granddaughter of George Esquire Reade — and it connects her directly to America’s first President and one of its most important explorers.

*

Follow George Reade’s ancestral line in the other direction, and it takes you back to England, where he is a descendent of King Henry I, Henry II, and Henry III; as well as Kings from France as royalty had their children marry other royals throughout time.

“It’s all pretty overwhelming,” Elnora Gregory says as she spreads out different sections of her family tree. “I had some questions and I knew that Bill was working on everything, so I asked him and he sent me all of this. I never knew that I was that close to all of these important people.”

Although she know has a better understanding of her royal family history, Elnora Gregory doesn’t seem inclined to begin living a more stately life. She has been living at Switzer Square since 2000, just shortly before husband Harry passed away.

She like being around her neighbors and spending time discussing various issues of the day. On a given day she might be found sitting on the sofa near the main entrance; or enjoying some time in the recreation area.

Visitors might never know as they pass this wonderful woman that they, indeed, are in the presence of royalty.