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The Bush Family's Emmitsburg Connection

The Emmitsburg Historical Society recently received the following e-mail from Alice Davis of Cates, Vista, Ca.

I am interested in Emmitsburg [history] in an indirect sort of way. I share a bit of Cecil County ancestry with President Bush's family, which is nice, except that the Presidential genealogies are masterpieces of incorrectness when it comes to Cecil County. I decided to do a paper on the Bush family roots in Maryland, but I have now scaled that back to Cecil County, as the Bush family has just too many roots in Frederick County for me to understand.

George Walker, an orphan, was sent by his Cecil or Kent Co. guardian to Mount Saint Mary's in 1811 and 1812, when he was 14 or 15 years old. I thought it was interesting that he was sent to a Catholic school, especially since George W. Bush has gotten into trouble with his visit to Bob Jones U. Also, I wondered, and still wonder, why young George was sent to Emmitsburg, which is quite a way from Cecilton.

I then noticed that George's son, David Davis Walker, married in St. Louis Martha Adela Beakey, a girl born in Emmitsburg. Was this coincidence or connection?

I'd like to learn more about the Beakey/ Beachey/ Becchi/ Beche family. My only source to date is Americans of Gentle Birth and Their Ancestors, compiled by Mrs. H. D. Pittman, Burton and Skinner, St. Louis, Mo., 1903.

According to this book and my interpretation of it Victor Emmanuel Becchi immigrated from Strasbourg in Alsace Lorraine after the Revolutionary War and was a friend and ally of the Rev. Prince Gallitizin in establishing a Catholic prescence around Loretto in Pennsylvania. His son Joseph, who I think is the Joseph in your history, studied for the priesthood but chose another vocation. He was said to be a gifted linguist. He married a Catherine Shriner and settled in Emmitsburg. His son, Joseph Ambrose Beakey, went to Philadelphia where he met and married Mary Ann Bangs, a girl of Quaker family. They returned to Emmitsburg, she converted to Catholicism, and then in the 1840's moved to St. Louis by 1850. The senior Joseph is said to have died in Emmitsburg in 1854 and the younger while on the Minnehaha steamboat on the Mississippi in 1858.

At this point, this is mainly undocumented. I'm going to suggest that it would be a good subject for a paper by some Mt. St. Mary's student---the archivist there helped me with some of George Walker's school financial records.

George Herber Walker, the son of David Davis Walker and Martha Adela Beakey, was President Bush's maternal grandfather. On the Bush side the family also has a lot of Frederick County ancestors, the Shellman and Fout families, mostly Lutheran, I think.

Alice Davis Cates, Vista, CA

PS: Should George W. not get Gored, he should have a real fondness for Frederick County, if anyone tells him about it.

Do you know of an individual who helped shape Emmitsburg?
If so, send their story to us at: history@emmitsburg.net

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