Heart of a Southern Woman

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William Langhorne,1721-1797, Aide de Camp to Marquis de Lafayette, 52 ancestors in 52 weeks #19

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Marquis de Lafayette

This is a story about our fifth great-grandfather William Langhorne that I actually found on ancestry.com, unfortunately without an author identified! I have blogged about him before, but not for this challenge. I personally think having a grandfather who served with Lafayette, is simply amazing!

“The younger son of Capt. John Langhorne, Maj. William Langhorne (1721-1797) held possession of the Warwick County, Virginia, estates and became the most prominent of the sons. He married Elizabeth Cary Scarsbrook, a cousin of George Washington and Thomas Nelson, and daughter of the wealthy Yorktown merchant Col. Henry Scarsbrook and his wife Martha Cary (of the illustrious Cary family, for which the town of Cary, North Carolina is named). Henry Scarsbrook was the great-grandson of Capt. Nicholas Martiau, the man whose plantation was later turned into Yorktown.

Like his father, William Langhorne served as a Sheriff, Justice of the Peace, and as a Burgess. He was also a magistrate for forty years. During the Revolutionary War, William Langhorne served as aide-de-camp to Marquis de Lafayette, was a member of the Committee of Safety, and was the only representative of Warwick County for the first four out of five Revolutionary Conventions. His service has been commemorated on a memorial in Williamsburg, Virginia.

Just what is an “aide-de-camp”? According to this article in Wikipedia, “An aide-de-camp (French for field assistant) is a personal assistant, secretary, or adjutant to a person of high rank, usually a senior military officer or a head of state. The first aide-de-camp is typically the foremost personal aide.

In some countries, the aide-de-camp is considered to be a title of honor (which confers the post-nominal letters ADC or A de C), and participates at ceremonial functions.The badge of office for an aide-de-camp is usually the aiguillette, a braided cord in gold or other colors, worn on the shoulder of a uniform. Whether it is worn on the left or the right shoulder is dictated by protocol.”

Of William Langhorne’s nine children, two sons were the most prominent. Maj. John Scarsbrook Langhorne (1760-1797) married Elizabeth Langhorne, daughter of his Uncle Maj. Maurice Langhorne of Cumberland, thus uniting two lines of family inheritance. Marrying of cousins, a common practice among the wealthy families of Virginia and other colonies likewise, helped to keep money in the family. John Scarsbrook Langhorne’s younger brother, another Maurice Langhorne (1769-1818) married Martha Holladay of “Indian Fields”, and their grandson Maurice Finney Langhorne married Lillian Isabelle Blair Polk, a close relative of President James K. Polk, a native of North Carolina..” (source unknown)

My husband and daughter Annie are native North Carolinians, my older daughter Ali has three children born in North Carolina. and although Virginia will always be home to me, I have now lived in North Carolina longer than I lived in Virginia and am proud of my family’s North Carolina heritage. Having these connections certainly makes history come alive. Below i show my descendancy chart from William Langhorne. It’s just astounding to me what you find when you start digging around in your family tree!

Maj. William Langhorne (1721 – 1797)
is your 5th great grandfather
son of Maj. William Langhorne
son of Maj. John Scarsbrook Langhorne
son of Henry Scarsbrook Langhorne
daughter of James Steptoe (blind) Langhorne
daughter of Evaline (going blind when died young)) Langhorne
daughter of Katherine Steptoe Houchins
You are the daughter of Margaret Steptoe Kerse


Author: Helen Holshouser

Old enough to enjoy life, I am a Red Hatter, grandmother, gardener, and amateur genealogist. I am a retired clinical psychologist, master's level, who is disabled with heart disease, but having fun with family and friends. Married over 40 years, I have two grown daughters and three grandchildren. I have learned that grandchildren provide a joy one never knew existed---writing feeds my soul, gardening is therapy, and genealogy research makes me feel like a detective!

One thought on “William Langhorne,1721-1797, Aide de Camp to Marquis de Lafayette, 52 ancestors in 52 weeks #19

  1. Pingback: 52 Ancestors Challenge: Week 20 Recap | No Story Too Small

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