Thomas “Beau” Walker, the great-great-great grandfather to U.S. President George W. Bush, was a notorious slave trader who either personally led or heavily invested in expeditions to kidnap Africans from their homeland and bring them to America as slaves, a journalist and historian announced this week.
Word of the presidential ancestor came by way of retired journalist and genealogist Roger Hughes and historian Joseph Opala, who illustrated their findings to Slate.
They made the discovery by comparing the signatures of known Bush ancestor Thomas Walker with a notorious slave trader of the day who bore the same name. Stacked side-by-side, the signatures looked almost exactly the same.
They also recovered several letters Walker wrote, in which he complains about the cost of the people he’s kidnapped.
“Times on the coast is by no means as favourable as I expected,” Walker reportedly wrote. “Slaves is at the price of 150 [illegible] and the coast seemes [sic] to be lin’d with vessels of all kind.”
“I have purchased seventeen fine negroes and am this day proceeding down the coast to try what I do can there,” another of Walker’s letters reads. “Slaves is at a very greate [sic] price.”
There were at least two other known slave-owners in the Bush family, according to Hughes.
[“Stock Photo: George W. Bush At The New Hampshire Presidential Candidates Youth Forum, January 2000” on Shutterstock.]