James K. Polk

portrait of James K. Polk c. 1846, oil on canvas, by George Peter Alexander Healy; photo by Minor K. Kellogg [CC BY-SA 1.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Birth Name: James Knox Polk

Date of Birth: November 2, 1795

Place of Birth: Pineville, North Carolina, U.S.

Date of Death: June 15, 1849

Place of Death: Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.

Ethnicity: English, Scots-Irish/Northern Irish, Scottish, Irish

James K. Polk was an American politician. A member of the Democratic Party, he was the 11th President of the United States, having served from March 4, 1845 to March 4, 1849. He was elected to the position in 1844. He was also a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Tennessee, from March 4, 1825 to March 4, 1839, the 13th Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, from December 7, 1835 to March 4, 1839, and the 9th Governor of Tennessee, from October 14, 1839 to October 15, 1841.

He received on electoral vote for Vice President of the United States, from Tennessee, in the 1840 presidential election.

President Polk was the son of Jane Gracey (Knox) and Samuel Ezekiel Polk. He was married to Sarah Childress Polk, until his death.

President Polk’s mother was related to John Knox, the Scottish minister, theologian, and writer who was a leader of Scotland’s Protestant Reformation.

President Polk’s paternal grandfather was Ezekiel Franklin Polk (the son of William Ezekiel Robert Polk and Margaret Taylor). President Polk’s grandfather Ezekiel was born in Pennsylvania. William was the son of William Bruce Polk, from Coleraine, Ireland, and of Ann Nancy Knox, who was from Ulster, Ireland. Margaret was the daughter of James Taylor and Hannah Williams or Martha Thompson, who was from Cumbria, England.

President Polk’s paternal grandmother was Mary Jane Winslow Wilson (the daughter of Samuel Wilson and Mary Osborne Winslow). President Polk’s grandmother Mary Jane was born in Virginia. Samuel was the son of John Wilson and Christian Suttell, who were from Yorkshire, England, or of Robert Wilson and Rachel Pritlowe, or of Ephraim Wilson and Elizabeth Davis. President Polk’s great-grandmother Mary was the daughter of Thomas Benjamin Winslow and Mary Beverly Osborne/White.

President Polk’s maternal grandfather was Capt. James Knox (the son of John Absalom Knox and Jean/Jeane Sinclair O’Gracey/Gracey/Gracy). President Polk’s grandfather James was born in North Carolina. John was born in Renfrewshire, Scotland, the son of John A. Knox and Margaret Brock. Jean was born in Coleraine, Londonderry, Northern Ireland, the daughter of John O’Gracey/Gracey, from Coleraine, and of Jean Sinclair, from Renfrewshire, Scotland.

President Polk’s maternal grandmother was Lydia Gillespie (the daughter of Thomas Gillespie and Naomi Thompson). Thomas was Northern Irish, the son of William Ogilvie Gillespie, from Fife, Scotland, and of Margaret Cairn, from Wemyss, Fife, Scotland.

Sources: Genealogies of President Polk – https://www.geni.com

4 Responses

  1. andrew says:

    He had more Scots-Irish/Scottish/Irish ancestry than English

    William Bruce Polk’s wife was from Donegal, County Cork, Ireland

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