The Man Who Would Be King: George Washington's Descendant

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The children of Paul Emery Washington think of their father as an unpretentious, generous guy who climbed the corporate ladder to become regional manager at CertainTeed manufacturing, a building-supply company. Now 82, he takes care of his wife, who suffers from Alzheimer's disease, while spending time on the San Antonio, Texas, property that he shares with his children. "I think he would've been a great king," says son Bill Washington—a statement, we admit, that might seem a little odd. Except that Paul Emery Washington is a direct descendant of George Washington, our nation's first president and perhaps the only man in history who turned down the position of monarch.

Had George Washington ascended to the throne, Paul Emery Washington (Joe Six-pack, incarnate) could now go by King Paul, the first. Lore has it that President Washington was so well liked after his Revolutionary victory that a group of citizens frustrated with the Continental Congress floated the idea of a coup-d'etat and the installation of King George and the creation of an American monarchy. But Washington, who believed that anyone (anyone!) might make for a good leader, staunched the idea and eventually relinquished his power as commander-in-chief.

Since then, genealogists have been pondering the possibilities had President Washington been a bit more power-hungry...

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