Friday, January 23, 2009

Wilson's mother

According to the Washington Post President Obama is the first son of an immigrant to reach the White House since before the Civil War.
[n]o son of an immigrant has risen to be president since James Buchanan, whose father was born in Ireland in 1761. "This is a completely new phenomenon," said Gary Boyd Roberts, who has spent a lifetime studying the lineage of U.S. presidents and is senior research scholar emeritus with the New England Historic Genealogical Society.
Mr. Roberts may have spent a 'lifetime studying the lineage of U.S. presidents', but when I first heard the Buchanan reference this week something my grandmother once said came back to me. She told me that President Wilson was keen to side with Britain in WWI because his mother was English.

Now my Grandmother rarely forgot something once she read it - and she was always reading. And with Google I've found that I can confirm those sometimes vague memories of things my Grandmother once told me.

So, a little digging on Google and I found this. Wilson's mother was from Carlisle in England and he visited there a few times, including during his 'Pilgrimage of the Heart' tour in 1918. And as I read the account of the visit from the NY Times I got a sense of what an emotional moment it was for Wilson.

So, my grandmother was right about Wilson's mother and, maybe, not all that far wrong about his pro-British leanings before America entered the war.