It is said in the book Worthies of England, written by a fellow named Fuller, that Penningtons were found "only in the counties of Cumberland, Westmoreland, and Lancaster."  He goes on to say that all branches residing in those counties belong to the same family: that of Muncaster Castle, in Cumberland, England, where Jamel de Penitone resided "before the Conquest."

But if you go back further, as did Mr Fuller, you'll find in a book entitled Moule's English Counties a description of a town named Pennington, which is 2 miles west from Ulverson.  In Pennington, west of St Michael's church, is Castle Hill, the site of an ancient residence of the Penningtons, "who removed from there to Muncaster in 1242".

Thus, I wasn't real surprised to find that researching my own branch of the Pennington family tree has been a bit like tracking those early Penningtons.  Fortunately, unlike the paternal side of my family, I have cousins who are also doing family research -- as well as members of the Pennington Research Association.

So now we start with what I know for certain.

My Grandmother was a daughter of George Washington Pennington and Ina Louise Holverson.


George Washington Pennington

born 30 Dec 1862 in Adair county Missouri, son of John PENNINGTON and Susan OSBORN.

In his obituary, it say he:

  • He was born in Bates County, Missouri
  • moved to Bruneau, Idaho, in 1881
  • went to Mountain View, near Ferndale, WA, in Whatcom county in 1889
  • retired as a carpenter in 1927
  • lived in Sumner, Puyallup, and Kent

When he died at age 95, in Seattle, WA, he had:

  • 28 grandchildren
  • 35 great grandchildren
  • 12 great great grandchildren

His funeral was October 9, 1957

George Washington Pennington, circa 195?
George Washington Pennington

Just by looking at where his children were born -- see chart below -- I think it's safe to say that George wasn't the kind of man to let moss grow under his feet.

Both Gramma and Great Aunt Georgie would both talk about how, at some point during their young lives, they had to watch for Indians.  And at some point during their young life, they lived somewhere where they found rocks in the shape of a pan of biscuits with which they played house.  The two places may have been one in the same.

One afternoon, Aunt Mimi found Gramma standing in the hall, wrapped in a quilt and clutching her bedside lamp.  When she asked, "Mother, what are you doing?"  Gramma replied, in a whisper, "I'm looking for Jack.  There's Indians."  Gramma died not long after that.

In researching George, I have discovered that there were two John Penningtons.

One John Pennington was the son of Alexander Pennington (born 16 March 1802 in Pennsylvania), and Martha Biggs (Alexander and Martha married 7 June 1827 in Clinton county Ohio).  John and Susan's children of record are:

  • Francis Marion Pennington, born 11 Oct 1850
  • Rosa Bella Pennington, born 31 Dec 1863
  • Hattie Elizabeth Pennington, born 15 Feb 1870

Now, cousin Marylin Rudder says: "Frances Marion was his brother's name.  I don't remember a girl but is possible."  Which makes it look like Alexander and Martha were George's parents, however, just in case the other John Pennington had a son named Francis Marion that's not yet been uncovered, I present to you now the other John Pennington.

The other John Pennington was the son of Nathaniel and Ruth of North Wilna, New York.  From Alex Pennington of New York I have received the following information on this family group.

John M. Pennington was born 2 December 1809 in Warren New Jersey.  He lived in Plainfield NJ, as a hatter and moved to New York in 1845.  He died on Oct. 18,1877 in North Wilna, NY, just outside Rodchester.

His wife, Susan Osborne, was born 10 October 1812, married John on 11 September 1830, and died 1 February 1890.

John M's dad, Nathaniel Pennington, was born 5 August 1788 in either England or Bernardsville, New Jersey, and died 7 August 1863 in North Wilna, New York.

John M's mom, Ruth (?), was born 13 February 1790, in England and died 7 September 1830, in North Wilna, New York.

One of the children of John M and Ruth is Alexander William Pennington, born 7 December of either 1832 or 1833, and died 28 September of either 1900 or 1910, the confusion arising from the handwritten entry in the family Bible.

Alexander William Pennington's first wife was Sarah Adaline Speer and they bore 6 children, one of which was my paternal grandfather.

There are additional names in this Pennington family for whom there is only sketchy date and lineage relationships.  They include another Nathaniel, a Margaretta, a Hariet (a misspelling?), a William Marre, another John, a Susan Vesta, and a Franklin.  The one person who does NOT appear in the records is George Washington Pennington, but if Alexander WIlliam Pennington was the brother of GW's father, he was 20 years younger than his big brother John.

Only one of Alexander and Sarah's sons went West.  His name was Walter W. Pennington, born 18 April 1869, and died in Butte Montana.  He married but had no children, and was a sort of a family black sheep which is why, it is said, he left the fold.

If you can shed some light on this, please drop me some email.

I would like to thank Fran Pennington of the Pennington Research Association, Cynthia Holeman, Marilyn Rudder, Shirely Collinwood, Sherri McGlothern, and Alex Pennington for their invaluable input.

Ina Louise Holverson was born 25 March 1864 in Duluth, Blue Earth, Minnesota.  I don't know who her father OR sibs -- if any -- were.  She died in 1935.

The following article appeared in a Seattle newspaper about Ina: 



PUYALLUP, May 12-- In Puyallup there is one person to whom Hospital day means more probably than to many persons.  Mrs. George Pennington is a great-niece of Florence Nightengale, whose birthday is celebrated today.

Mrs Pennington told of remembering when she was a child of her mother receiving letters from Florence Nightengale, when Miss Nightengale was first maid to Queen Victoria.

It was custom for one who received a new dress to send little clippings of the dress to close friends or relatives, she remembers.  Letters were not exchanged very freely, as the postage was high, said Mrs Pennington.

Mrs Pennington's grandfather was a brother of Florence Nightengale, and came to Wisconsin from England.  Her mother's name was Sarah Jane Nightengale Holverson.  Mrs Pennington, who is past 60 years old, is very active.  With her husband she lives in a pretty little home on a berry ranch in Puyallup.

George and Ina married 17 Jan 1883 in Bruneau Valley, Owyhee, Idaho, and had seven children.
Nora Estilla Pennington 3 Oct 1883
Bruneau Valley, Owyhee, Idaho
Arthur W. Newkirk Viola Etherage
Ina Louise
Reginald Alexander
Charles Arthur
28 June 1966
Harriett Susan Pennington 12 Jan 1885
Gurnsey Newkirk 0 November 1970
William Luebkert Norma Nell
John Ralph "Jack" Pennington 13 March 1887
Weiser Idaho
Naomi Irene DOOLEY
27 Sept 1914
Mary Louise
John Ralph
James LeRoy
14 Nov 1959
Seattle, Washington
4 Dec 1929
Marilyn Ann
Sarah Loretta "Irene" Pennington 23 Oct 1888
Eureka California
Bert Nims Howard V.
Estella Bell
Ercel Brand 0
Bertha Mable Pennington 20 Jan 1891 FERNDALE
Mountain View, WA
circa 1908
This is his second marriage. In the 1st, he had 3 daughters:
Lillian M., Hannah Flohre, and Pauline Marie.
Emelyne Clare
Berta Mae
Emerson Coffield, Jr.
Joan Deliece3
6 May 1977 
Norco, California
Charles B. "Brownie" Brown
after 1956
Parthena Belle Pennington 16 Sept 1892
Mountain View, WA
  0 27 Nov 1917
Georgia Marion "Georgie" Pennington 18 April 1898
Bruneau Valley, Owyhee, Idaho
William Brownfield Cecil
Violet Elaine
William George
June 1973
Seattle Washington
1. Children are listed by first and middle name
2. Emerson's surname withheld per request of living descendants.
3. Adopted.

Mom says that her grampa George Washington Pennington -- a carpenter -- spoke the Chinook Trade Jargon, but all she could remember with certainty was the all purpose greeting, "Klahowya" -- and that he "brought his family to  Washington from Idaho in a covered wagon", though looking at the different places his children where born, I might suggest that he traveled between Washington and Idaho in a covered wagon.

George, Emerson Jr., Barbara, Georgie, Brownie, Bertha, Jack, and Joan.

The picture on the left was taken Christmas 1955 at Gramma and Grampa's house in Ballard.

From left to right, they are:

George Washington Pennington
Emerson, Jr. and wife Barbara
Great Aunt Georgie
Grampa Brownie and Gramma Bertha.
My Dad and Mom are seated center front.


Where Gramma made sure I had a good grounding in the classics, it was Great Aunt Georgie who showed me how much fun reading could be.

It happened one day, after Aunt Georgie had told me about how she, too, had been a tom-boy.  But it was a little trickier to be a tom-boy when she was a girl, she explained, because long narrow skirts were the fashion and they made jumping over ditches a particular challenge -- but she managed.  She said something about her ditch jumping had scandalizing her sister Bertha, and immediately added -- with a lop-sided smile -- that Bertha and her beau had been kicked out of a dance for doing the fox trot, which at the time had been considered a very racy dance.

Then Aunt Georgie pulled a plain-looking hard-bound book from her shelves of Readers Digest Condensed books.  "Your Grandmother says you like to read," she said, pressing the book to her bosom.

I said that, yes I did, and told Aunt Georgie exactly which books Gramma had given me.

With the kind of bemused smile sisters smile about each other, Aunt Georgie said, "And those are all fine books, but I think . . ." she gave me a squinty kind of look-over through the bottom of her bifocals, "I think you'll really like this. I know I do," and handed the book to me.

It a science fiction book, Beyond the Beyond, a short story collection by Poul Anderson.  And you know what . . . ?

My Great Aunt Georgie was right, I did.Georgia Brownfield and son William circa 1933/34

On the right is picture taken in late 1933/early 1934, of Aunt Georgie and son Bill.

I still have that plain-looking hard-bound book.  It's become a bit battered and the pages are going yellow -- brown and brittle along the very edges -- but every so often pull it down off my overcrowded book shelves to read it, one more time.

Thank you, Aunt Georgie, for the book.

Thank you for helping me not feel so weird about being a tom-boy.  I'm glad I got to know you.

She died rather suddenly in 1971 after breaking her hip.  "It was a stupid thing," she said of breaking her hip.  "I was reaching in the closet and just . . . fell down."  I really miss her.  Gramma was great but Aunt Georgie was . . . well, Aunt Georgie.

The above paragraph is yet another example of misremembered information.  I received an email from one of Georgie's daughter-in-laws, who told me that "Georgia was living in an adult family home in Shoreline when she died.  She did not break her hip, but suffered a heart attack and that was the cause of her death."  This prompted me to go look at the Social Security Death Index, where I discovered that Great Aunt Georgie died in Seattle in June of 1973.  I'll have to give Mom a call and ask her about the broken hip thing.

Now, besides having been contacted by Marilyn and her niece Shirley -- both of whom had lost contact with each other some years ago -- as well as Sherri up in Bellingham, I have also been contacted by Sally in Sultan and now Jane Ellen in Oklahoma . . . cousins all.

And special hello goes out to Steve Stodola, a relative of my Aunt Mimi's husband.

This is all so very cool.  Now, if I can just keep up with everybody, I'll be doing good.

If the Penningtons, Osborns or Holversons mentioned here are part of your family tree, drop me a line.



Though not as widely used as it was in George's day, it is experiencing a resurgence in the Pacific Northwest.  Here are two excellent sites that discuss the Chinook Trade Jargon, each of which have their links to other "CJ" sites.

The Lexicon of the Chinook Trade Jargon, a Chinook Phrasebook and Glossary at

Tenas Wawa On Line at


Lots of different Pennington lines here.  After reading through the site, I've found that George comes from Group 20.

A great site.  I highly recommend it.

Hyas Mahsie
(Chinook Trade Jargon for "Thank you very much")
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updated 17 January 2006