Josh Hutcherson—A Son of the American Revolution
Updated: Jun 13
Josh Hutcherson starred as the revolutionary fighter 'Peeta' in The Hunger Games, and in fact the real-life actor is descended from countless American Revolutionary War soldiers.
You most likely know Josh Hutcherson as 'Peeta' from The Hunger Games movie series, the fighting ally and love interest of Katniss Everdeen. Josh has been in the movie biz for quite some time, starring in roles such as Red Dawn (2012), Journey to the Center of the Earth (2008), Zathura, Bridge to Terabithia, Little Manhattan, The Forger, RV, Escobar: Paradise Lost, and more.
In addition to acting in movies, Josh has directed and produced several titles, and also starred in the Hulu series Future Man, in which Josh and his lovely mother, Michelle, are also producers.
Revolutionaries in Panem, Revolutionaries in Colonial America
In his role as Peeta Mellark in The Hunger Games series, Josh Hutcherson portrayed a character who grew up in bondage to a government that didn't really represent the people of the Districts, which were far-flung colonies far from the Capitol that ruled over them. Peeta joins Katniss Everdeen in defying the Capitol and eventually waging war against them to win their freedom and liberty from a bunch of people who dressed like...well, freaks. Katniss and Peeta were revolutionaries.
Similarly, a large number of Josh Hutcherson's ancestors were in a similar situation—living in the American Colonies, ruled by a faraway government in England. The inhabitants of the far-flung colonies felt England was out of touch with them, harsh with taxes, and were all-around done putting up with England's crap. Many of Josh's ancestors took up arms as revolutionaries in the war for America's independence, which we celebrate this 4th of July by eating massive amounts of burgers, hot dogs, and blowing shit up (hopefully not your fingers).
A Vast Array of Revolutionary Ancestors
Every person has 256 seventh great grandfathers, and while researching Josh Hutcherson's family tree, it seemed that, without fail, every time I found a 7th great grandfather of Josh Hutcherson—boom—they were a Revolutionary War soldier. Add in their wives who had to run the family farms, businesses, tend to children, support the war effort, and fought in other ways than on the battle field, and the number of Josh's ancestors potentially involved in the Revolutionary War doubles. Let's take a look at just a few of these brave revolutionaries.
1st Lieutenant John Lewis - 7th Great Grandfather
On his mom's side, Josh Hutcherson is the 7th great grandson of 1st Lieutenant John Lewis, who fought in the American Revolutionary War. John Lewis was born on 23 June 1748 in Virginia, to a wealthy family that had connections to Thomas Jefferson's family. John's father was a Colonel in General George Washington's army (go 'Murica!). In July 1776, John was drafted into Captain George West's Company of Minutemen in Loudoun City, Virginia for eighteen months. John didn't see fit to dodge the draft or use his family's wealthy position to stay out of harm's way. He took up his post and served his country when called upon. What a boss.
In May of 1778, John Lewis joined Captain Mason's Company under Colonel Abraham Shepherd at Fort Wheeling for one month. Later he was drafted and served as a drummer for six months in Captain Isaac Pierce's Company of Wood Rangers under Major Henry Taylor. Yes, you read that right: a drummer. It must have taken a great deal of courage to be willing to march into battle armed only with drums. Talk about "having the balls" to do something: going into battle with only drums is a whole new level. John Lewis' drumming was meant to boost morale with some sick tunes, keep the soldiers marching to some catchy beats, and also used for signaling and communication. During battle, John Lewis could signal for assistance to wounded soldiers with his drums, so you definitely wanted him around to hail you a medical Uber via his drums app if you lost an arm or a leg.
John Lewis later moved to Washington County, Pennsylvania, where he served for one month as a 1st Lieutenant in Captain Bates Company under Colonel Campbell at Fort Laurens on the Muskingum River. John not only served in the Revolutionary War, but also the War of 1812. This tough guy survived both wars and retired to Indiana with his family where he purchased a large tract of land and collected a pension of $30.33 a year (cha-ching). He died on 17 February 1835 in Rushville, Indiana, and is buried in New Salem.
Colonel Charles Lewis - 8th Great Grandfather
Let's throw it back one more generation to John Lewis' father, Charles Lewis (8th great grandfather of Hutcherson), who also served in the Revolutionary War. Charles was born 14 March 1721 and married Mary Randolph, which was a sweet hookup because it made Charles a relation by marriage to Thomas Jefferson, who would become the third prezzie of the United States.
Charles Lewis was a Colonel in the Continental Army under General George Washington, so he was pretty badass. But due to failing health later in the war, Charles Lewis wrote a letter to George Washington, desirous to resign his commission. Washington was totally bummed by the news. He wrote back to Charles from his headquarters at Valley Forge on 21 March 1778, expressing his sadness and pleading with Charles to remain in his post. George Washington later wrote to Henry Laurens:
Since Charles' health had prevented him from attending Congress, he wrote to Laurens explaining his reasons for resigning (translation: "I'm old and sick, dude!"). Congress accepted Charles' resignation on 28 March 1778. In case you were wondering, Charles wasn't lying about his condition because he died about four years later in 1782 in Virginia.
Captain John Wright III – 6th Great Grandfather
On Josh's daddy's side of the fam, he is the 6th great grandson of Revolutionary War soldier Captain John Wright III, born on 20 October 1728. Wright was a Private serving in the 4th North Carolina Regiment under Captain Smith. A record of his service in the National Archives informs us that he enlisted in 1771 and was "omit't in September 1777" as a result of being injured in the war. According to his pension claim paperwork, Wright served in the military for 84 months, or seven years—dayum, that's a long time. Some have described Wright as being "adventurous, bold, outspoken, strongwilled, and bent on having his own way." Is there really any other way to be though?
Prior to the Revolutionary War, John Wright had also served during the French and Indian War, enlisted on 30 October 1755, living at the time in Culpeper, Virginia. The description listed on military records describes Wright as being 5 feet 10 inches (1.78m), of brown complexion (probably a sweet tan from long days working out in the sun), with a scar on his face (the "don't mess with me" calling-card), and noting his occupation as a wagoner (the driver of a horse-drawn wagon).
Hutcherson's 7th Great Grandfather Dies At The Battle of Brandywine
Josh's 7th great grandfather, James Lemmon, was born in 1735 in Ireland. Having immigrated to the British American Colonies, he enlisted to serve in the Virginia militia on 2 May 1775, at the age of 40, serving for two years.
On 11 September 1777, James Lemmon fought with an American force of around 11,000 rebel troops, commanded by George Washington. They attempted to halt the British advance into Pennsylvania, but were defeated near Chadds Ford on Brandywine Creek by roughly 18,000 British and Hessian troops. James Lemmon died in the battle, laying down his life for his new country, because he was all-in.
A German Soldier Becomes An American Soldier
Hutcherson's 7th great grandfather, Heinrich Adam Mueller, has an interesting tale. He was born about 1727 in Germany. According to family legend, at the age of 21, Heinrich was in the army of Frederick the Great of Prussia, and somehow badly insulted an officer (whoops!), and had to flee to avoid hanging from a rope around his neck. At Rotterdam he jumped aboard the ship Patience and arrived in the city of tasty cheese steaks—Philadelphia—settling in nearby Germantown, where he became a tanner and married a woman named Susanna Sibler. They lived in Germantown for many years, resettling in Culpeper County, Virginia just before things got cray-cray with the start of the war.
With his German name anglicized to Henry Miller, he enlisted as a soldier at the Chesterfield court house in Culpeper County, Virginia on 10 July 1780. He served as a private for one and a half years and was on Captain Permeans Brisco's payroll. On his Revolutionary War service documents, Henry is described as being 53 years of age, 5 feet 5 inches tall, with black hair, hazel eyes, and a dark complexion. So a similar hair, and eye color as Joshy.
Anyway, Heinrich survived the war (yay), and died on 25 June 1801 in Madison County, Virginia.
Descent from Major Robert Bradford
Josh Hutcherson is the 7th great grandson of Major Robert Bradford, who fought for—ermagherd!—eight years in the Revolutionary War. Bradford was born in 1750 in Massachusetts Colony, and his military service started at the age of 25 at the Battle of Bunker Hill in Boston. As a note, my own (the author of this article) ancestor Jonas Belknap also fought at the Battle of Bunker Hill, so it is awesome to envision our ancestors fighting together in the War of American Revolution.
For the greater part of the war, Bradford commanded a company of light infantry, and was engaged in nearly all the pitched battles in the middle and eastern states, down to the capture of Cornwallis at Yorktown. Maybe he was one of those "if you want something done right, you gotta do it yourself" types because it seems like he fought in every battle of the whole war. Along with some other officers, the Marquis de Lafayette held Bradford in high esteem, because he gifted him an elegant sword: "I like you. Here's a sharp pointy thing as a token of my appreciation." Or something like that. Bradford survived the war, moving his family to Ohio, where he is buried in Washington County.
Descended from Many Other Revolutionary Soldiers
Josh Hutcherson has so many 6th and 7th great grandfathers who served in the War of American Revolution I can't even keep track of all of them. They can't all have their story told here, but here are a few more revolutionary badasses from whom he is descended:
Alexander Ramsey - Sgt. 13th Virginia Regiment - 7th gg
John Abbott - Virginia Militia - 7th gg
Jeptha Terrell - North Carolina Militia - 7th gg
John Shryock - German Batallion, Continental Army - 6th gg
Joseph Abbott - Virginia Militia - 7th gg
Jonathan Andrew Abbott - Capt. Virginia - 6th gg
Michael Flynn - Virginia Militia - 7th gg
Peter Brickey - Virginia Militia - 7th gg
Descended from the Washington Family
Yeah. There's more. Josh Hutcherson, through his daddy's side, is also descended from the great grandfather of George Washington, Colonel John Washington. This John Washington is the founder of the Washington family in America and the common ancestor of both George Washington and Josh Hutcherson. John Washington immigrated to Virginia Colony from England aboard The Sea Horse of London in 1656. So the Washingtons totally Brexited before it was cool.
You can't get much more 'Murican than being descended from the founding families of America!
As you can see from the relations shown throughout this article, Josh Hutcherson's ancestors were numerous Revolutionary War soldiers, the Washington family, and closely tied to major founding families including the Jeffersons. What a heritage! Josh Hutcherson is truly a son of the American Revolution. So throw on your stars and stripes outfits, chow down on some BBQ, and light up some fireworks to celebrate these rad revolutionaries this 4th of July!
Today you can see Josh in the Hulu comedy series Future Man, in which he joins soldiers from the future traveling through various timelines to right the past and prevent the extinction of humanity, both poking fun of and celebrating the likes of Terminator, Back to the Future, and more.
Josh Hutcherson and myself (the author) are related through multiple colonial and noble lines, and are 10th cousins through a common ancestor, Joseph Loomis.
Stay tuned for more articles from Hutcherson's amazing family tree as I explore more historical connections from the past to the present.
About the Author
As a genealogist and family historian, I enjoy researching my own family tree and the family trees of others. It gives me a sense of someone’s background and what makes them who they are today. To see their roots, and where they come from, is inspiring to me. I’m often in awe of the experiences of their ancestors and how they connect to the present. I hope to inspire others to research their own family trees and find out where they come from by sharing interesting insights from the family trees of notable figures.
Questions? Comments? Shoot me a message on the contact form on my About page.
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