Douglas MacArthur

Ancestry of General
Douglas MacArthur

U.S. Army - World War II

Who was General Douglas MacArthur?

General Douglas MacArthur was one of America's most famous five-star generals. His military career spanned the Mexican Revolution, World Wars I and II, and the Korean War. He also served as Field Marshal of the Philippine Army and Chief of Staff of the United States Army. He was valedictorian at the West Texas Military Academy and graduated at the top of his class from the United States Military Academy at West Point.

General MacArthur received the Medal of Honor for his service in 1942 at Bataan Peninsula in the Philippines which made him and his father, Arthur MacArthur, Jr., the first father and son to be awarded the medal. Among the other medals he received were two Distinguished Service Crosses and seven Silver Stars.

General MacArthur is known for two famous quotes. The first was his promise, “I shall return,” to the Philippine people after his defeat by the Japanese in 1942. In 1944 he made good on that promise. The second quote he made in a farewell speech to the U.S. Congress when he said, “Old soldiers never die; they just fade away.”

Famous Kin

It seems fitting that General Douglas MacArthur has family connections to other famous military leaders. Among his military kin are fellow World War II General George S. Patton, Civil War General George B. McClellan, Colonel Robert Gould Shaw (of the movie Glory fame), and General (and 1st U.S. President) George Washington. Besides George Washington, a number of other presidents are among his kin. This includes but is not limited to Franklin D. Roosevelt, both Presidents Bush, William Taft, Calvin Coolidge, Zachary Taylor, and Jimmy Carter.

General MacArthur also has a number of royal connections. He is a direct descendant of England's King Edward I and has connections to the current royal family with kinship to Queen Elizabeth II and Kate Middleton, Dutchess of Cambridge.

Family Facts

The Witchcraft Trial of Mary Ingham

Seth Pope is the 6th great-grandfather of General Douglas MacArthur. He served as a member of a jury in Plymouth Colony Court in 1676 for the witchcraft trial of Mary Ingham of Scituate.

Plymouth Colony appears to have been a more moderate and fair venue for these types of trials compared to those that occurred later in Salem. In one instance that occurred about 15 years prior to Mary Ingham's trial, a woman was accused of being a witch by her neighbor Dinah Silvester and brought to trial in Plymouth Colony. In her case, the court found the accuser Dinah Silvester guilty and gave her a choice of paying a fine, issuing a public apology, or receiving a public whipping.

Fifteen years later, the Plymouth Colony jury that Seth Pope found himself on, also found the accused witch Mary Ingham not guilty. These outcomes were a drastic departure from the 1692 Salem Witch Trials where a number of accused witches were drowned, hanged, or pressed to death.


Daniel Shaw, of Taunton, Massachusetts, is the 4th great-grandfather of General Douglas MacArthur. He is thought by some to be the son of Thomas and Bethia (Smith) Shaw who was born on 12 JUL 1714. More evidence is needed to confirm or reject this hypothesis.

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