George W. ROMNEY

Family tree of George W. ROMNEY

American politician

AmericanBorn George Wilcken ROMNEY

American businessman and Republican Party politician

Born on July 08, 1907 in Colonia Dublán, Galeana, Chihuahua, Mexico

Died on July 26, 1995 in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, USA

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Romney's grandparents were polygamous Mormons who fled the United States with their children owing to the federal government's opposition to polygamy. His maternal grandfather was Helaman Pratt (1846–1909), who presided over the Mormon mission in Mexico City before moving to the Mexican state of Chihuahua and who was the son of original Mormon apostle Parley P. Pratt (1807–1857). In the 1920s, Romney's uncle Rey L. Pratt (1878–1931) played a major role in the preservation and expansion of the Mormon presence in Mexico and in its introduction to South America. A more distant kinsman was George Romney (1734–1802), a noted portrait painter in Britain during the last quarter of the 18th century.

Romney's parents, Gaskell Romney (1871–1955) and Anna Amelia Pratt (1876–1926), were American citizens and natives of Utah. They married in 1895 in Mexico and lived in Colonia Dublán in Galeana in the state of Chihuahua (one of the Mormon colonies in Mexico) where George was born on July 8, 1907. They practiced monogamy (polygamy having been abolished by the 1890 Manifesto, although it persisted in places, especially Mexico). George had three older brothers, two younger brothers, and a younger sister. Gaskell Romney was a successful carpenter, house builder, and farmer who headed the most prosperous family in the colony, which was situated in an agricultural valley below the Sierra Madre Occidental. The family chose U.S. citizenship for their children, including George.


The Mexican Revolution broke out in 1910 and the Mormon colonies were endangered in 1911–1912 by raids from marauders, including "Red Flaggers" Pascual Orozco and José Inés Salazar. Young George heard the sound of distant gunfire and saw rebels walking through the village streets. The Romney family fled and returned to the United States in July 1912, leaving their home and almost all of their property behind. Romney would later say, "We were the first displaced persons of the 20th century."

In the United States, Romney grew up in humble circumstances. The family subsisted with other Mormon refugees on government relief in El Paso, Texas for a few months before moving to Los Angeles, California, where Gaskell Romney worked as a carpenter. In kindergarten, other children mocked Romney's national origin by calling him "Mex".

In 1913, the family moved to Oakley, Idaho, and bought a farm, where they grew and subsisted largely on Idaho potatoes. The farm was not on good land and failed when potato prices fell. The family moved to Salt Lake City, Utah, in 1916, where Gaskell Romney resumed construction work, but the family remained generally poor. In 1917, they moved to Rexburg, Idaho, where Gaskell became a successful home and commercial builder in an area growing owing to high World War I commodities prices.

George started working in wheat and sugar beet fields at the age of eleven and was the valedictorian at his grammar school graduation in 1921. The Depression of 1920–21 brought a collapse in prices and local building was abandoned. His family returned to Salt Lake City in 1921, and while his father resumed construction, George became skilled at lath-and-plaster work. The family was again prospering when the Great Depression hit in 1929 and ruined them. George watched his parents fail financially in Idaho and Utah and having to take a dozen years to pay off their debts. Seeing their struggles influenced his life and business career.

In Salt Lake City, Romney worked while attending Roosevelt Junior High School and, beginning in 1922, Latter-day Saints High School. There he played halfback in football, guard in basketball, and right field in baseball, all with more persistence than talent, but in an effort to uphold the family tradition of athleticism, he earned varsity letters in all three sports. In his senior year, he and junior Lenore LaFount became high school sweethearts; she was from a more well-assimilated Mormon family. Academically, Romney was steady but undistinguished. He graduated from high school in 1925; his yearbook picture caption was "Serious, high minded, of noble nature—a real fellow."

Partly to stay near Lenore, Romney spent the next year as a junior college student at the co-located Latter-day Saints University, where he was elected student body president. He was also president of the booster club and played on the basketball team that won the Utah–Idaho Junior College Tournament.

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Geographical origins

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