John Amson

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John Amson
Mayor of Williamsburg, Virginia
In office
Personal details

Diedcirca 1765
OccupationPhysician, alterman, mayor

John Amson (1698-death unknown, possibly 1765[1]) was an English physician and amateur botanist[2] who moved to Virginia and served as alderman and mayor of Williamsburg, during the Colonial period, from 1750 to 1751.[3]

Amson owned lots 212–217 in Williamsburg from 1746 to around 1758.[1] In 1762, he bought 180 acres of land from Henry Tyler, of the noted Tyler family.[4]

In 1760, a perennial flower, the genus of Amsonia[5] Blue Star, was named after Amson. It came about after then-General George Washington, on campaign during the French and Indian War, contracted what he believed to be the consumption, called tuburculosis today. In 1758,[6] on his way to Williamsburg, Washington sought a definitive answer as to his illness, stopped for a medical consultation at the Governor's Palace, where Dr. Amson lived on the north-west edge of town. Amson diagnosed Washington with a common cold and convinced him he was not going to die.[7] To commemorate Amson, John Clayton, clerk of courts for Gloucester County and author of the book Flora Virginica, named the native flora Amsonia after the doctor, and sent the seeds to botanist John Bartram for his seed and plant business.[8]


  1. ^ Jump up to: a b "Block 36, Lot 212 & 217 Historical Report - Colonial Williamsburg Digital Library".
  2. ^ "Fall perennials - Country Life". Time Inc. UK. 18 October 2007.
  3. ^ Hammer, Roger L. (1 April 2018). Complete Guide to Florida Wildflowers: Over 600 Wildflowers of the Sunshine State including National Parks, Forests, Preserves, and More than 160 State Parks. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 9781493030941 – via Google Books.
  4. ^ Tyler, Lyon Gardiner (19 June 1884). The Letters and Times of the Tylers. Whittet & Shepperson. p. 51 – via Internet Archive. john amson williamsburg.
  5. ^ "Biographies of scientists and explorers honored in the names of plants, Colorado Wildflowers".
  6. ^ "Amson, John - The Financial Papers".
  7. ^ Randall, Willard Sterne (15 November 1998). George Washington: A Life. Macmillan. ISBN 9780805059922 – via Google Books.
  8. ^ "From the Garden: Of Green Peas and Blue Stars".

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Preceded by
Incomplete record
Mayor of Williamsburg, Virginia
Succeeded by
Incomplete record

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