Through her father Vice-Admiral Sir William George Fairfax, Mary Somerville was connected to George Washington, first President of the United States, a connection valued by Mary and acknowledged by Washington. The latter's step-brother and guardian was married to Anne Fairfax Washington. The American Fairfax's were a branch of the Vice-Admiral's family.
The American War of Independence saw Mary's father, then Lieutenant Fairfax, serving on a British man-of-war on an American station. His daughter recalled that at this time her father, as 'family' received an invitation from George Washington to visit him. The meeting, however, did not take place because of the war, and Lieutenant Fairfax was reprimanded for being in correspondence with the enemy.
Note by: Helen Cook