Wickford born Hannah Lake moved to America and created a family lineage that included three US presidents.

She was commemorated with a Blue Plaque at Wickford Library on Friday where, incredibly, her living ancestor now works, some 400 years since her birth.

Hannah moved to America in 1635 where she married John Gallop of the famous ‘Gallop Poll’ family. Regarded as a "founding mother" of the United States, her long line of illustrious ancestors includes three Presidents, two First Lady’s, and people as diverse as the poets Emily Dickinson and Robert Frost, General MacArthur, and the actress Carole Lombard.

Distant ancestor Sarah Weeks-Jones, met and married her husband in her native Ohio and the couple later moved to Wickford to be near his parents.

Echo: Living descendent - Sarah Weeks-JonesLiving descendent - Sarah Weeks-Jones (Image: Sarah Weeks-Jones)

Ken Porter, from Basildon Borough Heritage Group started to explain who Hannah Lake was when he was cut off by Sarah who exclaimed: “I’m one of her descendants!”

Ken commented: “I was excited and surprised at the amazing coincidence of meeting a direct descendent of Hannah Lake working in the building where she will be commemorated 400 years after her birth.”

Hannah’s original home no longer exists so Ken thought the wall of the new Wickford Library where Sarah is a Librarian.

Echo: Descendent of Sarah's - John WinthropDescendent of Sarah's - John Winthrop (Image: Sarah Weeks-Jones)

“I’ve always known about my early American Puritan ancestors, and I’ve enjoyed learning more about their time in the ‘old country’. As a Winthrop descendant myself, I was intrigued when Basildon Heritage said they wanted to put up the Blue Plaque to a family member of my own ancestors.

“Both my paternal grandparents actually descend from the family; it’s more like a family vine with the Puritans. Hannah would have known my family, though, as they did live in the same area. In fact, another of my ancestors in mentioned in dispatches with John Gallup’s, so it really was a small world. My family lived in Massachusetts and Connecticut until the early 1800s, when they migrated to New York and then eventually to Ohio, where I grew up.”

Echo: Commemorated - Hannah Lake's Blue PlaqueCommemorated - Hannah Lake's Blue Plaque (Image: Basildon Borough Heritage)

The event is part of an initiative from the Essex Women’s Commemoration Project, spearheaded by Graham Watts and the team, to recognise remarkable women across the County whose historical achievements have been ignored.

To date the project has seen 25 blue plaques erected in 18 months with many more to come.