New York, United States — It has been a widely held view that United States Vice-President (VP) Kamala Harris, who was sworn into office on January 20, is the first person with direct Jamaican connection — her father Donald T Harris was born in St Ann, Jamaica — to hold the office.

However, that distinction likely belongs to George Mifflin Dallas, the 11th vice-president of the United States, according to well-documented and reliable sources here, including Wikipedia the online encyclopedia.

Wikipedia notes that Dallas’s father, Alexander J Dallas, was born in Kingston on June 21, 1759 to Dr Robert Charles Dallas and Sarah Elizabeth Hewitt. George Dallas served as US vice-president to President James K Polk from 1845 to 1849. Before that, he was mayor of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, from 1828 to 1829, according to Wikipedia and other records.

His father, Alexander, who is said to have left Jamaica in 1764, also served in government at a high level as well. He was secretary of the treasury under President James Madison. Like Kamala Harris, George Dallas also served in the United States Senate, doing so from 1831 t0 1833.

Dallas was also appointed minister to Russia, serving in that capacity from 1835 to 1839. He worked in a similar position in Great Britain between 1856 and 1861. The city of Dallas and the state of Oregon are believed to have been named after him

In Jamaica, Dallas and Dallas Castle in St Andrew, which were owned by Dr Robert Dallas, are similarly named after the family.

While Harris may not be the first US vice-president with a distinct Jamaican connection, her elevation to the position continues to receive positive reactions from Jamaicans who celebrate her status as the first woman and the first person of African descent to become VP of the United States.