St. George was named Patron Saint of England in the 14th century. The story of his 4th-century martyrdom in Palestine was brought back to Britain by Crusaders, and embellished with the legend of his fighting the devil in the form of a dragon.
However, the name was not enthusiastically adopted by English speakers until the ascendancy of King George I in the early 18th century.
George I's grandson, George III (known to Americans as the tyrant condemned in the Declaration of Independence), was loved and celebrated in the United Kingdom for his interest in agriculture. As if to emphasize the irony of a king whose name means ''farmer,'' he became known as ''The Farmer King.''
Use of the name in America owes a great deal to one of George III's opponents, George Washington.