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Encyclopedia > Mary Anna Custis Lee

Mary Anna Randolph Custis Lee (October 1, 1808November 5, 1873) was the wife of Confederate General Robert E. Lee. October 1 is the 274th day of the year (275th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1808 was a leap year starting on Friday (see link for calendar). ... November 5 is the 309th day of the year (310th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 56 days remaining. ... 1873 (MDCCCLXXIII) was a common year starting on Wednesday (see link for calendar). ... Robert Edward Lee (January 19, 1807 – October 12, 1870) was a career U.S. Army officer and the most celebrated general of the Confederate forces during the American Civil War. ...

Mary was the only surviving child of George Washington Parke Custis and Mary Lee Fitzhugh Custis, daughter of William Fitzhugh [1] and Ann Randolph. Mary was well educated, having learned both Latin and Greek. She enjoyed discussing politics with her father, and later with her husband. She kept current with the new literature and, after her father's death, edited and published his personal papers as "Recollections and Private Memoirs of Washington, by his Adopted Son George Washington Parke Custis, with a Memoir of this Author by his Daughter" in 1859. Photograph of George Washington Parke Custis George Washington Parke Custis (April 30, 1781 – October 19, 1857), was the adopted son (and also step-grandson) of United States President George Washington. ... Mary Lee Fitzhugh Custis (April 22, 1788-April 23, 1853), was an Episcopal lay leader in Alexandria County (now Arlington County, Virginia). ... William Fitzhugh (August 24, 1741 – June 6, 1809) was an American planter and statesman who served as a delegate to the Continental Congress for Virginia in 1779. ...

Mary was diminutive and vivacious and had known Robert E. Lee from childhood. Among her other suitors was Sam Houston. The pair were married at her parents' home, Arlington House, June 30, 1831 and had seven children, three sons and four daughters: George Washington Custis, William H. Fitzhugh, Robert Edward, Mary, Agnes, Annie, and Mildred. Sam Houston Samuel Houston (March 2, 1793 – July 26, 1863) was a 19th century American statesman, politician and soldier. ... Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial, is a Greek revival style mansion located in Arlington, Virginia, on bluffs overlooking the Potomac River, directly across from the National Mall in Washington, D.C.. During the American Civil War, the grounds of the mansion were selected as the site of Arlington... June 30 is the 181st day of the year (182nd in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 184 days remaining. ... Leopold I 1831 (MDCCCXXXI) was a common year starting on Saturday (see link for calendar). ... George Washington Custis Lee (also known as Custis Lee) (September 16, 1832 – February 18, 1913) was the eldest son of Robert E. Lee and Mary Anna Custis Lee. ... William Henry Fitzhugh Rooney Lee William Henry Fitzhugh Lee (May 31, 1837 – October 15, 1891), known as Rooney Lee or W.H.F. Lee, was the second son of Robert E. Lee and Mary Anna Randolph Custis. ...

Mary inherited Arlington House from her father, and the estate became the couple's home whenever they were in the area. Mary was a gracious hostess and enjoyed frequent visitors. She was a painter, like her father, and painted many landscapes, some of which are still on view at the house. She loved roses and grew 11 varieties. She was deeply religious and attended Episcopal services when there was one near the army post. In Arlington, Virginia, the Lees attended the Christ Episcopal Church in Alexandria, the church she and Robert had attended in childhood. The word episcopal is derived from the Greek επίσκοπος, transliterated epískopos, which literally means overseer; the word, however, is used in religious contexts to refer to a bishop. ... Arlington County is a county located in the U.S. state of Virginia (which calls itself a commonwealth), directly across the Potomac River from Washington, DC. By an act of Congress July 9, 1846, the area south of the Potomac was returned to Virginia effective in 1847 As of 2000...

Mary taught her slave women to read and write and was an advocate of eventual emancipation. She suffered from rheumatoid arthritis, and this became increasingly debilitating with advancing age. By 1861, she was confined to a wheelchair. This French poster depicting the horrific conditions on slave ships was influential in mobilizing public opinion against slavery. ... Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is traditionally considered a chronic, inflammatory autoimmune disorder that causes the immune system to attack the joints. ...

With the advent of the American Civil War, Lee and their sons were called to service in Virginia while Mary delayed evacuating Arlington House until May 15, 1861. Early that month, Lee wrote to Mary Anna saying: Combatants United States of America (Union) Confederate States of America (Confederacy) Commanders Lincoln, President Ulysses S. Grant, General Jefferson Davis, President Robert E. Lee, General Strength 2,200,000 1,064,000 Casualties 110,000 killed in action, 360,000 total dead, 275,200 wounded 93,000 killed in action... May 15 is the 135th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (136th in leap years). ... 1861 is a common year starting on Tuesday. ...

"War is inevitable, and there is no telling when it will burst around you . . . You have to move and make arrangements to go to some point of safety which you must select. The Mount Vernon plate and pictures ought to be secured. Keep quiet while you remain, and in your preparations . . . May God keep and preserve you and have mercy on all our people."

Mary and her daughters moved between the several family plantations until they finally settled in Richmond, Virginia for the bulk of the war. Before Mary reached Richmond, she was caught behind the Federal lines as Union forces moved up the York River and the Mattaponi River toward Richmond. In a gentlemanly gesture by Union commander George B. McClellan, she was allowed to pass through the lines in order to take up residence in Richmond --- McClellan's campaign goal, ironically. Nickname: River City, Cap City, R-V-A Motto: Sic Itur Ad Astra (Thus do we reach the stars) Location in the Commonwealth of Virginia Coordinates: Country United States State Virginia County Independent City Mayor L. Douglas Wilder (D) Area    - City 62. ... The word federal in a general sense refers to the nature of an agreement between or among two or more states, nations, or other groups to merge into a union in which control of common affairs is held by a central authority created by and with the consent of the... York River can refer to: The York River in Virginia in the United States. ... The Mattaponi River is a tributary of the York River estuary in eastern Virginia in the United States. ... George Brinton McClellan (December 3, 1826 – October 29, 1885) was a major general during the American Civil War. ...

After the war, she accompanied her husband to Lexington, Virginia, where he became president of the Washington College, later renamed Washington and Lee University. She was able to visit her beloved Arlington House once more before her death, but she was unable to leave the carriage. She hardly recognized it except for a few old oaks and some of the trees she and Robert had planted. Mary died at the age of 66 and is buried next to her husband in the Lee family crypt at Lee Chapel on the campus of Washington and Lee. Lexington is an independent city within the confines of Rockbridge County in the Commonwealth of Virginia. ... Washington and Lee University is a private liberal arts college in Lexington, Virginia, located adjacent to (but not affiliated with) Virginia Military Institute. ... Lee Chapel is an historic building found in Lexington, Virginia, on the campus of Washington & Lee University. ...


  • Perry, John. Mrs. Robert E. Lee : The Lady of Arlington. Multnomah Publishers, 2003. ISBN 1-59052-137-4.

  Results from FactBites:
Robert E. Lee (1082 words)
Lee is best remembered in his role of commanding general of the Confederate forces during the American Civil War.
Lee served as an assistant in the chief engineer's office in Washington from 1834 to 1837, but spent the summer of 1835 helping to lay out the state line between Ohio and Michigan.
These were not happy years for Lee as he did not like to be away from his family for long periods of time, especially as his wife was becoming increasingly ill. Lee came home to see her as often as he could.
Mary Anna Randolph Custis Lee (1015 words)
Mary Lee began the task shortly before her father died in 1857, and it occupied her for over two years.
Upon the outbreak of the war, she was walking with difficulty and by the end of 1861 she was confined to a wheelchair—no doubt due to in part to her nomadic existence, moving from plantation to plantation, and the stress of not knowing what was happening to her husband and sons.
Mary Anna Randolph Custis Lee died on November 5, 1873 at the age of 66.
  More results at FactBites »



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