Eleanor Stuart / Custis (Calvert) (1754 - 1811)

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Nicknames: "Nellie", "Nelly"
Birthplace: Mount Airy Plantation, Upper Marlboro, Prince George, MD
Death: Died in Yorktown, New Kent, Virginia, USA
Managed by: James Hutchison
Last Updated:

About Eleanor Stuart / Custis (Calvert)

Remarried after John Parke (Jacky) Custis died

--------------------

In 1783 Eleanor Calvert Custis, the widow of Martha's son John Parke Custis, contemplated marriage to Alexandria physician David Stuart. Mrs. Custis sought to acquire the thoughts of her former in-laws on the subject but did so indirectly with the assistance of Lund Washington, the manager of Mount Vernon and a distant cousin of the General. Washington responded to the question of Eleanor's remarriage in his 20 September 1783 letter to Lund, which survives as a letter-book copy in the Washington Papers at the Library of Congress:

Dr Lund, Rocky hill [N.J.] 20th Sept: 1783.

Mrs Custis has never suggested in any of her Letters to Mrs Washington (unless ardent wishes for her return, that she might then disclose it to her, can be so construed) the most distant attachment to D: S. but if this should be the case, & she wants advice upon it; a Father & Mother, who are at hand, & competent to give it, are at the same time most proper to be consulted on so interesting an event. For my own part, I never did, nor do I believe, I ever shall give advice to a woman who is setting out on a matrimonial voyage; first, because I never could advise one to marry without her own consent; & secondly, because I know it is to no purpose to advise her to refrain, when she has obtained it. A woman very rarely asks an opinion, or requires advice on such an occasion, 'till her resolution is formed; & then it is with the hope & expectation of obtaining a sanction, not that she means to be governed by your disapprobation, that she applies. In a word, the plain english of the application may be summed up in these words--I wish you to think as I do; but if unhappily you differ from me in opinion, my heart, I must confess is fixed, & I have gone too far now to retract. If Mrs Custis should ever suggest any thing of this kind to me, I will give her my opinion of the measure, not of the man, with candour, & to the following effect. I never expected you would spend the residue of your days in widowhood; but in a matter so important, & so interesting to yourself, children & connexions; I wish you would make a prudent choice; to do which, many considerations are necessary--such as the family & connexions of the man--his fortune (which is not the most essential in my eye.)--the line of conduct he has observed--& disposition & frame of his mind. You should consider, what prospect there is of his proving kind & affectionate to you-- just, generous & attentive to your children--and, how far his connexions will be agreeable to you; for when they are once formed, agreeable or not, the die being cast, your fate is fixed. Thus far, & no farther I shall go in my opinions. I am, D. Lund, &ca G: W----n -------------------- Eleanor Calvert Custis Stuart (1757/1758 – 28 September 1811) was a prominent member of the Calvert family of Maryland, and the daughter-in-law of Martha Dandridge Washington and the stepdaughter-in-law of George Washington. Her portrait still hangs today at Mount Airy Mansion in Rosaryville State Park, Maryland.

Eleanor Calvert was born in 1758 at the Calvert family's Mount Airy plantation near Upper Marlboro in Prince George's County, Maryland.[1] Eleanor was the second eldest daughter[3] of Benedict Swingate Calvert, son of Charles Calvert, 5th Baron Baltimore, and his wife Elizabeth Calvert Butler. She was known to her family as "Nelly." As a teenager, Eleanor was an exceptionally pretty girl and well-mannered.

Eleanor married John Parke Custis, son of the late Daniel Parke Custis and Martha Dandridge Custis Washington (and stepson of George Washington), on 3 February 1774 at Mount Airy. "Jacky", as he was known by his family, announced his engagement to Eleanor to his parents, who were greatly surprised by the marriage choice due to the couple's youth.

Eleanor and John had four children who survived infancy:

Elizabeth Parke Custis Law, "Eliza", (1776–1831), married Thomas Law Martha Parke Custis Peter, "Patsy", (1777–1854), married Thomas Peter Eleanor Parke Custis Lewis, "Nelly", (1779–1852), married Lawrence Lewis George Washington Parke Custis, "Wash", (1781–1857), married Mary Lee Fitzhugh


After the 1781 death of her husband from illness following the Siege of Yorktown, Eleanor and their four children lived at Mount Vernon. John died intestate, so his widow was granted a "dower third", the lifetime use of 1/3 of the Custis estate assets, including its more than 300 slaves. The balance of the Custis estate was held in trust for their children and distributed as the daughters married and the son reached his majority. Eleanor's "dower third" was distributed among their children following her death.

Eleanor married Dr. David Stuart, an Alexandria physician, in the Autumn 1783. David became the executor of the Custis estate and legal guardian to the children. Her two elder daughters, Elizabeth and Martha, lived with Eleanor and David at Abingdon, while her younger two children, Eleanor and Wash, lived with their grandparents George and Martha Washington at Mount Vernon.

Eleanor and David had five daughters and two sons of their own:

Ann Calvert Stuart Robinson (born 1784), married William Robinson Sarah Stuart Waite (born 1786), married Obed Waite Ariana Calvert Stuart William Skolto Stuart[3][9] Eleanor Custis Stuart (born 1792) Charles Calvert Stuart (1794–1846), married Cornelia Lee Rosalie Eugenia Stuart Webster (1796–1886), married William Greenleaf Webster

Eleanor and David resided at two estates in Fairfax County, Virginia: Hope Park and Ossian Hall. She died at age 53 at Tudor Place, the home of her daughter Martha Parke Custis Peter, on 28 September 1811.

-------------------- Remarried after John Parke (Jacky) Custis died

--------------------

In 1783 Eleanor Calvert Custis, the widow of Martha's son John Parke Custis, contemplated marriage to Alexandria physician David Stuart. Mrs. Custis sought to acquire the thoughts of her former in-laws on the subject but did so indirectly with the assistance of Lund Washington, the manager of Mount Vernon and a distant cousin of the General. Washington responded to the question of Eleanor's remarriage in his 20 September 1783 letter to Lund, which survives as a letter-book copy in the Washington Papers at the Library of Congress:

Dr Lund, Rocky hill [N.J.] 20th Sept: 1783.

Mrs Custis has never suggested in any of her Letters to Mrs Washington (unless ardent wishes for her return, that she might then disclose it to her, can be so construed) the most distant attachment to D: S. but if this should be the case, & she wants advice upon it; a Father & Mother, who are at hand, & competent to give it, are at the same time most proper to be consulted on so interesting an event. For my own part, I never did, nor do I believe, I ever shall give advice to a woman who is setting out on a matrimonial voyage; first, because I never could advise one to marry without her own consent; & secondly, because I know it is to no purpose to advise her to refrain, when she has obtained it. A woman very rarely asks an opinion, or requires advice on such an occasion, 'till her resolution is formed; & then it is with the hope & expectation of obtaining a sanction, not that she means to be governed by your disapprobation, that she applies. In a word, the plain english of the application may be summed up in these words--I wish you to think as I do; but if unhappily you differ from me in opinion, my heart, I must confess is fixed, & I have gone too far now to retract. If Mrs Custis should ever suggest any thing of this kind to me, I will give her my opinion of the measure, not of the man, with candour, & to the following effect. I never expected you would spend the residue of your days in widowhood; but in a matter so important, & so interesting to yourself, children & connexions; I wish you would make a prudent choice; to do which, many considerations are necessary--such as the family & connexions of the man--his fortune (which is not the most essential in my eye.)--the line of conduct he has observed--& disposition & frame of his mind. You should consider, what prospect there is of his proving kind & affectionate to you-- just, generous & attentive to your children--and, how far his connexions will be agreeable to you; for when they are once formed, agreeable or not, the die being cast, your fate is fixed. Thus far, & no farther I shall go in my opinions. I am, D. Lund, &ca G: W----n -------------------- Remarried after John Parke (Jacky) Custis died

--------------------

In 1783 Eleanor Calvert Custis, the widow of Martha's son John Parke Custis, contemplated marriage to Alexandria physician David Stuart. Mrs. Custis sought to acquire the thoughts of her former in-laws on the subject but did so indirectly with the assistance of Lund Washington, the manager of Mount Vernon and a distant cousin of the General. Washington responded to the question of Eleanor's remarriage in his 20 September 1783 letter to Lund, which survives as a letter-book copy in the Washington Papers at the Library of Congress:

Dr Lund, Rocky hill [N.J.] 20th Sept: 1783.

Mrs Custis has never suggested in any of her Letters to Mrs Washington (unless ardent wishes for her return, that she might then disclose it to her, can be so construed) the most distant attachment to D: S. but if this should be the case, & she wants advice upon it; a Father & Mother, who are at hand, & competent to give it, are at the same time most proper to be consulted on so interesting an event. For my own part, I never did, nor do I believe, I ever shall give advice to a woman who is setting out on a matrimonial voyage; first, because I never could advise one to marry without her own consent; & secondly, because I know it is to no purpose to advise her to refrain, when she has obtained it. A woman very rarely asks an opinion, or requires advice on such an occasion, 'till her resolution is formed; & then it is with the hope & expectation of obtaining a sanction, not that she means to be governed by your disapprobation, that she applies. In a word, the plain english of the application may be summed up in these words--I wish you to think as I do; but if unhappily you differ from me in opinion, my heart, I must confess is fixed, & I have gone too far now to retract. If Mrs Custis should ever suggest any thing of this kind to me, I will give her my opinion of the measure, not of the man, with candour, & to the following effect. I never expected you would spend the residue of your days in widowhood; but in a matter so important, & so interesting to yourself, children & connexions; I wish you would make a prudent choice; to do which, many considerations are necessary--such as the family & connexions of the man--his fortune (which is not the most essential in my eye.)--the line of conduct he has observed--& disposition & frame of his mind. You should consider, what prospect there is of his proving kind & affectionate to you-- just, generous & attentive to your children--and, how far his connexions will be agreeable to you; for when they are once formed, agreeable or not, the die being cast, your fate is fixed. Thus far, & no farther I shall go in my opinions. I am, D. Lund, &ca G: W----n -------------------- Eleanor Calvert Custis Stuart (1757/1758 – 28 September 1811) was a prominent member of the Calvert family of Maryland, and the daughter-in-law of Martha Dandridge Washington and the stepdaughter-in-law of George Washington. Her portrait still hangs today at Mount Airy Mansion in Rosaryville State Park, Maryland.

Eleanor Calvert was born in 1758 at the Calvert family's Mount Airy plantation near Upper Marlboro in Prince George's County, Maryland.[1] Eleanor was the second eldest daughter[3] of Benedict Swingate Calvert, son of Charles Calvert, 5th Baron Baltimore, and his wife Elizabeth Calvert Butler. She was known to her family as "Nelly." As a teenager, Eleanor was an exceptionally pretty girl and well-mannered.

Eleanor married John Parke Custis, son of the late Daniel Parke Custis and Martha Dandridge Custis Washington (and stepson of George Washington), on 3 February 1774 at Mount Airy. "Jacky", as he was known by his family, announced his engagement to Eleanor to his parents, who were greatly surprised by the marriage choice due to the couple's youth.

Eleanor and John had four children who survived infancy:

Elizabeth Parke Custis Law, "Eliza", (1776–1831), married Thomas Law Martha Parke Custis Peter, "Patsy", (1777–1854), married Thomas Peter Eleanor Parke Custis Lewis, "Nelly", (1779–1852), married Lawrence Lewis George Washington Parke Custis, "Wash", (1781–1857), married Mary Lee Fitzhugh

After the 1781 death of her husband from illness following the Siege of Yorktown, Eleanor and their four children lived at Mount Vernon. John died intestate, so his widow was granted a "dower third", the lifetime use of 1/3 of the Custis estate assets, including its more than 300 slaves. The balance of the Custis estate was held in trust for their children and distributed as the daughters married and the son reached his majority. Eleanor's "dower third" was distributed among their children following her death.

Eleanor married Dr. David Stuart, an Alexandria physician, in the Autumn 1783. David became the executor of the Custis estate and legal guardian to the children. Her two elder daughters, Elizabeth and Martha, lived with Eleanor and David at Abingdon, while her younger two children, Eleanor and Wash, lived with their grandparents George and Martha Washington at Mount Vernon.

Eleanor and David had five daughters and two sons of their own:

Ann Calvert Stuart Robinson (born 1784), married William Robinson Sarah Stuart Waite (born 1786), married Obed Waite Ariana Calvert Stuart William Skolto Stuart[3][9] Eleanor Custis Stuart (born 1792) Charles Calvert Stuart (1794–1846), married Cornelia Lee Rosalie Eugenia Stuart Webster (1796–1886), married William Greenleaf Webster

Eleanor and David resided at two estates in Fairfax County, Virginia: Hope Park and Ossian Hall. She died at age 53 at Tudor Place, the home of her daughter Martha Parke Custis Peter, on 28 September 1811.

-------------------- Birth: 1754 Death: Sep. 28, 1811

Buried under the chancel rail in vault with parents Benedict L. Calvert and wife Elizabeth. (1754 - Sept. 28, 1811) Eleanor was first married to Col. John Parke Custis, step son of General Washington. After his death in 1781 she married her cousin Dr. David Stuart.

Note: Married John Parke Custis, son of Martha Custis Washington and stepson of George Washington, in 1774.

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Eleanor Stuart / Custis's Timeline

1754
1754
Upper Marlboro, Prince George, MD
1774
February 3, 1774
Age 20
"Mount Airy," Prince George County MD
1775
1775
Age 21
Of, VA.
1776
August 21, 1776
Age 22
Richmond, VA, USA
1777
December 31, 1777
Age 23
Mt Vernon, VA, USA
1779
March 31, 1779
Age 25
Mount Airy, Maryland
1780
1780
Age 26
1781
April 30, 1781
Age 27
Mount Airy, Carroll, Maryland, United States
1783
November 20, 1783
Age 29
Alexandria, Va
1784
1784
Age 30
Fairfax Co., Va