Eleanor "Nelly" Parke Custis

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Eleanor "Nelly" Parke Custis's Geni Profile

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About Eleanor "Nelly" Parke Custis

Eleanor Parke Custis Lewis, known as Nelly, was the granddaughter of Martha Washington and the step-granddaughter of George Washington.

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I used to help entertain guests at the President's House in Philadelphia, and later at Mount Vernon during George Washington's presidency.

I was often described as a talented and beautiful young woman who often accompanied her adoptive parents to social events.

From one of her diary entries (found online):

"I live in my own room ... except at meals, seldom go out of the front door - work until candle light and read as long as I can keep my eyes open. I rise always before the Sun and read my prayer Book and Bible until breakfast is ready.

I had a stroke in July, 1850 that confined me mostly to a wheelchair. I went to the Lord after a second stroke.

It was my wishes to be burried with my grandparents at Mount Vernon.

Eleanor Parke Custis Lewis (March 31, 1779 – July 15, 1852), known as Nelly, was the granddaughter of Martha Washington and the step-granddaughter of George Washington.

Nelly was the daughter of John Parke Custis and Eleanor Calvert Custis. Her father was the only surviving child of Daniel Parke Custis and his widow, Martha Dandridge Custis, who married George Washington in 1759. She was also the granddaughter of Benedict Swingate Calvert, son of Charles Calvert, 5th Baron Baltimore. Nelly was most likely born at Mount Airy, her maternal grandfather's estate in Prince George's County, Maryland, although local tradition holds that she was born at Abingdon, her father's estate in Arlington, Virginia (now the site of Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport). Following the premature death of John Parke Custis in 1781, Nelly and her brother, George Washington Parke Custis, were informally adopted by the Washingtons, and grew up at Mount Vernon. During George Washington's presidency, Nelly helped entertain guests at the first presidential mansion on Cherry Street in New York City, the second presidential mansion on Broadway in New York City, and the third presidential mansion in Philadelphia. The talented and beautiful young woman often accompanied her grandparents to social events.

Woodlawn Plantation, Fairfax County, Virginia (1805) On February 22, 1799, Nelly Custis married George Washington's nephew, the widower Lawrence Lewis, of Fredericksburg, Virginia. The Washingtons' wedding gift was 2,000 acres (8.1 km2) adjacent to Mount Vernon, on which the Lewises built Woodlawn Plantation. Upon her marriage, Nelly Lewis inherited about 80 slaves from her father's estate. Her grandfather, Daniel Parke Custis's estate was liquidated following Martha Washington's 1802 death, and Nelly Lewis inherited about 35 "dower" slaves from Mount Vernon. Following the death of her mother in 1811, the John Parke Custis estate was liquidated, and she inherited approximately 40 additional slaves.[1] About 1830 the Lewises moved to Audley plantation in Clarke County, Virginia. Beginning in the mid-1830s they began dividing their time between Virginia and their daughters' homes in Louisiana. Nelly Custis Lewis continued to live at Audley after her husband's death in 1839. Throughout her life, she regarded herself as a preserver of George Washington's legacy. She shared memories and mementos, entertained and corresponded with those seeking information on the first president, and verified or debunked stories. She is buried at Mount Vernon in an enclosure adjacent to George and Martha Washington's tomb.

Adopted daughter of George Washington and Martha Dandridge

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Eleanor "Nelly" Parke Custis's Timeline

March 21, 1779
Mount Airy, Maryland
November 27, 1797
Age 18
Fairfax, VA, USA
Age 21
Age 21
Age 22
November 13, 1803
Age 24
Mount Vernon, Fairfax County, Virginia, United States
Age 25
Age 27
Age 30