Lady Jean Skipwith

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Lady Jean Skipwith (Miller)

Also Known As: "Jane"
Birthdate: (78)
Death: 1826 (77)
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Hugh Miller and Jane Asbury
Wife of Sir Peyton Skipwith, 7th Baronet
Mother of Helen Coles; Humburston Skipwith; Selina Coles and Horatio Skipwith
Sister of Lady Anne Skipwith
Half sister of Margaret Mary "Mollie" Lake (Asbury); Benjamin Asbury; William Bolling Asbury; George Asbury; Wyatt Bolling Asbury and 1 other

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Lady Jean Skipwith

An avid book collector and amateur botanist, Jean Miller Skipwith, Lady Skipwith (February 21, 1748–May 19, 1826), assembled one of the largest libraries owned by a Virginia woman early in the nineteenth century.

Born near Petersburg, Jean Miller began her lifelong passion for acquiring books after returning to Scotland with her family. She arrived back in Virginia at about age thirty and married Sir Peyton Skipwith, a widower, in the autumn of 1788. After 1795 they resided at Prestwould, in Mecklenburg County. While managing a large household that included her four children, Lady Skipwith continued to buy books and eventually acquired more than 800 volumes. Her library contained numerous novels and other works of fiction as well as volumes on travel, history, biography, encyclopedias, cookbooks, essay collections, and children's literature.

A devoted gardener, Lady Skipwith owned botanical books that she used when compiling her extensive lists of flowers, shrubs, trees, and other plants that she grew and hoped to grow. She designed the gardens at Prestwould, including an orangery, a beehouse, and special beds where she could observe the growth habits of particular plants. She collected specimens locally and traded seeds with other gardeners in the United States and overseas, and her notes continue to be a valuable resource for historians and botanists in documenting early American gardens.

Known as: Lady Jean Skipwith

Birth name is Jane - Changed to Jean

Prominent Virginia book collector.

Father: Hugh Miller was a Scottish tobacco merchant who lived in Virginia from 1746 to 1760, and her mother Jane was a member of the well known Bolling family.

When her mother's passed away, her father, returned to Glasgow with his five young children; he died there in 1762. She changed her name to Jean and lived in Scotland until around 1786

She returned to the Elm Hill plantation in Virginia which had been inherited from her father.

In 1788, Jean married Sir Peyton Skipwith of Mecklenburg County, VA

Skipwith, one of the wealthiest men in Virginia, had previously been married to Jean's sister Anne.

Lady Jean gave birth to four children in five years (all after the age of forty

Lady Jean remained at Prestwould until she died in 1826, aged 78.

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Lady Jean Skipwith's Timeline

February 21, 1748
Age 41
Age 42
Age 44
Age 48
Age 77