A Guide to the Custis-Lee-Mason Family Papers, 1756-1863 Custis-Lee-Mason Family Papers, 1756-1863 20975

A Guide to the Custis-Lee-Mason Family Papers, 1756-1863

A Collection in
the Library of Virginia
Accession Number 20975


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Library of Virginia

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© 2004 By the Library of Virginia. All rights reserved.

Processed by: Trenton Hizer

Repository
Library of Virginia
Accession number
20975
Title
Custis-Lee-Mason Family Papers, 1756-1863
Physical Characteristics
.1 cubic feet
Language
English

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

Collection is open to research.

Use Restrictions

There are no restrictions.

Preferred Citation

Custis-Lee-Mason Family. Papers, 1756-1863. Accession 20975, Personal papers collection, The Library of Virginia, Richmond, Virginia.

Acquisition Information

Gift of Douglas Southall Freeman, Richmond, Virginia, 16 May 1935.


Biographical Information

Mary Lee Fitzhugh Custis was born 22 April 1788 to William Fitzhugh (1741-1809) and Ann Randolph Fitzhugh (1747-1805). She married George Washington Parke Custis (1781-1857) in 1806, and they were the parents of Mary Randolph Custis (1808-1873) who married Robert E. Lee (1807-1870). Mary Fitzhugh Custis died 23 April 1853 at Arlington in Alexandria County, Virginia, and was buried there. George Washington Parke Custis was the son of John Parke Custis (1755-1781), and the grandson of Daniel Parke Custis (1711-1757) and Martha Dandridge Custis Washington (1731-1802).

Mary Randolph Custis Lee was born 1 October 1808 at Annedale, Clarke County, Virginia to George Washington Parke Custis (1781-1857), the grandson of Martha Washington, and Mary Lee Fitzhugh (1788-1853). She married Robert E. Lee (1807-1870) at Arlington House 30 June 1831, where they lived off and on for many years before the Civil War began. Mary Custis Lee died 5 November 1873 in Lexington, Virginia. She was buried in the Lee Chapel at Washington and Lee University, Lexington. The Lees had seven children including George Washington Custis Lee (1832-1913).

James Murray Mason was born 3 November 1798 in Georgetown, District of Columbia, to John Mason and Anna Maria Murray. Educated at schools in Georgetown, he graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1818. Mason studied law at the College of William and Mary, then moved to Winchester, Virginia, in 1820 to practice law. Mason served in the Virginia House of Delegates from 1826 to 1831, except for 1827-1828. Elected to Congress, he served from 1837 to 1839. The Virginia state senate sent Mason to the United States Senate in 1847, and he became chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations and Finance Committees. When the Civil War began, Mason left the Senate and offered his services to the Confederate States of America. He was appointed the Confederate diplomatic commissioner to Great Britain. Taken from the British ship Trent, Mason spent a brief time in U.S. custody before being released. He went to Great Britain to carry out his duties. After the Civil War, Mason moved to Canada where he stayed before returning to Virginia in 1868. Mason died near Alexandria, Virginia, 28 April 1871, and was buried at Christ Episcopal Church. He married Elizabeth Margaretta Chew (1798-1874) 25 July 1822, and they had eight children.

Scope and Content

Papers, 1756-1863, of the Custis, Lee, and Mason families of Virginia, consisting of correspondence to and from members of these families. Collection is divided into three series: Series I: Custis Family Papers, 1756-1844. Series II: Lee Family Correspondence, 1832-1863. Series III: Mason Family Papers, 1822-1846.

Custis family correspondence, 1756-1844, contain mainly correspondence to Mary Lee Fitzhugh Custis (1788-1853) of Alexandria County, District of Columbia and Virginia. Letters deal mainly with social, family, and personal news of her correspondents, who include her daughter Mary Custis Lee (1808-1873), Robert Randolph, Eleanor Parke Custis Lewis, T. James, Anna Maria Fitzhugh, S. E. Goldsboro, M. Meade, Lucy Jane Randolph, Rosalie [Fizhugh?], and William W. Meade. Many of the letters from Mary Custis Lee portray life as the wife of a military officer in the United States army during the 19th century. Of particular interest are: a) a letter, 27 May 1756, from Daniel Parke Custis of New Kent County, Virginia, to Robert Cary and Company, merchants of London, England, concerning his tobacco crop; b) a letter, n.d., from Mary Fitzhugh Lee Custis at Old Point Comfort, Virginia, to her husband George Washington Parke Custis, at Arlington, in Alexandria County, District of Columbia, concerning the status of one of their slaves; and c) a letter, n.d., from William W. Meade to Mary Lee Fitzhugh Custis concerning a contribution to the American Colonization Society.

Lee family correspondence, 1832-1863, containly mainly correspondence to Mary Randolph Custis Lee (1808-1873) of Alexandria County, District of Columbia and Virginia, containing social, family, and personal news of her correspondents, who include: A. T. Hale, Mary B. Carter, Henrietta Dimmock, Julia C. Stuart, M. F. Powell, Robert E. Lee, Lloyd N. Rogers, Anna Maria Fitzhugh, S. E. Goldsboro, E. C. Huger, Mary C. Goldsboro, and George Washington Parke Custis. There are three letters, one from Mary Lee Fitzhugh Custis and two from Mary Randolph Custis Lee, to George Washington Custis Lee while he was a cadet at the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York. Letter, 12 July 1837, from Robert E. Lee (1807-1870) to his wife Mary Randolph Custis Lee describes an exhibit on George Washington at a Baltimore museum, for which her father George Washington Parke Custis had lent items. Also included letter, 1 March 1863, from T. G. B. to Mary describing a family's life during the Civil War.

Mason family correspondence, 1822-1846, containing mainly correspondence to James Murray Mason (1798-1871) concerning the estate of his father-in-law, Benjamin Chew (d. 1844), including the dispute surrounding ownership of the Chew home, "Cliveden," Germantown, Pennsylvania, and other legal matters involving the estate of Chew, for whom Mason was an administrator. Also includes letters concerning Elizabeth Chew (1798-1874), Mason's future wife; one, 6 March [1819], possibly from Elizabeth's sister Anne Chew regarding Elizabeth's health and her relationship with Mason; and one, 9 July 1822, from Elizabeth's father Benjamin Chew to Mason regarding Mason's upcoming marriage to Elizabeth. Also includes the answer, n.d., of Benjamin Grayson, John W. Grayson, and George M. Grayson to a bill in chancery in the Superior Court of Chancery, Winchester District, and addressed to the honorable Henry St. George Tucker (1780-1848).

Arrangement

Collection is organized into three series. Series I: Custis Family Correspondence, 1756-1844. Series II: Lee Family Correspondence, 1832-1863. Series III: Mason Family Papers, 1822-1846

Arranged chronologically in each series.

Contents List

Folder 1
Custis Family Correspondence, 1756-1844, n.d.
  • Letter, 27 May 1756, from Daniel Parke Custis, New Kent County, Virginia, to Robert Cary and Company, London, England, regarding business and his tobacco crop.
    1 leaf.
  • Letter, n.d., from Mary Lee Fitzhugh Custis at Old Point Comfort, Virginia, to George Washington Parke Custis at Arlington, Alexandria County, District of Columbia, concerning a slave named Philip and other personal matters.
    4 pages.
  • Letter, 5 March 1814, from Robert Randolph, Fauquier County, Virginia, to Mary Lee Fitzhugh Custis, Alexandria County, concerning his personal life and religion.
    3 pages.
  • Letter, 10 October 1823, from Eleanor Parke (Nelly) Custis Lewis, Fairfax County, Virginia, to Mary Lee Fitzhugh Custis, Alexandria County, discussing her husband's health and other family news.
    3 pages.
  • Letter, 4 November 1823, from Eleanor Parke (Nelly) Custis Lewis, Fairfax County, to Mary Lee Fitzhugh Custis, Alexandria County, containing family and personal news.
    4 pages.
  • Letter, 12 April 1832, from M. Meade, White Post, Virginia, to Mary Lee Fitzhugh Custis, Alexandria County, sending news of family and friends.
    4 pages.
  • Letter, 1 September 1833, from Mary Randolph Custis Lee to Mary Lee Fitzhugh Custis discussing family news, including the health of Mary Custis and George W. P. Custis, and Mary Lee's family.
    4 pages.
  • Letter, 16 May 1844, from T. James [?], Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to Mary Lee Fitzhugh Custis, Alexandria County, relating society news from Philadelphia, family and personal news, as well as discussing an attack on part of the Episcopal Church.
    4 pages.
  • Letter, 17 February, n.y., from Anna Maria Fitzhugh [Battaile?], Cambridge, Maryland, to Mary Fitzhugh Custis and Mary Randolph Custis [Lee], Alexandria County, describing Cambridge and discussing society, family, and personal news.
    4 pages.
  • Letter, 1 June n.y., from T. E. Goldsboro, Easton, Maryland, to Mary Lee Fitzhugh Custis, Alexandria County, describing the visit of Mary Custis' daughter Mary Randolph Custis [Lee] to the Goldsboros' home.
    4 pages.
  • Letter, n.d., from Mary Randolph Custis Lee to Mary Lee Fizthugh Custis, Alexandria County, discussing family and personal news and the Lee family travels west, including to Cincinnati, Ohio.
    4 pages, fragmented.
  • Letter, 18th June n.y., from Mary Randolph Custis Lee, Fort Hamilton, New York, New York, to Mary Lee Fitzhugh Custis, Alexandria County, describing life at Fort Hamilton and in New York City, including society, family, and personal news.
    4 pages.
  • Letter, 12 August n.y., from L. J. Randolph to Mary Custis in Baltimore, Maryland, containing personal and family news.
    3 pages.
  • Letter, 14 August n.y., from Mary Randolph Custis Lee, Washington, D.C., to Mary Lee Fitzhugh Custis, Alexandria County, containing family and personal news
    4 pages.
  • Letter, n.d., from Mary Randolph Custis Lee, St. Louis, Missouri, to Mary Lee Fitzhugh Custis, Alexandria County, sending news of the Lee family during its time in St. Louis while Robert E. Lee was stationed there.
    4 pages.
  • Letter, n.d., from Mary Randolph Custis Lee, Fort Monroe, Elizabeth City County, Virginia, to Mary Lee Fitzhugh Custis, discussing life at Fort Monroe and describing the society life around the Lee family, including information on some of the other military officers there.
    4 pages.
  • Letter, n.d., from Mary Randolph Custis Lee, Fort Hamilton, New York, to Mary Lee Fitzhugh Custis, Alexandria County, sending society, family, and personal news.
    4 pages.
  • Letter, 28 September n.y., from Mary Randolph Custis Lee to Mary Lee Fitzhugh Custis providing family and personal news.
    4 pages.
  • Letter, 24 November n.y., from Rosalie [Fitzhugh?], Easthampton, Massachusetts, to Mary Lee Fitzhugh Custis, Alexandria County, describing Easthampton and containing family and personal news.
    4 pages.
  • Letter, n.d., Mary Randolph Custis Lee, Fort Hamilton, New York City, to Mary Lee Fitzhugh Custis, Alexandria County, providing news of the Lee family and discussing an upcoming trip.
    3 pages.
  • Letter, n.d., from William Meade to Mary Lee Fitzhugh Custis, Alexandria County, concerning a bequest that a relative left for them to leave to a worthy cause. Meade suggests the American Colonization Society.
    2 pages.
  • Letter, n.d., from Mary Randolph Custis Lee to Mary Lee Fitzhugh Randolph, Alexandria County, containing Lee family and personal news.
    4 pages.
Folder 2
Lee Family Correspondence, 1832-1863.
  • Letter, 15 October n.y., from Mary Lee Fitzhugh Custis, Alexandria County, to Cadet George Washington Custis Lee, United States Military Academy, West Point, New York, concerning some trouble he is in at West Point.
    3 pages.
  • Letter, 7 December, n.y., from Mary Randolph Custis Lee, in Baltimore, Maryland, to George Washington Custis Lee, West Point, New York, regarding trouble he is in at West Point.
    3 pages.
  • Letter, n.d., from Mary Randolph Custis Lee to George Washington Custis Lee, West Point, asking him to remember her to family friends. Possibly a not complete letter.
    1 leaf.
  • Letter, 27 August 1832, from A. T. Hale, Glastonbury, Connecticut, to Mary Randolph Custis Lee, at Old Point Comfort, containing family and personal news.
    4 pages.
  • Letter, 6 January 1833, from unidentified person to Mary Randolph Custis Lee, Alexandria County, sending society and family news.
    4 pages.
  • Letter, 22 February 1833, from Mary B. Carter, Shirley, Charles City County, Virginia, to Mary Randolph Custis Lee, Alexandria County, discussing society, family, and personal news.
    4 pages.
  • Letter, 22 January 1835, from A. T. Hale, Glastonbury, Connecticut, to Mary Randolph Custis Lee, Alexandria County, containing family and personal news.
    4 pages.
  • Letter, 18 April 1835, from Henrietta Dimmock, Old Point Comfort, to Mary Randolph Custis Lee, Washington, D.C., sending news of events and people in Old Point Comfort, and family and personal news.
    4 pages.
  • Letter, 15 May 1835, from Julia C. Stuart to Mary Randolph Custis Lee, Alexandria County, discussing society, family, and personal news.
    4 pages.
  • Letter, 28 June 1835, from Henrietta Dimmock, Fort Monroe, Elizabeth City County, Virginia, to Mary Randolph Custis Lee, Washington, D.C., containing society, family, and personal news and events in Old Point Comfort.
    3 pages.
  • Letter, 3 December 1835, from M. F. Powell, Loudoun County, Virginia, to Mary Randolph Custis Lee, Alexandria County, discussing society, family, and personal news.
    4 pages.
  • Letter, 14 May 1836, from Henrietta Dimmock, Old Point Comfort, to Mary Randolph Custis Lee, Washington, D.C., providing society, family, and personal news from Old Point Comfort.
    4 pages.
  • Letter, 18 December 1836, from Henrietta Dimmock, Washington D.C., to Mary Randolph Custis Lee, Alexandria County, sending society, family, and personal news.
    3 pages.
  • Letter, 12 July 1837, from Robert E. Lee, in Baltimore, Maryland, to Mary Randolph Custis Lee, Alexandria County, discussing an exhibit on George Washington, including some items donated by George Washington Parke Custis, in a Baltimore museum.
    3 pages.
  • Letter, 30 July 1837, from Lloyd N. Rogers, Baltimore, to Mary Randolph Custis Lee, Alexandria County, concerning the death of his daughter.
    3 pages.
  • Letter, 18 September 1838, from Mary Lee Fitzhugh Custis, Alexandria County, to Mary Randolph Custis Lee, St. Louis, Missouri, asking why she has not heard from her daughter, and sending family news.
    4 pages.
  • Letter, 4 January n.y., from Anna Maria Fitzhugh, in Cambridge, Maryland, to Mary Randolph Custis [Lee], Alexandria County, thanking her for her letter and sending society and family news from Cambridge.
    4 pages.
  • Letter, 15 March n.y., from S. E. Goldsboro, Easton, Maryland, to Mary Randolph Custis [Lee], providing society, family, and personal news.
    4 pages.
  • Letter, 1 July n.y., from E. C. Huger, at White Sulphur Springs, (West) Virginia, to Mary Randolph Custis Lee, Alexandria County, sending her news of events at the springs and personal news.
    4 pages.
  • Letter, 3 July n.y., S. E. Goldsboro, Easton, to Mary Randolph Custis [Lee], Alexandria County, regarding society, family, and personal news.
    4 pages.
  • Letter, 4 September n.y., from Anna Maria Fitzhugh, Fairfax County, to Mary Randolph Custis Lee, at Old Point Comfort, discussing society, family, and personal news.
    4 pages.
  • Letter, 7 November n.y., from Anna Maria Fitzhugh, Fairfax County, to Mary Randolph Custis Lee, Old Point Comfort, regarding society, family, and personal news.
    4 pages.
  • Letter, 10 November n.y., from Anna Maria Fitzhugh, at Arlington, Alexandria County, to Mary Randolph Custis Lee, Old Point Comfort, concerning society, family, and personal news.
    4 pages.
  • Letter, 28 November n.y., Mary Lee Fitzhugh Custis, Alexandria County, to Mary Randolph Custis Lee, St. Louis, Missouri, containing society, family, and personal news.
    4 pages.
  • Letter, n.d., from Mary C. Goldsboro, Easton, to Mary Randolph Custis Lee, Alexandria County, sending society, family, and personal news.
    4 pages.
  • Letter, n.d., from either S. E. or Mary C. Goldsboro, Easton, to Mary Randolph Custis [Lee], providing society, family, and personal news.
    4 pages.
  • Letter, n.d., from Anna Maria Fitzhugh, Fairfax County, to Mary Randolph Custis Lee, Old Point Comfort, sending society, family, and personal news.
    4 pages.
  • Letter, n.d., from an unidentified correspondent to Mary Randolph Custis Lee, St. Louis, Missouri, sending family and personal news.
    4 pages.
  • Letter, n.d., from Eugenia [?] to Mary Randolph Custis Lee, Alexandria County, asking Mary Lee to visit.
    2 pages.
  • Letter, n.d., from Mary Lee Fitzhugh Custis, Alexandria County, to Mary Randolph Custis Lee, Old Point Comfort, discussing family and personal news. Contains a postscript by George Washington Parke Custis.
    3 pages.
  • Letter, 1 March 1863, from T. G. B. to Mary [?] describing how his/her family is coping with the events of the Civil War.
    2 pages.
Folder 3
Mason Family Correspondence, 1822-1846.
  • Letter, 6 March [1819], from an unknown correspondent (possibly Anne Chew) to James Murray Mason, Williamsburg, Virginia, discussing Elizabeth Margaretta Chew's (Mason's future wife) recent illness and her relationship with Mason.
    2 pages.
  • Letter, 9 July 1822, from Benjamin Chew, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to James Murray Mason, Winchester, Virginia, concerning the upcoming marriage of Mason to Chew's daughter Elizabeth.
    2 pages.
  • Letter, 24 July 1841, from Benjamin Chew, Cliveden, Germantown, Pennsylvania, to James Murray Mason, Winchester, discussing family news and a possible visit.
    2 pages.
  • Letter, 1 May 1845, from Daniel Agnew, Beaver County, Pennsylvania, to James Murray Mason, Winchester, concerning the estate of Benjamin Chew, including lands in Beaver County.
    3 pages.
  • Letter, 18 August 1845, from William W. Chew, Philadelphia, to James Murray Mason concerning a dispute within the Chew family and a mayor's order for Benjamin Chew to keep the peace toward his sister.
    3 pages.
  • Letter, 19 October 1845, from William W. Chew, Germantown, to Elizabeth Margaretta Chew, Winchester, containing family and personal news.
    4 pages.
  • Letter, 25 October 1846, from William C. Chew, Germantown, to James Murray Mason concerning the affairs of the estate of his father, Benjamin Chew.
    4 pages.
  • Letter, 31 October 1846, from William C. Chew, Philadelphia, to James Murray Mason, Winchester, concerning the affairs of his father's estate.
    2 pages.
  • Letter, n.d., from Elizabeth Margaretta Chew Mason to James Murray Mason, Winchester, containing family and personal news.
    3 pages.
  • Answer, n.d., of Benjamin Grayson, John W. Grayson, and George M. Grayson to Henry St. George Tucker of the Superior Court of Chancery, Winchester District to answer complaint of William Richards and others.
    4 pages.