Mary Custis Lee - General Lee's Daughter


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gentlemanrob

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Mary Custis Lee:

Born: July 12, 1835

Birthplace: Arlington House Arlington Virginia

Father: General Robert Edward Lee 1807 – 1870

Mother: Mary Anna Randolph Custis 1808 – 1873





Died: November 22, 1918

Place of Death: Hot Springs Virginia

Age at time of Death: 83 years old

Burial Place: Lee Chapel Cemetery Lexington Virginia


On the evening of June 13, 1902, Mary Custis Lee was arrested on an Alexandria streetcar for sitting in the section reserved for black patrons. As the daughter of Robert E. Lee, the General of the Confederate Army, the incident caused quite a stir within the community.

On her way to visit a friend, and being burdened with many large bags, Miss Lee chose to sit near the rear of the car in order to easily exit upon arriving at her destination. Shortly after she sat down the conductor Thomas Chauncey “explained the Virginia law on the subject, but being ignorant of the existence of the law herself, and also being loth [sic] to move her baggage, she protested.” At that time, Chauncey let her stay seated.

At the next stop, a black man boarded the car. The conductor stated that Miss Lee “was occupying a seat to which he was entitled under the law” and asked her once again to move to the front section, which was reserved for whites. But, even after being threatened with arrest, Miss Lee refused to give up her seat.

Mary Custis Lee.jpg


Mary Custis Lee 1.jpg


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Lubliner

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@gentlemanrob, where did you get the picture of Mrs. Lee on the wet street with the motor vehicle behind her? That picture is stunning to me. I would love to know where and when it was taken. She appears to me to be so 'stately'.
On a side-note, I can near guarantee that those two hanging minks on her front, are jaw clipped and authentic. My grandmama used to have one she could fully wrap around her neck and 'jaw-clip' the mouth to the tail. Oh so soft, and now oh so illegal!
Lubliner.
Edit: Okay they may be silver-gray fox tails-but they are real!
 

gentlemanrob

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@gentlemanrob, where did you get the picture of Mrs. Lee on the wet street with the motor vehicle behind her? That picture is stunning to me. I would love to know where and when it was taken. She appears to me to be so 'stately'.
On a side-note, I can near guarantee that those two hanging minks on her front, are jaw clipped and authentic. My grandmama used to have one she could fully wrap around her neck and 'jaw-clip' the mouth to the tail. Oh so soft, and now oh so illegal!
Lubliner.
Edit: Okay they may be silver-gray fox tails-but they are real!
around 1912
 

DBF

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Other interesting facts regarding the Lee’s eldest daughter -

JEB Stuart and Miss Mary Lee apparently dated while he was a cadet, her father superintendent, writing her several poems during their (??) relationship, the first being dated August 20th, 1852. (“The Perfect Gentleman” - page 125). When Stuart was killed Mary placed his obituary next to his poems that she had preserved from the early years.

Mary found herself behind enemy lines when General Ambrose Burnside was at the northern neck region from the “ Rappahannock to the Potomac” during the Fredericksburg campaign, despite her father’s warning that the “Federals would soon be in position to oppress our friends and citizens of the Northern Neck”. ** Page 112

During the fire on Richmond the night the Confederate Army left the city, Mary Custis sat on the top step to their front door with a container of water beside her ready to stop any embers that may land on her house.

Mary Lee was in Europe during the outbreak of the First World War. She managed to make her way through Germany to Holland and then London. She was interviewed while there are she said:

“I am a soldier’s daughter, and descended from a long line of soldiers, but what I have seen of this war, and what I can foresee of the misery which must follow, have made me nearly a peace advocate an any price. Remembering the dark days of one of the world’s great civil wars, my sympathy is with suffering wherever it exists, with the brave men who are fighting and suffering in the trenches and with the brave women who in practically all homes in Europe and waiting and suffering.” ** page 195

When she died at 83 she made arrangements for her body to be cremated, (not a popular practice in this country). She put this request in her will as she always had a “life long sorrow of being boxed up in a coffin.” ** page 197

**The Lee Girls by Mary P. Coulling
 

luinrina

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She put this request in her will as she always had a “life long sorrow of being boxed up in a coffin.”
She seemed to have had a sorrow of being boxed up in general. The one book I got in Virginia (Mrs. Lee's recipe book, can't remember the exact title right now and am not at home to check) says how often Mary had been absent from home, during and after the war when the family lived in Lexington. She apparently traveled all over the world.

EDIT: The book title I didn't remember is The Robert E. Lee Family Cooking and Housekeeping Book by Anne Carter Zimmer.
 
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NH Civil War Gal

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When I was at the Lee Chapel in June, one of the docents downstairs mentioned that Mary was behind enemy lines for the entire Civil War. I hadn't realized that. And the question was, did she plan it in some way so she wouldn't be trapped in the South. Does anyone have any insight on this? It's an open question and a very intriguing one.
 

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