Worthy Partner: The Papers of Martha Washington

By Joseph E. Fields; Martha Washington | Go to book overview
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and a wish that you may long live the loving wife of my happy son and a loving daughter of your affectionate mother, M Washington." MW did not attend the marriage ceremony, since she was in mourning and did not wish to detract from the gaiety of the occasion. Lossing states GW was instructed to present the letter to the bride immediately after the ceremony. The original letter was supposedly preserved at Arlington by the family of G.W.P. Custis and copied by Lossing about 1860. It is also printed in Freeman, 3:344, n. Freeman was of the opinion the letter was a forgery, since "the style and diction" does not resemble her other letters. Neither does it resemble that of GW, who on a number of occasions drafted letters for his wife. Freeman suggests it was written by the same person who wrote the letter of GW to MW, July 20, 1758. Freeman, 2:319 n., 405-06. Similarly, this letter was first printed in Lossing Mary and Martha, p. 99. Lossing again states he copied the text from the original at Arlington. It is interesting to note Lossing was the source of two childhood letters exchanged between Richard Henry Lee (of Stratford) and George Washington. Supposedly they were written when both boys were nine years old. Lossing states the texts were supplied by a son of Richard Henry Lee. The letters would indicate the boys were exceedingly precocious, for the diction and style is not that of nine year old boys. Furthermore the historiography is inaccurate, since GW left the Northern Neck neighborhood at the age of three. Lossing, Mount Vernon and Its Associations, p. 23, 41, New York 1859. The editor concurs with the conclusions of Freeman, with regard to the letters of GW, Lee, and MW.

To Elizabeth Ramsay

Dear Miss 1 January the 14th 1774

I shall be very much obliged to you to enquire in town if there is black & white (illegible) lustring 2- and a handsom plain black satten cloak I had reather not have a lace on it if one with a (illegible) or gimp 3 is to be had - I shoud have been very glad to have seen you hear this christmas if you coud have spared so much time out of town My compliments to Mr & Mrs Ramsay4 and all the little Folks

I am Dr. Miss
your most affetionate
Martha Washington

Your answer a few days
hence will be as well today


Elizabeth (Betsy) Ramsay, eldest daughter of William Ramsay and Ann McCarty.
A glossy silk fabric ( OED).
A neckerchief or stomacher ( OED).
William Ramsay ( 1716-1785) and his wife Ann McCarty Ramsay (c. 1730-1785) had two sons and five daughters. Ramsay, a close friend of GW, was the first mayor of Alexandria and served as postmaster.


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Worthy Partner: The Papers of Martha Washington
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