- which I hope will in some measure reconcile you to your very great loss
of her, - I must one to you that she was the greatest favorite I had in the
world - it will always give me the greatest pleasure, if I could be usefull
to you or the children in any thing - be pleased to let me know - I have
often wished that fortune had plased us nearer to each other - and
particularly at this time when I should have it in my power to take care
of the Dear children - I hope Mrs Stith4 or Mrs Aylett5 will stay with you
for that purpose at least for a sort time - I sincearly wish your recovery
and pray god to enable you to support yourself under your great affliction
- and bless your children - I am with love to them and all inquiring Friends
My Dear Brother your ever
Anna Maria Dandridge Bassett, Mrs. Washington's sister, died at Eltham, December
Nelly Custis was far advanced in her pregnancy. She delivered her third daughter, Martha Parke Custis on December 31, 1777. Her first daughter died shortly after her birth.
Frances (Fanny) Bassett ( 1767-1796) came to live at Mount Vernon in 1784. There she
met a widower, Major George Augustine Washington, nephew of General Washington and
acting as manager of the estates. They were married on October 15, 1785. After his death in 1793 she married Tobias Lear, secretary to the General, during as well as after the presidential
years. They were married early in August, 1795. Fanny died in late March, 1796. Most of Mrs. Washington's surviving correspondence was with Fanny Bassett Washington Lear.
Probably Joanna Stith, sister of Burwell Bassett, Sr. Harris, 1:45.
Mary Macon Aylett, wife of Col. William Aylett of Fairfield.
I had nothing but kindness everywhere on my journey. The
travelling was pretty rough. I found snow in crossing Delaware, and at
an inn on Brandywine Creek, at a ford, where I lodged, the snow was so
deep in the roads in some places, that I had to leave the chariot with the
innkeeper and hire a farm sleigh to bring me here. The General is well,
but much worn with fatique and anxiety. I never knew him to be so
anxious as now, for the poor soldiers are without sufficient clothing and
food, and many of them are barefooted. Oh how my heart pains for them.
Text taken from Lossing Mary and Martha, p. 165.
Lossing states the letter was written shortly after Mrs. Washington's arrival at
headquarters at Whitemarsh, and after the British raid on December 7, 1777. He cites G.W.P. Custis as his authority. There is no evidence that Mrs. Washington was ever at the
Whitemarsh headquarters. In December, 1777 she was still in Virginia and did not arrive at
Valley Forge until February 2nd or 3rd, 1778. See infra, letter of MW to Mercy Otis Warren,
March 7, 1778. In a letter from GW to John Parke Custis, February 1, 1778 he states Mrs. Washington left Mount Vernon January 26, 1778; Writings, 10:414 and n. If this is an authentic