To Fanny Bassett Washington
( July 1789)
......I wish you to take a prayer book yourself and give one to Hariot
the other two to be given to Betty & Patty Custis -
I am pleased to hear that the domestic concerns goe on well - sickness
is to be expected and Charlot will lay herself up for as little as any one will
- it was right to give them more thread if I did not put enough in each
bundle - I am truly sorry to hear of another death in the family so soon
I shall think myself much obliged to Mrs Bassett2 for any particular
notice she may take of Patty Dandridge - I have a great regard for her and
wish her to do well - When you write to your Brother remember me
affectionately to them - I was very sorry that I was obliged to leave home
so soon after they came to Mount Vernon - My dear Fanny remember me
to all enquiring friends to Mr & Mrs L. Washington -
3 the Major and give
sweet little Maria a thousand kisses for me - I often think of the dear little
engaging child - and wish her with me to hear her little prattle - we shall
get the letters for her before she will want them.
ALS. Text from Private Affairs, p. 41-42.
Probably the death of one of the slaves. The Washingtons often referred to their slaves
and servants as part of the Mount Vernon "family,"
Mrs. Burwell Bassett, II, Elizabeth, the daughter of Daniel McCarty of Pope's Creek,
Lund and Elizabeth Foote Washington of "Hayfield," Fairfax County.
To Fanny Bassett Washington
Nelly shall begin Musick next week
1 - she has made two or three
attempts to write you; but has never finished a letter - she is a little wild
creature and spends her time at the window looking at carriages &c
passing by which is new to her and very common for children to do.
ALS. Text from Private Affairs, p. 20.
See, accounts kept by Tobias Lear, October 16, 1789: By Cont'g't Exps. pd Mr. Reinagle
for teaching Miss Custis Music & furnishing books 17-0-0; May 15, 1792 "Contingt Expenses
pd A. Reinagle for four months tuition of Miss Custis & for Music for her 62 - 20." Private
Affairs, 33, 76-77, 259. During the second year of his marriage, GW purchased a spinet for
Patcy ( Martha Parke Custis). After her death in 1774 it apparently remained at Mount
Vernon. Many years later it may have been used by her niece, Eleanor Parke Custis. By 1793
she had become proficient enough that the President felt warranted in purchasing a
harpsichord for her. It was moved from Philadelphia to Mount Vernon at the termination
of his presidency. Ultimately it was taken to Woodlawn Plantation after her marriage to Lawrence Lewis. It was later returned to Mount Vernon by one of her descendants, where
it remains. Mrs. Washington was a strict disciplinarian with regard to "practice time," and
insisted on four or five hours of practice each day. Nelly rebelled and cried bitterly, but to
no avail. See, infra, Martha Washington to Eleanor Parke Custis, February 25, 1797.