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Lewis, Esther Maria Coxe

American, 1804 - 1885

Coxe, Esther Maria; Lewis, Lorenzo Mrs.


Esther Maria Coxe, of Philadelphia, became the wife of Lorenzo Lewis, owner of an estate known as Audley, in Clarke County, VA. Lorenzo Lewis was the son of Eleanor Parke Custis Lewis [1779-1852] and her husband Lawrence Lewis [1767-1839]. Known as "Nelly Custis," Eleanor Parke Custis Lewis was the granddaughter of Martha Washington from her first marriage, and the adopted daughter of George Washington. When Martha married General Washington in 1759 she was the widow of Daniel Parke Custis [1711-1757], and had two young children, John Parke Custis [1754-1781] and Martha Parke Custis [1755-1773]. Nelly was one of four children of John Parke Custis and his wife Eleanor Calvert, daughter of Benedict Calvert, the illegitimate son of the fifth Lord Baltimore. After John Parke Custis' death in 1781, his widow was remarried, to Dr. David Stuart, and took her two older children with her to Fairfax, VA. Her younger children, including Nelly, were left at Mount Vernon where they were reared their grandmother Martha Washington, and General George Washington. A portrait of Nelly is now in the NGA (1974.108.1). On 22 February 1799 Nelly married Lawrence Lewis, Washington's nephew; they had eight children, of whom three survived to maturity: Lorenzo [1803-1847], Frances Parke [1799-1875], and Mary Eliza Angela [1813-1835]. The Lewis home, Woodlawn, was built on two hundred acres of Mount Vernon property given to them by George Washington. It was designed by William Thornton, whose portrait by Gilbert Stuart is also in the NGA (1942.8.25). Woodlawn is now owned by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Lawrence purchased and gave to his son Lorenzo an estate known as Audley, in the Shenandoah Valley, where Nelly made her home with her son after her husband's death. In 1827 Lorenzo was married to Esther Marie Coxe with whom he had six sons. [Compiled from sources and references recorded on CMS]

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