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Eleanor Calvert

Eleanor Calvert

Calvert Family member
Eleanor Calvert
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro Calvert Family member
Was Socialite
From United States of America
Gender female
Birth 1758, Upper Marlboro, USA
Death 28 September 1811, Tudor Place, USA (aged 53 years)
Mother: Elizabeth Calvert
Father: Benedict Swingate Calvert
Siblings: Charles Calvert, 5th Baron BaltimoreGeorge Calvert (planter)
Spouse: John Parke CustisDavid Stuart (Virginia politician)
Children: Elizabeth Parke Custis LawMartha Parke Custis PeterEleanor Parke Custis LewisGeorge Washington Parke Custis Elizabeth CustisNelly CustisMartha Custis
The details


Eleanor Calvert Custis Stuart (1757/1758 – September 28, 1811), born Eleanor Calvert, was a prominent member of the wealthy Calvert family of Maryland. Upon her marriage to John Parke Custis, she became the daughter-in-law of Martha Dandridge Custis Washington and the stepdaughter-in-law of George Washington. Her portrait hangs today at Mount Airy Mansion in Rosaryville State Park, Maryland.

Early life

Eleanor Calvert was born in 1758 at the Calvert family's Mount Airy plantation near Upper Marlboro in Prince George's County, Maryland. Eleanor was the second-eldest daughter of Benedict Swingate Calvert, illegitimate son of Charles Calvert, 5th Baron Baltimore, and Benedict's wife Elizabeth Calvert Butler. She was known to her family as "Nelly." As a teenager, Eleanor was an exceptionally pretty girl and well-mannered.

Marriage and children

Painting of Eleanor Calvert by John Hesselius, 1728-1778, 1761.

Eleanor married John Parke Custis, son of the late Daniel Parke Custis and Martha Dandridge Custis Washington (and stepson of George Washington), on February 3, 1774 at Mount Airy. When "Jacky", as he was known by his family, announced his engagement to Eleanor to his parents, they were greatly surprised due to the couple's youth.

After their marriage, the couple settled at the White House plantation, a Custis estate on the Pamunkey River in New Kent County, Virginia. After the couple had lived at the White House for more than two years, John Custis purchased the Abingdon plantation in Fairfax County, Virginia (now in Arlington County, Virginia), into which the couple settled during the winter of 1778–1779.

Eleanor and John had seven children:

In 1781, John died of "camp fever", believed to be typhus, following the Siege of Yorktown. Eleanor's two elder daughters, Elizabeth and Martha, continued to live with her at the Abingdon plantation. She sent her two younger children, Eleanor and George, to Mount Vernon to live with their grandmother, Martha Washington, and her husband George Washington, future president. John died intestate, so his widow was granted a "dower third", the lifetime use of one-third of the Custis estate assets, including its more than 300 slaves. The balance of the Custis estate was held in trust for their children and distributed as the daughters married and the son reached his majority. Eleanor's "dower third" was distributed among their children following her death.

In 1783, Eleanor married Dr. David Stuart, an Alexandria physician and a business associate of George Washington. Eleanor and David had sixteen children together, including:

  • Ann Calvert Stuart (born 1784), married William Robinson
  • Sarah Stuart (born 1786), married Obed Waite
  • Ariana Calvert Stuart
  • William Sholto Stuart
  • Eleanor Custis Stuart (born 1792)
  • Charles Calvert Stuart (1794–1846), married Cornelia Lee
  • Rosalie Eugenia Stuart (1796–1886), married William Greenleaf Webster

Later life

In 1792, Eleanor, David and their family left Abingdon and moved to David's home at Hope Park in Fairfax County. About ten years later, they moved to Ossian Hall near Annandale, also in Fairfax County.

Eleanor died on September 28, 1811 at age 53 at Tudor Place, the home of her daughter, Martha Parke Custis Peter, in Georgetown, District of Columbia. She was originally buried at Effingham Plantation in Virginia.

She was reinterred in Page's Chapel, St. Thomas' Church, Croom, Maryland, in the late 1810s near the graves of her parents. Her resting place remained unmarked until a limestone grave slab was installed in the chapel floor in autumn 2008.

The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article on 14 Apr 2020. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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