Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Thomas Law, 23 May 1802

From Thomas Law

Mt Vernon Sunday morng. 23 May 1 PM.


With sorrow unfeigned I inform you that Mrs Washington has terminated her well spent life about half an hour, after suffering with calm fortitude a fever for 17 days.—Dr. Craigk with unceasing assiduity afforded all the relief that was in the power of medecine but in vain.

The distress of all around agitates me too much, & prevents me from expressing the keen sense I entertain of the Loss of one who so nobly & amiably fulfilled every duty.

I remain With esteem & respect Yr. mt. Obt. He St.

Thos. Law

RC (DLC); endorsed by TJ as received 30 May and so recorded in SJL.

According to newspaper accounts, the 71-year-old Martha WASHINGTON died on 22 May at Mount Vernon and was buried there three days later. At her death, she was surrounded by family members, including Law, who was married to her granddaughter Elizabeth Parke Custis Law, and was attended by Alexandria physician and close family friend James Craik (Ellen McAllister Clark, Martha Washington: A Brief Biography [Mount Vernon, Va., 2002], 54; Alexandria The Times; and District of Columbia Daily Advertiser, 24 May 1802; Philadelphia Repository, and Weekly Register, 29 May 1802; Washington, Papers description begins W. W. Abbot, Dorothy Twohig, Philander D. Chase, Theodore J. Crackel, and others, eds., The Papers of George Washington, Charlottesville, 1983–, 53 vols. description ends , Col. Ser., 2:168–9; Vol. 32:270n).

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