George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Betty Washington Lewis, 16 September 1790

From Betty Washington Lewis

Sept. 16th 1790

My dear Brother,

I congratulate you on your Safe arrival at Mount Vernon, which I understand happen’d on Saturday Evening last1—your Voyage to Rhode-Island I hope has been beneficial to your health2—as Robert informed me the pain in your breast had not entirely left you—I have only a few days past returned from Frederick which has been of great service to my health as it was materially injured by the influenza which in this place proved fatal in several instances,3 if my helth and the weather will admit I propose paying you a visit before you return to Philadelphia, If you and my Sister Washington Can make it Conveniant to Pay me a Visit it will make me extreamly happy.

There are several articles in my possession, that was left to you by my Mother which has never been sent for, thay Can be of little or no service to you, and of very great to me, I will thank you for them, if you think them worth sending for I have not a wish to Detain them.4

I shall endeaver to have all the Ac[coun]ts of the Estate settled as soon as possible, and will bring them with me to Mount Vernon.

The family join me in love and good wishes for you Sister Washington, and the Majors family. I am Dear Brother your very Affectionate

Sister Betty Lewis

ALS, and photostat of copy, ViMtvL.

1For GW’s return to Mount Vernon on 11 Sept. 1790, see GW to Charles Carter of Ludlow, 14 Sept. 1790, n.2.

2For GW’s Rhode Island trip of 15–21 Aug. 1790 and its anticipated health benefits, see William Jackson to Clement Biddle, 12 May 1790, editorial note, and GW to the Clergy of Newport, R.I., 18 Aug. 1790, source note.

3GW’s only surviving sister, Betty Washington Lewis, lived at Kenmore in Fredericksburg and probably had just returned from visiting her son George’s family in Frederick County, Va. (Jane Taylor Duke, Kenmore and the Lewises [Garden City, N.Y., 1949], 162).

4For the death of Mary Ball Washington and the settlement of her estate, see Burgess Ball to GW, 25 Aug. 1789 and note 2, GW to Betty Washington Lewis, 13 Sept. 1789, Ball and Charles Carter to GW, 8 Oct. 1789, and Ball to GW, 26 Dec. 1789.

The articles to which Betty Lewis referred were her mother’s “best Bed, Bedstead & Virginia Cloth Curtains, . . . Quilted blue & white Quilt,” and “best dressing Glass” (Mary Ball Washington’s will, 20 May 1788, enclosed in Ball to GW, 25 Aug. 1789, DLC:GW; see also Ball to GW, 25 Aug. 1789, n.2). GW had written of them after his mother’s death, “Were it not that the specific legacies which are given to me by the Will are meant, and ought to be considered and received as mementos of parental affection, in the last solemn act of life, I should not be desirous of receiving or removing them, but in this point of view I set a value on them much beyond their intrinsic worth” (GW to Betty Washington Lewis, 13 Sept. 1789).

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