Eleanor "Nelly" Parke Custis 1
- Born: 31 Mar 1779, Abingdon
- Marriage (1): Lawrence Lewis on 22 Feb 1799 in Mount Vernon, Fairfax CO, VA
- Died: 15 Jul 1852 at age 73
- Buried: Mount Vernon, Fairfax CO, VA
While at Mount Vernon, Lewis came to know Eleanor "Nelly" Parke Custis, the granddaughter of Martha Dandridge Custis Washington and Daniel Parke Custis. She and her brother, George Washington Parke Custis, had been informally adopted by George and Martha Washington after the 1781 death of their father, John Parke Custis. At Mount Vernon she acted as the social director, entertaining the many visitors to the former president.
On February 22, 1799, Nelly Custis married George Washington's nephew, the widower Lawrence Lewis, of Fredericksburg, Virginia. The Washingtons' wedding gift was 2,000 acres (8.1 km2) adjacent to Mount Vernon, on which the Lewises built Woodlawn Plantation.
Upon her marriage, Nelly Lewis inherited about 80 slaves from her father's estate. Her grandfather, Daniel Parke Custis's estate was liquidated following Martha Washington's 1802 death, and Nelly Lewis inherited about 35 "dower" slaves from Mount Vernon. Following the death of her mother in 1811, the John Parke Custis estate was liquidated, and she inherited approximately 40 additional slaves.
About 1830 the Lewises moved to Audley plantation in Clarke County, Virginia. Beginning in the mid-1830s they began dividing their time between Virginia and their daughters' homes in Louisiana. Nelly Custis Lewis continued to live at Audley after her husband's death in 1839.
Throughout her life, she regarded herself as a preserver of George Washington's legacy. She shared memories and mementos, entertained and corresponded with those seeking information on the first president, and verified or debunked stories. She is buried at Mount Vernon in an enclosure adjacent to George and Martha Washington's tomb.
Eleanor married Lawrence Lewis, son of Fielding Lewis and Betty Washington, on 22 Feb 1799 in Mount Vernon, Fairfax CO, VA. (Lawrence Lewis was born on 4 Apr 1767 in Fredericksburg, Virginia and died on 20 Nov 1839 in Arlington, Arlington County, Virginia, USA.)