Martha Washington’s Agony: Patsy Custis

Presidential History Blog

When Martha Dandridge Custis married George Washington, she had two little children, ages four and two.

George Washington, Stepfather

Early etching of Martha Washington

Martha Dandridge had married Daniel Custis when she was eighteen. Eight years later, he died, leaving his widow with a vast estate and two small babies, John (Jack) and Martha (Patsy). Two other babies had died in early childhood.

A little more than a year later, Martha married Col. George Washington of the Virginia militia. Her two children had no memory of their natural parent; Washington was always “Father.”

Image result for paintings of George Washington and Jack and Patsy Custis George Washington, an affectionate stepparent.

According to Virginia law, George Washington,  stepfather, became legal guardian to the children, and was an affectionate parent.

Patsy Parke Custis

The only known likeness of young Martha (Patsy) Custis

The first documented instance of any health problems concerning little Patsy was when she was around five. GW’s papers indicated that she…

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