Are you wondering what the connection between Mary Custis Lee, eldest daughter of Robert E. Lee has to do with the First White House of the Confederacy in Montgomery, Alabama? Simple: we have been given a beautiful Secretary/Desk/Bookcase that once belonged to her.
This intrigued me to search the Internet to find out more about her. Are you ready for this? She was born in 1835 and shared a bedroom with her mother’s young cousin, Martha Custis “Markie” Williams. She was away from Arlington much of the time on extended visits to friends and relatives.
She grew into an attractive young woman who had beaus who courted her but she never married. I wonder if it was because of the war coming when it did? After the death of her grandmother in 1853 it was not Mary, but Markie who came to Arlington to take care of George Washington Parke Custis when Mrs. Lee had to be away with her husband.
The site I read said she was regarded by her sisters as bossy and self absorbed. In her later years she traveled almost full time. She filled a scrapbook with visiting cards of European and Middle Eastern nobility and was in Germany when World War I began. She died in 1918.
The Secretary that once belonged to her is one of our prize possesions and has been placed in the President’s study, close by the entrance for all to see and enjoy!