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Patriotic Betty Washington Lewis

George Washington's Mount Vernon has a biography of Betty Washington Lewis which tells us something of her character and that of the Washington children; they were a hard-working, moral. loyal and patriotic family. 

Please read Betty's biography here. I've also posted some select excerpts below.  


"Betty Washington Lewis was more than just the only sister of George Washington to survive to adulthood; she was also a patriot. Lewis and her husband, Fielding, contributed a considerable amount of their personal wealth and time toward the American Revolution. Their devotion and loyalty to the wartime effort and to its leader, George Washington, inadvertently led them to financial hardship.

"Born on June 20, 1733, Betty Washington was the second child and only surviving daughter of Augustine and Mary Ball Washington. Christened Elizabeth, Betty was most likely named after her mother’s beloved half-sister, Elizabeth Johnson Bonhum. Along with her eventually famous older brother George, Betty had three other brothers, Samuel, John (Jack), and Charles, and a sister, Mildred, who died in infancy. From her father’s first marriage, she had three half-brothers, Butler, Lawrence, and Augustine, only two (Lawrence and Augustine) of whom survived to adulthood, and a half-sister, Jane, who died as a child.1

"Like many Virginia girls among the gentry, young Betty Washington no doubt received some practical and ornamental education. She learned to ride a horse at an early age and most likely became an expert horsewoman. She must have also learned to dance. Her mother taught her the domestic arts, such as sewing, knitting, and embroidery. Along with her four brothers, Betty possibly attended a local school in Fredericksburg. Betty and her family regularly attended Falmouth Church in Brunswick Parish, which contributed to her lasting faith and regular attendance at services in St. George’s Parish in the latter part of her life.3

"Betty and Fielding Lewis were strong supporters of the Revolution, and their loyalty to the cause cost them financially. The Lewises owned a store, which originally belonged to Fielding’s father. During the war, Fielding supplied salt, flour, bacon, and clothing to patriot forces. Herbs and other produce from Betty’s gardens became teas and ointments that Fielding also supplied to the army. In July 1775, the Virginia assembly passed an ordinance providing for a 'Manufactory of Small Arms in Fredericksburg, Va.' and named Fielding Lewis and four other men as its Commissioners. Appropriations of £25,000 were distributed and land was secured near Hunter’s Forge for the construction and operation of the gunnery. However, the appropriations ran out, and Betty and Fielding Lewis used £7,000 from their personal accounts to maintain the gunnery. They later borrowed between £30,000 and £40,000 to provide saltpeter, sulfur, gunpowder, and lead for the manufacture of ammunition during the war. Kenmore was heavily mortgaged to meet the costs of these patriotic endeavors.11"

Biography Source: Betty Washington Lewis · George Washington's Mount Vernon

Image Source: Betty Washington Lewis - Wikipedia


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