November 24th 1916.
609, West Grace Street,
Dr R. H. Stuart,
I beg to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 17th instant, and to thank you for your promise to extend the time from November 25th until December 15th 1916 to enable the Societies represented by me, to detremine [sic] whether or not, they can purchase Stratford.
In order that you may fully understand the situation of affairs relative to this contemplated purchase, I beg leave to state that a short time ago the present condition of Stratford was brought to my attention by a prominent Virginian and I was urged to see what could be done to procure and to preserve this property as a memorial to the distinguished family of Lee who lived there, and especially as a memorial to the fact that it is the birth-place of General Robert E. Lee.
I presented the matter to the Board of Managers of the Virginia Society of the Colonial Dames of America (of which I am president) and the idea was received most favorably.
In order to see what could be accomplished in this direction about three weeks ago I called a meeting at my house of the representatives of the several patriotic societies in this city, and the matter was then quite fully discussed.
These representatives expressed a deep interest in the matter of procuring this property, and promised to lay the subject before their respective organizations; of course, they were not in a position at that time to pledge that their several organizations would undertake to raise money to effectuate this purchase; nor was it known at that time at what price the property could be obtained.
Fortunately this meeting was held only a few days before the meeting of the Convention of the United Daughters of the Confederacy at Dallas, Texas, and the Richmond delegate from the Daughters of the Confederacy being present at this meeting, she was asked to lay the matter before the Convention at Dallas; and to ask the co-operation and assistance of its members.
This she did. She reported to a meeting of the representatives of the several societies held at my home on yesterday afternoon, that the Convention of the United Daughters of the Confederacy were earnest in their desire to procure the property, and had set aside the 19th of January 1917, the anniversary of the birth of General Robert E. Lee, as the date for an effort to procure funds towards the purchase of this property. You will see it is manifest that no definite steps can be taken about the purchase of the property until it is ascertained what shall be accomplished on the 19th of January 1917.
On behalf of these representatives and patriotic men and women, I earnestly ask that you will extend the time for us to determine and let you know if it is feasible to obtain the amount necessary to make the purchase.
I understand from your letters of the 7th and 8th instant to Mrs Josephine Rust of Washington, D.C., that you will take $75,00.00 “for the house and out buildings, including twenty five acres of land, all the buildings, the spring, the garden and vault to be included in the above twenty-five acres of land, and a right of way to the main road and river; provided the place is to be kept as a memorial to the Lees, and not to be sold again or used for private gain or purpose.”
Since none of the representatives of these societies have any other idea than to hold the property as a memorial to the Lees, as s [sic] stated in the proviso of your offer, I write in their behalf, to ask that you will extend the exclusive right to them to purchase this property until the first day of February 1917, by which time it is hoped and expected that these organizations will be in a position to definitely determine whether or not they can carry out their laudable aims to acquire this property for the purposes above indicated, and since you are a Virginian, we feel that we have a right to ask and expect that you will co-operate with us to the extent above indicated.
Awaiting your reply to this letter, I remain
Very truly yours,
(signed) Kate Cabell Cox
My dear Dr. Stuart:
The above is a copy of a letter that I mailed to you some time since, a reply to which I am anxiously awaiting.
Not having heard from you, I fear some accident may have befallen the letter, so am writing to earnestly request that you will let me have your reply as soon as possible.
Very sincerely yours
Kate Cabell Cox
(Mrs. Wm. Ruffin Cox)
Source: The Archives of the Robert E. Lee Memorial Foundation, Papers of the Lee Family, Box 5, M2009.506, Jessie Ball duPont Library, Stratford Hall
Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2015 December 1