• The Lees of Virginia
  • The Lees of Virginia
  • The Lees of Virginia
  • The Lees of Virginia

The Lee Family Digital Archive is the largest online source for primary source materials concerning the Lee family of Virginia. It contains published and unpublished items, some well known to historians, others that are rare or have never before been put online. We are always looking for new letters, diaries, and books to add to our website. Do you have a rare item that you would like to donate or share with us? If so, please contact our editor, Colin Woodward, at  (804) 493-1940, about how you can contribute to this historic project.



1846 August 31


I, Robert E. Lee of the U. S. Army do make ordain & declare this instrument to be my last will & testament revoking all others.

  1. All my debts, whatever they may be, & of which they are but few, are to be punctually and speedily paid.
  2. To my dearly beloved wife, Mary Custis Lee, I give & bequeath the use profit & benefit of my whole estate real & personal, for the term of her natural life, in full confidence that she will use it to the best advantage in the education & care of my children.
  3. Upon the decease of my wife it is my will & desire that my estate be divided among my children, in such proportion to each, as their situations & necessities in life may require, & as may be designated by her; and I particularly request that my second daughter Anne Carter, who from an accident she has recd in one of her eyes, may be more in want of aid than the rest may if necessary, be particularly provided for.

Lastly, I constitute & appoint my dearly beloved wife Mary Custis Lee, & my eldest son George Washington Custis Lee (when he shall have arrived at the age of twenty one years) executrix & executor of this my last will & testament, in the construction of which I hope & trust no dispute will arise.

In witness of which I have set my hand & seal this thirty first day of August in the year one thousand eight hundred and forty six.

Witness                       R E Lee (Seal)

Fred. A. Smith, Capt. Engrs.

R. Cruikshank


Schedule of Property

100 Shares of the stock of the Bank of Virginia, Richmond                           $10,000.00

39 Shares of the stock of the Valley of Virginia [Bank], Winchester                   3,900.00

$6,100 of Jas: R[iver]. & Kanawha Compy Bonds                                             6,100.00

$2000 Virginia 6 per ct state Bonds                                                                     2000.00     

$2000 Phil[adelphia]., Wil[mington]., and Baltimore R. R. 6 per ct loan              2000

$2000 Bonds of Kentucky 6 per ct                                                                       2000

6 per cent Bonds of the state of Ohio                                                                  5000

Bond of John Lloyds Wife                                                                                    3000

Bonds of Workner & Rice of Louis Engel, St. Louis Mo:                                     4500

1 Share of Nat. theatre, Washington City                                                              250




Nancy & her children at the White House, New Kent, all of whom I wish liberated, so soon as it can be done to their advantage & that of others.

An undivided third part of the tract of land in Floyd, Va devised to me by my mother, of which I am negotiating a sale with McN. Burwell for $2,500.

My share of the property in Hardy, Va., belonging to the estate of my father.

My share of the claim of the property leased to the Government by my father at Harper’s ferry and believed to belong to his Estate. My share, or 1/3 of 200 acres of land in Fairfax Co: Va:


R E Lee


At Rockbridge County Court,

November 7th 1870

The last will and testament of General R. E. Lee was produced in Court and the handwriting of the testator, as well, is the body of the will as the signature thereto attached, was proved by the oaths of Gov. J. Letcher and Col. Wm. Allen to be the genuine handwriting of the testator and ordered to be recorded. And on the motion of George Washington Custis Lee, the executor named in the will, who made oath thereto, and together with Mrs. Mary C. Lee, W. H. F. Lee, and R. E. Lee, his securities, who, justified as to their sufficiency, entered into and acknowledged a bond in the penalty of $100,000.00 conditioned according to law; certificate is granted him for obtaining a probate of said will in due form and said bond is ordered to be recorded; and Mrs. Mary C. Lee, the executrix named in the will, not now desiring to qualify, reserved the right to join in the probate and qualify hereafter. And it is ordered to be entered of record that the estate passing by the will was estimated not to exceed $50,000.00, that $1.00 stamp duty was paid on the executor’s bond, $25.00 on the probate of said will, and $50.00 state tax.


John Grenlee, D.C.




Source: Copy of handwritten original, Vertical files, Valentine Museum, Richmond, Virginia

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2018 April 5


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