Crystal Springs High School

W. G. Williams, Superintendent

Crystal Springs, Mississippi


November 2, 1915.

Miss Mary Custis Lee,

The Plaza, New York.

My dear Madam:

Your reply of Oct. 13 to my letter of inquiry, addressed to Miss Mildred Custis Lee, reached me in due time. When I received your letter I though[t] I should write you in a day or two, but many other demands of my time caused me to procrastinate this.

The man of whom I made inquiry is going about over the country getting up entertainments for schools. From the many news paper clippings, together with testimonials from quite a number of school teachers, I suppose he has been doing this work for some years. He spent last year in Louisiana.

This man is about five ft. and nine inches tall, is spare built, and is more nearly a blond. He says he was born on the day that his grandfather (Gen. Lee) died. I think that is about his time age. His face is badly scarred from a burn, which he says happened in the burning of the Iroquois Theatre in Chicago some years ago.

His testimonials from the people for whom he has been working calls him Gen. R. E. Lee’s grandson. He introduced himself to me as Gen. Lee’s grand son. I questioned his being Gen. Lee’s descendant and told him that I did. He then gave me the name and address of Miss Mildred Custis Lee, Washington D.C. % D: Conf., and asked me to write to her stating that she would get me right on the matter. After I had shown him some historical statements that would exclude him from Gen. Lee’s descendants, he then told me that he was the son of an adopted son of Gen. Lee’s.

Mr. Lee was with us only four days and now is in unknown parts to me.

I should not have written concerning this man but for the fact that he put up such bold contention on the matter.

Thanking you for the reply, I am

W. G. Williams1





1. William Gwin Williams was born 1873 January 7. In the census records, he lis listed as being born in Misissippi and worked as an adult as a teacher and superintendent in Drew, Sunflower, Mississippi. He was married to Selina Williams, a Mississippi native.



Source: Photocopy of original letter, Mary Custis Lee Papers, Mss1 L5144 a, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2018 December 19