Abingdon Plantation, John Parke Custis
John Parke Custis was the adopted stepson of George Washington and had been raised at the nearby Washington estate of Mount Vernon. He and his wife, Eleanor Calvert, lived in New Kent County with their first two daughters. However, Custis wanted to live closer to his parents at Mount Vernon.
In 1778, Custis made a contract with the Alexanders to buy their land. George Washington warned him of the disagreeable terms of sale; however, he wanted so much to live near Mt. Vernon that he ignored his stepfather’s warnings. The Custis family moved to the estate, which they named Abingdon. Their third daughter, Eleanor “Nelly” Parke Custis, was born at Abingdon in 1779 and a son, George Washington Parke Custis, was born in 1781 at Mount Airy, Maryland, the Calvert family home. [Editor’s note: See related markers for a link to the historical marker about Mount Airy].
Unfortunately, John Parke Custis did not live to see George Washington become the first President of the United States. Custis died of “camp fever” after the British army surrendered at Yorktown, Virginia in 1781. Washington adopted the two youngest Custis children, Nelly and George, who moved from Abingdon to live with their grandparents at Mount Vernon.
In 1783, Custis’ widow, Eleanor, married Dr. David Stuart, whom Washington appointed to help plan the nation’s new capital city while the family continued to live at Abingdon. After John Parke Custis’ death, Abingdon was returned to the Alexanders in 1792.
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