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Last Will & Testament of Lucy Ware Lewis McCormick

Researched by & property of Judy Ware
Judy C. Ware, March 2008

     George and Martha Washington never actually had any children together. Martha had previously married Daniel Parke Custis (who was twenty years her senior) at the age of eighteen. They had four children together, but two sons sadly died as infants. They had another son named John Parke Custis (whom they called Jacky) and a daughter named Martha Parke Custis (whom they called Patsy.) After eight years of marriage, Daniel died and left Martha a wealthy widow with two small children to raise. In 1759, Martha married George Washington – they were both around twenty-seven at the time. George was very attached to her children and raised them as his own.

     Patsy suffered from epilepsy and unfortunately died at the young age of seventeen. Jacky married Eleanor Calvert and they went on to have four children. When Jacky died of camp fever, Eleanor was not well at the time. Martha & George brought their two youngest grandchildren (Nelly and George Washington Parke) to Mount Vernon to take care of and ultimately ended up raising them to adulthood.

     NellyNelly Custis married Lawrence Lewis, the nephew of George by his sister Betty Washington Lewis. They had a son named Lorenzo Lorenzo Lewis who married Esther Maria Coxe, and they had a son named Edward Parke Custis Lewis EdwardParkeCustisLewis.jpg (3794 bytes) who married Lucy Balmain Ware. This was where the connection of the Ware & Washington families came into play.

Lucy Balmain Ware      Lucy Balmain was the youngest daughter of Josiah William Ware and the sister of James Alexander Ware – our direct descendants. She and Edward had several children together (see biography of Lucy), but sadly only one lived to adulthood. This child was named after her mother (Lucy Ware Lewis) and Lucy Balmain died at her birth.

     After her passing, Lucy’s sister (Elizabeth Alexander Ware) helped Edward raise his daughter until he remarried – a widow named Mrs. Mary Stevens Garnett.  In 1885, Edward Parke Custis Lewis was appointed by President Cleveland as the United States minister to Portugal, so he and his family (including Lucy Ware Lewis) lived abroad for many years.

     Lucy Ware Lewis married Charles McCormick and they had two children together. Leila died young, and Charles McCormick Jr. was killed in World War I. At the time of her death, Lucy had no children to bequeath anything to, so many of her things were left to cousins and other family members. In her will (see below) she makes specific mention of some items that had previously been owned by George and Martha Washington.

Click on the images to view the Will:

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June 1, 1932

This is my will

1st   I wish all my debts to be paid.

      I wish Haines of Winchester to erect a stone over my grave, a duplicate

      of my husbands engraved there on:   Lucy Ware Lewis, wife of

      Charles T.A. McCormick, Born at Audley, Virginia  August the 26, 1866

      died - - -

2nd   I ask my nephew, Walker Lewis and Captain Frank Wray to act as my

      executors of this my last will.

3     To my nephew Walker Lewis, I leave $1,000.00 (one thousand)

4   To my cousins Glassell Elliot of Waco Texas and James (his brother) Ware Dean of Sacramento California and Charles Ware of San Antonio Texas – all of my grandfathers (Josiah Wares) furniture, silver, and china here mentioned:  One large side board with 2 knife boxes.  Two (2) parlor ottomans, one large parlor sofa, one set of brass andirons, fender, and tongs etc.   One large four post bed.  Two (2) miniatures – one of Josiah Ware and one of his father.  

One bureau with three mirrors.  One Duncan Fife sewing table – one tea pot & one sugar bowl (silver) with swans on lid. This has been given to the Wares -

one large silver bowl with fruits and engraved “Agricultural Prize - Jas Ware”  Set of green china to go to Cornelia Anker of Falls Church

5     To my cousin Emily Conti McCormick – my silver tea set of  six (6) pieces

      marked L.W.L. (kettle not marked)

6     To Mount Vernon – 1 silk patchwork quilt made of pieces of GeneralSilver Comb from Martha Washington

      Washington’s vests, Mrs. Washington & Nellie Custis’

      dresses.  Set of pearls (pin in shape of bird) & silver

      comb – both of Mrs. George Washington – also Her thread

      cap lace.  All of the above were given to me by Mrs.

      George Goldsborough & duly sworn to.  Also 2 decanters

      which came from Mount VernonPear Bird Pin from Martha Washington.

7    To my friend Annie Stribling $500.00 (five


8      To Portia Baldwin – one large plated tray

9      To my dear Margaretta McGuire – one miniature surrounded

      with pearls of Charles McCormick, father of my husband – already given

10     To Rosalie Smithy – one framed fan – mother of pearl & point lace

11     One hand painted framed fan (all crossed out)

12     To Gertrude Reynolds – all blue India china

13    To Julia Downer   $100.00  (one hundred)

14     To Captain Wray  $500.00 (five hundred)  (all crossed out)

15     To Mr. Ware & to Mr. Jones of the Berryville National Bank  $100.00


16     To Mrs. Blackburn –Smith -one of the long mirrors in old mahogany frame

17     To Grace Church, Berryville – the remains of my lot in the grave yard and

      $1000.00 for the upkeep of the grave yard.

18     Sword in mahogany case belonged to Capt. John C. Parker U.S.N. &

      given my son – to be given with all papers enclosed to the Navy Museum at

      Annapolis, Maryland.

19     To my sisters – Minnie Garnett Mitchell of North Wales, Penna -

      Julia Cummings of Levanto, Italy  - & Eleanor Devorsak of Florence Italy,

      any momento they may choose from my personal property after all legacies

      are paid.

20    To my sister and brother-in-law Esther & Charles Chapin – I leave my love

      & gratitude all moneys not mentioned above – in payment of my debt to

      them both.  And I leave them residuary legatos – hoping if anything

      remains of my personal property that is not desired by my family it will be

      sold and the proceeds given to the Boys Home of Charlottsville, Virginia in

      memory of my husband.

21    All books not desired by Mr. & Mrs. C.M. Chapin to be given to the

      Berryville Library.

22    If my sister does not want either my diamond pin or my diamond ring, I

      wish all jewelry & clothes to be sold and money given to (proceeds sent to)

      The Mountain Mission Simmons Gap to be used helping the very needy


$100.00 to Emily Powers

I also wish Mrs. Crampton to choose whatever souvenir she will take & to Florence Gilleson $100.00

(on back of page two of the will)

To my nephew Walker Lewis, I leave all monies from my Mexican claim.


                                       Lucy W. McCormick


                                       June 1, 1932


In the Clerk’s Office of the Circuit Court of Clarke County – the 5th day of December, 1944

In re:

Will of Lucy W. McCormick, deceased

It appearing that Lucy W. McCormick died on the 8th day of November, 1944 and that the said Lucy W. McCormick at the time of her death had a mansion house or known place of residence in the County of Clarke, Virginia, and now on this 5th day of December 1944, a paper writing bearing date on the first day of June, 1932, purporting to be the true last will and testament of the said Lucy W. McCormick , deceased, was this day produced before me, the Clerk of the Circuit Court of said County, in the Clerk’s Office of said Court, and offered for proof.

    And there being no subscribing witnesses to said paper writing, Dr. Frank E. Tappan and Lewis F. Stolle, two disinterested witnesses, being first duly sworn for the purpose, severally deposed that they were well acquainted with the handwriting of the said Lucy W. McCormick , deceased, having frequently seen her write, that they verily believe the said paper writing, including all interlineations, and the name of the said Lucy W. McCormick thereto signed to be wholly in the handwriting of the said Lucy W. McCormick and that they further deposed that at the time said paper writing bears date and for some years subsequent thereto and during such time as she was physically able to write the said Lucy W. McCormick was of sound mind and memory and otherwise capable of executing a valid deed or contract and that on June 1, 1932 she was over the age of twenty-one years.

THEREUPON, it is ordered by the Clerk that the said paper writing, dated as aforesaid, with the exception of the words and figures which have been cancelled by a line drawn through the same or otherwise, be admitted to probate as the unwitnessed and holographic will of the said Lucy W. McCormick and be recorded as the last will and testament of the said Lucy W. McCormick, deceased.

Walker Lewis, the executor named in said will having declined to act, at the request of the heirs at law and next of kin of the said Lucy W. McCormick and on the motion of Ralph M. Ware it is ordered that the said Ralph M. Ware be and is hereby appointed administrator of the personal estate of the said Lucy W. McCormick, deceased, with the will of the said Lucy W. McCormick, deceased, annexed and thereupon he qualified as such administrator by taking the oath prescribed by law and giving a bond in the penalty of $32,000.00, conditioned as the law requires, with Fidelity and Deposit Company of Maryland, a corporation authorized to do business in this state, as his surety, the latter having by its authorized agent and attorney in fact justified on oath as to its sufficiency.

And it is further ordered that Lewis F. Stolle, Benj. Crampton, A.B. Hummor, W.D. Burtner, and L.H. Bell, or any three or more of whom may act, after first taking an oath for the purpose, shall appraise such of the goods and chattels of the said Lucy W. McCormick , deceased, as shall be produced before them and sign and return their appraisement as the law requires.

                         Teste:  J. Edward Thoma, Clerk

Will Book “L”, page 8 - - - examined   



Newspaper article concerning the death of Charles McCormick.

This article contained a copy of a letter sent to Lucie Lewis McCormick concerning the heroic death of her only son, Charles, who was serving with the U.S. Marines over in France. The letter was written by Private Roman B. Lewan & was published in the Berryville newspaper. 1918

The Proceedings of the Clarke County Historical Association Volume XXIII 1983-1984 copyright 1985 by the Clarke County Historical Association – printed by Commercial Press, Stephens City, Virginia 22655 *we own this book

Nelly Custis – Child of Mount Vernon by: David L. Ribblett copyright 1993 The Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association Mount Vernon, Virginia ** we own this book     

The Smithsonian Book of the First Ladies by: Edith P. Mayo published by Henry Holt and Company New York 1996 ** we own this book

The First Ladies of The United States of America by: Margaret Brown Klapthor and Allida M. Black copyright 2006 The White House Historical Association in association with Scala Publishers ** we own this book

America’s First Ladies by: Betty Boyd Caroli

The Reader’s Digest Association, Inc. Pleasantville, New York/Montreal copyright 1996 ** we own this book

The George Washington Collection by: Carol Borchert Cadou  Mount Vernon Ladies Association  Hudson Hills Press
Manchester, New York  copyright 2006  ** we own this book

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Placement of family photographs & visual graphics accompanying this piece are the fine work of John Reagan
who has been an invaluable help in setting up this website for me.  I will forever be grateful for his expertise and and kindness.

This site maintained by John Reagan and last updated July 12, 2009