Virginia Memory, Library of Virginia
THIS PAGE HAS BEEN FORMATTED FOR EASY PRINTING

THIS DAY IN VIRGINIA HISTORY

Click image for larger view.

October 22, 1852

George Washington Parke Custis, Letter, 22 October 1852, Accession 42370, Personal Papers Collection, Library of Virginia, Richmond, Virginia.

George Washington Parke Custis Ordered Guano

George Washington Parke Custis (1781–1857) was raised by his grandmother Martha Dandridge Custis Washington and her second husband George Washington. Custis inherited the estate he named Arlington. This ordinary business letter from Custis requests a shipment of guano from merchants in Alexandria. Guano (bat or bird feces) is high in nitrogen and was used as fertilizer. Custis's daughter, Mary Anna Randolph Custis, married Robert E. Lee in 1831. She inherited the right to inhabit and control Arlington House and later lost it to Union forces in the Civil War. Today Arlington House, the Robert E. Lee Memorial, is a museum on the grounds of the Arlington National Cemetery.