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Hannah Lee Chapter NSDAR
West Union, Iowa

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Hannah Lee Washington

Hannah Lee Chapter NSDAR is named for a true daughter of the American Revolution, Hannah Lee Washington, the daughter of Richard Henry Lee of the illustrious Lee family of Virginia. Hannah’s marriage to Corbin Washington, nephew of George Washington, joined two historically prominent families of the Revolutionary War. Fourteen of her descendants have been DAR members.

Hannah Lee was born about 1766 to Richard Henry and Anne Aylett Lee, at Chantilly plantation on the Potomac River, in Westmoreland County, Virginia. She joined three siblings: Thomas, Ludwell, and Mary “Molly." Sadly, Anne Lee died of pleurisy (pneumonia) December 12, 1768, at the age of 30, when Hannah was only two years old. Her brothers, who had also been ill, recovered. Richard Henry Lee, who had been away attending to colonial business, raced home when he was notified. He was reported to be devastated by his wife’s death. They had been married eleven years and one week. His family, especially his brother Thomas and wife Mary, helped with the little girls during this time. A merchant, tobacco farmer, politician, and family man, Richard Henry Lee was also practical and in June or July of 1769, married Anne Gaskins Pinckard. She was a twenty-three year old widow with one or two children. Anne Gaskins Pinckard had three ancestors who came to America on the Mayflower - so her family also had a historical lineage. They had five surviving children: Anne "Nancy," Henrietta "Harriotte," Sarah "Sally," Cassius, and Francis Lightfoot II.

Hannah was a popular family name used several times in each generation of the Lee family. She may have been named for her Aunt Hannah Lee Corbin, an early advocate of women's right to vote and own property, her Grandmother, or Great-Grandmother, who were also named Hannah.

It is assumed that Hannah and her sisters shared tutors with their brothers, as had their father’s sisters, Hannah Lee Corbin and Alice Lee Shippen. It is known that one of the tutors, a Miss Paton, quit her post in 1777 to go abroad. In addition to learning to read and write English, do mathematics, and to run a large household, Hannah probably studied French, music, dance, drawing, deportment, and needlework as was typical of the times and her social class.

The Lee family of Virginia were strong supporters of the American Revolution. Richard Henry Lee and his brother, Francis Lightfoot Lee, helped write and were signers of the Declaration of Independence. Their brother, Arthur, wrote papers under an assumed name and went with Benjamin Franklin to France. Another brother, William, was active in English politics for the colonial cause before serving in Berlin and Vienna. Their sister, Alice, was married to William Shippen, who was a prominent physician in Philadelphia. Richard Henry devoted much of his life to politics, was the sixth President of the United States in Congress assembled under the Articles of Confederation, and later was a U.S. Senator from Virginia. He spent a great deal of time away from his plantation and family, but family always came first.

In May of 1787, Hannah Lee married Corbin Washington, son of John Augustine and Hannah Bushrod Washington, also of Westmoreland County. John Augustine was a brother of George Washington.

In "Journal of a Young Lady of Virginia 1782," published in 1871, written by her cousin Lucinda Lee Orr, during a summer of family visits. Hannah and Corbin were full of merriment, pulling jokes on their sisters and cousins. They were congenial guests, considerate and kind-hearted towards others.

The marriages in their families are like a "Who’s Who" of important families at that time and the descendants even more so. Hannah’s half sister Anne married Charles Lee, who was the third U.S. Attorney General. He was appointed by George Washington and continued to serve under President John Adams. Corbin’s brother, Bushrod, was an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court for thirty-two years. Robert E. Lee, general of the Confederate Army, was a second cousin, born after she died.

Hannah and Corbin lived most of their married life at Walnut Farm and became the parents of six children.
  • Richard Henry Lee Washington, b. 1788 d. September 17, 1817 (unmarried)
  • John Augustine Washington II, b. August 6, 1789 d. June 13, 1832; he married Jane Charlotte Blackburn November 14, 1811 (d Aug 1856), they had five children. Their son John Augustine Washington III would be the last to live at Mount Vernon. He was killed at Cheat Mountain, West Virginia, on September 13, 1861.
  • Bushrod Corbin Washington, b. December 25, 1790 d. August 15, 1851. He was married twice:
    1. Anna Maria Thomasina Blackburn, b. October 30, 1790 d. September 21, 1833 m  September 27, 1810, they had two children:
    Hannah Lee Washington, b. May 19, 1811 m. 1835, William P. Alexander
    Thomas Blackburn Washington b. 1813 d. 1854 m. Rebecca Jane Cunningham b. 1820 d. Sept 1890, London, England
    2. Maria Powell Harrison b. July 27, 1791 d. November 4, 1847
  • Jane Mildred Washington b. 1793 d. October 1807, at the age of 14, at Mount Vernon
  • Mary Lee Washington b. 1796 d. August 15, 1827 at the age of 32. She married Noblet Herbert Sr. at Mount Vernon. and was buried there as well. They had four children.
  • Corbin Thomas Washington b. about 1797 d. 1802
Hannah and Corbin had been married eleven and a half years when he died in Dec 1799 from tuberculosis. He was just 35 years old. Two years later, on November 23, 1801, Hannah Lee Washington also died of tuberculosis at the age of 36. They are buried in the family cemetery at Bushfield plantation. Their children first lived with Hannah's brother Thomas and his wife, Corbin's sister Mildred, until his death in 1805. At that time they went to live with Corbin's brother Bushrod and his wife Julia Anna Blackburn Washington at Mount Vernon. They had no children of their own but in addition to Hannah and Corbin's orphans they raised the children of Anna's brother Richard Scott Blackburn. These are the Blackburn sisters that Hannah's boys married.

Little more than the basic facts are known about Hannah Lee Washington; in this she is much like many of us who love and serve our country but who will not be found in published histories.

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Last Updated 22 February 2017
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