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View Tree for Anne Hill CarterAnne Hill Carter (b. Oct 1773, d. Jul 26, 1829)

Anne Hill Carter (daughter of Charles Carter and Anne Butler Moore)231 was born Oct 1773 in Shirley Plantation, VA231, and died Jul 26, 1829 in Ravenswood231. She married Henry " Light Horse Harry" Lee on Jun 18, 1793 in Shirley Plantation, VA231, son of Henry Lee and Lucy Grymes.

 Includes NotesNotes for Anne Hill Carter:
Back to Tour 14: Northern Virginia

Lee Home Personalities: Henry “Light-Horse Harry” Lee,
Ann Carter Lee
January 1807 was not the best of times for Ann Hill Carter Lee. She had just lost her father, Charles Carter of Shirley Plantation (see T-18: Upper Peninsula), and her husband, “Light-Horse Harry” Lee, was known to disappear frequently. Ann, who was pregnant, caught a bad cold riding a coach through wet and cold weather from Shirley to her Westmoreland County, Virginia, home. Alone at Stratford, she gave birth to a son on January 19 and named the new baby after her brothers Robert and Edward — Robert Edward Lee.
The boy was the fourth child for Ann and her husband, whose real name was Henry Lee, but who was better known as Light-Horse Harry, a veteran of the Revolution, a member of the Continental Congress and Virginia governor. He commanded U.S. soldiers in the Whiskey Insurrection in 1794 and delivered President Washington’s eulogy before both houses of Congress. Light-Horse Harry also suffered financial reversals, and he reportedly spent time in jail twice for debt.

In 1813, during the War of 1812, Light-Horse Harry sailed to the Caribbean, either to relieve his family of the burdens of his illness (brought on by a Baltimore fight and a malignancy in the lower abdomen) or to avoid public embarrassment for his poor finances. Five years later, on his way home, he died at Cumberland Island in Georgia. The Lee children — Charles Carter, Anne Kinloch, Sydney Smith, Robert Edward and Mildred — were raised by their mother, who was forced to use her family trust income to sustain the household. During the economic depression following the War of 1812, Ann ran the family on about $600 a year.

Ann Hill Carter Lee hosted the Marquis de Lafayette at her home during the Frenchman’s visit to America in the 1820s. George Washington Parke Custis, the man who built Arlington House, married Mary Lee Fitzhugh in the drawing room. Later, the Custises daughter married Robert E. Lee at Arlington House. Ann Lee lived long enough to see her children grow to adulthood. When she died in 1829, Carter was an attorney, and Anne was married to William Marshall, a clergyman-turned-lawyer. Smith was in the Navy, and Robert had only recently graduated second in his class at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Mildred later married and settled in Europe.

Back to Tour 14: Northern Virginia

Robert E. Lee's mother, Ann Hill Carter Lee, was the great-granddaughter of Robert Carter (1663-1732), one of America's earliest men of wealth. Carter's wealth came from service as land agent for the English Proprieter, Lord Fairfax. As such, he collected rents on the millions of acres owned by Fairfax in Virginia. His position gained for him an estate of some three hundred thousand acres and made him so powerful that he became known as "King" Carter. His wealth, filtered through several generations, was the ultimate source of Ann's inheritance.
Ann's father was Charles Carter, one of Virginia's wealthiest planters. His home called Shirley Plantation was located on the south side of the James River near Richmond, VA. Ann came from a distinguished family. It is probable that she was known personally to all seven Virginian signers of the Declaration of Independence, to all of whom, save one, she was related by ties of consanguinity or marriage.

Comparatively little is known of Ann personally. It is believed that the likeness shown above is hers because the brooch in the picture, bearing a likeness of George Washington, is similar to one known to have been hers. Ann was born in 1773, though exactly where is not certain. Ann was the daughter of Anne Butler Moore, Charles Carter's second wife. She was the tenth of twenty-three children born to Charles' two wives. So, though of a wealthy family, she could not see herself as particularly unique. Charles, nonetheless, displayed a lively interest in the welfare of each of his children. It may be safely inferred that she posessed a strong sense of family. Similarly, she was a religious person with a strong belief in the existence of a just and benevolent God.

Ann was not physically strong. She is said to have suffered from narcolepsy, a disease which made her, along with many persons of her time, even those not so afflicted, fearful of being buried alive. There is even a legend that she was, indeed, thought dead and nearly so buried. As early as 1806 she writes that she was becoming an invalid. During her stay at the Oronoco street home, she needed help negotiating the stairs. Ann apparently suffered from tuberculosis for an indeterminant time preceding her death.

After the death of his first wife, the "Divine" Matilda Lee, mistress of Stratford Hall, thirty-seven year old, Virginia Governor and Revolutionary War hero, Henry "Light-Horse Harry" Lee came to Shirley to woo Maria Farley one of Ann's friends living there. Upon his being rejected by Maria, twenty year old Ann set about capturing him for herself, although he was seventeen years her senior. Charles Carter was aware of Lee's reckless reputation and constant financial difficulties. He, therefore, opposed the match, citing Lee's then consideration of an offer of a generalship in France's Revolutionary armies. When Lee rejected the offered French commission, Carter lost the reason he had used for stopping the marriage. The wedding took place at Shirley on June 18, 1793. Although consenting to the marriage, Charles did ensure that Lee could not touch any of Ann's inheritance. A near contemporaneous account of this courtship and its aftermath is provided in a linked 1821 letter.

By the time of the birth of Robert, her fifth child [Algernon Sydney, the eldest did not survive], Henry Lee was in deep financial trouble. He was being pursued by his creditors and Stratford Hall, where the Lee's had gone to live, was being denuded of property and servants to satisfy their demands. Ann was sick with a cold and saddened by the death of her father when Robert Edward Lee, named for two of her brothers, was born on January 19, 1807. In 1809, her husband was twice imprisoned for debt. Circumstances reduced Ann to delivering food in person to Lee's prison for lack of servants and teaching her children herself in Stratford's Great Hall, where they could find both heat and light from the fireplace. About this time Ann was offered asylum for herself and her children by the husband of her late sister, Mildred. Ann refused to abandon her husband, choosing to maintain her home and family despite Henry's imprisonment. Upon his release she did insist on the right to choose their residence. Ann chose to move to Alexandria, VA, eventually renting William Henry Fitzhugh's home at 607 Oronoco Street. In this location, she had numerous family members nearby and her children were thus assured an education at their neighboring plantations and later the Alexandria Academy.

In 1813 Henry's career and life in America came to an end when he went into virtual exile in the West Indies after being nearly killed and permanently injured in a political riot in Baltimore, MD. Left on her own, Ann husbanded her inheritance to provide for her children writing infrequently to Henry, who had even in good times seldom been much at home.

Of her children, Carter, the eldest, was closest to his father and was the addressee of most of his letters, though oft unmailed, from exile. Carter was also favored by Ann's brother William, who paid for his education at Harvard. The younger sons were not so fortunate. Smith, the second son, chose to go to sea, joining the US Navy. Ann Kinloch, the eldest daughter and second eldest child spent much of her time away from home seeking medical attention for a condition, probably tuberculosis of the bone, which eventuated in the loss of her arm. This left to Robert, the eldest remaining child, the principle responsibility for assisting Ann during most of the Lee's stay in Alexandria. In his mother's words he became "both son and daughter" to her. There can be no doubt of a close personal attachment between mother and son. However, Nagel* concludes Ann had no favorites.

Upon Robert's departure for West Point, Ann moved with her two daughters from Alexandria to Carter's home in Georgetown, DC.where he practiced law. Finally, her health deteriorating, she moved to the home of William Henry Fitzhugh's widow at Ravensworth in Fairfax County, VA. There she died on June 29. 1829, but not before seeing Robert return after graduation from West Point, Carter and Smith with established careers in law and the Navy, daughter Ann Kinloch married and daughter, Mildred, engaged.

Originally interred at Ravensworth, Ann's remains are now, along with those of her husband and son, in the Lee Crypt at Washington and Lee University, Lexington, VA.

* The above narative is primarily based upon Paul C. Nagel's The Lee's of Virginia. From the Lee Boyhood Home Museum Docent's Guide I have also quoted from a reprint of Cazenove G. Lee Jr.'s article on Ann Hill Carter from the William and Mary Quarterly, vol. 16, series 2, 1936, pages 417-419. WJS

Correspondence of Samuel Appleton Storrow
(regarding "Light Horse Harry" Lee)

[This letter has been graciously provided by Mr. Eugene H. Leache, the g-g-g-grandson of the letter's author, Samuel Appleton Storrow[1], and Elizabeth Hill Farley Carter. It was first published in The Lees of Virginia by Burton J. Hendrick, pages 380–382. The footnotes shown reflect Mr. Leache's research and are drawn from both published sources and unpublished family records. Editorial comments displayed in braces (e.g., "{}") are also his.]

Edition 1, September 16, 2003

Copyright © 2003 by Eugene H. Leache; Maynard, Massachusetts All rights reserved

Farley[2] 6th Sept, 1821
My Dear Sister:[3]

I have delayed writing to you for some days, & a visit from Mrs. Lee has been the cause. She is our relation & our Mother's[4] earliest friend. It is fitting that I should explain the reason why I do now what I ought to have done a week since, & as the cause is Mrs. Lee.[5] I cannot do better than explain Mrs. Lee. In fact I am glad of this chance — I have an overflowing of the heart whenever I think of her & an outpouring of the spirit is the only relief.

Very fine women (you may doubt me) are rather rare here. Female talent has generally received a wrong direction. I have seen many a worn out coquette, many a heartless Belle that wonted but the first impulse to have been made useful & happy. I have heard of many instances of rare capacities, but waist {sic} followed possession as tho' it were irresistible. In fact it may have been so — society (that of Va. I mean) was full of splendid meteors: if a woman had been inclined to pursue a right path there was no steady light whereby she could discern it. But Mrs. Lee need not have been in Va. to have been pronounced excellent — there is no circle — none on earth — of which she would not be an ornament. She commenced life a spoilt child — a beauty & fortune — but Heaven has used her as it purest gold & all that died under the torture were her imperfections. My Mammy you know was a beauty & fortune too in her day — Nancy Lee & herself were pretty much brought up together — Mrs. Lee the eldest by a year.[6] Gen. Lee,[7] at that time the head of everything in Va., was in love (honestly they say) with Mrs. Carter. He was handsome, of splendid talents, & Governor of the State. Mrs. Carter, then Miss Farley, & Mrs. Lee, then Miss Carter, were living together during the Gen.'s suit to Miss Farley[8] as desperately as was Gen. Lee in love with Miss F—— was Miss Carter with Gen. Lee & at the same time compelled to witness his devotion to another object. His repeated visits to Miss F—— & utter neglect of her preyed upon her health — but drew nothing from her of unkindness to her fortunate cousin. & her only interference, & that against herself, was when General Lee had made his offer and Miss Farley avowed that she should reject it — she then said "O stop, stop Maria — you do not know what you are throwing away." Maria[9] however persisted in throwing it away. & then in the face of decency & delicacy he made an offer to her,[10] which she could not resist, & became his delighted wife, but to find in the short space of a fortnight that her affections were trampled on by a heartless & depraved profligate. I am right as to time. One fortnight was her dream of happiness from which she awoke to a life of misery. Her fortune was soon thrown away upon his debts contracted previous to marriage: She was despised & neglected. & he, who in his outset of life bid fairer for a glorious termination of it that perhaps any man in America died a vagrant & Beggar. Gen. Lee at the time of his marriage with her was a widdower {sic}. By his first marriage he had two children — one daughter married and proved to be everything that was abominable,[11] the other a son, was the kindest & to his new Mother & her children the most affectionate relation on earth. Mrs. L—— herself had five children.[12] Just as Carter Lee (whom you recollect in college)[13] had proved himself a fine fellow, her eldest daughter Ann[14] was attacked with a dreadful complaint in the hand, & after a year's residence in Philadelphia for the sake of medical assistance & after sufferings of a most horrible sort, was informed that her life was to be saved only by the amputation of her arm. The Mother had infused a portion of her own heroism into her daughter & about six months since — after eighteen months exercise of it the sweet little creature was pronounced convalescent.

One misery ceased but to prepare the way for a greater. Henry Lee — her husband's son — a gentleman of great fortune & talents — more distinguished perhaps than any young man in Virginia for excellence of various sorts. His genius, liberality, his devotion to his Mother's family & promise of eminence being the theme of everyone was convicted of crimes of the blackest dye. He married a Lady of fortune[15] & her sister lived with him. He was guardian. He seduced her under circumstances too — too horrible to mention & blackened with his disgrace everyone that bore his name.[16] This is {sic} the last fatal — fatal stroke seems to have left no phial unemptied. And yet when you see her you do not require the consideration of her suffering to give interest to her. Her simple dignity, her most admirable understanding & manners excite enough admiration without any appeal to sympathy.

This is the history of the Lady who has kept my letter back & it is a most edifying one. Misery & temptation have beset her from the outset & their only effects have been to raise her nearer to Heaven. Carter & her youngest daughter Mildred were with her.[17] They left us this morning. Sept. 10th. After writing the foregoing I stopt {sic} for breath, as well I might. You see that the parting continued for four days. Finding myself better in mind than I was, I go at it again.

{Remainder of correspondence missing}


[1] Samuel Appleton Storrow [1787-1837] was a member of a Massachusetts clan that achieved prominence in the 19th and 20th centuries. He attended Harvard University (1803-1807) and served as a Judge Advocate of the U. S. Army on the staff of General Jacob Jennings Brown in Washington, D.C., from 1816-1820. In 1819 he married Elizabeth Hill Farley Carter [1794-1870], the daughter of William Champe Carter (of Blenheim) and Maria Byrd Farley (of Westover), and moved to "Farley", the Carter's plantation.
[2] Farley plantation, Brandy Station, Virginia
[3] Samuel Storrow characteristically wrote interchangeably to his two sisters, Louisa Appleton Storrow (the Mrs. Stephen Higginson) and Ann Gillam Storrow, who subsequently exchanged his correspondence with one another. The Storrow sisters lived in Massachusetts.
[4] Mother's - It is quite unlikely that this reference is to Samuel Appleton Storrow's mother, but rather to his mother-in-law, Maria Byrd Farley, the Mrs. William Champe Carter.
[5] Ann Hill Carter, who was married to Gen. Henry "Light Horse Harry" Lee on June 18, 1793. (Burton J. Hendrick, The Lees of Virginia, page 377). At the time this letter was written, she was a widow, Henry Lee having died March 25, 1818 (Ibid, page 397).
[6] Mammy – his mother-in-law, Maria Byrd (Farley) Carter [1774-1852]. Nancy – familiar for Ann Hill (Carter) Lee [1773-1829]. herself – again, Maria Byrd (Farley) Carter.
[7] Gen. Lee – General Henry "Light Horse Harry" Lee, who served illustriously in the Revolutionary War, was well known to George Washington, and later was governor of Virginia. He and Ann Hill Carter were to become the parents of Robert E. Lee.
[8] Perhaps Shirley or Westover.
[9] Generations of female descendents bearing this name pronounced it "Mariah", presumably she did as well.
[10] her - Ann Hill Carter
[11] Lucy Grymes Lee [1786-1860]
[12] Five children: apparently discounting Algernon Sidney Lee, who died as an infant.
[13] Charles Carter Lee was at Harvard in 1816. (Emory M. Thomas, Robert E. Lee: A Biography, page 45)
[14] Anne Kinlock Lee
[15] Anne Robinson McCarty [1797-1840]. (David J. Eicher, Robert E. Lee: A Life Portrait, page 201)
[16] Earning Henry Lee IV [1787-1837] the name "Blackhorse Harry". (Ibid, page 201)
[17] Carter: Charles Carter Lee. Mildred: Catherine Mildred Lee.


The Lees of Virginia, Burton J. Hendrick, Little, Brown, and Company, Boston, 1935
The Lees of Virginia, Paul C. Nagle, Oxford University Press, New York, 1990
Robert E. Lee: A Biography, Emory M. Thomas, W. W. Norton & Company, New York, 1995 Robert E. Lee: A Life Portrait David J. Eicher, Taylor Publishing Company, Dallas, 1997
George Washington in the American Revolution (1775-1783), James Thomas Flexner, Little Brown and Company, Boston, 1967.

More About Anne Hill Carter and Henry " Light Horse Harry" Lee:
Marriage: Jun 18, 1793, Shirley Plantation, VA.231

Children of Anne Hill Carter and Henry " Light Horse Harry" Lee are:
  1. +Anne Kinloch Lee, b. Jun 19, 1800, Stratford, Westmoreland cty, VA, d. Feb 20, 1864, Baltimore, Maryland.
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