The Custis Children, not dated
The marriage of George Washington and Martha Dandridge Custis united three of the prominent early Virginia dynasties—the Washingtons, Dandridges, and Custises. Integral to the felicity enjoyed in marriage by George and Martha was the presence of John Parke Custis (1755–1781) and Martha Parke Custis (1757–1773), Mrs. Washington's son and daughter by her first husband, Daniel Parke Custis. This portrait, which descended in the Custis family, is believed to depict them. If so, it suggests the idyllicism that existed at Mount Vernon during Washington's retirement following the French and Indian War, before the premature deaths of both of these children.
Jacky and Patsy Custis were lovingly embraced by their new guardian, who earned their affection. At his marriage, Jacky wrote to the general: "How to express fully my Thankfulness, for the many kind Offers you have lately made Nelly & myself; I find great Loss of Words. . . . The only returns required, were Effection and regard—both of which did not I posses in the highest Degree for you; I should look upon myself to be the most insensible & Ungrateful Being on Earth." Jacky Custis soon died, at age twenty-six. Patsy Custis was lost to an epileptic fit at the age of seventeen. Washington had grown to love the girl he called his "sweet innocent" stepdaughter. His account books for the last years of her life are poignant in their record of expenditures for medicines interspersed with those for the clothing and the types of toys and accessories that a father enjoys buying for a daughter.