|Daniel Parke Custis|
October 15, 1711|
"York County, Virginia, "British America
|Died||July 8, 1757
"New Kent County, Virginia, British America
|Cause of death||"Heart attack|
|Resting place||"Bruton Parish Episcopal Church Cemetery|
|Occupation||Planter and Politician|
|Spouse(s)||"Martha Dandridge (m. 1750)|
|Children||Daniel Parke Custis Jr.
Frances Parke Custis
"John Parke "Jacky" Custis
Martha Parke "Patsy" Custis
|Parent(s)||"John Custis IV
Frances Parke Custis
|Relatives||John Custis III (grandfather)
John Custis II (great-grandfather)
John Custis I (great-great-grandfather)
"Daniel Parke (maternal grandfather)
Daniel Parke Custis (October 15, 1711 – July 8, 1757) was an American planter and politician who was the first husband of "Martha Dandridge. After his death, Dandridge married "George Washington, one of the "Founding Fathers of the United States and the nation's first president.
Custis was born in "York County, Virginia, on October 15, 1711. He was one of two children of "John Custis IV (1678–1749), a powerful member of Virginia's Governor's Council, and Frances Parke Custis. The Custis family were one of the wealthiest and socially prominent of Virginia. Custis' mother Frances was the daughter of "Daniel Parke, Jr., a political enemy of the Custises.
As Daniel Custis was the sole male heir in the Custis family, he inherited the Southern plantations owned by his father. However, he did not choose to take a leading role in colonial Virginia politics.
At the age of 37, Custis met 16-year-old "Martha Dandridge at the "St. Peter's Church where Martha attended and Custis was a "vestryman. Custis' father John disapproved of the relationship but eventually relented. After a two-year courtship, Custis and Dandridge were married on May 15, 1750. The couple lived at Custis' plantation called the "White House in New Kent County, Virginia.
They had four children:
Custis died on July 8, 1757 in "New Kent County, Virginia, most likely of a "heart attack. He is buried in the graveyard of the "Bruton Parish Church in "Williamsburg, Virginia next to two of his children he had with his wife, Daniel Parke Custis, Jr. and Frances Parke Custis. Two years after Custis's death, on January 6, 1759, Martha married George.
As Custis died "intestate, his widow Martha received the lifetime use of one-third of his property (known as a "dower share"), while the other two-thirds was held in trust for their children. The January 1759 Custis estate also included at least 85 slaves. According to the Mount Vernon slave census, by 1799 the dower share included 153 slaves. The October 1759 Custis estate inventory listed 17,779 acres (71.95 km2), or 27.78 square miles of land, spread over five counties.
Upon Martha Custis's marriage to "George Washington in 1759, her dower share came under his control, pursuant to the common law doctrine of "seisin "jure uxoris. He also became guardian of her two minor children, and administrator of the Custis estate. "John Parke Custis was the only child to reach his majority, upon which he inherited the non-dower two-thirds of his father's estate.
Upon George Washington's death on December 14, 1799, the dower share and slaves reverted to Martha. Through a provision in his will, Washington directed that his 124 slaves be freed following his wife's death. As George Washington stated in his will, he “earnestly wished” to free his own slaves at the time of his death, but acknowledged that doing so would create “insuperable difficulties” because they had intermarried with Martha’s “dower negroes,” over whom he had no authority, and that it would “excite the most painful sensations” and “disagreeable consequences” to attempt to separate them. George's slaves were not part of the Custis estate, and Martha had no legal power to free them or the dower slaves, but they were freed at her request on January 1, 1801. The principal reason that Martha requested that George's slaves be set free is that she was concerned about her personal safety. George's slaves, having found out that they would be free upon her death, were suspected of wanting to hasten her death, and they were perceived as restive and as the possible cause of several suspicious fires on the "Mount Vernon estate.
When Martha died on May 22, 1802, her dower share reverted to the Custis estate. Because of Martha Washington's dower share, the estate could not be liquidated for more than 45 years. Martha's dower share was eventually divided between John Parke Custis's widow, "Eleanor Calvert Custis Stuart, and their four children. Martha also bequeathed Elisha, the one slave that she owned herself, to her grandson "George Washington Parke Custis.