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Eleanor Agnes Lee

[Wig] (1841 - 1873)

Biography of Eleanor Agnes Lee

Eleanor Agnes Lee poet

Eleanor Agnes Lee or "Wig"(as she liked to be known) was one of seven children. She was born in 1841 as the daughter of the Robert E. Lee who would go on to become a major Confederate General in the American Civil War.

Agnes spent much of her time in reading, studying, playing piano and in working in her garden. Agnes kept a fascinating journal during her childhood years, later published and entitled Growing Up in the 1850s.

Before leaving for boarding school in 1855, she and her sister Annie had a tutor, Miss Sue Poor, from whom they learned their love of music, English , French, and probably arithmetic. For a time Eleanor helped to instruct the Arlington slaves by conducting a Sunday evening school for them and by instructing individual children before and after breakfast.

She was religious and was confirmed in the Episcopal Church in 1857. She was a charming and attractive young lady, and there is some evidence that she felt a romantic attachment to Orton A. Williams, her mother's young cousin and a frequent visitor at Arlington, just before the Civil War. Her father is said to have frowned upon the romance because he regarded young Williams as too unsettled to marry.

Thought to be somewhat reserved and aloof after the war by her family, this may have been caused by the tragic death of Orton Williams in 1862, and to her own serious illness in 1865, Considered her mother's favorite daughter, Agnes never married and died from typhoid fever in October 1873 at the age of 32.

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A Statue In The Garden

I was a goddess ere the marble found me.
Wind, wind, delay not!
Waft my spirit where the laurel crowned me!
Will the wind stay not?

Then tarry, tarry, listen, little swallow!
An old glory feeds me
I lay upon the bosom of Apollo!
Not a bird heeds me.

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