Figure of the Week

Thomas Ludwell Lee

Born 1730 - Died 1778

Although he was raised at Stratford Hall surrounded by Virginia’s leading legal minds, Thomas Ludwell Lee (1730-1778) much preferred the solitude of remote  Stafford County to the busy atmosphere of Westmoreland.  He made his home at Bell View, which he’d inherited from his father.  This tract was on the south side of Potomac Creek and adjoined Belle Plain.  Thomas was the son of Thomas Lee (1690-1750) and Hannah Harrison Ludwell (1701-1750) of Stratford Hall.  His brothers were Francis Lightfoot (1743-1797) and Richard Henry Lee (1732-1794), signers of the Declaration of Independence, and Philip Ludwell Lee (1726/7-1775).  According to a letter written by brother Richard Henry, Thomas died “after sustaining a severe Rheumatic fever for six weeks.”  At the time of his death, he had just been appointed one of the five judges of the General Court of Virginia.  John Adams described him as “the most popular man in Virginia, and the delight of the eyes of every Virginian, but…[he] would not engage in public life.”  The Lee family, however, viewed public service as a duty and Thomas held numerous public offices including justice of Stafford County.  He was also a frequent member of the Virginia Assembly and its conventions.