A Cryptic Record of a Family Tragedy: The Unhappy Progression of Patsy Custis’s Epilepsy

Wealth bought Patsy many luxuries: fine clothes and jewelry, a harpsicord and dancing lessons, excursions to Williamsburg, a pet parrot, and other pleasant things. It could not buy her good health, however. From a very early age, Patsy was afflicted with epilepsy. As she entered adolescence, the disease began to grow ominously worse, much to the distress of her family.

Anthrax and the President, 1789

TOPICS: George Washington, Health and Medicine, Washington’s Presidency by James E. Guba, Copy Editor, and Philander D. Chase, former Editor-in-Chief In the middle of June 1789, only about six weeks after George Washington had been inaugurated first president of the United States with great fanfare at New York’s Federal Hall, […]