Historical Trees of MVHS: Robert E. Lee Arlington House Eastern Red Cedar


   Arlington House, located in the Arlington National Cemetery, was the former home of three of America’s most recognized families; the Washingtons, Custises, and Lees, and often hosted veterans of the Revolutionary War, among whom was the famed French patriot, Marquis de Lafayette.   Martha Washington’s great, granddaughter Mary Custis married Robert E. Lee in 1831 in the parlor of the house. Shortly after, military duties took Lee to Mexico during the Mexican War, West Point, where he was appointed Superintendent (1852-55), and Harper’s Ferry, W. Va. where he commanded the forces who captured John Brown.

    When the Civil War broke out Lee was forced to make a life-changing decision-support the Union or the Confederacy.  When Lee left Arlington in 1861, it was occupied by the Union and became Freedman’s Village for freed slaves.  In 1864, the home and land became Federal property at auction and was made into a National cemetery for Union war dead.

    This tree was grown from seeds of a large eastern red-cedar growing behind Arlington House and brought to Medomak Valley Living History Arboretum by Olivia Wheeler, Class of 2016, when she traveled with “Wreaths Across America”.

By: Neil Lash