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Rufus W. Griswold, The Republican Court, or, American Society in the Days of Washington. New and rev. ed. (New York, 1856), plate opposite 169. First ed., 1855.


Elizabeth Willing was born to Anne McCall and Thomas Willing, a member of the Continental Congress, mayor of Philadelphia, and the first president of the Bank of the United States. The Willings were an important Philadelphia family with connections to many of the city’s most prominent individuals. Elizabeth’s mother taught her daughters skills such as “literature, writing, French, music, drawing, and embroidery,” and the young Willing girls became known as belles in Philadelphia society.[1] Elizabeth’s older sister, Anne, would become prominent in elite culture internationally after her marriage to William Bingham.

Elizabeth married George Washington’s personal secretary, Major William Jackson (1759-1828), who had been born in England but raised in South Carolina.[2] Many notables were present at their marriage, including Robert Morris, Alexander Hamilton, Benjamin Chew, and George Washington. While Elizabeth Willing Jackson would never equal her sister Anne in fame, she was nonetheless a respected member of the Republican Court. Rufus Griswold wrote, “[Elizabeth’s] person and countenance were highly engaging, and she was remarkable from girlhood for the sprightliness and grace of both her mind and manners.”[3]

Elizabeth Willing Jackson died at age 88, the last survivor of Washington’s Republican Court.[4]

Written by Annie Turner.

[1] American National Biography, s.v. “Bingham, Anne Willing.”

[2] Ibid., s.v. “Jackson, William.”

[3] Rufus W. Griswold, The Republican Court, or, American Society in the Days of Washington (New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1867), 302.

[4] Ibid., 307.


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