Elizabeth Van Lew
Information about Elizabeth Van Lew and her home in Richmond, VA during the Civil War.
Once located on the south side of Grace Street between 23rd & 24th, this beautiful mansion was the home to Elizabeth Van Lew, a Union spy in Richmond during the Civil War.
Her home was reputed to be the meeting place for other Richmond Unionists, as well as a hiding place for escaped prisoners. Van Lew made little effort to hide her Union proclivities, though why she was not apprehended along with other known Unionists is not known.
After the war, she was appointed postmistress of Richmond by U. S. Grant, then President. She was resented in Richmond, and died a destitute woman - her large fortune having been expended in her wartime spy efforts. She is buried in Shockoe cemetery under a large boulder donated by "Boston friends."
Her home was demolished in 1911 and Bellevue Elementary School now stands in its place.