From the New York Times, 9/26/1900


Elizabeth Van Lew died at her residence, at Richmond, Va., yesterday morning, at the age of eighty-three.

Miss “Bettie” Van Lew was the daughter of a wealthy Northern man who for a great many years was one of the principal hardware merchants of Richmond. She was a Union woman all during the war, and took no care to conceal the fact. She was constant in her ministrations to the prisoners confined in Libby Prison, and unknown to the Confederate authorities, was in frequent communication with Gen. Grant’s army. She sheltered, or caused friends of her to shelter, several of the men who escaped through the Libby Prison tunnel. At the evacuation of Richmond Gen. Grant, who was then at City Point, dispatched one of his aides to Richmond specially charged to take care of Miss Van Lew, and when he became President, he appointed her Postmistress of Richmond, which office she held for several terms. Afterward Miss Van Lew held a modest post in one of the departments in Washington. She then returned to Richmond.

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