Frances Lee Fleming Carter Allen Boswell as remembered by Beverley Carter Coffman
The photo above is of Frances in her early twenties
My grandmother, known to all of her grandchildren as Mamere, was born on January 30, 1883 in The Plains, Virginia. She was the first child of Richard Bland Lee Fleming and Harriot Jane Downman Fleming. She grew up at Green Mont surrounded by an ever-growing family that consisted of five sisters (Mary Elizabeth or Molly, Roberta, Clarissa, Harriot, Anne) and one brother (Lee).
When Mamere was 27 she became engaged to Samuel Henley Carter of Meadow Grove in Marshall, VA. According to Aunt Clarissa’s journal, “Father and Mother were pleased with their prospective son-in-law.” They were married at Green Mont on November, 10, 1910. Henley, as my grandfather was called, was the son of James Alexander and Mary Henley Carter. Shortly after they were married, Henley took the job of Farm Manager at Mt. Airy, a large farm in Mt. Jackson, VA. While they were in Mt. Jackson, their first child, Harriot, was born. About a year later (c1912), Henley and Frances were asked to return to The Plains at the request of Robert Henry Downman, Jr, the brother of Frances’ mother. “Uncle Rob (Downman)” asked Frances to supervise the construction of Ravenscroft, a home that he was building adjacent to Green Mont. Henley managed the farm. As the Downmans lived mainly in New Orleans, Ravenscroft became the Carter’s home until it was sold in 1928 just prior to Robert Downman’s untimely death.
During the time they lived at Ravenscroft, my father, Samuel Henley Carter, Jr. was born on July 17, 1921.
I am not sure where Frances, Henley, Harriot and little Sam moved after Ravenscroft was sold, but by 1934, Frances, Harriot and Sam (now 12 years old!) were living at Homewood in The Plains which had been purchased by my grandmother after Henley’s death in 1931. They lived at Homewood at least for a few years…I am very fuzzy on the time line here…Frances married Tiphen (Tiff) Walsingham Allen, Jr. who had been associated with Red Banks, a farm in Shenandoah County near the farm where Frances and Henley had lived. We assume she had met him while she and Henley were running the farm in Mt. Jackson. At some point, she and Tiff moved to Atlanta. I seem to remember that Mamere always told us that she was at the premiere of GONE WITH THE WIND! Since Tiff Allen died in 1938, she must have stayed in Atlanta a while because that premiere was in 1939!!!
Meanwhile, my father, Sam Carter, went to Episcopal High School and on to the University of Virginia for both undergraduate and medical school.
Frances married V. Ward Boswell, a real estate developer, in Alexandria sometime in the mid 1940s (Dec. 17, 1949?). Once again, I am not sure of this time line, but I think that she lived in Alexandria during this time. We have found a reference to a development called Hybla Valley Farms that V. Ward Boswell developed in the 1930s. There is even mention of a street in that development that was renamed “Frances for Boswell’s wife”!
(Maybe Mike Harris and/or Mary Tayloe can fill in a lot of these blanks!)
Frances (aka Mamere) moved to Tappahannock, VA after “Boz” died to be nearer to her daughter, Harriot, and her children Lomax and Mary Tayloe. She lived in Tappahannock until 1973. She celebrated her 90th birthday there with a grand party before moving to Orchard Hill, Fort Defiance, where she promised my mother, “It won’t be long, Katherine…” Happily, she lived with Mom and Dad for more than 10 years and she had a huge number of friends and family to help her celebrate her 100th birthday!
Her mind was always sharp until the very end, but her body failed her and made it difficult for her. At her request, she moved into the Bridgewater Nursing Home after her 100th birthday party. She lived there until almost 2 years later when she died on December 30, 1984.
She is buried in the Marshall Cemetery next to her first husband Samuel Henley Carter.
Some more memories…
Mike Harris: Aunt Frances , like all the Flemings , was extremely kind to me after my father’s unexpected death in 1946 . As a result I spent a lot of time at Homewood in my early teens ( as well of course in the CWF / HDF years ) . She encouraged me to be a good shot , modeling my education after that of her son , my godfather Sam Carter . You can’t ask for more than that.
Perhaps the Carters have heard of her being side swiped by a dump truck on the way to the Marshall Safeway .I was in the front seat when it happened. She had rolled down the window to signal that she was slowing down .The dump truck approaching from behind missed that ,scraped the rear fender and demolished the front ; she never got a scratch. Nor did she ever have much to say about it . Typical Fleming strength of character
I was too young to remember Tiff Allen , much less Henley Carter , but I do remember V Ward Boswell as a grand old guy who always drove a Cadillac referred to as ” his machine ”
Marloe Woollett: Maybe with us all adding little bits of info we can eventually
put together the whens and wheres of her life! I thought she lived at
“Sudley” after marrying Tiff Allen, and then bought Homewood after he died.
But I still can’t figure out where the Atlanta part fits in.
She came to stay with us in Florida in maybe 1943-4 to “help” my mother who
was working and trying to run a fledgling orange grove while my dad was away
in the Air Force. I think she stayed with us quite a long time. Then in 1946
my mother was married at Homewood. I know that still leaves big gaps in the
She did marry V. Ward Boswell in Dec. 1949 at Small Hall, my home, but after
that, she lived in Tappahannock, while Bos stayed in Alexandria during the
week, driving down on the weekends in his big black Cadillac! And he always
brought her the most beautiful, enormous bouquets of flowers. I think I
remember correctly being told he had admired her for years and years, and
had not been married before. She did seem to have a way with the men! After
Bos died, she continued to live in Tapp. until she moved to Orchard Hill..
Mike Harris: I am pretty sure that Aunt Frances owned Homewood after Atlanta , and then sold to CWF