Elizabeth Van Lew! "CRAZY BET"

By: Kelsie Marable

Meet Elizabeth Van Lew

  • Elizabeth was born on October 25, 1818
  • She died on September 25, 1900

A Quote By Her!

“ Slave power crushes freedom of speech and of opinion. Slave power degrades labor. Slave power is arrogant, is jealous and intrusive, is cruel, is despotic, not only over the slaves but over the community, the state.” Her views quickly brought her much criticism and many felt she was a Yankee sympathizer. She denied it saying she was only a “good Southerner who opposed slavery.”

"DEAR SIR, -- It is intended to remove to Georgia all the Federal prisoners; butchers and bakers to go at once. They are already notified and selected. Quaker [a Union man whom I know] knows this to be true. Are building batteries on the Danville road ... Do not underrate their strength and desperation. Forces could probably be called into action in from five to ten days; 25,000, mostly artillery. Hoke's and Kemper's brigades gone to North Carolina: Pickett's in or about Petersburg. Three regiments of cavalry disbanded by General Lee for want of horses. Morgan is applying for 1,000 choice men for a raid."


Richmonders glared, and a howling mob gathered. God damn the old devil; burn her place down! Men shoved toward her house, trampled the garden, and Crazy Bet stepped forth to confront them. "I know you, and you. . . " Her thin face contorted, she screamed their names and pointed them out. "General Grant will be in town in an hour. You do one thing to my home, and all of yours will be burned before noon! " They were convinced and they backed away.


My greatest honor was finally meeting General Ulysses Grant. When he captured Richmond, the first thing he did when he came to town was have tea at my home and thank me for all my help. What a wonderful day that was. We even celebrated with my famous gingerbread!