Monday, March 14, 2011

History of Our Lee Family by Harold Bingham Lee, October 6, 1961

Dear friends and family: Good morning! In going through my mother's records and histories, I found a collection of bulletins from the Samuel Lee family organization called Samuel Lee Family Clarion and one I want to share with you today is The History of Our Lee Family by Harold Bingham Lee dated
October 6th, 1961. Please take the time to read it so you will gain a greater appreciation for our dear ancestors, like I have, and what they went through. Have a wonderful day, and know that you are loved. Your friend and brother. Jim Lee
The family organization have asked tonight that I give you something of a "preview" to try to show you where you and I, as individuals, belong to this great Lee family.
William Lee, father of Samuel Lee, and our oldest known ancestor, was born in Carrick-Fergus, Ireland, 15 August 1745. Carrtick-Fergus and Antrim seaport are located ten miles from Belfast. Carrick-Fergus is also memorable in history as one of the ancient capitols of Ireland and the landing place of William III in 1690.
Although records were destroyed, tradition says that this Lee family was non-conformist and of the Middle England stock. William's brother, Francis, married Jane Alexander and all three came to America in 1770. It is supposed that they landed in Philadelphia and it is here that William met and married Susanna Chaffings the same year. History tells us that the family moved across the Delaware River to Camden, New Jersey, and worked in and about the glass factories for some time. They moved South to Orange County, North Carolina, and it is here that William and Susanna's four sons were born. William Lee, 1772, Francis Lee, 1774, Isaac Lee, 1776, and Samuel Lee, for which our family organization is named, was born 14 April 1778. It was believed that William and Francis had died at birth, but in William Lee's last will dated 2 May 1803 at Greenville, South Carolina, it indicates otherwise.
While William and his family resided in North Carolina, Francis and Jane Alexander stayed in Philadelphia and established the well-known Queen's Hotel. This was the main office of the New York Stage Coach Line, and we find many prominent and important people staying there, including George Washington.
Just shortly after the birth of our Samuel, his mother, Susannah Chaffings, passed away. We find that William Lee bound out his children to Judge McElroy from neighboring Tennessee, assigning all his property and holdings in Orange County to cover the expenses of raising his children. William then joined in the battles of the Revolutionary War and was wounded at the battle of Guilford County Court House in North Carolina on 15 March 1781. He was left for dead on the battlefield but was later revived and taken to the home of a Sarah McMullen who nursed him back to life.
They were later married in 1784 and his second marriage brought seven children to the life of William Lee, they being Eli, Margaret, Nancy, Susannah, Sarah, John Wesley, and Thomas. William Lee died in Greenville, South Carolina, in 1803.
Our Samuel Lee, the youngest son of the first marriage, married Elizabeth Gillum 14 July 1801 in Orange County, North Carolina. Elizabeth Gillum, Samuel's wife, was dismissed shortly after her marriage from the Quakers, or Friends Society, for having married a northern soldier.
Census records of Randolph County, Indiana in 1812 show Sarah McMullen Lee and her eldest son, Eli, securing property there, and also Samuel and his wife, along with Isaac, to be residing in this area. Prior to this, Isaac's records reveal that he married Elizabeth Prewitt about 1808 in Green County, Tennessee, and it is here that their first six children were born. They later moved to North Port, Tuscaloosa County, Alabama, where six more children were born making a family of twelve children for them.
Sarah and her family remained in and about the area of Randolph County, Indiana and Clinton County, Ohio, and would not go West. They established their home in the forks of the White River at Paoli, Indiana.
Our Samuel Lee and Elizabeth Gillum were blessed with their first arrival while living in Clinton County, Ohio, in 1803, (the birthplace of Elizabeth, his wife) and they named their first child Sarah after Samuel's stepmother. Their second child, Nancy, was born in 1804 also in Indiana. The family then moved back to Orange County, North Carolina, and it was here that Alfred was born 12 September 1805. The family then moved back to Clinton County, Ohio, where William Lee was born in 1807 and died in infancy. Then Isaac was born 5 July 1809, Francis on 26 June 1811, and Eli 11 July 1816.
Samuel Lee later decided to go to the California gold fields but could not persuade his wife, Elizabeth, to go with him as she felt to stay with her daughter Sarah and remain in the Quaker community because of their staunch Quaker belief. In the interim, Francis, Alfred, and Eli joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in 1832. As near as we can tell, the three sons with their families were residing in the area of Liberty, Missouri, and it was the extermination order of Governor Boggs that forced them to go to Payson, Illinois, and later moved to the beautiful city of Nauvoo. It was here, after much persecution and the martyrdom of the Prophet, that they persuaded their father, Samuel, to go West with them.
At this time, Alfred, the oldest of the three sons, and Elizabeth LaFlesh had nine children (one having died in infancy). Francis and Jane Vail Johnson had five children, two more arriving as they moved westward through Missouri. It was here that Jacob Edward, their seventh child, died and was buried on the banks of the Platt River at a place known as Plattsville, and as I have gone into the Winter Quarters area of the Church, and seen that beautiful monument, where mother and father are shown depicting the burial of their little baby, he, shovel in hand, just before they were to cover over the little grave and move on with the Saints.
I have often thought, as I have stood there, that that could have been my own great-grandfather and great grandmother, Francis and Jane Vail Johnson Lee, and their little infant son, Jacob Edward.
Francis had a total of eleven children, the remaining four being born in Tooele County after their arrival in Utah. Eli had two children (William Munjar having died in infancy) and Eli Jr. came with his parents to Utah.
Samuel went with his three sons and their families and settled in Tooele County and never completed his trip to the gold fields of California. He joined the L. D. S. Church in 1851shortly after arriving in Utah. Records show that Samuel died on his birthday 14 April 1859 while residing in the 16th Ward in Salt Lake City. Cause of death was the bite of a dog and old age as listed on the death certificate. He was buried in the Salt Lake City Cemetery in a potter's field grave along with fifteen other people, and that gives you a little heartache that for some reason his family was not there to bury him.
It was in April of 1959, one hundred years from the time of his death that a plaque was placed on the potters plot site, and it was on 2 July 1959 that a dedication ceremony was held. Elder Harold B. Lee, of the Council of the Twelve, a great-great grandson of Samuel Lee, dedicated the marker.
The three sons were called by President Brigham Young to leave their homes in Tooele to go to the St. George area to open the Dixie Cotton Mission. After a few years, the families were given the choice of remaining or returning to their homes. It was here that Alfred and Eli returned to Tooele with their families. Francis remained in St. George and was later called by Brigham Young to go to Panaca, Nevada, and settle that area. Samuel Francis, son of Alfred, later joined Francis and his family at Panaca. This gives you an introduction to the early history of our people.
May the Lord bless you; I bear you my solemn testimony this is one of the greatest and grandest of all the works that the Lord has placed upon the Latter-day Saints in this day, to seek after our kindred dead, and do the work in the Temples while it is yet day; That the Lord may help us so to catch the responsibility and to do our work and to be proud of our ancestry, so that we can, when we join them on the other side, we can give a good report of what we have done, and will not be ashamed of our slothfulness; may the Lord bless us to this end, I pray in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
(Elder Harold Bingham Lee, member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, who later became President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in 1972, and died in 1973 in Salt Lake City, Utah.
The Lee Family
1 August 2006
I was born to be a Lee, and bear that noble name,
A son of Jim and Jennie Lee, from whom I stake my claim,
To be a descendent of the Lee Family Line,
The sixth one of eleven, and still alive are nine.
My daddy was a builder of bridges and of homes,
And so we traveled here and there, like many a builder roams,
To find employment, and to work to earn a living here,
And support his family, who to his heart were dear.
And then my folks decided to move away from the city,
And buy a farm in Highland, Utah, where the fields and farms were pretty,
And where I learned to milk the cows, and do what farmers do,
While daddy worked at Geneva Steel, a living to pursue.
The challenges were many, but not like the pioneers,
Or even like our ancestors, who overcame their fears,
And did just what they had to do to settle this free land,
This land we call America, with Father in command.
Their history has taught me things I didn't know,
Like sacrifices that they made to help this country grow,
With faith in every footstep, and following their dream,
While teaching children how to work, and making butter from cream,
And doing things they had to, to survive as a family,
And passing on their traditions to their posterity,
Just as mom and dad did so very long ago,
As they taught truths eternal, helping us to know
The truths their parents taught them, and their grandparents, too,
In hopes that we would carry on all that they tried to do,
So we could be together as one great family,
Not only for this lifetime, but for eternity.
God help us to remember the sacrifices made
By our beloved ancestors, and the price they paid,
So Christ's Church could be restored in these, the latter days,
To teach us truths eternal, and help us know God's ways,
In a land of religious feedom, free from tyranny,
And free to worship God above, and raise our family,
And free to help His work go forth, throughout the world today,
To gather scattered Israel, as we His truths obey.
I'm so very thankful that I was born a Lee,
And born of goodly parents, who lived life faithfully,
And taught us truths eternal, through both word and deed,
As taught by their own ancestors, who are a noble breed.
Written by
James Horald Lee Jr.
Son of James Horald Lee and Jennie May Woodbury Lee,
and Grandson of John Raymond Lee and Annie Eliza Keele Lee
and great-grandson of John Nelson Lee and Melissa Kesiah Rollins Lee,
And great-great-grandson of Francis Lee and Jane Vail Johnson Lee,
and great-great-great-grandson of Samuel Lee and Elizabeth Gillum Lee.

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