Dear friends and family: Good morning! Here is an account by Della Lee Richards of the Lee Family in Nevada which I found on the CD I have about the Lees, which I want to share with you today. Have a wonderful day. Your friend and brother. Jim
Your Lee Family Tree in Nevada by Della Lee Richards
Written as a Centennial Project and directed personally to her children;
Dearest James and Sharla Fae:
Your Lee Family Members lived in Nevada Territory before it became a state. Be thankful for your pioneer heritage. Your progenitors came in sailing vessels. They broke snowbound trails. They crossed frozen and flood swollen rivers. They were driven from their homes. They buried loved ones enroute west. They fought plagues, famines, enemies and Indians. They served their fellow men. They worked and achieved goals. They believed in themselves. They are here to stay, having been chosen long before your birth.
From them you got some of your looks, ideals, and knowledge. They are a part of you and you are a part of them. So much of learning comes from history. How interesting it is to study the history of yourselves.
But how could you know about those who have gone before if someone did not tell you? These are your people. Learning about them should stimulate you to develop your own potential. Honor them, profit by their experiences, but above all, make them humbly, joyously, and genuinely proud of you.
Today's story concerns primarily your "Lee" Ancestry. Other family names mentioned are shown as they tie in with your direct "Lee" Lineage. Think of them as you go through life. Try to gain strength and wisdom from their trials and sufferings. And please, don't let anyone in years to come know more about your own people that you know yourselves.
Seven generations back from you, meet your great-great-great-great grand-father, William Lee. He was born August 15,1745, in Carrickfergus, Ireland. He is your oldest "Lee" ancestor who came to America. He died June 26,1803, in Greenville, South Carolina. The first information handed down to us is that he married Susannah Chaffings near Philadelphia, Pa. He had four sons by her, William, Francis, Isaac and Samuel. William's wife, Susannah, died about 1780. To our knowledge, this Samuel Lee, the fourth and youngest son of William Lee and Susannah Chaffings, was the only child of William Lee's to come West.
William Lee was in the Revolutionary War and was wounded at the battle of Guilford County Courthouse in North Carolina on March 15,1781. He was left for dead on the battlefield but was later revived and taken to the home of Sarah McMullen who nursed him back to health. William Lee was a widower at this time. In 1784, he married this Sarah McMullen, who had been his nurse. He had 7 children by this second marriage. They were Eli, Nancy, Margaret, Susannah, Sarah, John Wesley, and Thomas. William Lee's son, Samuel Lee, your great-great-great-grandfather, was born April 14,1778, at Orange County, North Carolina. On July 14,1801, Samuel married Elizabeth Gilham in Orange County. She was born October 3,1780. Sons and daughters born to them were Sarah, Nancy, Alfred, William, Isaac, Francis and Eli.
Samuel Lee left his wife, Elizabeth, and started to travel west to the California Gold fields. He later changed his mind and decided to join three of his sons, Alfred, Francis, and Eli, who had joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in 1832. They were enroute with their families to the Great Salt Lake Valley with the early Mormon pioneers. At this time they were camped on the banks of the Missouri River.
Your great-great-grandparents, Francis Lee and his wife, Jane Vail Johnson Lee had joined the Mormon church in 1832, only two years after its restoration by the prophet Joseph Smith. Your great-great-grandparents moved about with the persecution of the early church members. They settled in Ohio, Missouri, and Illinois only to be driven out by enemies of the church.
The church owned a million-dollar temple, in Nauvoo, Illinois, that was burned by enemies of the church November 10, 1848. This temple was where your great-great-grandparents, Francis Lee and Jane Vail Johnson Lee had participated in religious meetings. Homes the church members had worked so hard for were now either destroyed by their enemies, or church members were forced to vacate them and flee for their very lives. Their crops were destroyed and their fields were burned to stubble.
And so it was under these conditions that your great-great-great grandfather Samuel Lee and his three sons, Francis, (your great-great-grandfather), Alfred, and Eli, together with their families began their westward trek. Because of the difficulties encountered in traveling, camping, illnesses, trail breaking, and stopping to assist other pioneers, they did not arrive in Salt Lake City until September 17, 1850, ending several years' journey across the plains. On September 26, they moved to Tooele, Utah, 34 miles west of Salt Lake City, where they lived for 11 years. This is recorded in the Tooele census records.
Samuel Lee's three sons became prominent citizens in Tooele. Special note was given to Eli Lee as being the first school teacher and much commendation was given to him for his efforts in the improvement of the school program. Francis Lee, (your great-great-grandfather), was sheriff for many years. Alfred Lee was associate judge in the first real governmental organization of Tooele, and later when the first civil political rule in the County was formed February 7, 1852, the Utah territorial legislature appointed Alfred Lee as probate judge of Tooele County.
Samuel Lee's other children, Sarah, Nancy, and Isaac remained in the East with their mother. The death certificate of Samuel Lee, now on file in our Samuel Lee Family Organization records, states that he died April 14, 1859, in the 16th Ward at Salt Lake City, Utah with cause of death attributed to a bite of a dog and old age.
A new marker on the grave of Samuel Lee in the Salt Lake City Cemetery was dedicated July 2, 1959, by his great-great-grandson, Elder Harold B. Lee, of the general council of twelve apostles of the L.D.S. Church.
Your great-great-grandfather Francis Lee was born in 1811 at Wilmington, Clinton County, Ohio. He married Jane Vail Johnson 24 October, 1835. Their marriage was later solemnized in the ill-fated Nauvoo Temple. Your great-great-grandmother, Jane Vail Johnson Lee, was born September 30, 1815, at Morristown, Morris County, New Jersey. Her parents were Jacob Johnson, Jr., and Mary Edwards. Jane Vail Johnson Lee died July 10, 1875, in Panaca, Nevada. Her husband, Francis Lee died July 18, 1866, in Panaca, both are buried in the Panaca Cemetery.
When Francis Lee and Jane Vail Johnson Lee, his wife, reached Tooele, Utah, in September, 1850, there had been born to this union 7 children and 4 more were born at Tooele. William Henry was born August 9, 1836, at Liberty, Missouri. Electa Jane Lee Edwards was born April 25, 1838, at Far West, Caldwell Co., Missouri. Samuel Marion Lee was born January 28, 1840, at Payson, Adams Co., Illinois. John Nelson Lee was born November 17, 1841, at Payson, Adams Co., Illinois. George Washington Lee was born April 25, 1844, at Nauvoo, Illinois. Francis Columbus Lee was born Nov.13, 1846, at Jamestown, Andrew County, Missouri. Jacob Edward was born December 19, 1848, at Jamestown, Andrew County, Missouri. Mary Eliza Lee Atchison was born December 4, 1850, at Tooele, Tooele County, Utah. Milton Lafayette Lee was born February 4, 1853, at Tooele, Tooele County, Utah. Arthur Orson Lee was born June 27, 1856, at Tooele, Tooele County, Utah. Louisa Juliette was born January 12, 1859. She died and was buried in St. George, Utah, early in 1864.
Edward died when the family was crossing the plains during a cholera epidemic. He was buried on the banks of the Platte River in Nebraska at the age of two. After eleven years of living in Tooele, Utah, Francis Lee's family was first on a list called to settle the South West area of Utah. It was nick-named "Dixie" after the Old South because it was found that cotton could be raised there. Cotton was greatly needed because the Civil War had interfered with the crops in the Southern States.
It was at a General Conference of the Church held in Salt Lake City in October, 1861, that 300 men and 9 families were called from the northern settlements of Salt Lake City and Tooele to locate in Southern Utah Territory.
This was before Utah was admitted as a state. In fact, the Mormon proposed state of Deseret included all of what is now Utah, Nevada, most of Arizona, and parts of California, New Mexico, Oregon, Colorado, and Idaho.
President Brigham Young knew that the mission in Southern Utah Territory would be a hard one with many unpleasant conditions. In order that the mission might prosper, he selected some of the most stalwart pioneers who had never known defeat. Mechanics of all kinds as well as farmers, were included in the company, for it was expected that a permanent settlement would be made.
After the call to the Southern Utah Territory Mission, Brigham Young, knowing the conditions the church members would be subjected to, advised as many of the unmarried people as could possibly find mates to do so and marry before leaving Salt Lake City. Many of those who had become acquainted during the months of traveling together, as well as others who had known each other in Salt Lake, and Tooele, were married in the old Endowment House in Salt Lake City. This was before the Salt Lake Temple was completed.
Many of them had not planned for immediate marriage, and some not at all. They realized it would not be possible for them to return to Salt Lake City, which was the only center at the time where the religious marriage ceremony was performed. They followed the advice of their leader many happy families grew up as a result of these seemingly hasty unions. Their willingness to be counseled under these situations was an outstanding factor among the converts of those early days. Since their desires were to establish themselves in this part of the west, and their religious beliefs were the same, there were very few misunderstandings among them.
Your great-great-grandfather Francis Lee and family did not stay in the "Dixie" area very long. However, it was here that their youngest child, Louisa Juliette, died and was buried in St. George, near Santa Clara, Utah.
Francis Lee and his family were yet to receive another call, this time to settle a new and practically unknown Indian Country, believed at the time to be in Utah Territory. Survey later showed it was to be included in the new state of Nevada which was admitted to the union October 31, 1864, as the 36th state. It has been said by old timers that Panaca had a legitimate claim to the title of the oldest existing town in all of Southern and Eastern Nevada. There was no permanent settlement there until 1864 when the Francis Lee family arrived to stay.
Other families soon followed and the Panaca Pioneers combined their forces to plant crops, make ditches, and build crude homes. Their dugouts, covered wagons, and willow shanties were gradually replaced with adobe and lumber structures.
A dugout home was described as follows: "It was about 6 feet deep and 12 feet square, with a slanting roof. Crevices between the roof poles were small compact bundles of bushes held in place by a weaving of young willows. About a 6 inch layer of dirt, which had been excavated from the cellar, was then placed on the roof. There were no windows. The front and only door had one small pane of glass to light up the cool, cozy room within. Beds were made by driving corner posts into the dirt floor. Blackwillow poles, split in two, were nailed closely together to serve as slats on the bed and fresh straw was used for mattresses. Comfortable pillows were made from the fluff of the cattails which were picked from the sloughs. To save space in this little room-of-all purposes, an improvised table was made by laying a large plank on top of the posts of one of the beds.
Two benches made of boards, a shelf cupboard, and a small sheet iron stove with two holes and a tiny oven completed the furnishings. This primitive shelter was quite comfortable. It was pleasantly cool in the heat of summer, and was warm in the winter months when light snow fell, rain drizzled, or ice covered the water ditches".
The first white child born in Panaca was Frank Edwards. His birthday was August 17, 1866. His older brother, William Edwards, was the first white child born in Lincoln County, at Clover Valley, when their parents were first enroute to the Panaca area. They are children of Electa Jane Lee Edwards and George W. Edwards, and the grandchildren of Francis Lee and Jane Vail Johnson.