Notes for John Wesley Lee

The Road to Leetown

Click here for a list of John Wesley Lee's children

NOTES: John Wesley Lee and family

born 1810 KY died after August 1887 .. ?TX?

Much of this work was done by me - Janice Mauldin Castleman - over several years. I am always happy to share my genealogy and hope that if you have additional information - you will share with me too.

Some information on this family came from John B. Wolcott, whose wife Gail is a descendant. In Sept. 1999, while digging through some old family papers, he discovered an obituary and an old genealogy note written by Jessie Murry Garrison. Jessie was John W. Lee's great granddaughter. She wrote all she could remember about her lineage, including the information that John W. Lee was John Wesley Lee and that his father WAS a William Lee. Unfortunately, she didn't include a spouse name for William Lee, so we still don't know WHICH William Lee his father was, but it's a wonderful clue none-the-less. Her note provided many more family names that we didn't have prior to building these webpages. All her new data has now been added to the various John W. Lee ancestor pages.

My grandmother, Eula Doss Mauldin Hirsch said that she was descended from the Lee's of VA (click to see the genealogy of the Lees of VA). Some researchers believe that John W. Lee was the son of William and Sarah (Gold) Lee/Lea. Sarah Gold was William Lee's second wife. From Virginia Vital Records #1 1600-1800 (CD #174), Broderbund, page 332 of "Abstracts of Virginia Wills of Russell Co., VA 1803-1860", and printed in "The VA Magazine of History & Biography - The William & Mary Quarterly & Tylers Quarterly (Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 1993): "LEE, William, 02 Apr 1810; beneficiaries, wife, Sarah, children, Abner (son by former wife), Franky Whiteley, Elizabeth Hobbs, George Joseph Gold, Alvery Lee, Ephraim, other relatives, William Hobbs (grandson), James Lee (brother); exec.: Sarah his wife, Joseph Gold Lee (son); witnesses, Henry Dickenson, SR., James Hobbs, Jr., Jacob Olinger; probated June 5, 1810; page 209.

John W. Lee was born 1810 in KY. From 1850 Greene Co., MO, to 1860 Bosque Co., TX, to 1870 Collin Co., TX, to 1880 Grayson Co., TX - John W. LEE consistently gave the census takers the place of his birth as KENTUCKY. The William Lee of the above will was believed to be about 70 years old when he died in 1810 in Russell Co., VIRGINIA. Sarah was considerably younger, and could have been the mother of John W. Lee. It is certain that some of the children of William and Sarah (Gold) Lee moved to the area near John W. Lee by the mid 1840's in Greene Co., Missouri. To what extent their kinship goes deserves further research. So far, no proof can be found to say that John W. Lee was a son to the William Lee of Russell Co., VA. His supposed mother, Sarah Gold Lee, widowed by 1810 was never in Kentucky, as far as I can determine.

Nothing much is known about Nancy Shelton, the mother of all of John W. Lee's children, from this first marriage (see notes further down regarding children from a 3rd marriage). Nancy was named in Jessie Murry Garrison's notes as the mother of Syl Lee and wife of John Wesley Lee. Besides their marriage date recorded in Butler Co., KY on 12 Mar 1831, there appears to be little information regarding her birth c1808 and her death. She was the daughter of Abednigo and Nancy (Gough) Shelton. Jessie Murry Garrison's note spelled Abednigo's given name as Nebedneg Shelton. One early land record in Butler Co., KY does not mention her, but some of her relatives were mentioned, including her uncle, Jesse Gough, who sold 140 acres to John W. Lee on 21 Jun 1836. Both parties lived in Butler Co., KY at that time. The price for the land was $140. The deed said that the land had been surveyed on the north fork of Sandy Creek on a branch of the Big Muddy Creek, one hundred of the 140 acres was from land obtained by Mark Whitaker in 1798, and patented in the name of Joshua Shelton (brother of Abednigo). Some of the acreage adjoined Thomas Whitaker's land and Abednigo Shelton's land (John W. Lee's father-in-law). Witnesses to the deed were Henry Whitaker and Robert Figg who was married to Sarah Shelton. Mark Whitaker was married to Elizabeth Shelton, both girls were daughters of Abednigo and Nancy (Gough) Shelton.

Early land deeds in Butler Co., KY indicate that a John Lee sold land to John McKenny (supposed father of George W. McKenney who married Rebecca Shelton, another daughter of Abednigo Shelton). George and Rebecca lived next door to John W. Lee and Martha (Shelton) Lee according to the 1850 Greene Co., MO census. The date on this Kentucky deed was 05 Mar 1823. John W. Lee had another deed recorded in Butler County 01 Oct 1836 when he sold land to Mark Whitaker (Book D, page 316).

George Sylvester Lee, my ancestor, and second son of John W. & Nancy Shelton Lee, was born in KY 1835 (Civil War pension papers). His sister Sarah Jane Lee was born c1840 in Missouri, as far as I can determine. So were the rest of John & Nancy's children, so he may have been in MO as early as 1840 - but no certain proof has been found.

John W. Lee lived in Greene Co., MO (according to the 1850 census) just prior to his move to Benton Co., AR. One land record was discovered on-line (Bureau of Land Management) for John W. Lee in Missouri. Land Recrod He purchased 40 acres of land in Webster County 01 Jan 1849, Document #9364, Assission #MO5330_.317, Aliquot Parts: SWNE, Sec/Blk: 22, Twp: 31-n, Range 19-2, 5th Principal Meridan, from the Springfield land office. Here is further documentation on just how early he may have been in Greene County: from "Missouri Miscellany", there is a list of Slave holders in Greene County in 1843:

  • pg. 56 John Lee - 2 - value=$850
  • pg. 57 Abednego Shelton - 3 - value=$1200 (his father-in-law)


    Missouri and Arkansas

    Here are some other interesting Greene Co., MO records of note, the following - from Mo. Pioneers book Vol.9 - Greene County Missouri Curators Bonds 1834-1851 & 1862-1864:

  • *Pg. 64 Lee, James Arnold was appointed guardian of the estate for Mary C., William, Margaret C., Joseph, and George W. Lee. (no additional information) Sec., Joseph Rountree & Thomas Potter, Jr. 3 Feb 1846.
  • *Pg. 64 Lee, Alexander, insane - Jermiah Lee was appointed guardian for Alexander Lee who was reported insane by a jury according to law. Sec., Thomas Britton. 1 Jan 1842.
  • *Pg. 64 Lee, John, decd. - Nancy Lee was appointed guardian for Green A., Benjamin F., Joshua S., Robert R., and Charles P. Lee, minor heirs of John Lee, decd. Sec., Jacob Bodenhamer. 10 Jun 1848. This was NOT our John Wesley LEE, but was he some kin to him?

    Greene County, Missouri Will Book "C" No. 2, Pg. 100 & 101 - John Lee, of Greene County, planter, wrote his will on October 21, 1843 and stated debts were to be paid and he to be buried in the county. Executors named as esteemed friends Jacob Bodenhamer and Spencer Clark. His wife Nancy as to have the two negroes James & Rachel during her widowhood. When she married, property was to be sold and divided equally among the children. Wit: D.W. Buford and Warren Wharton. Pvd. 6 November 1843. { Book C No. 2:25-26}. This man was John M. Lee, according to descendant Clay L. Brown - In 1850 Greene Co., MO, this family was found page 381, house 2014, Jackson Twp., with the widow Nancy head of the house. She was Nancy GOSS, b. c1806 Rowan Co., NC, d. 1861 Greene Co., MO. John M. Lee's probate records listed his children. John M. Lee was born in NC c1808. So far, no kinship has been discovered between my family this John M. Lee's line.

    LDS Microfilm #1034663 Benton Co., AR marriages 1914-1919:

  • LEE, Alva 26yrs of Siloam Springs to Miss Bessie W. Nair 18yrs of same,15 Nov 1914
  • LEE, J. T. 29yrs of Pea Ridge to Edith Blevins 20yrs of same, 4 sept 1915
  • LEE, Mintora 24yrs of Mundell, Carroll Co., AR to James A. Wilhite 38yrs of Picher, Ottowa, OK 14 Apr 1919.
  • LEE, Sarah 24yrs of Pea Ridge to Ralph Prophet 29yrs of Bentonville 31 Mar 1918.
  • LEE, Mrs. Mattie 38yrs to Ben Frrtts? 56yrs both of Rogers 5 Nov 1918.
  • LEE, Lynnette 21yrs to P. H. Dixon 20yrs both of Bentonville 5 Jun 1918.
  • LEE, May 18yrs of Glade to George Bland 23yrs of Larue 01 Oct 1916.

    GREENE CO., MO PROBATE 1834-1871 LDS microfilm #0913002:

  • Alva Lee (from above?) mentioned in letter of admx 14 Sept 1863 for Jefferson Kinser.
  • John R. LEE mentioned in admx letters a couple of times.
  • Will of Samuel LEE Dec 1853, heirs: Mary (wife) and son John A. LEE.


    • LEE, John 2 horses $50, 5 cows $55, also a Henry LEE listed, but no animal tax
    • LEE, Daniel 3 horses $120, 6 cows $115
    • LEE, Robert 1 horse $50, 4 cows $60
    • LEE, Abell 4 horses $200, 4 cows $45
    • LEE, William G. 1 horse $40
    • SHELTON, Gabril N. 3 horses $140, 2 cows $20
    • TAYLOR, Andrew 11 slaves $2075, 3 horses $105, 14 cows $175, 1 mule $30

    • SHELTON, G. N. 1 slave $500, 3 horses $115, 6 cows $60
    • SIMES, Fanny 1 horse $60, 2 cows $20 (widow)
    • SIMES, John G. 1 horse $60

    • LEE, Sarah 1 horse $25, 4 cows $30
    • LEE, U. D. no slaves or animals
    • LEE, Alva 1 horse $25
    • LEE, Alexander 1 cow $10
    • LEE, Samuel 2 horses $60, 9 cows $108
    • LEE, Obadiah 1 horse $15, 3 cows $20
    • LEE, Charles 1 horse $10, 1 cow $8
    • LEE, Jane 2 horses $35, 2 cows $12
    • LEE, John 2 horses $60, 4 cows $36
    • LEE, John 2 slaves $850, 2 horses $80, 5 cows $45, 1 timepiece, 5 mules $30
    • SIMS, Zachariah 1 horse $8, 1 cow $5
    • SIMS, John M. 1 horse $10
    • SIMS, B. G. 1 slave $200, 2 horses $50, 6 cows $54
    • SHELTON, Abednego 3 slaves $1200, 2 horses $40, 2 cows $20

    Shelley Lee, sent an Email from (Linda May McLeod) regarding the following: Samuel Lee b 31 Jul 1800 NC, d 22 Nov 1852 Greene Co MO, m Mary Hackney 25 Aug 1823 (b 21 Sep 1805 TN-21 Jan 1880 Greene Co MO). Children:

  • 1. Elizabeth Jane Lee
  • 2. John Austin Lee b 5 May 1825 TN, d 31 Jan 1870 Lawrence Co MO, m Elizabeth Rinehart Bruton 29 Apr 1851
  • 3. Ismael Lee
  • 4. George Rogers Lee
  • 5. Samuel Winters Lee
  • 6. Hannah Lee
  • 7. Charlotte Emily Lee
  • 8. Mary Ann Lee
  • 9. Charles Thornton Lee
  • 10. Susannah Malarin Lee
  • 11. Louise Malniva Lee

    INDEX to DEED BOOKS, Benton Co., Arkansas (from micro-fitch at the courthouse):

      LEE, John W. & wife to ELGIN, Wm. A., Deed, Jan. 31, 1852, B, 266
      LEE, Isaac & wife to BROWN, Darling, Deed, Nov. 27, 1852, B, ?
      LEE, John W. & wife to FORD, J. L., Deed, Oct. 24, 1854, B, 595
      LEE, Jesse V. to FORD, Jefferson G., Deed, Mar. 20, 1854, C, 51 or 61
      MARTIN, Wm. & wife to LEE, G. S., Deed, Jan. 17, 1856, C, 373
      LEE, John W. & wife, to FORD, J. G., Deed, March 29, 1856, D, 9
      LEE, John W. & wife, to FREEMAN, Hannah, Deed, Aug. 8, 1856, D, 58
      LEE, J. W. to STRONG, G. & M. Orbrison, Deed, Dec. 4, 1856, D, 116
      LEE, John W. to FORD, Jefferson G., a Negro, Feb. 6, 1857, D, 133
      LEE, John W. & wife to SHELTON, Elizabeth, Bond, March 9, 1857, D, 150
      LEE, Elijah & wife to MILLER, William, Deed, Sept. 15, 1857, D, 24? (faded)
      LEE, Elijah & wife to BORDEN, William, Deed, Nov. 14, 1857, D, 24? (faded)
      LEE, John W. & wife to CAVINESS, Thos. & Joshua BRATCHER, Deed, Nov. 25, 1857, D, 291
      HICKMAN, James & wife to LEE, Charlotte, Deed, Jul 4, 1858, G, 314
      LEE, John W. to ORBISON, Samuel, Deed, Nov 6, 1858, D, 507
      LEE, John W. to LEE, G. S., Bond for Title, Nov. 31, 1858, D, 517
      ORBISON, Sam & wife to LEE, G. S., Deed, Oct. 31, 1859, E, 83
      LEE, Martha et al to FOSTER, Wiley, Deed, Jan 24, 1860, D, 140?
      LEE, J. V. & wife to MAYFIELD, S. H., deed, April 11, 1860, E, 228
      LEE, Martha, et al, to Pea Ridge Lodge, deed, June 26, 1860, E, 275
      FORD, Jefferson & wife to LEE, George S., Deed, July 10, 1860, E, 281
      LEE, Martha, et al, to MAYFIELD, S. H., deed, July 10, 1860, E, 286
      LEE, Martha, et al, to MAYFIELD, S. H., deed, July 12, 1860, E 282
      HOWARD, W. J. to LEE, J. V., Deed, Oct. 22, 1866, F, 168
      LEE, G. S. & wife to RATLIFF, J., Deed, Nov. 12, 1867, F, 543
      LEE, Martha, et al to MAYFIELD, G. H., Deed, Sept. 22, 1868, G, 397
      ARNOLD, E. P. & wife to LEE, Lucinda J., Deed, Dec. 14, 1868, G, 472
      LEE, G. S. to KANTZ, L. L., Deed, Nov 23, 1869, H, 90
      LEE, J. V. to BERRY, J. H., Deed, Jan 16, 1870, H, 149
      LEE, J. A. to PERKINS, J. A., Deed, Sept. 2, 1870, H, 414
      LEE, J. A. to ARNOLD, E. P., Deed, Nov. 16, 1870, H, 5?? (faded)
      LEE, G. S. to COOK, Isaac, Deed, March 16, 1871, H, 792
      HOWARD, Samuel A. to LEE, J. V., Deed, Mar. 31, 1871, I, 21
      CHANDLER, David & Elizabeth to LEE, G. S., Deed, Feb. 6, 1872, I, 340
      LEE, G. S. to HORVESTOW, M., Deed, Feb. 10, 1872, I, 358
      PERRY, J. R., Auditor to LEE, G. S., Deed, Mar. 26, 1873, J, 55

    The following information was gathered in an article written by Lois Snelling and printed in the Bentonville Pioneer Vol. 5 #6.
    Stagecoach Road LEETOWN was a thriving little village at the time of the outbreak of the Civil War. It was organized soon after John W. Lee came to Arkansas in the mid 1840's, and it was one of the earliest settlements in Benton County. If you drive the road lying between Hwy 62 and 94 you will know you are on the "Leetown Road". Lee (a cousin of Robert E. Lee, claims the author of this article) and his wife, Martha, homesteaded land in the area lying between Little Sugar Creek and the mountain range of Pea Ridge, a tract which included the site of the future village and part of the ground on which the Battle of Pea Ridge would be fought. It also included the small creek that bore the name of Lee and a fine spring that was to supply water for the villagers. Descendants of those pioneers remember stories of how the women would gather at the spring to do their family wash and visit with each other while they worked. On the north edge of the village site John W. Lee built a two-story house of five or six rooms, as a home for his large family. He also erected a building for the store which he operated. Besides these two buildings there were other residences, another store in addition to Lee's, a blacksmith shop, a tannery on the creek, a church and a school. A Masonic Lodge hall was built in 1857 after the Lee family sold a half acre of land to the Pea Ridge Lodge 119. This was the earliest Lodge in the county. Within sight of the Lee house there is today (unknown when article was written) a small burial plot that belonged to the village and which will be preserved in the park plans, according to Superintendent John Willett. Ford's Cemetery near Elkhorn Tavern will also be retained, these two being the only burial grounds within the park area. In the Leetown plot there is pathetic evidence of four or five graves, but if there were ever more than this no trace was left of them. All of the native stone markers are small and scattered except one and this one alone bares an engraving "Robert Braden who was born Feb. 14, 1864, died Feb 5, 1866". The battle of Pea Ridge was divided into two sections - at least for the men who fought them. Early records often referred to the conflict as the Battle of Leetown and the Battle of Elkhorn Tavern. Historians later combined the two as the Battle of Pea Ridge. The name Pea Ridge comes from the long craggy ridge that lay to the north of the battleground. The belt of hills had been called Pea Vine Ridge or Pea Ridge by the early settlers who found the slopes covered with a growth of wild pea vines. The Battle of Leetown began on March 7, 1862. The village inhabitants had mostly fled and all of the town was burned except the Lee house, which was used as a hospital, Elkhorn Tavern, and Pratt's Store on Telegraph Road. A long trench was dug a short distance away and the dead were layed there. The bodies were later removed to cemeteries in Fayetteville and Springfield, MO. There were numerous soldiers named Lee in this battle and in battles yet to be fought - sons and grandsons of John W. Lee. In the vicinity of the vanished village which John W. Lee founded, and in other parts of Benton County, the Lee descendants still live. Many of the oldest families whose names are best known for their participation in county affairs are related to John W. Lee, either by marriage or direct descent. Probably one of the most familiar names is that of Wade Sikes, who married one of John W. Lee's daughters.

    In "Sheltons of England and America" by Mildred Whitaker (copyright 1941-Dallas Public Library), page 197 (footnote) gives information on a SHELTON cousin wounded at Pea Ridge. He was Dr. Charles Oscar Shelton, son of John Gilmore Shelton of St. Louis, MO. Dr. Shelton was taken to New Orleans, but died at the home of a cousin, the wife of Major Tarleton, of the Confederate Army. John Gilmore Shelton was the son of Lt. Jesse Shelton and his wife Florinda Ball (dau. of Col. William and Catherine Ball). This William Ball was the son of another William Ball who married (2) Lettice LEE, dau. of Col. Henry Lee of "Lee Hall" Westmoreland Co., VA.

    More evidence regarding my LEE family was located in the LDS microfilm #1035159, "Benton Co., AR Court Records Vol. A-B 1843-1882". Chancery Court Records indicate that John W. Lee was indeed married twice, and evidence points to both of his wives being daughters of Abednigo Shelton and Nancy Ann Gough of Butler Co., KY. The Butler Co., KY marriage records indicate that John W. Lee married Nancy Shelton in 1831. Martha Lee (Nancy Shelton Lee's sister) filed for divorce (due to her husband's open adultry with another woman). These court papers indicated Martha A. Shelton had married John W. Lee in 1845 in Missouri. Originally, I had believed the Butler Co., KY marriage records were in error, since all the records I had gathered on John W. Lee indicated his wife's name was Martha A. (Shelton) Lee. Further research has determined that his two wives were indeed sisters. John's first wife, Nancy Shelton, must have died c1844 shortly after the birth of her last child, Antha Lee. Because John W. Lee would have needed a wife to take care of his small children, he may have married the sister, Martha A. Shelton, who would have been about 40 years of age in 1845. Martha Shelton appeared to have been a spinster sister.

    The wife of Enoch Trott, Mary (Polly), who I believe was unfairly named in the divorce records, supposedly ran off with the husband of Martha A. (Shelton) Lee in 1857, wasn't even a widow until Oct. 1860 when her husband Enoch Trott died of typhoid fever at age 58 (1860 AR Mortally Book). They are listed on the 1850 Benton Co., Census, page 82, Sugar Creek (Pea Ridge). The census date was Dec. 2, 1850, and they were living in house 504-504. Enoch Trott was 50 years old, born in NC and Polly (Mary) is 46 years old. There were two children living with the Trott's, Sally McNeal 14 years old and James Smily (?) 10 years, born MO. Neighbors in house 506-506 are J. T. and Polly FORD and their 1 year old son Wm. F. Ford (these people were Jefferson Tilton Ford & Polly Ruddick). Mr. Trott owned a dram shop (tavern) in 1840 in the area that became Brightwater. His sister was believed to be Lou Vicie Trott, born c1812 in NC. She married a Mr. NcNeil, who died, but they had a daughter, Sarah (Salley) McNeil, born 03 Apr 1832 TN who married Benjamin Cephas. Lou married (2) Ebenezer Reddick 10 Oct 1841. Lou and Ebenezer Reddick had several children, one being George W. Reddick who married Nancy J. Ford and Macy A. Ford (John W. Lee's granddaughters).

    Enoch Trott also owned a grocery store and post office (area called Trott's Mill) in 1857. The Benton County History Book says this area was a stop for the cowboys who drove longhorn cattle from South Texas to Sedalia, MO to the railroad stop. One other record for Enoch Trott shows his estate was probated in 1866, so maybe his widow did return and take care of it, or the court finally settled the issue. However, in 1860 George Sylvester Lee went to court and named Mary Trott and his father, John W. Lee (who ran off together) as the cause of the estate of Abednigo Shelton and Enoch Trott (both died c1860) to not be settled due to their absence from the state of Arkansas. George Sylvester Lee's sister, Mary Elizabeth Lee, had married into the FORD family, when she married c1857 John Henry Jackson Ford and Nancy J. Ford b. 22 Nov 1858 was their daughter. She married George Washington Reddick mentioned above. The naming of the Trott family in these court papers appear to me to be in error, as you will see below.

    Indeed, new evidence was located in the Family History Center, Salt Lake City, April 2005, on Film #1035159 page 77. Recorded several pages prior to the one charge of adultry, in the Benton Co., AR Court Records, Sept 14, 1860, G. S. Lee went before the Benton Co., AR court and Mary Trott was released from all libility & responsibility in the cause of divorce. So Mary Trott was NOT the woman John W. Lee had "lived in open adultry with", and finding this piece of the puzzle makes me even more certain that it was Hannah E. Freeman, who began the affair with John W. Lee and had her first child with him in 1857. Read more on this second family of John W. Lee further down this page.

    Several deeds were found in the Benton County Courthouse for John W. Lee and his wife Martha (Shelton) Lee, the earliest being recorded January 31, 1852. By 1860 Martha Lee and et al indicated that John W. Lee might have been deceased by 1860 (now known to be incorrect), and the last deed record found on John W. Lee was dated November 31, 1858 where John W. Lee entered a Bond for Title record to his son George S. Lee. Martha Lee et al sold land to the Pea Ridge Lodge in a deed dated June 26, 1860. However, the filed Chancery Court Records of Benton Co., AR., indicate that John W. Lee ran off with the widow of Enoch Trott. Mary Trott and John W. Lee are named in several documents prior to 1860 which indicate they had both left the state of Arkansas. Martha A. Lee filed for divorce as evidenced in several of these documents. She said in one paper that John W. Lee had been living in "open adultry" with another woman. None of the previously printed articles quoted here gave any indication of the family split which evidently occured just prior to 1860. John W. Lee did "run-off" with another woman - but more on her below.

    Mr. & Mrs. Robert E. Lee From "The History of Benton County" by J. Dickson Black found in the Bentonville Public Library page 180-181, the following information was found in an article about Leetown. Leetown, (this article claimed) holds the honor of having been the only town in the county that was killed by the Civil War. Leetown was founded by John W. Lee, a first cousin of Gen. Robert E. Lee (most likely, this is in error since no "1st cousin" connection can be found, however, if you click on Gen. Lee's name, it will take you to an off-site webpage with his pedigree), and he came to Benton County in the 1840's. He and his wife Martha homesteaded a large acreage. Mr. Lee was a businessman as well as a farmer, and in a short time after his arrival he opened a general store. Soon a small town sprung up around his store. At the beginning of the Civil War, Leetown was considered one of the leading small towns in the county. Page 182 states that Martha AND John stayed in the town at the start of the Battle of Pea Ridge (10:30am March 7, 1862), but this was not correct. Generals McCulloch and Pike arrived near Leetown and the Union Army attacked soon after that. Before the battle started Martha Lee brought her horse, a magnificent black animal, into the kitchen of her home. She could not think of letting this horse get hurt in the battle if she could help it. The Lees lived in the kitchen of their home while the Union Army used the rest of the house as a hospital. Look for more information on the battle at Pea Ridge on my Civil War pictures page.

    An interesting item regarding President George Washington: Martha DANDRIDGE b.1731 d. 1802, was the wife of George Washington, b. New Kent Co., Va. The daughter of John Dandridge and Frances Jones Dandridge, she first married (1749) Daniel Parke CUSTIS. She bore him four children, but the first two died in childhood. Custis himself died in July, 1757, leaving Martha one of the wealthiest women in Virginia. George Washington first met her in March 1758, lost no time in proposing, and was just as quickly accepted. They were married in Jan., 1759, and Washington took Martha and her family, John Parke Custis (d. 1781) and Martha Parke Custis (d. 1773), to his Mount Vernon estate. They had no children of their own, but John Parke Custis had four, and after John's death Washington adopted the youngest two, Eleanor Parke Custis and George Washington Parke Custis, whose daughter married Robert E. Lee. (From biographies by A. H. Wharton 1897, repr. 1967, A. C. Desmond 1942, and E. Thane 1960.) Click here for a virtual tour of Robert E. Lee's home in VA. I have found a connection to George Washington for those interested in my HAYS line. George Sylvester Lee, son of John W. & Nancy Shelton Lee, married Martha Rushing Heath. Their daughter, Nancy Ann Elizabeth Lee, married John Martin Murry, son of Lemuel Gilsen Murry and Rebecca W. Hays. Rebecca was a child of John W. Hays & Lydia Sims who had married in Jefferson Co., TN June 07, 1813. John W. Hays was the son of James Hays & Elizabeth Clayton, who was the 2nd cousin, once removed, to President George Washington.

    Ford Cemetery inside Civil War Park The land which once belonged to John W. Lee and his little town of Leetown now belongs to the National Park Service. There is a 4,300 acre park, a Civil War Battlefield, at Pea Ridge which emcompassed the remains of the town, and the old cemeteries. Today, the park does not maintain these old grave sites and unless you know to ask about them, you would never know they are there. There are several unmarked grave sites where Leetown once stood. The Ford Cemetery is also inside the park grounds, unkept, with tall weeds and many broken stones. This picture was taken at the entrance to the little Ford Cemetery. However, the military park is beautiful, well maintained and the history is well preserved of the battle. Those times the Lees and others in our family lived in Leetown - they must have suffered horribly during those days of Civil War.

    Floral Wreath

    NOTES FOR MARTHA A. (Shelton) LEE: she was probably born c1805 in KY to Abednigo Shelton and his wife Nancy A. Gough, and probably died in Benton Co., AR. No other dates are known at this time. A Butler Co., KY land deed entered 15 Sept 1841 between Abednigo & Elizabeth Shelton to Martha Shelton, selling an exact tract of land entered by Certificate #3443 by Jeremiah Shelton, indicates that Martha was still a single woman in 1841. The sale price on this land was $300, however, no indication of the relationship between Abednigo & Martha Shelton was stated in the deed. Abednigo broke even on the deal, as his purchase of the land in 1840 was for $300. Martha Shelton was to become the second wife of John W. Lee. She married him in Missouri in 1845 (a fact she gave in Chancery Court records when she filed for divorce from John W. Lee). Just lately (April 10, 2000), a marriage record was located on Heritage Quest's CD for US Marriage Record Indexes 1691-1850. The record shows the marriage of John Wesley (more proof of his middle name) LEE and Martha SHELTON in Benton Co., MO on 02 Jul 1845. Martha was an older sister of Nancy Shelton who married John W. Lee in Butler Co., KY., in 1831. Nancy Shelton was the mother of all of the LEE children. The deed below names Martha A. Lee as Martha SHELTON and papers filed in Benton County Chancery Court indicate that Martha Lee and John W. Lee's children with Nancy Shelton were related (as heirs) to Abednigo Shelton who died c1859.

    From the earliest Benton Co., AR courthouse Deed book, page 69: Know all men by these presents (sic) that we Abednigo Shelton and Elizabeth Shelton his wife, of the County of Benton and State of AR, for and in consideration of the sum of One hundred & fifty dollars to us in hand paid by Martha Shelton now Martha Lee and John W. Lee of the County of Green (sic) and State of Missouri do give, sell, bargain, grant and convey unto the said Martha Lee and John W. Lee their heirs the following described tracts or parcels of land situate (sic) in the County of Benton and State of AR described as follows (80 acres in one section and 39 acres in another section described). To have and to hold the aforegranted premises unto the said Martha Lee and John W. Lee their heirs and assigns forever and we the said Abednigo Shelton and Elizabeth Shelton his wife do hereby warrant and forever defend the title to the aforesaid tracts or parcels of land from ourselves our heirs our legal representatives unto the said Martha Lee and John W. Lee their heirs and legal representatives forever, in testimony whereof we the said Abednigo Shelton and Elizabeth Shelton his wife have hereunto set our hands and seals (using scroles for seals) this third day of September A. D. 1850. Signed Sealed and delivered in the presence of us: Jaspar Dunagan and Henry Miser. Signed by Abednigo Shelton (L.S.) and Elizabeth Shelton (L.S.)

    The small amount paid for this much land might also be an indication of close kinship between these parties.

    Deed Book A, Benton County, AR courthouse - Know all men by these present that I John W. Lee and Martha Lee his wife of the County of Benton State of AR are held and firmly bound unto Elizabeth Shelton of the same County and State in the sum of one thousand dollars of lawfull money of the United States to be paid to the said Elizabeth Shelton hur (sic) executors adminstrators or assigns for which payment to be well and truly maid (sic) we bind ourselves our heirs Executors and adminstrators and every one of them firmly by these presents sealed with our seals and dated this twenty ninth Aprile (sic) one thousand Eight hundred and fifthy six. Signed John W. Lee.

    The condition of this obligation is as follows (copied exactly from the book in the Benton County courthouse-apparently hand written by one of the parties involved): that the above bound John W. Lee and Martha Lee his wife there (sic) heirs executors and adminstrators shall in all things well and truly stand to abide perform and keep the obligations of this agreement first that we agree to furnish the said Elizabeth Shelton a good confortable cabbin (sic), near where the said John W. Lee now lives and keep said cabin in comfortable repair and also to furnish the said Elizabeth Shelton a lot and gardin (sic) and also to keep said lot and gardin (sic) in good repair and that she shall have free access to the spring lying south west of the house that said J. W. Lee now lives at and also that the said Elizabeth Shelton shall have peaseable (sic) posstion (sic) of said place during hur (sic) natural life or hur (sic) widowhud (sic) and we agree also to furnish the said Elizabeth Shelton fuel for hur (sic) own use during hur (sic) life or widowhood we further agree that the said Elizabeth Shelton shall have the full controle (sic) of a Negro Girl named Sarah aged about nine years said Negro girl is to serve said Elizabeth Shelton in the capasity (sic) of a Slave and the said Elizabeth Shelton is not to hier (sic) out to any one nor to sell said girl and at the death or maradgue (sic) of said Elizabeth Shelton said negrow (sic) girl Sarah is to go to the said John W. Lee and his wife Martha Lee there (sic) heirs executors and adminstrators (sic) and also that the said Elizabeth Shelton shall not have power to remove said Negro girl Sarah out of the County of Benton without the consent of said John W. Lee and Martha Lee his wife. Now if the said John W. Lee and Martha Lee shall well and truly keep the above obligation this agreement shall be null and void otherwise to remain in full force and effect. Witness: T. W. Miser, S. A. McReney, Joshua Daughorty. Signed John W. Lee (Seal) Martha Lee (Seal). Filed for Record this 9th day of March A. D. 1857 and recorded same day. We now know that John W. Lee did not honor this contract with his step-mother-in-law, at all, and she was forced to return to Butler Co., KY by 1860, where she was found on the census there living with her brother and his family.

    There is a probate record, dated 1860, for a deceased Abednigo Shelton in Probate Book A., page 54 which was nowhere to be found at the Benton Co., AR courthouse. The book was missing from the courthouse files. The lady helping us there was unsure of it's whereabouts, thought maybe it was out for repairs or in a box somewhere. The date of the probate was just listed as 1860 in an indexed book "Benton Co., Will Book (index to)" by Mrs. J. H. Stevenson. Chancery Court records in Benton Co., AR (LDS microfilm #1035159) indicate that Martha Lee (by her next friend J. V. Lee) sued John W. Lee for divorce because he abandoned her to "openly live in adultry" with another woman. This was filed in 1859, and she also claimed that a gift of deed from her mother and father remained undisposed of (description given but difficult to read on a badly copied microfilm) in Range 29, Township 21 and Township 20. She wanted the court to grant her all the rights and privileges of a single unmarried woman so that she would have the ability to depose of said land. John W. Lee had apparently failed to answer a subpoena to come to court in order to answer the divorce issue. The court ordered this issue to be published in "The Northwest Appeal" newspaper for several weeks to satisfy the need to notify John W. Lee of this action against him. In the 1860 AR census records, Martha lives with her step-son, Syl LEE (my ancestor), in house #25, page 354, PO Pea Ridge, Benton Co., AR. Martha was 58 years old b. KY and Syl's brother John Lee 18, a clerk, and his sister Antha 16 also live with them. The birth place of John and Antha was difficult to read, but may be Missouri. Other census data shows these children were born in KY. Syl and Martha's children listed were Nancy 4 years b. AR and Burrell 1 year old b. AR.

    From these same above mentioned court records, John W. Lee's son George S. Lee filed a case in Chancery Court against Mary Trott asking the court to grant an alias subpoena in an order of publication against John W. Lee. George S. Lee told the court that no service of the process and bill of the divorce issue has been answered. He wanted an alias subpoena filed because John W. Lee was no longer a resident of the state of Arkansas and nothing could be settled in regards to the estate of Abednigo Shelton, deceased, between his heirs at law. The court did issue the subpoena ordering John W. Lee to appear in court on the 7th Monday after the 4th Monday in August 1860 to plead his answers or the court would take pro confesso against him. This was also ordered to be published in the newspaper called "Arkansian" for two weeks and at least 4 weeks before the 1st day of the next term of court.

    Deed records show that Martha Lee and her step-son George S. Lee sold the family house at Lee Town to S. H. Mayfield dated Sept. 22, 1858, Book G, page 397. S. H. Mayfield was married to Martha E. Rice (daughter of Charles W. Rice and his first wife first wife Eliza Haley). The deed recorded May 8, 1860 shows indenture made between these parties in the consideration of the sum of $1400 in hand paid. The tract was to wit: the west half of the SW quarter in Section 34 in Twp 21N of range 29W, also the NE quarter of the NE quarter of the NW quarter in Section 3 Twp 20 range 39 which includes 1/3 of the spring. This was part of Martha R. Lee's dower. So, apparantly, the court did indeed grant her "single woman" status. Interesting is a marriage record of John A. Mayfield to Laura C. S. McKinney in Butler Co., KY 14 Jan 1846. George and Rebecca Shelton (who most likely was Nancy and Martha A. Lee's sister) live next to John W. and Martha A. Lee in Greene Co., MO according to the 1850 census, in neighboring houses #973 and #972. Charles W. Rice's second wife was Julia Cobb of SC and one of their children, Miller Berry Rice b. 18 Mar 1849 married Salley Lee 01 Aug 1878.

    The Benton County Pioneer, Vol. 3 #2, page 26 has Land Transfers 1846-1853, from Book B, Benton County Circuit Court Records - Abednig (sic) and Elizabeth SHELTON to Martha A. SHELTON Lee and John W. Lee, near Pea Ridge. In looking at the Deed books in the Benton County courthouse, there is a record of land being sold to Elizabeth Shelton by John W. Lee and wife, recorded in Book D, page 150, dated March 9, 1857. John W. Lee's neighbors in 1850 Greene Co., MO, were George McKinney 46 Ky and Rebecca (Shelton) b. KY, son Shelton A. 18 b. KY, Jesse 17 b. KY, Bedford M. 13 b. KY, William M. 3 b. MO. George McKinney married Rebecca Shelton in Butler Co., KY 07 Feb 1826. Rebecca was the daughter of Rev. Abednigo and Nancy Ann (Gough) Shelton who married in Logan Co., KY 18 May 1801 (this according to WFT Vol. 9 #3184).

    Here is the 1840 Butler Co., KY census taken off the KY section of USGenWeb with the actual count from the census listed in parenthesis for some of those listed:

  • LEE, Benjamin P., page 389 (111001 & 1f 10/15 & 1f 30/40) -
  • LEE, David C., p. 387 (10001 & no females) - owned 4 slaves (1841 Tax List)
  • LEE, Edmond P., p. 389 (1m 20/30) - owned 6 slaves (1841 Tax List)
  • LEE, George A., p. 389 (10002 & 1f 20/30 & 1f 70/80)
  • LEE, George M., p. 392 (00111001 & 1f 15/20 & 2f 20/30)
  • LEE, John P., p. 389 (10001 01001) - owned 1 slave (1841 Tax List)
  • LEE, William M., p. 392 (1m 20/30 & 1f 20/30) - owned 5 slaves (1841 Tax List)
  • LEE, John P., p. 389 (10001 01001)
  • MCKINNEY, William, p. 399 (00111001 - 01010001)
  • MCKENNEY, Archibald, p. 394 (1m 15/20, 1m 50/60 - 1f 10/15, 1f 10/20 & 1f 40/50, next door neighbor to Abednigo)
  • MCKINNEY, David, p. 393
  • MCKINNEY, Edward, p. 395 (1m 20/30)
  • MCKINNEY, George, p. 394 (120001 - 122001)
  • MCKINNEY, Harbard, p. 399
  • MCKINNEY, Harrison, p. 388
  • MCKINNEY, James, p. 389
  • MCKINNEY, John, p. 393
  • MCKINNEY, Michael, p. 392 (111101 - 110001)
  • MCKINNEY, William C., p. 395 (1m 20/30 & 1f 15/20)
  • SHELTON, Bednigo (sic), p. 394 (1m 60/70 & 1f 30/40). This female was Martha A. Shelton, his daughter who was born c1805, who would be about 35 years old in 1840. Abednigo doesn't marry Elizabeth Doolin until Dec. 15, 1840. It is unknown what month this 1840 census was taken).
  • WHITAKER, Mark H., p. 395 (10001 - 01001)
  • WHITAKER, Mark, p. 394 (1m 50/60 & 1m 90/100 - 1f 15/20)
  • TAYLOR, Mark, p. 394 (110001 - 100001001)
  • DOOLIN, George, p. 395 (10001 - 1f 15/20)

    (Date: 16 Sept 1998) We have not yet located John W. and Nancy (Shelton) Lee on the 1840 census. He does not show to be on the 1840-41-42-43 Tax lists in Butler Co., KY. Anyone with information on this line, please contact me at We know he and family were listed in Greene Co., MO for the 1850 census, as stated above. After discovering the divorce issue, I found him on the 1860 Texas census. Now we know that John W. Lee, during his divorce proceedings, traveled to Texas (possibly through Missouri) after leaving Benton County, Arkansas just prior to 1860. I am still researching and seeking information on John Wesley Lee's third family. New information was found at the Dallas Library, including the Texas census records:

    This is new information, as of June 2003, so see what you think about it. Please write to me, especially my LEE cousins and those interested in the FREEMAN/FORD families of Benton Co., AR. If we all work together on this new information, maybe we'll find the correct connections. More clues will be posted as found.

    We know that John W. Lee was divorced by 1859 and "lived in open adultry" in 1857. Did he remarry to a woman named Hannah E. FREEMAN? The FREEMAN name has been mentioned in regards to John W. Lee previously. Below you will see two new census entries, 1850 and 1860. I hope to have more data soon, but for now, here's what I show:

  • 1850 Sugar Creek Twp., Benton Co., AR, page 84B, family #529
    Joseph FREEMAN 31 b. AR, farmer, $600
    Eliza H. Freeman 27 b. TN (I feel certain this is Hannah E. Lee on later census)
    Sarah E. Freeman 16 AR
    Joana Freeman 8 AR
    Mary A. Freeman 4 AR (the same person as the 14 year old on the 1860 Bosque Co., TX census)
    Jefferson T. 2 AR (I believe this was Jefferson Tilton).
    The FREEMAN family were neighbors to Richard & Isabell FORD in house #532, and other connected FORD families. As you will see below, Isabel and others in her family traveled to Bosque Co., TX with John W. Lee, according to the 1860 census.

  • Recorded Aug. 8, 1856, Benton Co., AR Deed Book D, page 58 - John W. Lee & wife sold to Hannah FREEMAN (both parties of Benton Co., AR), 40 acres of land for $300. The land was in Benton Co., AR: the NW quarter of the southwest quarter of section #34 in Township #21 north of range #29W. Signed July 5, 1856 by John W. Lee & Martha Lee.

  • Recorded Aug. 8, 1857, Benton Co., AR Deed Book D, page 239 - Hannah FREEMAN sold to Jefferson T. Ford (both of Benton Co., AR), 40 acres of land for $300. The land was in Benton Co., AR, the very same as shown above: the NW quarter of the southwest quarter of section #34 in Township #21 north of range #29W. Attest: Alford Vandagriff & Samuel Ruddick, and signed with her mark by Hannah Freeman. George W. Ford, J.P., gave testimony that Hannah Freeman was well known to him and verified the transaction. One of Joseph & Elva Hannah Freeman's children was named Jefferson Tilton Freeman and he married Cynthia Catherine Ford, daughter of William Calhoun Ford & Matilda Gentry.

    The name Elva Hannah Freeman was given to me during an Oct. 31, 2004 telephone conversation by Mary Alice Clement, wife of Thomas Hulen Brumfield. Mary's husband is a descendant of Mary Ann Freeman and Abner Lorenzo FORD. She has spent many years researching her and her husband's genealogy. Mary told me that Elva Hannah Freeman was thought to be a TINNER/TYNER/TINER, but she had never found any proof of this. She added that Joseph FREEMAN, Elva Hannah's husband, was a brother of J. S. Freeman (from the 1840-50-60 Benton Co., AR census). She had seen some data indicating these men were orphans who came to Arkansas from Kentucky, but she had no proof for this. Mary did know, and had copies of proof, regarding J. S. Freeman's wife being a Native American. There children were listed as Indian on the census for AR and Indian Territory in 1900. I have more on this line if you need it - just write to me at and I'll gladly share. J. S. Freeman appears to be the same as Jackson S. Freeman in several Benton Co., AR deeds.

    My thoughts regarding the third wife of John Wesley Lee - he began an affair with the widow of Joseph Freeman in Benton Co., AR around 1856 or 1857. She was called Elva H. Freeman ont he 1850 Benton county census, listed as 27 years old, born Tennessee. After she and John W. Lee ran off to Texas together, she was thereafter called Hannah E. Lee, in census and deed records.

  • 1860 Bosque Co., TX census, page 37 in Clifton, but only initials were used:
    1860, family #81 J. W. Lee, 49, farmer, b. KY
    H. E. Lee, 39 b. TN (I think this is the Elva H. Freeman shown above, whose name from 1860 on was shown as Hannah E. Lee)
    H. L. D. Lee (female) 3 b. AR (Dilla Lee)
    N. F. L. C. Lee (female) 1 b. AR (Nancy Lee)
    Mary A. FREEMAN 14 b. AR (I believe this is the 4 year old on the 1850 Benton Co., AR census. IGI records show that she married Abner Lorenzo FORD May 28, 1865 in Grayson Co., TX. His parents were reportedly George Tennessee Ford d. June 24, 1892 Benton Co., AR and Jane Baxter Middleton d. June 29, 1894 Benton Co., AR.) She was living with her mother and new step-father, John Wesley Lee and her new half-sisters.
    Family #80 in 1860 Clifton, Bosque, page 37:
    E. S. FORD 27 farmer $600 b. TN (Evan/Iven S. Ford, Isabell Logan Ford's son)
    Weste(?) FORD, a female 20 b. AR (this is Vesta HURD, wife of Iven S. FORD)
    M. C. FORD, a female 3 b. AR (Malinda, child of above couple)
    Nancy J. FORD, 29 TN (Isabel's dau., later married Thomas R. MARSHALL)
    Isabel FORD, 60 b. NC (Isabella LOGAN, widow of Richard FORD of Benton Co., AR who died in the 1850s Benton Co., AR)
    J. H. FORD, a male, 25 b. AR (John Henry "Jackson" Ford)
    M. E. FORD, a female, 22 b. KY (this is John W. Lee's daughter Mary Elizabeth LEE b. 1843 KY who married John Henry Jackson Ford b. June 27, 1835 Benton Co., AR, & their daughters below)
    Nancy J. FORD, 3 AR
    James R. FORD, 1 AR
    This FORD family comes from Sugar Creek, Benton Co., AR. and were located on page 84B - near neighbors to Joseph FREEMAN in 1850. Richard FORD shown as head of household #532, 52 years old, b. NC, farmer, Isabella 53 SC (notice the 1860 Bosque Co., TX census says her birth location was North Carolina), George W. 21 TN, Jonas 20 TN, Evins T. 18 TN, Jackson 15 AR, Nancy 20 TN. Now we have pretty good proof that the J. W. LEE on the 1860 Bosque Co., TX census WAS our John Wesley LEE.

    So....when did John Wesley Lee remarry, or join together with the wife of Joseph Freeman? Joseph is not found in 1860...did he die? Since Hannah E. Freeman was buying and selling land on her own in 1856 and 1857 Benton Co., AR, it appears she must have been a widow, but I have no death information for Joseph Freeman. It appears that John W. Lee & Hannah Freeman had a child together by 1857 - a girl named H. L. Dilla Lee b. c1857 AR. Why did John W. Lee and the FORD family members move to Bosque Co., TX? There are no other LEE families there. Hannah was Hannah E. Lee, we know from a deed record in Grayson Co., TX. What was her maiden name? Was she originally a FORD? She was born in TN, as were many of the Benton Co., Arkansas FORD people. Mary Counts Brumfield said she was Elva Hannah (possibly) ?TINER? FREEMAN, but this is yet to be confirmed.

    Interesting to note is the following query:
    GenForum query posted at the FREEMAN surname board by Ray Pyeatt, July 2001: "Looking for ancestors of Tifford Jefferson Freeman, b. 28 Apr 1846 in Benton County Arkansas. Married Cynthia Catherine Ford in Grayson, TX on 13 Feb 1870, d. 12 Feb 1934 in Ranger, Eastland County, TX. Children include Earl, John, William, Elizabeth, Mary, Hanna, Lou Kate and Joseph. Any help or ideas appreciated. Tifford was my wife's great-grandfather. Thanks! Ray" I have had no response so far from replying to Ray, but he posted more than two years ago. I believe Cynthia was a child to William Calhoun Ford & Matilda Gentry, and that Tifford Jefferson FREEMAN is the child listed on the 1850 Sugar Creek Twp., Benton Co., AR census as Jefferson T. FREEMAN 2 b. AR, son of Joseph & Elva H. (Hannah E.) FREEMAN. (End of new data - June 2003)

  • 1870 Collin Co., TX, house 329-331: John W. Lee 60 b. KY, farm labor, $450, Hannah 48 TN, Dilla 13 AR, Nancy 12 MO, Franklin 9 TX, Mahaly 4 TX. Speculation: Did my John W. Lee move to Collin Co., TX because the FORD relatives moved there? We know now that it was true that many of the kinfolk from Benton Co., AR moved to Grayson Co., TX, including the HEATH family. Also, in the 1850s, William Marshall Lee, who had also married in Butler Co., KY (as did John W. Lee), moved to Collin Co., TX according to descendant Barbara Brinkley. William Marshall Lee b. c1802 VA died 19 Jan 1885 in Wylie, Collin Co., TX. He had married Hetty J. Pope in Butler Co., KY on 21 Jun 1836. I believe that this William Marshall Lee was a son of William and Frances F. (Unknown) LEE. I cannot prove any connection to this Butler Co., KY LEE family however. Another family who moved to this North Texas area was the family of George McKENNEY and his wife Rebecca SHELTON (dau. of Abednego Shelton, and sister to John W. Lee's wife, Nancy SHELTON).

  • 1879-1880: Both John W. LEE and his stepson-in-law, A. L. FORD (Abner Lorenzo Ford who married Mary Ann FREEMAN), were listed on the Texas Agriculture census, Grayson Co., TX 1880 (Dallas library microfilm). John W. Lee was found on page 23, census taken 17 Jun 1880, Supervisor's Dist. #3, ED #9. He was the owner of his farm, had 12 acres tilled, 12 acres in woodland, value $150, $15 for farm impliments, $75 value on livestock which included one horse, four milk cows, 4 calves on-the-ground, and 3 swine. In 1879 he planted 12 acres in corn, and made 200 bushels. His neighbor was WASHBURN (first name not given), considerably more wealthy than John W. Lee. On page 25 was A. L. FORD, SD#3, ED#9 who rented his farm, with 39 acres tilled, $100 value of live stock which included 3 horses, 1 milk cow, 6 swine. In 1879 he had planted 16 acres in corn, 5 acres in oats and 21 acres in cotton.

  • 1880 Grayson Co., TX, house 227, Pct. #3, ED #9, page 210: John W. Lee 68 b. KY father b. VA, mother born ?, Hannah WF57 b. TN, father b. VA, mother b. NC, Nancy 21 MO, Mahalie 16 TX and MOST IMPORTANTLY living with this family is a grandson named BURR LEE 21 b. AR. The grandson, Burr LEE, was the child of George Sylvester Lee (John W. & Nancy Shelton Lee's son), named Burrell F. Lee (b. 1858 d. 12 Dec 1882), who was killed 2 years later in Benton Co., AR in a shootout. I certainly believe that this man is the same John W. Lee, and believe this really helps to proves it. If you visit the Grayson Co., TX courthouse, as I did on June 6, 2000 as a first time visitor, please make a note that they have a 2 hour parking limit all around the courthouse. These parking spaces were not properly marked with "2 hr. Parking Limit" signs, so don't do as I did, and get a parking ticket! You can visit the ROOTS-L webpage for Grayson Co., TX by clicking here. I have posted some deeds and other information for LEE families at this site. More research will be done soon, and updates added to this page. Here are two interesting deeds I found at the Grayson Co., TX courthouse in Sherman:
    General Index of Deeds, Book R, page 338, Grayson Co., TX courthouse (spelling copied as found - ? used for words I was not certain of): State of Texas
    County of Grayson}
    Know all men by these presents that I John W. LEE of said County and State for and in consideration of the sum of one hundred eighty dollars to me in hand paid by Elisha ARNOLD of said county and state the receipt of which is hereby acknowledged hath bargained and sold and by these presants doth bargin sell and convey unto the said Elisha ARNOLD a certain lot or tract of land situated in said County on the waters of Mill Creek and described as follows taken out of S. Washburns Survey and out of a part of 53 1/2 acres of said survey secured to me by deed from Mary Elizabeth Ewing. Beginning at the NW corner of said 53 1/2 acres survey. Thence S 13 degrees W 336 varas? a stake at SW corner of said survey. Thence S 77 degrees E 168 varas? a rock from which a hackberry marked X bears?. S 65 degrees 1 war? - Thence N 13 E 336 varas? a stake in north line of said survey from which an Elm marked X bears S 85 degrees W 39 varas? Thence North 77 degrees W 168 varas? to the beginning containing ten acres - together with all and singular - hereditaments? and appertainances to the same belonging or in anywise incident or appertaining to have and to hold the premisses above mentioned to him the said Elisha ARNOLD his heirs and asigns forever and I the said John W. LEE do hereby bind myself my heirs Executors and administrators to warrant and forever defend the right and title to the above described land and appenances free from the claims of all persons whomsoever lawfully claiming the same or any part thereof. Witness my hand and scroll? for seal this the 26th day of December 1866. Witness: W. P. STONE. (Signed with Seal) John W. LEE (Signed with her mark & seal) Hannah E. LEE.
    State of Texas
    Grayson County}
    Before me the undersigned county judge in and forsaid county personally came John W. LEE and Hannah E. LEE to me well known and acknowledged that they signed and sealed the same for the purpose and uses therein expunged? She the said Hannah having had the contents of said deed fully explained to her upon examination separate and apart from her husband acknowledged that she executed the said deed and relinquishes her interest in the real estate therein described freely voluntarily and without compulsion or undue influence of her said husband. In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and affixed the seal of said court at Sherman this 11th day of January 1867.
    (Signed) Robert WILSON
    County Judge
    Filed for Record August 7th, 1867 at 10 o'clock
    Recorded August 7th 1867 (clerk stamped)
    Y. A. DICKERMAN Clerk

    Deed Book 73, page 89, Grayson Co., TX courthouse
    The State of Texas, county of Grayson...Know all men by these presents: that J. W. Lee and his wife H. E. Lee of the County of Grayson ... in consideration of the sum of One Hundred and twenty-five dollars, to us in hand paid, the receipt of which is hereby acknowledged, have this day sold, ... unto W. F. Lea of the County of Grayson and State of Texas.. land described as follows, to-wit: Being the south half of the following described parcel of land: beginning at a stake in bed of branch in line of said McMannes survey North 13 degrees East 750 ???? from the SE corner of said survey from which a spanish oak marked X bears S 13 degrees W 140 ??? Thence with said E line S 13 degrees W 750 varas? to the SE corner of said survey. Thence with the South line of said survey N 77 degrees W 445 varas? to a post oak standing on bank of branch marked X W. Thence down the channel of said branch with its meanders containing 20 acres of land....dated 10th Aug. 1887. Signed J. W. Lea (sic) and H. E. (her mark) Lea (but name spelled LEE in body of deed. Hannah E. Lee acknowledged this deed on 29 Sept 1887.

    I have determined that W. F. Lee, mentioned in several more Grayson Co., TX deeds was John W. Lee and Hannah's son called Franklin on the 1880 Grayson Co., TX census. He married a girl named Martha R. (surname unknown) and she was mentioned on several deeds. They are found on the 1900 census in the 7th Pct., Montague Co., TX census, page 212, family #136 - W. F. LEE 39 b. TX, father b. KY, mother b. TN (which fits), married 20 years to Martha 35 b. TX who had 10 children - 8 living. Her father b. TN, mother b. KY. By 1910, W. F. Lee had died, for the census then shows - Pct. #3, Fannin Co., TX census, page 222, family #11 - Martha R. Lee, a widow, 45 b. TX, father b. TN mother b. MO and children: George 18 TX, Wade 12 TX and Sallie 8 TX. Next door is a widow named Sallie Sherell 69 b. TN (Martha's mother?). This is how I believe the line goes (more work needed):
    1 W. Franklin LEE b: June 1861 in TX d: Bef. 1910
    . +Martha R. UNKNOWN b: June 1864 in TX m: Abt. 1881 in TX
    .. 2 Toka LEE b: January 1883
    .. 2 Edward LEE b: June 1885
    .. 2 Dora LEE b: October 1887
    .. 2 George LEE b: July 1890
    .. 2 Jessie LEE b: September 1892
    .. 2 Wade LEE b: August 1896
    .. 2 Sallie LEE b: May 1900 in TX
    ...... +Julius E. RUSSELL b: Abt. 1885 in IL
    ....... 3 William RUSSELL b: Abt. 1917
    ....... 3 Robert RUSSELL b: Abt. 1920
    ....... 3 Julius E. RUSSELL, Jr. b: Abt. 1922
    ....... 3 Martha E. RUSSELL b: Abt. 1927
    ....... 3 Joseph F. RUSSELL b: Abt. 1929

    These deeds are interesting for several reasons. One thing that jumps out in the first one was the S. WASHBURN survey. The WASHBURN connection goes back to Benton Co., AR. Samuel S. & Mary Elizabeth WASHBURN had two children of interest to those of us researching John W. LEE. One son was John Preston WASHBURN b. January 17, 1828 AR, d. January 15, 1897 Pink Hill, Grayson Co., TX. He married Hannah S. FORD in 1848. On the 1850 Sugar Creek, Benton Co., AR census, family #530 is the family of J. P. & Hannah S. Washburn and their 1 year old son David H. Washburn. They are next door neighbors to Joseph & Elva H. FREEMAN family. John Preston Washburn's sister, Susannah Washburn, b. January 23, 1823 AR, died February 18, 1867 Grayson Co., TX, married Martin W. GENTRY, whose family also came from Benton Co., AR. He was a minister of the gospel in Grayson Co., TX for years. His siblings married into the FORD family also. Matilda GENTRY m. William Calhoun FORD and their daughter, Cynthia Catherine FORD is the one who married Jefferson Tilford "Tiff" FREEMAN February 13, 1870 in Grayson Co., TX. Bethany M. GENTRY m. John Tippitt FORD and their daughter Martha Elizabeth FORD m. Robert Monroe HEATH, a son of John HEATH, who in turn was a son of Rev. Lewis HEATH and his wife Elizabeth RAY.

    We now have John Wesley Lee from 1850 through 1887. Questions I would love to have answered: who were his parents? where was he born? who was Hannah E. (maiden name)? when and where did they die? What happened to their children listed on the 1860-70-80 Texas census and what were their full names? Some of this is known from census data: click here for a brief tree. Mary Ann Freeman, who married Abner Lorenzo Ford, wrote in her Civil War pension application that she had married 1865 in Savoy, Fannin Co., TX (Grayson County courthouse has the marriage license, but not the bond). I read that a tornado killed 14 people in 1882 in Savoy, but I haven't a clue yet if my John W. Lee and his family lived there in 1882, but I suspect that is where they lived in 1865.

    Mary Counts Brumfield, mentioned above as a wonderful source for FORD/FREEMAN data, told me that John W. Lee and Hannah Elva Freeman Lee were buried in Grayson Co., TX in the Smith Cemetery - I haven't found this cemetery yet, but it could be near Smith Oaks, TX. I will be traveling to that location soon to see if I can find tombstones. More data will be added as I find it. Mary said John died in 1894 and Hannah Elva Lee in 1890. Mary Brumfield also provided copies of documents she found in the National Archives (Ft. Worth, TX branch) which proves that Mary Ann Freeman was indeed a daughter of Joseph and Hannah Freeman and that she was born in Benton Co., AR. Mary Ann Freeman Ford and two of her younger children filed an affidavit with the Dept. of the Interior, Commission to the Five Civilized Tribes in Atoka, Indian Territory on March 6, 1901. Mary Ann claimed to be 1/4 Choctaw Indian, through her mother's side. That would make Elva Hannah Freeman 1/2 Native American. Mary Ann said her grandfather was Vicent SIMMS, a member of the Mississippi Choctaw Nation. Mary Ann did not have any proof for her claim and was rejected the following year.

    UPDATED: Aug. 11, 2008


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