Lee Lineage, Stories & History
Beginning with Count Rollo or Rolf the Viking

This is taken from the book: Genealogy of WILLIAM LEE 1 of England
And of Virginia and HIS DESCENDANTS
By: Elizabeth Hoyle Rucker in 1945

INTRODUCTION

LEES FROM 900 TO 1945

HISTORICAL SKETCH OF THE LEE FAMILY
Of South Carolina, Virginia, England, France and Norway

"The family of Lee has more men of merit in it than any other family," wrote John Adams (second President of the United States) in the year 1779. The record of the LEE family has consistently been one of Leadership, Integrity, and high Courage since the Lees came first to Virginia in the early part of 1600. William Lee came to America July 24, 1635. He sold, in 1636, some land in the Tide-water belt, which he had previously acquired. See Nell Marion Regent’s book, "Cavaliers and Pioneers."

William Lee, 1st, of the Tide-water belt, after having been in Va. sometime, settled in the Tide-water belt and bought up much land. He died in 1656, leaving his entire estate to his eldest William Lee 2nd, according to the old English custom. William Lee IV, a grandson of William Lee 2nd, left Va. before 1770 and bringing his wife and children, settled in Berkeley Precinct, S. C. (now Union Co.). On Oct. 20, 1772, he procured a grant of land from the English Kings, George III, of two hundred and fifty acres. (See record at Columbia, S.C.). From William there are a host of Lees, but I am sorry to say there are not many records.

About 1650 or later three Lee brothers came from England to the Barbados. (These islands still belong to England). After staying there some time they also went to Virginia. Their names were Francis, Timothy, and Joseph. The climate being too severe, they went back to the Barbados, where they married. Francis had a son Thomas who had a very large family. From this father and sons we had seventy men who served in the Civil War. General Stephen D. Lee of S. C., Col. Charles Lee, of North Carolina; Col. P. Lynch Lee of 20th Arkansas; Major Hutton Lee, Chief Quarter-Master Dept. of S. C., Georgia and Florida and many other officers of lower rank as well as several surgeons.

From Gen. Stephen D. Lee we have the late W. S. Lee of Duke Power Co. of Charlotte and his sons, States Lee and Martin Lee. I have studied the Lee tree in possession of W. S. Lee’s family and there are only three lines carried out.

This data was given to me in 1914 by Miss Helen Lee, a daughter of Major Hutton Lee of Charleston, S. C.

Some members of our family thought we came from Francis Lightfoot Lee, an Uncle of Robert E. Lee’s father. After much search I found that Francis Lightfoot Lee had no children.

The Virginia Lees had from the start what some one has called "The Virginia Habit of Command." The South Carolina Lees had inherited the same characteristic—or maybe they had simply brought it with them when they came to South Carolina.

Thomas Lee of Richard’s Line in the third generation was largely responsible for making the North-west Territory a part of the United States. Richard Henry Lee moved the resolution of Independence and with the Adams of New England was an important factor in the Separation of the Colonies, from Great Britain. Two Lees signed the Declaration of Independence. It was Arthur Lee, who was chiefly responsible for securing the first aid from France and Spain during the Revolution; meanwhile his kinsman (brother) was busily engaged in bringing Holland into the war; "Light-Horse Harry" (Arthur’s nephew) earned his famous sobriquet for his services during the Revolutionary War; Robert E. Lee, the son of "Light-Horse Harry" transcended the Military Exploits of his father and, in a personal sense, was the embodiment of the Confederacy; Fitzhugh Lee (a nephew of Robert Edward Lee) a still younger member of the Lee Clan, made his mark in both the Civil War and the Spanish War.

It is no exaggeration to say that the LEES have been "the most representative family of the South."

The life that developed in Virginia, the political rule, and social dominance of a few rich plantation families—was unknown elsewhere in the colonies, EXCEPT IN ARISTOCRATIC OLD SOUTH CAROLINA. The extent to which this system contributed to the birth of our Nation is set forth in his comprehensive and illuminating volume, "The Lees of Virginia" by Burton J. Kendricks, who tells the complete story of the Virginia Lees for the first time.

Rollo, Rou or Rolf was a Norse Chieftain of the Scandinavian Peninsula, from which the Vikings drove their boats over the rough North Sea. (Scandinavia is a name applied in a restricted sense to the Peninsulas of Norway and Sweden). In an historical sense, Scandinavia includes Denmark and Iceland and in a literary sense, besides these, the intellectual productions of the Swedish race in Finland).

In 900—ONE THOUSAND AND FORTY-FIVE YEARS AGO—this Northman went into northern France along the English channel, and took the north-west section—extending from Belgium along the channel to Brittany, and including the Cherbourg Peninsula, extending inland about 100 miles.

In 911 Rollo was granted by King Charles, the Simple, of France, the possession of Rouen, for his Capital, and the adjacent territory which Rollo had already seized. This is the Normandy of today—where our American boys landed on D-Day, June 6, 1944.

From Rollo, baptized under the name of ROBERT and his wife, Grisela, the daughter of King Charles, the Simple—sprang the dukes of Normandy, of whom Richard the 1st, a grandson of Rollo vigorously maintained his authority against his Liege Lords, Louis IV and Lothaire. William, 2nd son of Robert 2nd le Diable, became Duke of Normandy in 1035 and in 1036 – 879 years ago – established a Norman Dynasty on the throne of England.

For a time the English Channel looked as formidable to William of Normandy as it did to "Old Hitler" after the battle of Dunkirk. Finally, William attempted the crossing. For awhile it looked very unpropitious to his superstitious men, for as William landed, he fell.

However the resourceful William grabbed his hands full of England’s soil and turning to his men cried in a loud voice: "Thus O England, do I take seizin’ of thee."

William and his men of Normandy took England had held it as a fief of Normandy. He killed Harold the English King; introduced the French language into the court, gave the Englishmen’s land to the Norman men, and thus we get the story of "Robin Hood."

With William, now called "the Conqueror," came one HUGH DE LEGA AND GILBERT DE VENABLES, relatives, who fought so valiantly with William that they each were given an estate in Essex (Eastern England). The LEE name was spelled Lee, Lea, Leigh, de Lega and de Lee.

In 1183 – 762 years ago – LIONEL DE LEE went into Palestine with Richard the Lionhearted, king of England, with Louis XII, of France,and with Frederick Barbarossa I, of Germany, to take the tomb of Christ from Sladin, the Turk. (With Frederick Barbarossa there was a Heyl (Hoyle) from Wiesbaden—my father’s family)

IN "LEES of Virginia" by Edmund J. Lee (1895) there is the following reference under Leigh of West Hall, of Cheshire, England: "This most ancient family of the name in England traces its pedigree through Hamon de Venables, son of Gilbert de Venables, grandson of Gilbert de Venables of Normandy, who accompanied the Conqueror to England, and was a younger brother of Thibault, Count of Blois, descended from Rollo, the first Duke of Normandy."

In every great movement since history has been written our Lee, Lea, Leigh, de Lega family has figured?? Are YOU worthy of the NAME you bear? What are you doing to make yourself stronger? more capable? more intellectual? Are you educating YOUR CHILDREN? Which do you love the better—your country or your political party?

LINEAGE OF THE LEE FAMILY
(Copied from Burke)

"The Lee Family of Stanton, Roden and afterwards of Langley and Coton Hall, Salop, IS stated in Burke’s Baronetcies to be ONE of the oldest in England.

"Eyton treating of Reyner le la Le about 1195 gives also an unbroken descent thro’ the Stantons of Stanton Hineheath from 1086 to 1173-4. The pedigree of 1623 (when Sir Humphrey Lee’s charters were copied by Vincent) begins with HUGO DE LEGA, 1100, whose son,

"Reginald de la Lee is identified with the above. He was Sheriff 1201 and one of the knights as REINER DE LEGA AT THE assizes Oct. 1203. He received a grant of land from William, son of William FitzAlan and according to the pedigree had a son;

"Sir John de la Le, evidence produced by Eyton and Sir William Hardy, late Keeper of the Records in the Duchy of Lancaster, shows that Reyner’s son was really Sir Thomas de Lee, given as his grandson in the pedigree. He married Petronilla, daughter of Sir Thomas Corbet (Sheriff) in time of King Henry 3rd of England—king from 1266-1272. Sir Thomas de la Le had THREE sons:

Sir John de la Lee—mentioned above—

Reyner or Reginald de la Lee—to whom he gave the V. of Lee Pevenhull 7c,and

Thomas de la Lee, this latter m. Petronilla de Stanton about 14(?) and had a SON:

"Sir John de la Lee of Stanton, Roden and given as his nephew, SIR JOHN DE LA LEE married Matilda de Erdington and had (with a daughter, Matilda) two (2) sons: John de la Lee and Thomas de la Lee.

"(These Lees were from Normandy, and this was the French manner of writing the name.)"

"To THOMAS DE LA LEE he gave land called OKEHURST. (MORE OF THOMAS PRESENTLY). John de la Lee as succeeded by his oldest son, Sir John de Lee, who is shown by Eyton to have been succeeded by HIS son, Sir John de Lee, who was succeeded by HIS son, Sir Robert de Lee of Roden. He married Petronilla, a daughter of Roger Lee of Pimhill, by his wife, Joan, daughter of and heir of Edward Burnell of Aston Burnell, and Langley and was succeeded by HIS son:

"Sir Ralph de Lee of Lee Hall, Langley Aston, Burnell, 1447. He married first Isabella, and second Isabella, a daughter of James Ridley, and died Dec. 14, 1479. Sir Ralph was succeeded by HIS son:

"Sir Richard de Lee of Langley and married Margaret, daughter and heiress of Sir Fulke Sprenchose and had five sons and two daughters. He was succeeded by HIS son:

"Sir Fulke Lee of Langley; married Alice, daughter of Sir Richard Cromwell, and secondly Elizabeth, daughter of John Leighton. He was succeeded by HIS son and heir:

"Sir Thomas Lee of Langley and he married Jane, daughter of Sir Robert Morton and had five sons and seven daughters. He, Sir Richard Lee, died in 1591 and was succeeded by HIS oldest son:

"Sir Richard Lee of Langley, who m. Eleanor, dau. Of Walter Wrottesley and had four sons and six daus. He, Sir Richard Lee, d. in 1591 and was s. by his oldest son:

"Sir Humphrey Lee, J. J. of Langley and was created a Baronet by King James First of England, 1620. He married Margaret, daughter of Reginald Corbet and had one (1) son and four (4) daughters. He died in 1633 and was succeeded by His son:

"Sir Richard Lee, Baronet of Langley, M. P. for Salop. He attended the King at Oxford and suffered much for the Royal Cause. He married Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Edward Allen and died 1660 when the Baronetcy became extinct. (He had no son) and the Estates were divided between his TWO daughters—Rachel who married Ralph Clanton and Mary who married Edward Smythe, afterwards created a Baronet.

"Return, please, to THOMAS DE LEE of Okehurst. Records of the second visitation make him the father of:

"Roger Lee, who had a son;

"Roger Lee who married Margaret, sister and heiress of Thomas Astley of Nordley, whose descent is given by Eyton from the time of King Henry First of England (b. 1068-1135) king from 1100-1135, the youngest and only "ENGLISH-BORN SON OF WILLIAM THE CONQUEROR—according to tradition, at Selby, Yorkshire. He warred with his brothers and for some time wandered as a landless man. Immediately after the death of his brother, William Rufus, with whom he had been hunting—he rode to Winchester, seized the Royal Treasure, and in the absence of his brother, Robert, then on his way home from Crusading in Palestine, was elected King by the Council, through the influence of the Earl of Warwick, and was crowned at Westminster.

"The first visitation shows that Roger Lee, Margaret’s husband, was of the Second House, and it is probable that he was a son, and not a grandson, to THOMAS LEE OF OKEHURST, who died about 1419 and was succeeded by HIS son:

"Sir John Lee who m. Jocosa (Joyce) Packingon and was s. by HIS son:

"Sir John Lee of Nordley who married Elizabeth, daughter and heir of Thomas Corbine and was succeeded by his son:

"Sir Thomas Lee of Nordley who m. Johanna, a dau. Of Robert Morton of Houghton and was s. by his son:

"Sir Thomas Lee of COTTON HALL who married Katherine, daughter of John Blount of Eye and was succeeded by his son:

"Sir John Lee of King’s Nordley who died 1605 married Jocosa (Joyce) a daughter of John Romney and had issue of EIGHT (8) sons.

1. Thomas Lee, the heir, died 1620 and HIS SON, Launcelot, succeeded him;

2. William Lee, born 1597, came to America, landing in theVa. Plantations in July 24, 1635, bought much land and died 1656, leaving everything to His oldest son by the same name. He came over in ship Assurance de Lo. See the

‘Original List of Emigrants From England to the Virginia Plantations’ from 1600-1700 by Hotton. Without this book I could not have made the link. William Lee, Gent, was granted 500 acres in Charles City County, on the south side of James River, Feb. 16, 1654. He had obtained much land before that, for he sold some land in 1636. Both he and Richard appear among those having headrights. William died 1656. No other grants were as large as these two.

3. Edward Lee, Clergyman

4. Gilbert Lee

5. Jasper Lee

6. Richard Lee. The genealogy of the family of Lee of Chester, Bucks and Oxon, showing the descent of Robert E. Lee from sir John Lee, knight. Burke says that there is no doubt that this Richard Lee, bearing the arms of this family, is the progenitor of the Robert Edward Lee line who figured in the Confederacy. Richard Lee, Gent, was granted 1,000 acres on the south side of Charles River, in York Co., Va. on August 10, 1642. Richard died in 1664.

7. Fernando Lee

8. Josias

"The members of this Lee Family have served as High Sheriffs of

Shropshire. Richard Lee had the arms of the Shropshire family. There is evidence at Queens College, Oxford, the Herald’s College, and in America. The descent of this Richard Lee II, Secretary of the State of Virginia 1659 was a son of Richard I, from the Shropshire Family, is attested by John Gibbon, Bluemantle, in 1682.

"Our William Lee and his younger brother, Richard were examined by the minister of the Towne of Gravesend as to their conformity in Religion. He and Richard had both taken oaths of allegiance to the crown of England.

"Sir John Lee died in 1605,leaving his beloved kinsman, Sir Humphrey Lee, overseer of his will. Sir John’soldest son, the heir, Thomas Lee of Coton, married Dorothy, daughter of Richard Oteley of Patchford, Shropshire. Issue was as follows: four sons and seven daughters

Thomas Lee died 1620 and was succeeded by HIS oldest surviving son:

"LAUNCELOT LEE of Coton Hall born 1594 and died 1667. Residence: Chantry, Frome, Somerset, England.

The following members of this Family served as High Sheriffs of Shropshire.

  • 1210 – Sir Reiner de Lee
  • 1387 – Robert de Lee (Atty, in Blakeway’s list)
  • 1395 – Sir Thomas Lee
  • 1478 – Ralph Lee
  • 1479 – Richard Lee
  • 1639 – Richard Lee
  • 1639 - Sir Richard Lee

THE LEE FAMILY

William Lee 1st b. 1597, came from England to Virginia plantations in ship Assurance de Lo, landing July 24, 1635. He was 38 years old. Like many sons of English noblemen he longed to build for himself a home and a name, for as younger sons

Of noblemen the only thing they inherited was their surname and their right to the family coat-of-arms. This William Lee, 1st was the SECOND son of Sir John Lee, Knight of England and wife, Joyce Romney, and was an older brother of Richard Lee, the progenitor of the beloved Robert E. Lee.

Before coming to Virginia he had procured HEAD-RIGHTS, which seems to have been the right to pay the Captain of an English ship one hundred fifty (150) pounds of Virginia tobacco for any passenger, unable pecuniary, to pay his own passage, and then to hold this person in a kind of bondage for a specified number of months or years, and not only get his labor for nothing but also to obtain the fifty (50) acres of land which each immigrant was promised free on coming to America.

William Lee I, of America, as said above, had come July 24, 1635, and procured much land in Tide-Water, Va. area. On Sept. 18, 1636, he sold some land previously bought in Surry County. He had many transactions. See "Cavaliers and Pioneers," by Nell Marian Nugent. He married about 1637, Mary _________and had one son, William Lee, II. William Lee I, died March 22, 1653, leaving his entire estate to his son William Lee II, born about 1638. Captain William Lee II, b. 1638 died Jan. 1694, married Ann_____1681, and had two sons:

William Lee III. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .d. June 23, 1683

John Lee. . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .d. June 30, 1685

William Lee III, b. June 23, 1683, made his will Aug 3, 1759, and d. May 26, 1761. His wife was Rebecca________m, 1725. (Data from Brunswick Book of Wills No. 3)

William Lee III had one son, William IV, and four daughters.

William Lee IV, b. about 1727, m. 1745 and d. Sept. 12, 1796, in Union County, South Carolina. His wife and his children were all born in Virginia, and in 1770 had moved into Berkley Precinct, South Carolina. He bought much land in South Carolina between the Tyger and Saluda Rivers. Later he obtained a Land-Grant of 250 acres from King George III of England, dated Oct. 20, 1772. He left five sons and five daughters.

The history goes on from his family down the line in America.

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