Source: J. Percy Crayon, Rockaway Records of Morris County, N. J. Families, (Rockaway, N.J., Rockaway Publishing Co., 1902)
In writing of this historic family so nearly related to many of our Morris County families in Revolutionary times, and in the research so much valuable information has been learned that it will be more extended than many others. The recent collections of Miss Sidney LYON and Gen. Albert LEE (Civil War) and from many other sources I am enabled to connect the relationship for many generations. I shall be pleased to learn any additional information or correction from the readers of this sketch.
The founder of this family was Lancelot de LEE, who came over with William the Conqueror in the Norman conquest to England. He so distinguished himself in the battle of Hastings Saturday, Oct. 14, 1066, which lasted from early morn until sunset, and in which the English were totally defeated that William the Conqueror rewarded him with large estates in Essex, Eng. Lionel LEE, a direct descendant of Lancelot, fought with King Richard I in the Holy Land, and displayed such valor in the taking of Acre, June 8 to July 12, 1191, that he was rewarded with large estates and made Earl of Litchfield.
Tradition relates that John LEE, of Lee Hall, Nottingham, Eng., the third Earl of Litchfield, had one son Robert. Robert LEE had son William, who on account of religious persecution fled to the colonies and settled at Hempstead, L. I., 1675. He married Mary MARVIN, whose mother’s maiden name was Mary BROWN, and died at Hempstead 1724. Of Elizabeth, daughter of Robert LEE, we have no records.
In 1683 the Governor of New York required the town of Hempstead to take out a new patent, and 2 ½ pence per acre was levied on all lands held by individuals in the town which numbered 160, number of acres 16,563. William LEE was assessed with 40 acres.
William and Mary (MARVIN) LEE had Thomas, who was a farmer near Hempstead. He was never married. After the death of his brother Joseph, who married Abigail PRICE, of Hempstead, and died in middle age, he reared the children and became well to do. John and Robert, sons of William, served in the Colonial wars with the French, and both died of fever soon after their return home at Hempstead. William had also six daughters, of whom no records are found.
Children of Joseph and Abigail (PRICE) LEE: Joseph, born May 14, 1713, married Sarah WRIGHT Feb. 28, 1733, died 1760. John, baptized at Hempstead Sept. 25, 1726, married Sarah, daughter of Capt. Peter PERRINE and wife Mary, died at Yorktown, NY, Mar. 12, 1816. Capt. Peter PERRINE was of the "Troop" Staten Island Militia, where he resided. Thomas, baptized at Hempstead July 1, 1728, married Dinah PERRINE, daughter of Capt. Peter. She was born at Staten Island 1731, died at Littleton, NJ, 1791. Thomas was a Revolutionary soldier, died at the residence of his son Maj. William at Littleton, Jan. 7, 1804. John and Thomas removed from Hempstead to the northern part of Westchester County, NY. John’s farm was afterwards owned by Maj. PAULING, one of the captors of Maj. John ANDRE, now the property of Jacob L. STRANG, who married a LEE. Thomas removed to Littleton, Morris County, NJ, in 1764. Abigail, daughter of Joseph, died aged 18; Phebe, Mary, never married, died aged 64; Ruth, married Isaac WRIGHT, died aged 84; Sarah, married Dennis COOMBS, died aged 80; Hannah, married MARTIN, died aged 84; Elizabeth, married MARTINEAN, died aged 80.
Children of Joseph LEE and Sarah WRIGHT, who was born May 10, 1715, died in Westchester county, NY, Sept. 5, 1759; Sarah, born Nov. 19, 1735, died May 11, 1762; Phebe, born May 18, 1737, married S. HORTON; Wm. Titus, born Oct. 14, 1739, died Sept. 20, 1790; Joseph, born Dec. 7, 1741, married CURRY; Hannah, born Jan. 10, 1744, married Joseph BREVOIR, M. D.; Abigail, married WHITNEY; Elizabeth, born Apr. 22, 1747, married Joseph INGERSOLL; Elijah, born June 23, 1751. He was several times a member of the State Legislature and judge of Westchester county, NY. He married (1) Sarah CONKLIN, (2) Widow PALMER, who was a daughter of Capt. H. BROWN of Canada, (3) Letitia BROWN, of Rye, NY.
Children of John LEE and Sarah PERRINE: Thomas, born Aug. 19, 1749, a Revolutionary soldier, died June 24, 1791; Sarah, born Nov. 20, 1751, died Oct. 18, 1781; John, born Oct. 18, 1753, married HORTON, May 1, 1784, died Sept. 22, 1835; Mary, born Dec. 23, 1755, died Mar. 18, 1845; Hannah, born Aug. 23, 1757, died May 14, 1845; Peggy, born May 27, 1759, died May 4, 1836; Dinah, born Dec. 15, 1760, died Apr. 20, 1858; Abigail, born Sept. 7, 1762, died May 1, 1828; Phebe, born Oct. 1764, died May 1842; Robert Perrine, born Apr. 16, 1766, married Mar. 3, 1796, C. C. BETTS, widow of Richard. She was born May 26, 1771, died May 20, 1812.
Children of Thomas LEE and Dinah PERRINE: Dinah, born Jan. 18, 1754, married (1) Abijah, son of Uriah CUTLER. He was born 1747, died Aug. 9, 1778. They had children: Joseph, born Oct. 16, 1775. The father of the late Hon. Augustus W. CUTLER, died Feb. 25, 1854. And Bathia, born Aug. 8, 1778, died Feb. 15, 1782 Dinah, married (2) Ephriam, son of Rev. David YOUNG Aug. 3, 1786. He married (1) Phebe CUTLER, daughter of Uriah; Peter Perrine LEE, born at Woodbridge, NY, Mar. 10, 1756, married Ruth HUNTINGTON, daughter of Capt. Gersham GARD. She was born in Morris county, NJ, Feb. 15, 1764, died at North Bend, O. (Ohio?), Jan. 15, 1819. He died at North Bend, O., Sept. 22, 1848; was Revolutionary soldier. Paul, a Revolutionary soldier, born 1758, married Eunice, daughter of Maj. Joseph LINDSLEY, Oct. 31, 1780, died in Orange county, NY, April 6, 1814. She was born Jan. 31, 1761, died at Westown, NY, Sept. 14, 1845. Israel, married Oct. 31, 1780, Bertha LINDSLEY, a double wedding, two brothers married two sisters. Philip, married (1) S. BYRAM (2) Mary PECK. William, married Abigail BYRAM. Major William lived at Littleton. Thomas, married Rachel LYON, removed to Ogdensburg, NY. Hannah and Phebe.
In Aug. 1777 a party of militia, three in number, headed by Capt. F. STRANG (who married Catharine LEE) Elijah LEE, afterwards judge, captured Edward PALMER, a lieutenant in the Legion of DeLaney, while he was on a visit to his wife, who lived in that section, and handed him over to Gen. OPUTMAN, who tried him as a spy. He was found guilty and was executed on Gallows Hill, north of Peekskill, NY, Aug. 1777.
The collections of Gen. Albert LEE give valuable data to present generations of the descendants of Joseph and John LEE. Gen. Albert LEE was son of Moses Lindsley LEE, grandson of Daniel and great-great-grandson of Thomas LEE and Dinah PERRINE.
Children of Peter Perrine LEE and Ruth HUNTINGTON GARD (LEGARNE): Melinda Legarde, born at Littleton, NJ, Oct. 8, 1786, married Jonathan LYON, of Lyon’s Farm, Feb. 9, 1806, died at Cincinnati, Ohio, July 27, 1875. Jonathan LYON, born Mar. 17, 1783, died Dec. 28, 1871, was son of James LYON, a Revolutionary soldier, born Aug. 31, 1755, and Elizabeth WILLIAMS of Newark. James, was son of Moses, a Revolutionary soldier, and descendant of Henry LYON, of Milford, Conn., and first families of Newark, NJ. Philip, born Apr. 13, 1789, died May 3, 1789; Adeline, born May 11, 1791, died Oct. 22, 1791; Lewis Huntington, born Aug. 27, 1792, married Elizabeth, daughter of James LYON, who was born June 14, 1797, died at Cincinnati, Ohio, Apr. 13, 1855. He died Oct. 21, 1839, at Cincinnati, Ohio. Elsie Culpepper, born Mar. 11, 1795, married MURPHY 1823, died Nov. 6, 1846. Sophia, born Dec. 11, 1797, never married, died Sept. 5, 1839; Sidney Smith, born Nov. 27, 1800, died Nov. 17, 1824; Rodney Jefferson, born Nov. 7, 1803, married Sarah FALCONER, died Oct. 29, 1871; Wells Monroe, born May 26, 1806, married Mary DOLE, of Newberry, Mass., 1827, died July 26, 1849. His wife died 1869 at Washington, D. C.
Children of Paul LEE and Eunice LINDSLEY: Daniel, born at Littleton, NJ, May 13, 1783, married Sarah ABERS Dec. 16, 1806, died June 19, 1849. She was born Sept. 16, 1786, died June 15, 1869. Stephen Peter, born Dec. 18, 1789, was a soldier in 1812 War, married Esther DICKERSON, who was born 1798, died Dec. 17, 1881. He died at Salina, Ind., May 13, 1857. Henry Perrine, born Sept. 7, 1799, married (1) Mary Judith REED, Feb. 2, 1832. She was born Aug. 11, 1812, died Feb. 17, 1832, (2) Janet SIMPSON, Sept. 4, 1840. She was born Apr. 3, 1810, died Dec. 8, 1870. He died Aug. 10, 1874. Julia, born Mar. 22, 1795, married David CLARK, of Orange county, NY. Phebe, born Sept. 22, 1785, never married, died Oct. 11, 1840. Sarah, born Apr. 30, 1793, married Jessee, son of John and Grace (LINDSLEY) DICKERSON, born 1790, died July 1835. She died Feb. 8,1856. Irene, born May 29, 1805, married Ann CASE Oct. 2, 1832, died May 19, 1876. Ann CASE was born Jan. 13, 1815, died Nov. 24, 1883.
Children of Major William LEE, born 1762, died Dec. 7, 1839, at Littleton, NJ, and Abigail BYRAM: Isaac Byram, born Mar. 14, 1792, died in Africa. Susanna Washbourn, born Oct. 4, 1793, married Capt. Timothy TUTTLE, of Whippany, NJ. He died June 16, 1816. Henry Perrine, born Sept. 20, 1795, died Oct. 26, 1811. Lucinda Youngs, born July 30, 1797, died June 25, 1821. Joseph Cutler, born Apr. 29, 1799. All the above children were baptized at Morristown, Aug. 30, 1799. William, born April 21, 1801; Cyrus, born Feb. 1803, married Emily FISHER; Anna, born may 19, 1805, married Nicholas F. COOK. Phebe, born Apr. 24, 1807, married William KELLY, of Michigan. Mary, born Mar. 5, 1809, married Edward, son of Ezekiel and Susannah (HILL) HOWELL, Apr. 21, 1831. Edward HOWELL was born Feb. 27, 1804, died at Littleton, NJ, May 20, 1878. Had son George W., born Dec. 21, 1835, married Rachel M. CORNISH, Dec. 31, 1862; Susan, born Dec. 24, 1841, married Theodore M. PECK, Dec. 29, 1864. John Lake, born Jan. 26, 1811; Edward Perrine, born Jan. 19, 1813, died in Sacramento, Cal.
It will be noted that the LEE and PERRINE families were connected by marriage, and that many of the children have the name Perrine. There is a tradition that Count PERRIN or PERRINE was a Huguenot and refugee from Rouen, France. Daniel PERRINE came in ship Phillip, from the Isle of Jersey and settled in Staten Island 1665. He was born 1630, died on Staten Island 1700. He married Marie THOREL Feb. 18, 1666, at Elizabeth Town by Rev. James BOLLEN. It is said to be the first marriage license in New Jersey. She died 1680. Their son Daniel was born at Staten Island 1672, died 1740. His son Capt. Peter PERRINE was born 1701, died Nov. 13, 1756. His wife Mary was born 1700, died Nov. 29, 1756. Their daughters Sarah and Dinah, married brothers, John and Thomas LEE.
The following letter from Major William LEE and his wife Abigail BYRAM of Littleton, to Peter LEE will be of interest, as being one of the unusual style written by friends and relatives to those who emigrated to the West In those early days. The method of transportation was a common one of that date. The address given for an answer was also in common usage. State of New Jersey, Morris County, Hanover township, Littleton. Relationships will be shown in the history and genealogy of this well-known Morris County family.
November 21, 1810
I take this opportunity to inform you that I am well and the family at this time. I hope these few lines will find you in good health. I received a letter from you three years ago by the hand of Mr. LYON. At that time I was sick and did not say anything to the man, but I was very glad to hear from you and your family. I have this night come three miles to write you, so that you must not think I have forgotten you yet. I have nothing new to write, but I will let you know how many children we have, five sons and five daughters. (Here follows the names of children to this date, which are given with dates.) Dear brother, you may wonder why my children have not all of them two names. I will tell you the reason is that I was fearful there would not be names enough to be found. If you have any good names in your country, except you own, you will send me one or two as many more as you think will be wanted and oblige your brother. I send this letter by the hand of Stephen LEE, son of Paul LEE, in company. I have not seen our brother, Thomas LEE, for almost seven years, but I heard from him last May, and he was well. The family at that time had two children, one son and one daughter. I conclude and remain your brother,
To Peter LEE:
Now dear brother, since William has complimented you so well, I will talk with you on other subjects. Father LEE lived with us a little more than thirteen years. It is useless to tell you how it is, enough to describe first part of December he was taken ill, for two months we were with him day and night. He recovered his health, but had lost the use of his legs. He would feed himself when the victuals were brought to his bedside. He never walked a step more while he lived. Some time in November he was taken more ill. The last of December we could plainly see a great alteration. New Years morning he gave us all the satisfaction we ever wanted. He was fully satisfied with all that we had ever done for him. He wished for all the children to come to his room that he might see them all before he died. He kissed them all and remained in that affectionate state of mind until the seventh day on which he died. You have heard the number of our children and a small part of the change of our father. Taken into consideration, few have so long experienced that faithful saying, once a man and twice a child.
Dear brother and sister since so long an interval by the way of a letter. I think we can all afford to pay postage. I kindly request you to send an answer by post immediately after you receive these few broken lines, sine we have no other acquaintance than by letter. I remain the sincere relation that I now stand. My love to all.
January 1810 will be six years since our father left this world. He told me to remember him to all his children as I should have the opportunity. I wrote you a number of letters but have received no answer from you.
This letter to Peter LEE is in the possession of Frank LEE, son of Rodney Jefferson LEE, the son of Peter LEE.
Richard LEE a lineal descendant from the earls of Litchfield, came from England to the Colony of Virginia, with Sir William BERKELEY in 1641, distinguished as naval officer, and died in the Colony in 1663. He had sons Robert (2), Hancock and Charles.
Richard LEE (2) born 1647, was a naval officer, married Letitia CORBIN in 1674. She died 1706. He died 1714. They had six sons and one daughter, Ann, who married Col. William FITZHUGH, the progenitor of the FITZHUGH family in Virginia. Thomas, the fifth son, married Hannah, daughter of Col. Phillip LUDWELL, who was governor of the Virginia Colony in 1750. Thomas had six sons.
Thomas Ludwell LEE became a popular man in the Colony. Richard Henry LEE, born Jan. 20, 1732, married his cousin, Hannah Philippa LUDWELL, was signer of the Declaration of Independence, died June 19, 1794. Francis Lightfoot LEE was also signer of the Declaration of Independence and of the Continental Congress. William represented the United States at Vienna and the Hague. Philip Ludwell LEE, with his brother Francis founded Leesburg, VA. Arthur LEE, born Dec. 10, 1740, was commissioner to France, died unmarried, Dec. 12, 1792.
Henry LEE, brother of Thomas, and sixth son of Richard, Jr., married Mary BLAND and had three sons: Charles LEE, Washington’s attorney general; "Light Horse Harry", born Jan. 29, 1756, married (1) his cousin, Matilda LEE, and had four children; married (2) Ann Hill CARTER and had six children. He was appointed major general and was a member of Congress in 1799; died in Georgia March 25, 1818. Sidney Smith LEE, was the father of Gen. Fitshugh LEE.
The youngest son of "Light Horse Harry" was Robert Edward LEE, born Jan. 19, 1807, married 1831, Mary, daughter of George Washington Park CUSTIS; had five children, died Oct. 12, 1870.
Children of Gen. Robert E. LEE: George Washington Custis, W. H. Fitshugh, Robert Edward, Jr., Mildred, and one other daughter.
Gen. Charles LEE of Revolutionary service, once a formidable rival of Washington, and who was captured by the British in Morris County, NJ, is not related to the Virginia LEEs.
The following may be a personal history or experience somewhat relating to the LEE family and the Civil War. In the winters of ’59, ’60 and ’61 some fifteen or twenty of the boys from Stockholm and Newfoundland, NJ, found employment at Williamsburg, VA. They usually went from New York on the Roanoke or Jamestown, two rickety old steamers that plied between New York and Richmond, landing at King’s Mill Wharf near Williamsburg. These steamers were captured by the confederacy, and on the appearance of the Monitor in Southern waters, they with other craft, were sunk near the mouth of the Appomattox river. To me they were objects of special interest in my excursions in war times on "Jeems" River.
At Williamsburg it was a strange sight, and one not noticed in our Northern papers, to see fortnightly on Saturday afternoon, all turn out for military drill and we attended from curiosity at these regular trainings in the old College City.
The usual number went down in ’60 and ’61 and in the Spring the Southern States were seceding very rapidly, and a large number of the boys were delayed in coming home until Virginia had seceded, and it was then impossible, and had it not been for the personal interest of Gen. CUSTIS, of Williamsburg, VA, who was a lineal descendent of the LEEs, FITSHUGHs, and the first husband of Martha Washington, and the father of Robert E. LEE’s wife, the boys would have conscripted in the Confederate army, but passes were furnished by Gen. CUSTIS, and the boys allowed to cross the lines to their homes.
The great majority of the boys on their return home enlisted in the Union army, and many fought over the same grounds they had become familiar with. I relate one incident of the war, John Nelson KIMBLE, who enlisted in the 15th NJ Infantry, and when near Williamsburg came across an old acquaintance, a negro boy, a slave of Gen. CUSTIS, and followed Master Nell, and became a mascot to the old 15th Regiment becoming useful in camp duties until the close of the war. After the war KIMBLE married, went to Ohio, and became an acquaintance with the daring General CUSTER, and enlisted, a short time before the CUSTER massacre on June 25, 1876, and he was never heard of more.
War had many strange personal experiences, at one time we were encamped on the sunny side of the Gen. LEE Mansion, and as raw recruits were facing the General with his well-drilled veterans, and at another on the trail of the General and his retreating army. On the memorable 3rd day of April, 1865, our battery, the 4th NJ, was the first to enter Richmond to find that LEE had evacuated the city only a few hours before. We were detailed to hold our position at Camp Lee, while the Cavalry and Infantry followed in haste. Soon followed the greatest event of the war, "Lee had surrendered, and the war was over".
As the news of the surrender camp up the James River, we first heard the cannons firing in quick succession, and as the news reached the camps and forts nearer, we could hear the accompaniment, the bands were playing, and as the news reached us our own cannons were firing very rapidly, but only with blank cartridges, and the bands all over the city of Richmond were playing in double quick time, and this was repeated to the north of us until the cannons’ roar became as faint in the distance as when we first heard them. But few, union or Confederate, slept on that eventful night, LEE had surrendered and the war was over.
We saw General LEE on several occasions, not as a prisoner of war, but as one of the greatest American generals. The boys in blue had frequent occasions to acknowledge this fact, but now, that the war was over, he was safe to pass through our ranks everywhere, bearing the honors of a true soldier, and later as a quiet peace-loving citizen. There has been a final roll call to the great majority of the actors of the brave and noble deeds, and they are now only war memories to the few, and recalled as some wild, weird dream of the past.
Transcribed by John Cresseveur
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