Original written:  January 30th, 2003

Revised: June 8, 2008

 

To the reader;

 

This biographical sketch was published in 1889 in the Biographical Souvenir of Texas.   I have done my best to type it exactly as originally written. 

 

I decided to add the 3 footnotes at the end due to their historical significance.

 

It is my hope the reader will find this brief biographical sketch to be interesting as well as informative. 

 

I started researching this family in 1997 and have made four trips to Missouri reviewing courthouse and library records and have visited towns and cities that are mentioned in their records.  The experience has been very heartfelt for me personally and now I have a friendship with several Lee family descendants that I think of often .  (The other families of Missourians that came to Texas in 1869/1870 was also noted.)  The rewards that have been found not only in Missouri but elsewhere in Texas (other than Cooke county) have far exceeded any expectation I could have ever envisioned.  As time goes on I will create family pages and add much more concerning the Lee family as well as other families will be put on the website.  This particular offering is my introduction to the readers to the Lee family.  Mr. Lee as the “Father of Valley View” has provided not only a interesting life that is a joy to read about but is the one that set the character of our town for us to be referred to as the, “Friendliest People in Cooke county”.  Mrs. Lee as the “Mother of Valley View” was quite the lady.  Much of the information from previous writings can be attributed to her.     The following is just a bit of their story.

 

Enjoy your time UNDER THE SHADE TREE.  http://www.geocities.com/valleyview1872

 

Best Regards,   Norman L. Newton

 

 

L. W. Lee

(Biographical Sketch)

 

            One of the most prosperous and public-spirited citizens of Cooke county is Captain L. W. Lee, of Valley View.   Captain Lee is a native of Howard county, Missouri, and has lived in Texas since 1869.  His parents were natives of Kentucky and were among the earliest settlers of Missouri.  His father, Noah G. Lee, was born in Madison county, Kentucky, January 16, 1790, grew to manhood there, served in the War of 1812, returned to Kentucky, married and moved to Missouri, settled first in Howard county and afterward in Cooper county, where he died September 2, 1851.  He was a farmer, a man of plain life, honest, industrious and fairly successful.

 

            Captain Lee’s mother bore the maiden name of Sarah Harvey, and was a daughter of William Harvey of Madison county, Kentucky, herself a native of that county also.  She died in Cooper county, Missouri, in the fall of 1859, in the sixty-third year of her age. 

 

            To Noah G. and Sarah Lee were born a family of nine children, of whom the subject of this sketch was the seventh, the others being – William Perry, the oldest son, who was a man of indomitable courage and perseverance and had accumulated quite an amount of property for one of his age and was on the eve of emigrating to Texas, when he was taken with congestive chill and died in 1845, in his twenty-sixth year.

 

            Andrew Jackson, second son, went to California in the general rush to the gold mines, returned to Missouri in 1852, and engaged in the mercantile business in Henry county, Missouri, and was the founder of the beautiful little town of Leesville; was very successful in business, but, like a great many high-strung Missourians, staked his all on the Confederacy, and lost his life and property both.

 

            Thomas Benton, the youngest of the family, on arriving at his majority was taken with the California fever and spent some time in the golden State, returning just in time to join the Confederate army under General Price.  He took the measles in camp, from which he never recovered, but died with consumption in 1857, loved and respected by all who knew him

 

            The girls all married men of sterling worth and integrity except Louisa, who never married.  She died at Captain Lee’s, in Texas, March 6, 1872.

 

            The subject of this brief biographical sketch was born, as stated, in Howard county, Missouri, and first saw the light on the 27th day of October, 1831.  He was reared in the counties of Howard and Cooper in Missouri.   At the age of eighteen, during the gold excitement in California, he prevailed upon his father to let him try his luck in the new Eldorado.  After obtaining consent, he and some of his neighbors were not long in fitting up an ox wagon and team for the occasion, and April 29, 1850, cut loose from civilization by crossing the western State line of Missouri and entering into the then called great American desert.  After many privations and almost starvation, he arrived in Sacramento on the 25th day of August, 1850, worn out, poor and penniless, while 2,000 miles of mountains and plains, traversed by hostile Indians, lay between him and his home.  He says he could have sat down and wept, but he had left home to be a man, and he thought that would not be manly.  After striking a job of helping move a lumber yard, and finding no other work in the city, he started to the mines with all the worldly goods he possessed on his back with ten dollars in his pocket which he received for moving lumber.  At one dollar per meal, the customary price at that time, one could see the necessity of his obtaining work at the earliest possible convenience, consequently he asked every man he met or saw for employment, and especially the teamsters, for, having been reared on a farm at hard labor, he considered himself an expert at that.  On arriving at the Mississippi bar on the American fork of the Sacramento river, he obtained employment to work in the mines from J. W. Roberts, D. McBride and George Colvin of Boone county, Missouri, at half wages, he being a mere boy, but after working a few days they said he did a man’s work and paid him a man’s wages.  Captain Lee has never seen them since, but is enthusiastic in their praise.  J. W. Roberts is now county judge of Boone county, Missouri, and no doubt a just and good one.  After working for those parties till he obtained sufficient money to buy tools and provisions for the winter, he formed a partnership with four others, built them a cabin near Mud springs in 1Eldorado county for winter quarters and commenced mining on their own account.  In the spring of 1851 they were able to buy two wagons and teams, and started a little store in a large tent on the Cossumnes river with a general stock of miners’ supplies, at which business they continued till 1852, when they sold out and organized a company of thirty men with pack mules to re-cross the plains to Missouri.  At this season of the year, owning to the deep snow on the Sierra Nevada mountains, no wagons could be carried across.  Each man was equipped with sixty days’ rations, just enough to carry them through without any allowance for laying over with the sick, or for high water; every man had to depend on good health and a clear-footed mule.  To be left was to be killed by the Indians.  To lay over was to starve to death together.  Unfortunately for one Mr. Nance he did not have a clear-footed mule, which fell and broke his collar bone and otherwise crippled him, but he was grit to the backbone and answered promptly at roll-call.  William Lockridge, of Howard county, Missouri, a noble gentleman, was accidently shot through the hand with a load of buckshot, which caused him untold pain and agony, but he too had the nerve to continue the march.  Captain Lee relates many incidents of hardships and exposure in crossing snow mountains without any road, with a Delaware Indian employed as a pilot, and the swimming of rivers, at which Captain Lee always took the lead, he being an expert swimmer, but suffice to say that he arrived home safely in due time.

 

            On returning he entered school at once, and continued there until the summer of 1854, when there were some reports of finding gold in the Red fork of the Arkansas river.  In less than five days after the report, Captain Lee, with twenty of his neighbors, with five wagons and teams, were on their way to the new gold mines, which never materialized.  He returned home and engaged in farming and trading in horses and mules till the spring of 1857, when several of the young men of the neighborhood proposed that each one should put in all the cattle that they could buy and drive them to California, and give Captain Lee charge of the herd, after putting in all the cattle he was able to buy.  He readily accepted, and the summer of 1857 found him again winding his way to the Pacific slope at the head of a herd of cattle.  The Indians were very bad that year and gave them considerable trouble, it being the year that 2General Albert S. Johnston marched his army to Salt Lake City, and of the 3Mountain Meadow massacre.   However, the drive paid well, and Captain Lee returned home in 1859, by way of  4Panama, and on November 1, of same year, was married to Mary A. Fryer, daughter of James Fryer, of Cooper county, Missouri, and sister of Judge Fryer, of Johnson county.  He bought a farm in the western part of Johnson county, Missouri, and remained on it till 1863, during the Civil War, at which time it became very unhealthy for peaceable citizens to reside there.  He returned to Cooper county and engaged in feeding beef cattle and trading in horses and mules till the close of the war – moved back to Johnson county to find his house burned and fences destroyed, but soon rebuilt better ones, and in 1869 sold out and removed to Texas.  On coming to Texas he settled in the southern part of Cooke county, which, at that time was almost depopulated, on account of Indian depredations; there he bought a tract of land and began farming and stock raising

 

            Seeing the great need of school facilities, in 1873 he laid off the town of Valley View, christened it, and gave away business and residence lots to those desiring to make a permanent settlement.  He built a school-house and furnished it with his own funds, and in many other ways helped to give the town a start. 

 

            Captain Lee is a farmer and stock grower, and therein all his interests of a financial nature lie.  He has a farm enclosed of one thousand acres, through which the beautiful stream of Spring creek flows over a pebbled bottom, fringed on either bank with beautiful groves of timber.  He has a beautiful fish pond of about four acres, within one hundred yards of his house, that will average fifteen feet deep; he has over four hundred acres in a splendid state of cultivation, and otherwise well improved and well stocked, and to this he gives his exclusive time and attention.  He is a reading and thinking farmer, eschewing all connections with the various agricultural organizations; he thinks and acts for himself, leaving others to do the same.  He is progressive and public spirited, especially so in educational matters; he is the pillar of the public-school system of his county, taking a lively interest in everything pertaining thereto.  He is the father of three children, to each of whom he has given exceptionally good school training.  His oldest daughter, Ella, is now the wife of James M. Potter, cashier of the Red River National Bank, of Gainesville; his two remaining children, Robert Perry and Zoe, are yet in school. 

 

 

 

Notes:

 

1              Big immigration of people to California was brought by the discovery of gold at Sutter's sawmill in Coloma (Indian word for beautiful valley), El Dorado County on January 24, 1848 by James Marshall.  To find out more go to;

http://64.127.187.225/~eldorado/

 

2           Albert Sidney Johnson, Brevet brigadier general in an expedition to escort the Mormons to Salt Lake City.  To find out more go to;

http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online/articles/view/JJ/fjo32.html

 

3                      To find out more about the Mountain Meadow Massacre go to;

       http://www.rootsweb.com/~armarion/mmmassacre.html

 

4              Panama – I just want to be sure the reader is aware this time period is many years prior to a canal built across Panama.  He would have crossed the land area which probably was by rail and then catch another steamer on the Atlantic side.  Reference Only:  The Panama Canal was built by the United States and completed during 1914.