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JOHN LEE OF JEFFERSON COUNTY, INDIANA
FATHER OF MARY E. LEE

By Reiley Kidd


 

According to our family lore, "Alfred Thomas Reiley's first wife was Mary E. Lee, the daughter of John Lee of Tipton County, Indiana." This story is confirmed by the Tipton County, Indiana marriage records, which document their marriage on April 12, 1860 in Tipton County.1

 

All evidence supports the statement that Mary E. Lee's father was John Lee, of southern Indiana. A great deal of information on this John Lee's ancestry is found in The Lee Family of Jefferson County, Indiana, 1650-1980, going back 6 more generations, to 1650.2 According to this reference, our John Lee was the son of Nathan Lee (born Oct. 15, 1789, m. Oct. 9, 1808 in Gallatin Co., KY, d. abt. 1858 in Switzerland Co., IN) and his wife Nancy Fish. John was born November 18, 1816 in Jefferson Co., Indiana.3 Nathan Lee is on the 1820 federal census in Jefferson Co., Indiana with John in his household, about three years of age.4

In 1830, Nathan Lee is again found in Jefferson Co., Indiana.5

In 1840, our John Lee is in Switzerland Co., Indiana, just east of Jefferson Co., with his new wife, Clarinda. Next door is his father, Nathan, and Nathan's large family.6

In 1850, this John Lee is found in Jefferson County, Indiana (Milton Township), age 33, a farmer with $300 in real estate, born in Indiana. In his household are his (second) wife, Permelia, age 25 and born in KY (more on her later), and the following children, all born in Indiana: Mary E. - 9, James Hascal - 7 [Permelia's son by her first marriage], Clarinda - 2, and Warren - 8⁄12, all b. IN.7

John Lee purchased land in Prairie Twp., Tipton Co., Indiana in December of 1849 and January of 1850, but evidently didn't move his family north right away. The record of the sale names him as "John Lee of Jefferson County." 8

By the 1860 federal census, John Lee has migrated north, where he and his family is found in Prairie Twp. of Tipton Co., Indiana, age 42, farmer, $2000 real estate, $600 personal property, b. IN, with wife Permelia, age 33, b. KY, and children Margaret - 15, Clarinda - 12, Nathan - 6, Jesse F. - 3, Nancy A. - 1, and James F. Haskel - 18, day laborer (and his stepson) in his household.9

By this time, John's daughter Mary E. Lee has married Alfred Thomas Reiley. They are found on the federal census in Howard County, Indiana, just north of Tipton County.10 From this census entry, we know that they were married within the past 12 months, and have no children yet.

In 1866, John's daughter Clarinda G. Lee married Robert Gray, in Tipton Co., Indiana, on March 11.11 Evidently they are still living in Tipton Co. at this time. According to an article on Robert Gray, he and his wife removed to Clay County, Illinois in March of 1867. Presumably this is also when Clarinda's parents moved to Clay County.12

In 1870, John and his family are in Clay Co., IL, in close proximity to the family of Alfred T. Reiley, the husband of John's deceased daughter, Mary.13

I have yet to find them in 1880, but am confident that they stayed in Clay Co., IL, because both John and Permelia are buried in the Elmwood Cemetery, on the south side of Flora, Clay Co., Illinois. Their headstones read as follows:

        John LEE - born 18 November 1816 - died 20 February 1883

        Permelia Banta LEE, wife of John - born 1823 - died 9 July 187814

John is not in daughter Jessie Lee Russell's household. I've not found the other children in 1880 yet.

 

 

MARY E. LEE'S MOTHER:

John Lee married Mrs. Permelia Haskell in Switzerland Co., IN on 4-22-1847.15 Combining this with the census information above, it is evident that the James Haskel⁄Hascal in John's household in 1870 is Permelia's only living child by her first marriage. The same source reveals that she married Harvey Haskell in Switzerland Co., IN on December 11, 1841, and that her maiden name was Banta.16 Another source lists Permelia's birthdate as November 24, 1822, the daughter of Henry C. and Nancy Demaree Banta.

Given the marriage date for John Lee and Mrs. Permelia Haskell, and the age of Mary E. Lee and her sister Margaret C. Lee, it is clear that John Lee was also married earlier. The same Indiana State Library site also produced the marriage record of John Lee and Clarinda Davison in Switzerland Co., Indiana on March 16,1840. I believe that Clarinda is indeed our John Lee's first wife, and Mary E. Lee's mother, because John gave his first daughter by his second wife the name Clarinda, judging from the 1850 and 1860 census entries.

Clarinda's parents are not known at this time. There are several Davison or Davidson household heads in Jefferson County in 1820 and 1830. The most promising suspect is Thomas Davidson, Sr., found on the 1820 census in Jefferson Co., Indiana, with 5 daughters under 18.17 Another is found in the 1830 census, a James Davidson.18

 

 

THE CHILDREN OF JOHN LEE

The names of his children come from the 1850, 1860 and 1870 federal censuses, from a letter written by Mary E. Lee in 1858 to her sister, Margaret C. Lee,19 and from this photo (below), found among the family information of Ardis Reiley Hornack:

Figure 1: photo labeled "John Lee Reiley's aunts, the Lee girls: Aunt Jesse, Nan, Flo, Clara, and Belle." 20 

The children of John by his first wife, Clarinda Davison Lee, whom he married March 16, 1840: 1.  Mary E. Lee, born about 1841,21 in Switzerland Co., IN, & 

2.  Margaret C. Lee, born about 1845. 


The children of John and second wife Permelia Banta Haskell Lee, whom he married April 22, 1847:

3.  Clarinda Lee, b. February 25, 1848,22 

4.  Warren Lee, b. October 1849,23 

5.  Nathan Lee, b. abt. 1854, 

6.  Jessie Freemont Lee (f), b. abt 1857, 

7.  Nancy Ann Lee, b. February 20, 1858, in Tipton Co., IN, 

8.  Belle Lee, b. abt. 1862, and 

9.  Florence (Flo) Lee, b. abt. 1865. 

 

 

MARY E. LEE'S MARRIAGE

Mary married Alfred Thomas Reiley, the son of Davis Reiley, on April 12, 1860 in Tipton County, Indiana. In 1858 (when she wrote the letter we have) and in 1860, her family was living in Normanda, a small community in Prairie Township, Tipton County, Indiana; on the 1860 federal census, she Mary and her new husband are in the Harrison Township of Howard County, Indiana, immediately north of Prairie Township, Tipton County. Moreover, Harrison Township is on the southern border of Howard County, so although they were in a different county from her parents, she was not far from home.

 

HER BROTHERS AND SISTERS

Little is known of them at this time, after the 1870 federal census, when the family was in Clay County, Illinois. But more information is emerging, summarized here.

 

2.  Margaret Lee - nothing more known at present. Not in her family's house in 1870. 

3.  Clarinda Lee - married Robert Gray in Tipton Co., IN on March 11, 1866 in Tipton Co., IN, and moved with him (and presumably along with her parents and their unmarried children) "to Clay Co., IL in March of the following year," settling near Iola.24 They are there on the federal censuses in 1870 and 1880, and they evidently both died there, because they are both buried in Elmwood Cemetery in Flora, Clay Co., IL. Clarinda died on December 11, 1917, and Robert on May 5, 1922.25 

4.  Warren Lee - nothing more known after 1870. 

5.  Nathan Lee - nothing more known after 1870. 

6.  Jessie Freemont Lee - A Jessie Lee married James M. Russell in Clay Co., IL on 4⁄11⁄1878.26 

7.  Nancy A. Lee - A Nancy Ann Lee married George W. Currey in Clay Co., IL 4⁄28⁄1873.27 

8.  Alice Belle Lee - nothing known after 1870. 

9.  Florence B. Lee - a Florence S. (may be a typo for B.) Lee married Frank Canon in Clay Co., IL on 9⁄18⁄1883.28 

 

 

HER DEATH AND BURIAL

According to the family history written by Charles Wesley Reiley, the son Alfred Thomas Reiley and his second wife, Cynthia Snodgrass, Mary E. Lee died "a few days after the birth of her only child, John Lee Reiley, on December 28, 1860." Unfortunately the death records for Howard County do not begin until 1875, and the County Clerk has no record of her death. However, her headstone, in the Alto cemetery in Alto, Harrison Township, Howard County, Indiana, confirms this date. It reads, "Mary E. Reiley, d. Dec. 31, 1860, wife of A.T.⁄ aged 19y 7m 15d." 29 This cemetery is just outside the Kokomo city limits.

 

Current research is directed toward finding an obituary for Mary, and finding descendants of her siblings, for more information on this family, including other photographs.

 

I am also very interested in learning about the ancestry of Clarinda Davison, John Lee's first wife, and Mary Lee's mother, and would love to hear from others working on the Davison⁄Davidson family of Switzerland Co., Indiana in the early 1800s.

 

 

Footnotes:

 

1.  Tipton County Marriage Records, Book 2, page 271, cited in "Tipton County Marriage Records: Genealogical Data, 1844-1870," pg249. 

2.  November 1980 edition, compiled by Virginia Lee Weagle, Fauna Ritchey Mihalko, Loretta Backus Stevens and Catherine Heywood Jaruzelski, and available from The Jefferson County Historical Society, Madison, Indiana, [http:⁄⁄jchs@seidata.com]    [http:⁄⁄www.seidata.com⁄~jchs⁄jchs.htm]   Email: jchs@seidata.com 

3.  The date comes from his headstone in Clay Co., IL. He always listed his birthplace as Indiana on the federal censuses; and his father bought land in Jefferson Co. in 1817. On Dec. 26, 1817 Nathan purchased the NE qtr. of S34, R5T11 in Shelby Twp. of Jefferson Co., IN. This land was sold later by Nathan and Nancy to Warner Lee. 

4.  There are two Nathan Lees in Jefferson Co. in 1820, both with young males 0-9 - one is on page 287 and the other on p. 293. There are also two household heads named John Lee and one Ely Lee in 1820. RK has photocopies of these pages. 

5.  Reel 28, p. 91; also a Nathaniel Lee and two John Lees, both too old to be our John Lee. RK has copies of these census pages. 

6.  Reel 94, page 155. RK has copies of these pages. Nearby is Amos Haskill, with a wife and two sons 0-4 years of age, and one page earlier (p. 154) is a William Haskell, also with a wife and one son and one daughter age 0-4. One of these may be the first husband of Permelia Banta Haskell, who in 1847 will become John's second wife; or they could be Harvey Haskell's brothers. 

7.  federal census of Jefferson County, IN, Reel 154, page 200, dwelling number 121, enumerated 25 October 1850. There are two other John Lee household heads in Jefferson Co. (who do not appear related, judging from birthplaces). There are also several other LEE household heads in Shelby Twp., very near Milton Twp., and possibly related, including two Nathan⁄Nathaniel Lees (Mary E. Lee's 1858 letter mention a Nathan Lee). RK has photocopies of these census pages. 

8.  according to a letter from Michelle McNabb, the librarian of the Kokomo-Howard Co. Public Library, personal correspondence June 8, 2001. This land was the NW qtr. of S22, R3E. 

9.  federal census of Tipton Co., IN, Reel 301, page 170, enumerated 26 July 1860. There are two other John Lees in Tipton Co., but their ages and birthplaces do not match our John Lee, and the names of the children don't fit, whereas this John Lee matches perfectly. 

10.  federal census of Howard Co., IN (Harrison township), reel 57, page 773, dwelling number 430, enumerated 22 June 1860. Towns in this township include Alto and W. Middleton.

Alferd T. Rily (sic), 26M farmer, $2000 real estate, $200 personal estate, b. IN, "married within the year; Mary, 19F b. IN "married within the year"; Margaret C. Lee (Mary's sister), 15F b. IN, "attended school within the year"; and the family of Henry Goff or Gobb, a missionary minister from KY. RK has a photocopy of this census record. 

11.  Tipton County, Indiana Marriages, 1844-1870, citing Tipton Co., IN MB 3, p. 83. 

12.  History of Clay County, Illinois, vol. 1, 1884, p. 225. 

13.  pp. 135-6, HH 164, Oskaloosa Township. John is 54, a farmer born in Indiana. There's a check mark in his row, indicating that his father was of foreign birth! He owned no real estate at the time of this census (enumerated August 15), and had $576 in personal property. Also in the HH were wife Permelia W. - 48 b. KY, Clarinda 22, Nathan 16, Jesse F. 14, Nancy A 11, Alice B. 8 and Florence B. 5, all b. Indiana. By the time of the 1870 federal census, Alfred T. Reiley is back in Hancock Co., IN. But his uncle, John P. Reiley is still in Oskaloosa Twp., Clay Co., IL, on p. 138a, just 32 households away from John Lee. 

14.  from Death Records of Clay County, Illinois, Master Index, looked up and sent to me by Tom McKnelly, tommck@maqs.net, 6⁄15⁄01. 

15.  INDIANA STATE LIBRARY, Genealogy Division, Searchable Database - an Index of Indiana Marriages Through 1850. http:⁄⁄www.statelib.lib.in.us⁄www⁄indiana⁄genealogy⁄mirr.html 

16.  Ancestry.com file, with no sources listed. Awaiting confirmation, 5⁄2001. Permelia's headstone says she was born in 1823. 

17.  page 279 (280a). Interestingly, this household has one individual in agriculture and one in "commerce." 

18.  Roll 28, p. 126. 

19.  This letter, written from "Normanda (a small community in Jefferson Township), Tipton Co., Indiana, February 25, 1858", begins "Dear Sister" and is addressed to Miss Margaret C. Lee, but contained no address otherwise. In it, Mary tells that "Mother....has a fine girl a week old yesterday; she calls it Nancy Ann." The letter names Nancy Ann, Nathan, Jessie Freemont, and Clarinda, and implies that Margaret is with someone named Eva and her family. It also says that Mary E. Lee wasn't with her father and stepmother in the winter, but plans to stay the summer, and that she was a teacher. Reiley Kidd presently has the original of this letter. 

20.  This photo was passed down in the Reiley family to Ardis Reiley Hornack, whose notation on the back of the photo is listed in the caption (above). These women were Mary E. Lee's half-sisters, by her father's second wife, Permilia Banta Haskell. The photo was taken by the Olive Studio, O.B. O'Neill, 720 Olive Street, St. Louis, MO. Judging by the age of the women in the photo, it was taken between 1890 and 1900. Reiley Kidd now has the original photograph. 

21.  She was 19 years old at the time of the 1860 federal census. Calculating her birthdate from her headstone information (and taking into account the obvious mis-transcription of her age), she was born on May 16, 1841 

22.  History of Clay County, Illinois, vol. 1, 1884, p. 225. 

23.  listed as 8⁄12 years old on the 1850 federal census. This child probably died before 1860, since he's not found on the 1860 census in his parents' home. 

24.  History of Clay County, Illinois, vol. 1, 1884, p. 225 (an article on her husband, Peter Gray). Here is the entire text of this article, kindly sent to me by Nancy Hashimoto, nhashimo@wppost.depaul.edu on 6⁄15⁄2001:

p. 225..."Robert Gray, special insurance agent for the American Central Company of St. Louis, is a resident of Flora, and a native of Switzerland County, Ind., where he was born May 25, 1843. He is the youngest of a family of thirteen children born to Peter and Nancy (Wright) Gray. His father, who was born in Virginia in 1791, served as a soldier in the war of 1812, completing a term of five years in the regular army. He was reared in Kentucky, to where he returned at the close of his service, and was there married to Nancy Wright. They remained in Kentucky several years, during which time four children were born to them. They emigrated to Indiana and settled near Vevay, in Switzerland County, and there made a residence of several years, where the rest of their large family were born. In 1852, they removed to Tipton County, Ind., where the parents died, the mother April 11, 1866, and the father in 1877. Robert received a very limited education in his youth, his total attendance in public schools not aggregating more than one year. In 1862, August 11, he enlisted in Company C, of the One Hundred and First Indiana Regiment, and was wounded and made a prisoner on the 19th of September, 1863, at the battle of Chickamauga, having participated in the fights at Stone River, Milton and Tullahoma. He was retained a prisoner but a short time, after which he was attached to the United States Reserve Corps at Washington City. He was discharged April 14, 1864. He then returned to Tipton County, Ind., where for two years he engaged in the lumber and milling business. He was there married, March 11, 1866, and in March of the following year came to Illinois, and located at Iola, in Clay County. In 1872, he was elected to the office of Sheriff of Clay County, as a Republican, and served acceptably for the term of two years. In 1875, he removed to Flora, and formed a partnership with Mr. M. H. Presley in local insurance business, and in 1876, became a traveling agent for the American Central Company, having the supervision of the States of Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee. His wife, whos maiden name was Clara Lee, is the daughter of John and Parmelia Lee. She was born February 25, 1848, in Switzerland County, Inda. They were both members of the Methodist Episcopal Church of Flora, and he of the Masonic Fraternity. They have two children." 

25.  personal correspondence, Michele McNabb, librarian of Kokomo⁄Howard Co., IN, who also has ancestors in Clay Co., IL and who called me long distance to share this info on 6⁄28⁄01. 

26.  Illinois Statewide Marriage Index, 1763-1900, http:⁄⁄www.cyberdriveillinois.com⁄departments⁄archives⁄marriage.html

This family unit is on the 1880 census in Flora, Clay Co. IL, p. 352B, with Jessie's sister, Florence in their home. 

27.  Illinois Statewide Marriage Index, 1763-1900, http:⁄⁄www.cyberdriveillinois.com⁄departments⁄archives⁄marriage.html 

28.  Illinois Statewide Marriage Index, 1763-1900, http:⁄⁄www.cyberdriveillinois.com⁄departments⁄archives⁄marriage.html

In 1880 she's in her sister Jessie Lee Russell's household. John, their father, isn't there. 

29.  Tombstone Inscriptions, Alto Cemetery, Alto, Indiana, read by Sharon Davis, July 1997, Kokomo-Howard Co. Public Library, Kokomo, Indiana. The published inscription actually gives her age as "49y 7m 15d," but this is clearly a mistaken reading, since she was 19 on the 1860 census of Howard County. 

 

Reiley Kidd, MD