Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Return to Trimble County

Trimble County, Kentucky
In August of 1950, my grandfather, Frank Lewis Lee, his sister, Daisy Lee Long, and their brothers, Linus Virgil Lee and Sidney Orin Lee, returned to Trimble County, Kentucky where they spent so much of their childhood.  They visited the places of their youth:  the home of their Gill grandparents where Frank and Daisy were born, the home of their Lee grandparents, the old Jackson School where Frank and Daisy went to class, Wise's Landing, the Bedford Cemetery, and their own homeplace (pictured above).  On this visit, they took a series of wonderful 3 1/2" x 11 1/2" black and white photos.  I have my granddad's copies of these photos, and, what's even better is that Granddad labeled all but one of them!  So, as I promised in yesterday's post, here they are.  Hope you enjoy them.

G. O. & Georgia Gill Lee Home

G. O. & Georgia Gill Lee Home
(if you look closely, on the right you'll see the Lee siblings picnicking in the yard)

J. F. M. (Frank) & Margaret Anderson Lee Farm

John & Sarah Gill Farm

John & Sarah Gill Farm

John & Sarah Gill Farm

Wise Landing along the Ohio River

This is the only photo that wasn't labeled.  Bedford, maybe?

Monday, January 28, 2013

Amanuensis Monday: A Poem by Daisy Lee

Daisy Lee Long
My granddad's sister, Daisy Lee Long, penned the following poem in 1943 when she was about sixty years old.  In the poem, Daisy reflects on the happy times she and her brothers had growing up in rural Trimble County, Kentucky, along the Ohio River.  I believe she is writing/speaking to her brother, Virgil, throughout the piece.  What makes this poem even more meaningful is that Daisy and her three brothers, Frank, Virgil, and Orin, DID go back to Trimble County together in 1950, and they DID revisit all these places of their youth.  Luckily, they documented their visit through photos that I'll share on this blog in the coming days.

Looking Backward In 1943

Dear "Old Pete" of our by-gone days;
Do you remember our funny ways
How we drank from the DEAR OLD GOURD
That laid on the back of the CISTERN board?

Those days have gone but GOURDS have not
For I'm sending you one--the best I've got.
Drink from it often and think of me
For I have not forgotten THOSE DAYS you see!

Maybe some day in time to come
We may go together to THAT OLD HOME
And live over the days of LONG AGO
BUT--would it be fun like the days of yore?

Would the RIVER seem the same as it used to be?
Would the BARNYARD be as interesting to see?
Would the OLD WELL be there to "holler" down?
Would we be able to ride "OLD BUTTERFLY" to town?

Would YOU be able to trot down the lane
On your CORN STALK legs and return again?
Would THE PIGS be there their backs to scratch?
Would we be able to find A WATERMELON PATCH?

Would FRANK be able, on a frosty morn
To get out of bed and cut the corn?
To milk "OLD MAUD," while she ate from the pan
Who annoyed HIM greatly, when her tail she would fan?

Would FRANK go with us to the BACKHOUSE
And stand outside, as scared as a mouse
While you and I told stories of FRIGHT
The whole time HATING US with all his might????

I'm sure we would all be children AGAIN
And "tend like" it was the real thing.
LITTLE OLD ORIN would join in the fun
To keep up with US, he would have to RUN!

If MOTHER were with us--backward she'd look,
To keep THEM all happy--carefree and well
Of many FOND STORIES, she MAYBE would tell?

When the WAR is OVER, and we have good weather?
In the meantime let us THANK GOD FOR HIS GRACE
And ask HIM to allow us to return to the PLACE.

          A LITTLE OLD GOURD inspired these lines--
                                                               Daisy L. Long

Daisy Lee Long's Poem as she typed it in 1943

Friday, January 25, 2013

Fridays With Frank: Frank L. Lee Grows Up

The Lee Family, c. 1887
(left to right)  Georgia Gill Lee, Frank Lewis Lee, Linus Virgil Lee,
Gilbert O. Lee, Daisy Lee
Sometime between 1883 and 1885, Gilbert and Georgia Lee moved their young family from Trimble County, Kentucky, to Albany, Missouri.  I've been unable to find out much of anything about their time in Albany, but I do know that Georgia's brother, James L. Gill, moved there also at about that same time. While in Albany, two more baby boys were born to Gilbert and Georgia Lee.  Linus Virgil was born on December 1, 1885, and Sidney Orin arrived on February 9, 1889.

Jackson School, Trimble County, Kentucky
Linus Virgil Lee (l), Frank Lewis Lee (center)
Photo taken in 1950
Inside Jackson School, Trimble County, Kentucky
Photo taken in 1950

Gilbert and Georgia soon moved their children back to Kentucky and settled into their old farmhouse in Trimble County.  My granddad, Frank, and younger sister, Daisy, went to Jackson School there.

By 1897, at the latest, the Lee family had moved to nearby La Grange, Kentucky, in Oldham County.  They had a house close to the railroad depot on Main Street in downtown La Grange.  Gilbert O. Lee was now Dr. Lee and opened his dental office in a downstairs room of the family home.  According to the Oldham County Kentucky School Census Reports, all the Lee children attended school in La Grange.  Frank attended until he was 19 years old in 1900.

Dr. G. O. Lee's Home and Dental Office
Main Street, La Grange, KY
c. 2008
Dr. G. O. Lee's name on the sidewalk in front of his home/office
c. 2008

Hope you'll visit the blog for the next Amanuensis Monday to read Daisy Lee's own account of growing up in Trimble County.  AND in next week's Fridays With Frank, Granddad gets a career--and a wife!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Tombstone Tuesday: Another Look at the J. F. M. Lee Monument

As I was scanning some old photos the other night, I came across a print of the Jefferson Francis Marion Lee monument in Bedford  (KY) Cemetery.  The photo was taken in 1950, sixty years earlier than the photos I took and posted in my January 8, 2013, Tombstone Tuesday entry.  The 1950 photo shows a different, or at least partially different monument than the one in the 2010 photo.

J. F. M. Lee Monument
Bedford (KY) Cemetery, 1950

J. F. M. Lee Monument
Bedford (KY) Cemetery, 2010

Written by Daisy Lee Long, J. F. M. Lee's granddaughter, on the back of the 1950 photo is the following:  "Large monument-grandfather's.  Diamond shape monument in the rear is Aunt Sidney's at Bedford Ky"

So, what happened to the Lee monument during those sixty years?  Vandalism?  Ravages of time and weather?  I love a good mystery!  I'm anxious to return to Bedford and investigate.  Also, I'd love to hear from anyone who has some answers or even theories about this.  Thanks!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Amanuensis Monday: Eight-Year Old Frank L. Lee's Letter to His Family

In September of 1889, my granddad, Frank Lewis Lee, was eight years old and staying with his grandparents in Trimble County, Kentucky.  His parents and younger siblings were elsewhere--maybe still in Albany, Missouri, where the family had moved a few years earlier.  During this time, young Frank wrote a letter to his family.  It's obvious from  the different, more mature handwriting at the beginning and the end of the letter that he had a bit of help.  Following is my attempt at transcribing the letter.

Letter written by 8-year old Frank L. Lee, page 1
Trimble County, Kentucky, 1889
Page 2 of  Frank L. Lee letter
Trimble County, Kentucky, 1889

Sunday 1:00 (?) Sep 22d 1889

Dear Mama, Bro & Sisters  I have just got home from sun day school.  I started to school mondy  we went to sun day school in the sur rey this morning  we got a letter from you last night  we just had dinner and grand-ma has just got through the dishes  I have been up the hill to pack peaches  I will make boxes for them  we will pack peaches this week
     I'm sor ry I cant go.  I get to ticket a day  sometimes I make one ticket to keep from whispering all day and one for a head mark.  I am going to keep Aunt Effie's horse till she come back to ride to the post office  I went to the post office on bonny  (?) but I went with one of the darkey and we had lots of fun  I wish Daisie and Pete was here to play with me.
I wish you would kiss them all for me and kiss the baby six times and I want you to go to the locking glass and kiss your self for me to.
bye bye

Your Son
Frank Lee Jr.

What a gift it is to have original family documents and letters such as this!  I think it's our responsibility to preserve and share them, too. Thanks to Geneabloggers for the Amanuensis Monday and other blog prompts.  For a great explanation of amanuensis, check out this link to the blog Transylvanian Dutch.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Introducing Fridays With Frank: A Weekly Series About Frank Lewis Lee

"Our Boy" c. 1883
Frank Lewis Lee, Age 6 Months
Since his file cabinet of family memorabilia so inspired me to unravel the Lee family history, I've decided to devote my Friday blog posts to my granddad, Frank Lewis Lee.  Though  I never knew him, my research about him is revealing quite a remarkable man and an interesting character.  I hope you'll enjoy reading this series as much as I know I'll enjoy writing it.

Let's begin at the beginning.  Frank Lewis Lee was the first of four children born to Gilbert Oliver Lee (1858-1923) and Georgia Ella Gill (1860-1949), both of Trimble County, Kentucky.  Frank was born on April 16, 1881, and his sister, Daisy, joined the family on February 11, 1883.  Both Frank and Daisy were born on Gill Ridge in Trimble County, Kentucky, at the home of their maternal grandparents,  John Lewis Gill and Sarah Shirley Gill.

Frank and Daisy lived with their parents on a farm that fronted the Ohio River.  According to the 1880 U.S. Census, Gilbert Lee was a farmer then and Georgia, or Georgie as some called her, kept house.  Both sets of grandparents, plus several aunts, uncles, and cousins all lived close by in Trimble County.  The Gills had a farm on Gill Ridge, while paternal grandparents, J. F. M. "Frank" Lee and Margaret S. A. Lee, had a farm only a few miles away which also fronted the Ohio River.

Birthplace of Frank L. Lee and Daisy Lee
Home of John L. Gill & Sarah Shirley Gill
Gill Ridge, Trimble County, Kentucky
Pictured in photo are Frank L. Lee (right) & younger brothers,
Sidney Orin Lee (left) & Linus Virgil Lee (center)
Photo taken in August, 1950
Georgia Gill Lee, Gilbert O. Lee,
Daisy Lee, & Frank Lewis Lee
c. 1884
Home of Gilbert O. Lee & Georgia Gill Lee in 1880s and 1890s
Trimble County, Kentucky
Photo taken in August 1950

I hope you'll check back next Friday for more of Frank Lewis Lee's story and throughout the week for more discoveries about my Lee family!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Treasure Chest Thursday: Frank L. Lee Silhouette

Frank Lewis Lee Silhouette
by F. Ward, 1932
This awesome little silhouette of my granddad, Frank Lewis Lee, is one of my most recent discoveries.  Buried among some old family letters in a worn file folder, I found this treasure.  The silhouette itself has been cut out of black paper, mounted onto a 4.5" x 5.75" piece of cream-colored card stock, then attached to and enclosed in a gold-colored card stock folder.  In the lower left corner are the artist's signature and the date written in pencil.  Granddad would have been about 49 years old when this was made, and he would have been living in Middlesboro, Kentucky, and operating Lee's Drug Store.

I think it's time for this little gem to come out of that musty file folder, don't you?  Perhaps a simple black frame and a place of prominence on our bookshelves.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Tombstone Tuesday: The Frank Lee Family Plot

Frank Lee Family Marker, c. 2004
Middlesboro Cemetery
The Middlesboro Cemetery in Middlesboro, Kentucky, is the final resting place for my grandparents, my parents, and my brother.  Frank Lewis Lee, Elizabeth Rochester Lee, Frank Welch Lee, Betty Lane Lee, and Frank Lewis Lee II are all buried together on a hillside in the Frank Lee Family plot.  Also in this plot is the grave of Mattie Rochester Owsley, sister of my grandmother, Elizabeth Rochester Lee.  The plot is marked by a marble stone, and each individual grave is marked by a small headstone made of the same marble as the larger family marker.

Frank Lewis Lee
Elizabeth Rochester Lee
Frank Welch Lee
Betty Lane Lee
Frank Lewis Lee II

For more information about the Middlesboro Cemetery, see the following links:
Middlesboro Cemetery: A Forgotten Gem in the Heart of the City
Find A Grave: Middlesboro Cemetery

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Treasure Chest Thursday: Frank Lewis Lee's Chalkboard

Frank Lewis Lee's School Chalkboard
La Grange, KY, 1894
One of the many treasures I found in my granddad's old file cabinet was this small chalkboard that he used when he was in school in 1894.  With a writing surface on both sides, the chalkboard measures about 8 x 11 inches and is surrounded by a wood frame.  There is also a small hole in center of the top of the frame.  Maybe this was used to hang the chalkboard on the side of the school desk or the wall?  Granddad Lee would have been about 13 years old in 1894 and attending school in La Grange, Kentucky.  With no paper or tablets, students in granddad's school used these personal chalkboards or slates and chalk to write down and figure math problems, to spell words, to answer questions asked of them by their teacher.  As a retired teacher myself, this is one of my favorite family treasures.  What makes it even more special is that my dad chose to keep this and pass it on to me, and that it's in his handwriting that the date and owner of the chalkboard are recorded.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Tombstone Tuesday: J. F. M. and Margaret S. A. Lee

Lee Monument, 2010
Bedford Cemetery
Bedford, Trimble County, KY
This monument, located in Bedford, Kentucky, marks the graves of Jefferson Francis Marion Lee and his first wife, Margaret Shaw Anderson Lee.  One side of the stone reads as follows:

J. F. M. Lee
Nov. 14, 1835
Nov. 5, 1912

Farewell our children dear
Faint not neath the chastening rod.
It is the decree of God
That death must come to all.

J. F. M. Lee Inscription, 2010

The opposite side of the monument reads:

Margaret Lee
Feb. 12, 1840
Oct. 6, 1891

There is also an inscription beneath Margaret's death date, but I failed to get a good photo of it, and I failed to write it down while I was there.  Note to self:  Go back and get this information soon!

Margaret Lee Inscription, 2010

Also , at the bottom of the monument is the name LEE.  The marker is in good condition except for the loss of some sort of finial on top which seems to have broken off some time ago.

Inscription on base of J. F. M. and Margaret Lee monument, 2010

The graves are located in what is now called Bedford Cemetery in the town of Bedford in Trimble County, Kentucky.  Previously, the cemetery was called Odd Fellows Cemetery or Bedford IOOF Cemetery.  For more information and photos of the cemetery, check out this link:  http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=cr&CRid=2135282.

The final photo I'll share is one that I took as I was leaving Bedford Cemetery.  I found the image quite telling and rather sad.  In the foreground of the photo you'll clearly see the Lee marker, but if you look more closely, you'll notice in the distance a smokestack sending up a big cloud of smoke.  This smokestack is part of the power plant that now sits on the site of Frank and Margaret Lee's farm where they lived in that wonderful old house he called Freedom Home.

J. F. M. and Margaret Lee Monument (left)
with power plant smokestack in the distance, 2010

Monday, January 7, 2013

Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness

One of my resolutions for 2013 is to practice and promote random acts of genealogical kindness.  As an amateur genealogist, I know how exciting and rewarding it is to uncover a missing piece of family history.  I also know that it's hard to find all the missing pieces by yourself.  So did Bridgett and Doc Schneider, who established the Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness (RAOGK) website several years ago.  With this website, the Schneiders created a network for volunteers around the world to help genealogists find information about their family histories.  From obtaining copies of documents to prove lineage to taking photos of old tombstones and homesites, these volunteers provided a valuable service.  The website itself provided a way to match research needs to volunteers.  Sadly, the RAOGK website ceased to exist in 2011 when administrator Bridgett Schneider passed away.  Luckily, some volunteers have continued the cause on other sites.  Facebook, for example, has several RAOGK pages now.  Following are links to a couple of those pages:   www.facebook.com/groups/raogkUSA/?fref=ts and www.facebook.com/groups/33868082803/.  Find A Grave, one of favorite research sites, also offers an outlet for volunteers to take and share gravesite photos in their communities with those requesting them.  Ancestry offers volunteer opportunities through its Ancestry World Archives Project.  To participate in this project, volunteers can work from their home computers and transcribe historical records so they can be placed online for other researchers to access.

Many other opportunities to help family historians exist online and in local communities.  Wouldn't it be great if more of us shared a bit of our time and resources to help other people complete their family histories?  This is what I hope to do in 2013, and I want to share some ideas and opportunities about how to do so on this blog.  Let me share with you now a personal story of an awesome act of genealogical kindness that was done for me and my Lee family.

A couple of years ago, I was browsing the internet for information about my great-great grandfather, Jefferson Francis Marion (Frank) Lee, who lived in Trimble County, Kentucky.  Quite by accident I happened upon an article in an area newsletter that mentioned Frank Lee.  The article featured a Trimble County couple who were avid history buffs and who were sponsoring a local history festival.  The article went on to say that about thirty years ago, this couple had taken it upon themselves to rescue what they considered a local historical treasure--Freedom Home built by Frank Lee around 1860.

Freedom Home (surrounded by trees) on Frank Lee's farm in Trimble County, Kentucky, c. 1950

The old home, rumored to have been part of the Underground Railroad, was about to be demolished so that a new power plant could be built on the home site beside the Ohio River.  This amazing couple bought Freedom Home and had it moved several miles down the road to their own property.  I immediately tracked down a phone number for these folks and made a call.  They graciously invited my husband and I to visit them, and they arranged with the new owners of Freedom Home for us to see my great-great grandfather's home.  The day we spent with these wonderful folks was a gift.  Not only did they give me copies of the history they had collected about my Lee family from Trimble County, they also took my husband and I on a guided tour of Freedom Home.  It was such an amazing experience to walk through the house that my great-great grandfather built, where my great grandfather (Gilbert Oliver Lee) was born and raised, where my granddad (Frank Lewis Lee) visited and played as a child. This was a day I will always treasure.  Following are a few photos I took of Freedom Home during that visit.

J. F. M. Lee's Freedom Home, 2010
Trimble County, Kentucky

Original staircase inside Freedom Home, 2010
Trimble County, Kentucky

The Ohio River from inside Freedom Home, 2010
Trimble County, Kentucky
What random acts of genealogical kindness have you done--or what have others done for you?  I hope you'll share your stories and ideas with me.  Leave a comment below or contact me via email at bsouthworth@windstream.net.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

My Lee Grandparents

Sometimes I'm awakened in the middle of the night by that little voice in the back of my mind that reminds me of something I need to do.  Last night that voice reminded me that it would be helpful to readers of this blog to provide a basic family tree of my Lee ancestors.  Following is a list of my Lee grandparents with a few dates and places noted.  Do any of these names appear on your family tree?  If so, I hope you'll leave a comment below so that we can connect and share information about our Lee family.

William Lee came to Long Island from England around 1675 and settled his family in New Jersey

Joseph Lee (?-1790) m. Abigail Price

Thomas Lee (1728-1825) m. Dinah Perrine

Peter Perrine Lee (1756-1848) m. Ruth Huntington Gard; in 1790 they moved west to Ohio           settling just southwest of Cincinnati on the Ohio River

Rodney Jefferson Lee (1803-1871) m. Sarah Faulkner; they would eventually move across the Ohio River to Trimble County, Kentucky

Jefferson Francis Marion "Frank" Lee (1835-1912) m. Margaret Shaw Anderson

Gilbert Oliver Lee (1858-1923) m. Georgie Etta Gill; they moved from Trimble County to La Grange, Oldham County, Kentucky

Frank Lewis Lee (1881-1962) m. Elizabeth "Bettie" Welch Rochester; they eventually settled in Middlesboro in Bell County, Kentucky

Frank Welch Lee (1912-2004) m. Betty Jewel Lane

Elizabeth Lane Lee (1961- ?) m. Eugene Price Southworth II; I moved north and settled in Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky