Jefferson County Historical Society

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Thomas J. Lee, another successful and enterprising farmer and stock
raiser of Joachim Township, was born on the farm on which he now lives,
January 6, 1835, and is the youngest of four sons born to Giles and
Amelia (Null) Lee.  The former was born in Pennsylvania, in 1797, and
when a mere child was taken by his parents to Kentucky, where he lived
until the age of twenty four (1821).  He then came to Jefferson County,
found employment near Pevely, and conducted a tannery for Col. Bryant, 
having learned his trade in Kentucky.  After a few years with Col.
Bryant he married and moved to near Hematite, where he started a tanyard 
on the farm on which his son, Charles F., now lives, perhaps the
second tanyard in Jefferson County.  After operating this for some time
he removed about one mile below, on the farm on which our subject now
lives, where he remained until 1855.  He then removed to Arcadia, in
Iron County, and from there to Mill Spring, in Wayne County, where he
died in 1874.  He was of German descent, and both father and mother 
were members of the Methodist Episcopal Church South, and were among
the best families of the county.  Mr. Lee was married four times, his
last wife is still living.  The mother of Thomas J. was born near
Hematite, and died when he was but a few days old.  She was a daughter
of William Null, one of the earliest pioneers of Jefferson County, who
settled on one of the old Spanish claims near Hematite.  He was one of 
the foremost citizens of the county, and was one of the six commissioners 
to select the county seat on its removal from Herculaneum.  Thomas J. 
attended the common subscription schools three or four months a year, and 
in order to do so was obliged to walk four miles night and morning.  The 
house was the rudest log structure and very inconvenient in every way.  
He finished his education with a one year's attendance at Arcadia, after 
his father had removed there.  At the opening of the late Rebellion he at 
once joined the Confederate army in Company B, Second Missouri Cavalry, 
under Col. Colton Green, in Gen. J. S. Marmaduke's Division, and operated 
in Arkansas and Missouri for nearly four years.  Although he served 
continuously as deputy lieutenant, he was never wounded or captured.  
After his discharge at (Nacatush) Louisiana in June, 1865, he returned 
home, and September 12 of the next year he married Maria Ellen, daughter 
of John and Mary (Itson) Morgan, formerly of Kentucky, but who came to 
Jefferson County about 1860, and lived some years in Iron County.  Mrs. 
Lee's father is a second cousin of Gen. John Morgan, of Confederate fame.  
Soon after his marriage Mr. Lee located on the farm of his birth, which 
consists of 261 acres, one and a half miles east of Hematite.  A portion 
of this he inherited and bought about one-half from his father's estate.  
Although having no children of his own, Mr. Lee has reared and educated 
several.  He is an enterprising and upright citizen, and has been a member 
of the school board for about sixteen years.  Politically, he was reared a 
Whig, but has always acted with the Democratic party, his first vote
being for Breckinridge, in 1860.  He has been a prominent Mason sixteen
years, and he and wife are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church South.  
Mr. Lee's grandfather spent the last years of his life in Jefferson County.