Saturday, May 2, 2015

SURNAME SATURDAY: LEE (LEA) Clan of Virginia and England

Copyright 2015, The Hopelessly Hooked Genealogist (B. Harrison)

Today is Surname Saturday in GeneaBloggers time zone, one of the daily writing prompts for those of us who write genealogy blogs. I began this article for my blog in 2011 and just discovered that I had left it in draft mode and never posted it. So, here it is, better late than never. 

One of the surnames in my ancestral tree is LEE (also spelled LEA and LEIGH). These are ancestors on the paternal side of my tree from Virginia. One source on the Lee family of Virginia is this book: Genealogical History of the Lee Family of Virginia and Maryland, From 1300 to 1866. 

I descend from the Lee of Virginia and England line through my paternal grandmother Susannah "Susan" Allen Harrison, wife of John P Harrison. Her paternal great-great-grandmother was Nancy Lee Tucker, wife of William Wofford Tucker, a Captain in the Revolutionary War from Virginia. The following is from info I posted on the Find A Grave Memorial that I created for Nancy Lee Tucker, reference memorial # 67820200 
Nancy Lee Tucker, wife of Revolutionary War Lieutenant William Wofford Tucker. Daughter of Ambrose Lee and Frances Penn Lee(Tucker) of Amherst County, Virginia. Mother of 14 children including Dandrige Tucker and Susannah Tucker Hudgens.

Nancy Lee Tucker's mother Frances Penn Lee married 2nd husband Drury Tucker, who was the father of Nancy's husband William Wofford Tucker. Thus, her mother was also her step-mother-in-law. 

A headstone and confirmed burial location for William Wofford Tucker and his wife Nancy Lee Tucker have not been located. Tucker Homestead Cemetery is a historic family graveyard on private property in Liberty near Clemenstville in Casey County, KY which contains headstones of their son Dandridge Tucker, grandson Dabney Tucker, and other kin. This is likely the burial location of William Wofford Tucker and his wife, who may rest in the family plots in now unmarked graves. 

I have found some famous, not so famous, and infamous LEE ancestors in this extended clan of Lees in my lineage. The Lee clan of Virgina included some colorful characters, political leaders, and military heroes. Some of them were considered "rich, powerful, and influential".  Those individuals will make interesting subjects for future biographical blog posts to flesh out their life stories in my tree, some of which has already been well documented by historians. *(I've already blogged about a couple of them previously). 
Lee Family Crest , Source: Wikimedia Commons

The LEE surname in my tree has origins in England and Ireland.  The English spellings of Lea and Leigh mean "meadow" or "forest clearing". In Ireland, the name was used as an occupational description meaning "poet". The Lee family of Shropshire, England were the forebears of the notable colonial American family of Lee.

Some of my direct line Lee ancestors include my 4x great-grandmother Nancy Lee (1762 VA - 1829 KY) who married William Wofford Tucker; her father Ambrose Lee (1733 VA - 1764 VA) who married Frances "Frankey" Penn; his father William Lee (1710 VA - 1770 VA) who married Elizabeth Rachel Ambrose; his father William Lea ( abt 1684 VA - 1760 VA) who married Ann Taylor; his father Colonel William Lee (1654 VA - 1703 VA) who married Mary Green; his father William Lea (1623 VA - 1663 VA) who married Catherine Ironmonger; and his father William Leigh (1588 England - 1653 VA) who married Mary Dawkes. 

According to the Internet Surname Database at  "This famous name recorded as Lee, Lees, Lea, Leas, Lease and Leese is of Olde English origin. It is usually locational and derives from any of the places named with the pre 7th Century element "leah". This translates as "an open place" in a forest or wood, but may describe a water meadow, the word having different meanings in different parts of the country. Examples of the place names include Lee in Buckinghamshire and Hampshire, and also Lea in Cheshire, Lincolnshire and Wiltshire. The name may also be topographical, for someone who lived at a clearing or pasture, as in the surname 'Atlee'.  The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Ailric de la Leie, which was dated circa 1148, in the "Charters of Northamptonshire", during the reign of King Stephen, known as "Count of Blois", 1135 - 1154. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation In England