Daniel Webster Lee (1810-1877)
Daniel Webster Lee was born 06 Jun 1810 in Tennessee. He is believed to be the son of Robert Lee born ca 1760/70 and Lucy Weaver born 1774. Oral family history says that the Lees came from Virginia. From there they moved into Tennessee and then into Arkansas, settling in the Madison County. Goodspeeds says that Robert Lee arrived in 1832. Tax records show the Lees in Arkansas as early as 1836.
Daniel left Arkansas within a few years and claimed land in Texas by 1843. He was accompanied by other family members such as his sister Francis Lee who married William Russell Smith. He paid a poll tax in Lamar County in 1846, was listed in the 1850 Collin County Census and from 1860 until his death was listed in Hunt Co, Texas. His occupation was listed as rancher. Daniel Lee settled in the area called "the corners" because it crossed four different counties, and raised a large family which due to the turmoil of the Civil War became involved in a well-known dispute called the "Lee-Peacock Feud".
Daniel was married twice. His first wife was Polly Davis. This marriage most likely took place in
Arkansas. Books written about the Lee-Peacock Feud by T.U. Taylor say that she was the mother of ten children. It is important to note that there are known errors in the books. Three of these children probably died as infants. We know of seven that grew to adulthood and are documented in census and marriage records. They are as follows:
1) Siney Lee born about 1833 in Ark
2) Lena Minerva Lee born 24 May 1834 in Ark married on 11 Oct 1852 to Rev. Samuel Martin Smith in Hunt Co died 07 July 1909 buried in Lee Cemetery, Fannin Co, TX.
3) Robert "Bob" Jehu Lee born about 1835 in Ark married 04 Dec 1854 in Hunt Co, TX to Malinda Mahan died 6 July 1869 buried Lee Cemetery, Fannin Co,TX
4) Susannah Lee born 24 March 1837 in Ark married 25 Sept 1854 to Benjamin Frank Mahan in Hunt Co. died 25 Oct 1868, buried in Lee Cemetery
5) William Monroe Lee born about 1839 in Ark died about 1862
6) John Emerson Lee born about 1842 in Ark married Mary Jane Ely died in 1923 in Trent, TX.
7) George Washington Lee born about 1843 in Ark
8) Henry Lee born about 1845 in TX married 1st to Nancy J. Brown on 24 April 1867 and second to Annis Shelton died 1910
9 and 10) Unknown Lees
Polly Davis died about 1845 and is reported to be buried in the Lee Cemetery located south of the town of Leonard about 1 mile.
Daniel Lee married a second time to Elizabeth Ward.
Elizabeth was born 14 February 1828 in Illinois. She was the daughter of James Ward Sr and Elizabeth Freeman. The Wards came from South Carolina to Tennessee to Logan Co, Kentucky and then into Bond Co, Illinois by 1824. Several of the Ward siblings stayed in Illinois, while others moved on to Missouri and then into north Texas. Other surnames associated with this family are Gambill , Jolly, Reavis, Wheeler, Widick, Walker, and Beardin. What is generally unknown is that the mother of the Wards, Mary Madole, was Cherokee Indian. Tension between the "white" Stevens' settlement and the Wards in Illinois was partly the reason for this family to move to
Texas. This is documented in the National Archives in Fort Worth Texas by descendants claiming Indian heritage to obtain land in Oklahoma from the Dawes Commission in 1892.
Elizabeth Ward married first on 19 Oct 1843 in Lamar Co, TX to Andrew J. Viser. This marriage did not last long and no children were born as a result. Mrs. Elizabeth Viser then married on 04 October 1845 in Lamar Co, TX to Daniel Webster Lee. Together they had eight children.
11) Mary Jane Lee born about 1848 in Texas married Pete McClanahan
12) Nancy E. Lee born about 1850 married Bill Freeman
13) James W. Lee born about 1852 married his cousin Elizabeth Ellen "Nellie" Lee daughter of Reverand Robert Lee of Arkansas in 1869. James died in 1869
14) Lucy E. Lee born about 1854 married Elijah E. Miller on 14 Sept 1873 in Hunt Co
15) Daniel Webster Lee born about 1856 married Celia Lucinda Durham on 11 Feb 1878 in Hunt Co and second to Mary E. Jerrels on 11 Oct 1896 died 14 Mar 1944 in Oklahoma City, OK
16) Martha Ann Lee born about 1858 married Samuel Carroll Durham
17) Amos Richard Lee born about 1862 married 01 October 1880 to Mattie Mariah Durham in Hunt Co, TX died ca 1894 in Bryan, OK
18) Frances Lee died young (family history not documented in census).
Daniel and his family existed by buying and selling land and livestock. His stock brand was "OK". While it is commonly assumed that they did not own slaves, there is a record in Collin Co, TX of a bill of sale of a Negro girl Susanah age 20 years, sold by AJ Gambill to Daniel Lee on the 17th day of February 1859. Also in Fannin Co, on 10 Dec 1861 is a bill of sale for one Negro girl Sarah, age 17 with infant sold by IZB Sims to Daniel W. Lee.
On 20 Oct 1869, Daniel and Elizabeth donated land for a school and a church to be built in Lamar County. This land was part of her inheritance from her father James Ward. When James died in 1852 he had accumulated almost a 1,000 acres of land in North Texas. He settled in Hopkins Co, TX where some of the first elections were held in his home.
From the public records on file it appears that Daniel Lee and his family were ordinary hard working pioneers, that voted, paid taxes, built roads, attended church and helped to reshape the wilderness into homesteads. Prior to the Civil War, there has yet to be uncovered any record that proves them to be anything other than law-abiding citizens. Then the state of Texas seceded from the United States and the oldest son of Daniel and Polly went off to serve as Captain for the Confederate Army in the 6th Texas Calvary. When Captain Bob Lee returned he was taken from his home under the pretense of standing trial for war crimes, but in reality he was kidnapped and robbed at Choctaw Bottoms. According to Bob Lee's letter to the newspaper, this incident marked the beginning of the Lee-Peacock Feud.
The Lees' went to the courts in Bonham to file charges. Accusations were thrown back and forth. As the tension worsened, people in the community begain to take sides and many people were hurt as a result. In order to protect his wife and children, Bob moved out of his house and spent the next years going from one makeshift camp to another. Naturally, his father and brothers also protected him and hid him on their property. Their efforts were in vain. Bob tried to leave for Mexico but was surrounded by Federal troops who shot him and he died.
This didn't end the bad feelings in the community. William Smith had Daniel indicted for stealing some of his stock as reported in the newspaper however TU Taylor says it was for assault to murder. Regardless of the charge, Daniel was tried and acquitted. An angry Will Smith shot Daniel at or near Henry Tyler's farm. Daniel was reported to be unarmed at the time of the shooting. He died from his wounds and was buried in the Lee Cemetery. The date of his death was 19 Mar 1877.
Elizabeth died 18 August 1894 and was buried in Lee Cemetery. She shares a headstone with Daniel Lee.
Note from the author, Every effort was made to look up original records for the above family history. Some records remain to be discovered including the marriage record of my gr gr grandmother Martha A Lee to Samuel Carroll Durham. I would like to hear from descendants of the Lee family that can add details that are missing.