St. Louis 7th Janr 1839
My dear Carter
I wrote you a few days since but will take advantage of Maj Hitchcock,s visit to Wash – to say a few words on the Subject of our Coat of Arms. I have been anxious for some years to have a Seal cut, and desirous that it should have at least the merit of correctness, but can get no certain information on the Subject. Cassius’ Lee has been trying to get the family tree, which I recollect once seeing at the time that you and Edmund had each a Seal engraved by Chambers - It is now mislaid and he cannot find it. This last Summer he sent me some extracts from a genealogical memoir derived I believe from Mrs- Hodgson, but I think it is defective in the very part interesting to us. And the old coat of Philip Ludwell Lee which acomp-d it, I am inclined to believe is the Lee & Ludwell quartered. If this is the case, would it belong to our branch of the family. The mail line of the Ludwells became extinct, the mother of P. L. Lee was a co-heiress, and her descendants had a right to quarter their maternal coat, and would likely do it. Out of 51 Lee coats given in Berry there are several correspond-g nearly with that ‘(P.L.Lee,s)’ in the 1st & 4 qrs. [‘in all’ lined through] They are with 8 & 13 & 10 billets and in all the fess is “company” or “counter company” and not cheque – The Ludwell coat is not to be found in the Alphabet of Arms, but being a German family; [‘it’ lined through] may account for it. The Seal does not give a [‘my’ lined through] perfect idea of the Coat in the 2nd & 3rd Qrs nor is there any crest corresponding to it in the ordinary of arms – Cassius wrote that his father thought the crest of P. L. Lee belonged to both [‘members’ lined through] branches of ^ ‘the’ family. Can you ascertain whether this is the fact, or send me the entire genealogical memoir – with a description of the Coat – The Lee family (In England) is so very ancient, and branches so numerous that without recourse to genealogical records nothing certain can be arrived at - Captain Talcott writes me that in the appendix to Berry under the name of “Lee Warner” is the following “1 & 4 Sa. a fess counter Company or. & gu. between [‘two ‘lined through] 8 “billets of the same – Crest a squirrel sa. sitting between “two hazel branches cracking a nut or .* *Note - “The arms “and crest are here properly described from the original grant in “1660 but in the exemplification which passed the Heralds Colledge “in 1806 the coat and crest of Lee are very erroneously described “although Bysshe,s grants and the visitation of Kent marked D 10 “are both referred to as authorities for the bearing. The field of the “arms in this exemplification is blazoned gu. instead of Sa, “and the fess, company, instead of counter company. The crest “is likewise made gu instead of Sa. with the squirrel sitting “between two branches of oak which should have been hazel, “making altogether a very different bearing, and in consequence of this blunder at the Heralds office the arms in “the monument since erected at Wallingham Church are “erroneously depicted” – See what a terrible predicament this fellow,s error has thrown the descendants in this country. Shall the mistake be continued or corrected? Now here is a fine Subject for you and Cousin Anna to unravel and determine this Winter. It will be an easy matter to her, as she is by nature a genealogist, whereas I am the reverse – Sis-Nanie must be taken as a member of the Court, for I know she will be anxious to have her crest on all the Silver, Coach etc that her Rose is to bring her in next Summer – We were much distressed to hear of Mr Thom – Mason,s death. What will become of Mrs M – and her beautiful daughters! The loss of Alex-a will be as great as to his family. In her present condition she has no men to lose, and I know of none that she can select to supply his place - Our last letter from A – informed us of your departure for Hardy, but I suppose you will have returned by the time this reaches you – You have never yet described to one the location capacity prospects etc of your Iron Works – Don’t lose the opportunity of having every thing fresh in your memory by your visit – Mary says you must not fail to lay up plenty of gold for this Rooney that it is his only chance of inheriting a fortune – that I have no turn for speculating, and she has not yet been able to accomplish a grand one which she has in view. Every thing here is so high that her funds will hardly buy a foot of ground, much less a lot – Since our arrival here the 1st of May our current expenses, excluding our journey out here, furniture that was lost etc have amounted to the 31st Dec to $1208.00 and all our clothing etc we brought with us – Is it not fortunate I have a lift in promotion – Mary joins me in much love to dear Cousin Anna, Sis-Nanie, all at Clermont etc and all friends – Boo & Rooney with four of their little playmates have been keeping such a laughing, bawling, jumping rumpous and a rioting around me that I hardly know what I have written, and Mr Rooney is at this moment jerking the cover of my table with one hand and cracking me over the head with the broom with the other – Excuse therefore deficiences & haste and believe me
Your Affect brother RELee
[This letter is addressed to C. C. Lee Esqr, Counsellor at Law. The return address is R.E.Lee, Jany 7th 1839.]
Source: Lee Papers, Alderman Library, University of Virginia
Transcribed by Mary Roy Dawson Edwards, 2001. Uploaded by Colin Woodward, 2015 December 29.