Stratford Hall and the Lees Connected with Its History, by Frederick Warren Alexander, Second Generation

Stratford Hall and the Lees Connected with Its History


John Lee.

JOHN (2), heir at law, eldest son of Richard 1, was born about 1645, in what is now Gloucester County, Va. He was educated at Oxford and entered Queen’s College, July 2nd, 1658, and graduated an A.B., April 30th, 1662; he then studied medicine and probably returned to Virginia with his father in 1664, as we have a record of his being in Northumberland County April 20th of that year. He was seated in Westmoreland County in September, 1666, and a year later was a member of the “committee of the association of Westmoreland, Northumberland and Stafford Counties.” This committee was appointed for the defence of the Northern Neck against the Indians.

March 28th, 1672, Sir William Berkley appointed him Sheriff of Westmoreland County and the next day commissioned him a Justice of the Peace. He was Burgess from Westmoreland County in 1673, and the same year we find him appointed on a commission with Col. John Washington and others to “arrange the boundry line between Lancaster and Northumberland Counties.” He died in the fall of 1673, and is probably buried at Mount Pleasant.

He left no issue.

Richard Lee.

Richard (2), the second son of Richard 1, was the eldest son to leave male issue in Virginia. He was born in 1647 at “Paradise” in Gloucester County and died March 12, 1714, at “Mount Pleasant” in Westmoreland County.

On the death of John in 1673, Richard became heir at law to his father, and it may be of interest to estimate the land owned by the emigrant and inherited through John by Richard.

A comparison of several wills and other records shows it to have been about 20,000 acres, divided among the old estates as follows: Mount Pleasant 2,600 acres, Lee Hall 2,600 acres, Ditchly 904 acres, Cobbs Hall 600 acres, Stratford 6,500 acres. In the case of Stratford, Thomas Lee probably added to the original acreage. Phillip Lee received about 3,000 acres in Maryland, and 4,000 acres were bequeathed to Richard’s daughter, Ann Fitzhugh. The rest of Richard’s estate was left to be divided between his four sons.

Richard Lee was educated at Oxford and was offered a high place in the church if his father would let him stay in England. The offer was refused as the old gentleman was determined to establish all his children in Virginia.

He spent most of his life in study, and usually wrote his notes in Greek, Hebrew or Latin.

He was a member of the Council of Virginia and held many other offices of honor and profit. He was in the Council in 1676, 1680–83—88—1692–98.

He was Burgess in 1677. In 1680 he was Colonel of the Horse in Westmoreland, Northumberland, and Stafford Counties.

In 1699 he was Naval Officer and receiver of Virginia dutys for the River Potomac, which included the Counties of Westmoreland, Northumberland and Stafford.

In “Bacon’s Rebellion” Richard Lee was captured, and in a report to the English Government dated March 15th, 1677–8, we find the following: “Major Richard Lee, a loyal discreet person worthy of the place to which he was lately advanced of being one of his Majesties Council in Virginia, as to his losses we are credibly informed they were very great and that he was imprisoned by Bacon above seven weeks together, at least 100 miles from his own home whereby he received great prejudice in his health by hard usage and very greatly in his whole Estate by his absence.”

In a letter to the justices of Westmoreland Court, recorded August 15th, 1677, he mentions his imprisonment and laments his poor health. “And about this time twelve months, some three or four days before I was taken prisoner,” and adds that he had not been “so well in health as I could wish.” Governor Spotswood described Richard Lee as “a gentleman of as fair a character as any in the country for his exact justice, honesty and unexceptional loyalty. In all the stations wherein he has served in this government, he has behaved himself with great integrity and sufficiency and when his advanced age would no longer permit him to execute to his own satisfaction the duty of Naval Officer of the same district, I thought I could not better reward his merit than by bestowing that employment on his son.” (Spotswood, 178.)

Richard Lee married in 1674, Laetitia, the eldest daughter of Henry Corbin and Alice Eltonhead, his wife. Laetitia was born in 1657, and died on October 6th, 1706. Their tombstone is still to be seen at “Mt. Pleasant;” it is a very large slab of white marble. The inscription has been almost effaced, which is not to be wondered at, as it has been exposed to the weather for over two hundred years. It rested on a low brick foundation which has partially fallen. The wall, which once surrounded this graveyard, can now be traced by removing a little earth. It enclosed a lot of about 20 x 25 feet, and was located some three hundred yards in the rear of the first mansion. Some bricks scattered about indicate where the old house stood.

Bishop Meade visited this spot some years ago and wrote of it:

From a tomb stone in the Burnt House Fields at Mount Pleasant, Westmoreland County, where are yet to be seen the foundations of large buildings, is the following:

Hic conditur corpus Richardi Lee, Armigeri, nati in Virginia, filii Richardi Lee, generosi, et antiqua familia, in Merton-Regis, in comitatu Salopiensi, oriundi.

In magistratum obeundo boni publici studiosissimi, in literis Graecis et Latinis et aliis humanioris literaturae disciplinis versatissimi.

Deo, quem, summa observantia semper coluit, animam tranquillus reddidit XII. mo. die Martii, anno MDCCXIV, aetat LXVIII.

Hic, juxta, situm est corpus Laetitiae ejusdem uxoris fidae, filiae Henrici Corbyn, generosi, liberorum matris amantissimae, pietate erga Deum, charitate erga egenos, benignitate erga omnes insignis. Obiit Octob. die vi, MDCCVI, aetatis XLIX.

Translated, it reads;

Here lieth the body of Richard Lee, Esq., born in Virginia, son of Richard Lee, Gentleman, descended of an ancient family of Merton-Regis, in Shropshire. While he exercised the office of magistrate he was a zealous promotor of the public good.

He was very skillful in the Greek and Latin languages and other parts of polite learning. He quietly resigned his soul to God, whom he always devoutly worshipped, on the 12th day of March, in the year 1714, in the 68th year of his age.

Near by is interred the body of Laetitia, his faithful wife, daughter of Henry Corbyn, Gentleman. A most affectionate mother, she was always distinguished by piety toward God, charity to the poor, and kindness to all. She died on the sixth day of October, 1706, in the 49th year of her age.”

Richard Lee’s will, dated March 3rd, 1714; was probated in Westmoreland County, April 27th, 1715.

Laetitia Corbin Lee.
Wife of Richard Lee.

Richard and Laetitia Lee had seven children.

They were:

I—John 3. Baptized 3d day of Xber, 1678, died in infancy.

II—Richard 3. See page 45.

III—Philip 3. See page 46.

IV—Francis 3. Nothing is known of his life, but he died without issue on his estate “Paradise,” about 1749.

V—Thomas 3. See page 47.

VI—Henry 3. See page 67.

VII—Anne 3. Born about 1693 and died in 1732. Married first Col. William Fitzhugh of “Eagle’s Nest,” King George County, and by him had one son and two daughters. She was the great great grandmother of Rev. Wm. Meade, Episcopal Bishop in Virginia. After the death of her husband in 1713–14, she married Captain Daniel McCarty of “the Parish of Cople in the county of Westmoreland.”

Hancock Lee.
Founder of the Ditchley Branch.

Hancoek Lee (2), fifth son of Richard 1, was born at Dividing Creek, Northumberland County, in 1653, and was the founder of the Ditchley Branch. He married first in 1675, Mary, daughter of William Kendall of Northampton County, and settled there about the time of his marriage. He was a Justice of that County in 1677. About 1686 he returned to Northumberland County, and was a Justice there in 1687–1699, and Burgess from Northumberland in 1688. June 3, 1699, he was appointed “Naval Officer and Collector of Virginia Dutys in Northumberland County.”

The Northern Neck land records show that Hancock patented land as follows: 1,100 acres in Richmond county, April 18th, 1704; 570 acres on both sides of Rappahannock Horsepen Run and adjoining his own land, May 21st, 1705; 1,353 acres in Richmond county, June 6th, 1704; 460 acres on the north side of the Occoquan in Stafford county November 2nd, 1707; 1,750 acres at the heads of the branches of Chapowamsic in Stafford, adjoining the land of Capt. Thomas Harrison, February 10th, 1707. Hancock Lee, son of Hancock Lee, deceased, patented 1,025 acres on Wolf Run in Stafford, for which Hancock Lee, the elder, had obtained a warrant, 1708, and by a codicil to his will, December 31st, 1706, gave to his son the said Hancock, March 6th, 1709–10. In 1678, Hancock Lee, gent., obtained a patent for 268 acres in Accomac county.

His second wife was Sarah, daughter of Col. Allerton, of Westmoreland, and granddaughter of Isaac Alerton who came over in the “Mayflower.”

Hancock Lee died May 25, 1709, and was buried at Ditchley.

Hancock and Mary (Kendall) Lee (his first wife) had three children.

I—William (3), born prior to 1682, and died prior to 1706, without issue.

II—Anna (3), born prior to Jan. 5, 1682, and was living as late as October, 1754. She was twice married, first, to William Armistead and second, to William Eustace, and had issue by both.

III–Richard (3), born at Ditchley, August 18, 1691 and died and was buried there in 1740. He was Justice for Northumberland County in 1714, and
Clerk of the County from 1716 to 1735.

He married Judith Steptoe, and left issue.

Hancock and Sarah (Allerton) Lee (his second wife) had four children.

IV—Isaac (3), born in 1707, and died in England in 1727 without issue.

V—John (3), born about 1709 and died August 11, 1789, in Orange county. Left no issue.

VI—Hancock (3), born 1709, married in 1733, Mary, daughter of Col. Henry Willis, of Fredericksburg, and by her had seven children.

VII—Elizabeth (3), born 1709, probably the twin of Hancock. She married Zachary Taylor, and had four children.

Charles Lee.
Founder of the Cobb’s Hall Branch.

Charles (2), eighth child of Richard 1, born about 1656 at “Cobb’s Hall– where he lived, died and was buried. He married Elizabeth, daughter of Thos. Medstand, of Lancaster County about 1676.

Charles was Justice of Northumberland County in 1687–1699. He had two sons and two daughters.

I—Thomas (3), born about 1679—died 1735, was Justice for Lancaster County in 1712, and Sheriff in 1714. He married and left issue.

II—Charles, born died in 1740–1, married Elizabeth Pinkard, and had six children.

III—Leeanna, probably married William Jones in 1707, and had issue.

IV—Elizabeth, of her history nothing is known.

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