As posted to the Rootsweb Surname Query board:
CNIDR Isearch-cgi 1.20.06 (File: 91)
James LEE, b. 1707-1708 in Donegal, Ireland., d. 1 Sept
1785 Cape Henlopen,
m. Isabella BOSCAWEN, b. 1711 England, d. 1 Sept 1785 Cape
Henlopen, Sussex, DE
This is the information passed down to me when I took over the family Genealogy. Unfortunately, they did not record it's source, so I'm having to go back and find out if this is true or not.
James Lee lived in the Province of Ulster, Ireland, but we do not know if that was the place of his birth. He was, without any question, of English ancestry, the family fleeing to Ireland during some of the religious wars.
According to Judge Robert Lee of Bucyrus, Ohio on his conversation with General Robert E. Lee in 1848 at Philadelphia the following transcribed:
"I met General Lee in Philadelphia at the outbreak of the Mexican War. He was a young officer. I found his a very pleasant and intelligent gentleman, who had the genealoty of the Lee family to a marked degree. He said that during some of the wars or revolutions in England a portion of the Lee Family left England and settled in Ireland and that many of their descendants, both from England and Ireland, emigrated to this country, but all were descendants of one original ancestry. He told me of the loss of the Faithful Steward which I also heard from my grandfather. A large number of the family engaged passage to this country on said ship; among the number was my grandfather, Thomas Lee, with all his family, but when they arrived at the port (Londonderry) the ship was so crowded they could not get passage and were compelled to wait for the next ship that sailed for Philadelphia.
The Faithful Steward was a new ship, insured for more than its real value. Somewhere in the Bay, the captain ran the ship upon a rock and wrecked her to pieces. (The vessel was wrecked on the Delaware coast, thirty miles south of Delaware Bay, September 1, 1785.) The passengers alarmed, pleaded with the Captain to shun the roack, but he swore he would drive the ship through or "sink her to hell," and such was the terrible result. The Captain, his officers and sailors, manned their boats, left for shore, and left the passengers to parish.
Among the 200 lost were 48 of the Lee family. Also lost was one young lady "Pretty Polly Lee" of wonderful Beauty and accomplishment, called " the Irish Beauty". She was actually the daughter of James Lee and Isabella Bascowen Lee and named Mary Lee. There were many poems written in praise of her beauty. According to Capt. Albert W. Lee of Uniontown, Ohio on Feb. 4, 1895, his grandfather James Lee, b. January 14, 1759 died Dec. 21,1843 and who was the son of James Lee II and who survived the wreck of the Faithful Steward, used
to listen to songs of Pretty Polly Lee by old Miss Polly Pollock. Also the Elliott near Zanesville, Ohio are some of the descendants of the cousins saved from the wreck.
Thus we are distant cousins of Robert E. Lee. Also in my possession are gold buttons from the uniform of James Lee who fought in the War of 1812.
Any suggestions, information, comments are welcome. :-)