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The Donald Scott Lee Family Tree

Donald Scott Lee (1945)
Donald Scott Lee (1945) was born in Grants Pass, Oregon on August 15, 1945. His father was Wendell Orie Lee.
Wendell Orie Lee (1922 -1999)1
Wendell Orie Lee (1922 -1999)1 married Marilyn Maxine Miller (1924-1996) in Bellflower, California on September 13, 19422. Wendell served in U.S. Coast Guard in 1942-3.3 He died on February 26, 1999 in Rogue River, Jackson County, Oregon.4 Wendell’s father was Orie Finiae Lee.
Orie Finiae Lee5 (1896-1984)6 
Orie Finiae Lee5 (1896-1984)6 was born in the Indian Territory of Heartshorn, Oklahoma.7 He had five brothers and one step-brother.  When he was 20 years old he married  Alberta Lewis  (1898-1963)8 in Colton, California, in about 1916. Orie died in December of 1984.9 Orie’s father was Joseph Francis Lee.
Great Grandfather
Joseph Francis Lee (1867-1933)
Joseph Francis Lee (1867-1933) was born in Miller County, Missouri10. Joseph married Luella Ricord in Lebanon, Laclede County, Missouri on September 30, 1891.12 Joseph and Luella had 6 boys, Charles, Alvin, Orie, William, James, and Frank.13  Luella had one boy, Ed Wright, from a previous marriage.  By 1920 Joseph had moved the family to Colton, San Bernadino, California and became a miner.14 Joseph died on December 8, 1933, and is buried in Colton at the Hermosa Cemetery. Joseph’s father was Charles Henry Lee.15 16
2nd Great Grandfather
Charles Henry Lee (1837-1905)
Charles Henry Lee (1837-1905) was born in 1837 in Missouri.17 Charles is listed in U.S. Civil War Draft Registration Records in Adams County in 1863. He had formerly served with the 78th Illinois Infantry.18  Charles married Nancy Melvina Tanner in Hancock, Illinois on August 27, 1857.19 Charles died in 1905, in Grass Valley, Nevada County, California. He is buried in the Greenwood Memorial Cemetery in Grass Valley. Charles was a Union Army Civil War Veteran of Company B, 78th Illinois Infantry.20 Charles’ father was James Henry Lee.21
3rd Great Grandfather
James Henry Lee II (1807-1904)
James Henry Lee II (1807-1904) was born in England. James’ parents were also both born in England.22  James married Betsy Ann Benson in Missouri in 1830.23  James Lee was a farmer and he had three sons with Betsy. When Betsy fell ill prior to May 15, 1988, James gave up farming and started working in the harness and saddlery business.
He states in his letter to Betsy’s brother, Alford B. Benson, that he and Betsy were “following the Harness and Saddlery trade, presently living in Richland, Missouri…”.  The letter also says that they have “..only two children living, William and Charles.”24  The other son, Erik Benson, died at just 27 years old fighting in the Civil War. Erik left at least two babies with his wife Harriett.25  James’ wife, Betsy, died less than a year after the date on this letter. Betsy was 75 years old.26 
Two years later, in 1891, James at 84 years old married his second wife, Mary Elizabeth.  In the 1900 U.S. Federal Census James had been married to Mary for nine years and he was 93 years old.27 Some records list his date of death as January 29, 1904. It is not known how James died, most likely from ‘old age’. James’ father was James Henry Lee I.
4th Great Grandfather
James Henry Lee I (1776-Unkown)
James Henry Lee I (1776-Unkown); born in Frodsham, Cheshire, England. He married Mary Hannah?
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The Lee Brothers with their father Joseph Francis Lee
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Clockwise from top right: Joseph Francis Lee, Ed Wright (half brother), Charles Frederick, Alvin Raymond, Orie Finiae, William ‘Bill’, James Leonard and Frank Lloyd Lee. This photo was taken in 1921 at their mother’s funeral, Luella Rickord.
Charles Henry Lee 1837 - 1905

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2nd Great Grandfather
Private in Civil War
Prisoner of War
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Charles fought in the Civil War, in the 78th Illinois Infantry. At that time Charles was living in Mendon, Adams County, Illinois. Charles joined up when he was 24 years old. He was recruited on the 22nd day of August, 1862. He entered the service in Marcelline, Illinois, near Quincy, Illinois. His captain was Captain Anderson. Charles served three years and was discharged after the war in Washington D.C. on 7 June, 1865.
Charles Henry Lee was a Private in Company B. He was a farmer. He stood 5 feet and 5 and a half inches. Charles had blue eyes and brown hair with a dark complexion. He was born in Ray County, Missouri. His father, James Henry Lee, was a bridle and harness maker who immigrated from Cheshire, England in 1828.
Charles’ regimen was ordered to Louisville, Kentucky on September 19, 1862. On December 26, 1862, Charles and his regimen were captured by John Morgan and sent to St. Louis, Mo., and held in captivity for the next 10 months. He was exchanged in October of 1863 and sent to Chattanooga Tennessee.
Company B engaged in action at the Battle of Chickamauga, near Chattanooga. There were heavy losses with about 40 percent being killed or wounded, including eight officers out of twenty. Company B was still in the line of battle on the ridge at Rossville Gap, holding up the rear on the 21st.
Charles and his company marched toward Knoxville. Marching without shoes and proper clothing, they were without rations, suffering from hunger, and encamped for the winter around Rossville, Tennessee. The regiment remained at Rossville until the start of the Atlanta Campaign, that commenced in May of 1864. Charles and his company began their march on Atlanta and as one of his comrades wrote; ..”we kept moving to the right around Atlanta, skirmishing, fighting and building works…”
After the surrender, the Illinois 78th Infantry marched north through Richmond, Va, arriving at Washington DC, May 19, and participated in the Grand Review on May 24, 1865. On June 7 Charles and his companions were mustered out of the infantry and sent to Chicago, where he was paid off on June 12, 1865.
Charles’ regiment participated in the battles of Chickamauga, Mission Ridge, Buzzard’s Roost, Resaca, Rome, New Hope Church, Kenesaw Mountain, Peach Tree Creek, Atlanta, Jonesboro, Averysboro and Bentonville. It is estimated that the 78th Regiment lost about 400 men, killed and wounded, ninety-six killed on the field, twenty-four died in rebel prisons, 77 in hospitals from wounds and disease.
Charles was part of as good a regiment as Illinois ever sent to the field, and the men of this command can claim the proud distinction, at the battle of Jonesboro, Ga, of being the only regimen that successfully assaulted the entrenchments made in the Atlanta campaign by either side.
Charles Henry Lee returned to his farm in Keene, Illinois and his wife, Nancy Melvina Tanner, and family. At 32 years old, Charles had five children and was working his farm in Osage Township, Miller County, Missouri. In 1868, we can find Charles and Nancy, with six children, living in Corinth, Kansas at the age of 45. Four years later, Charles, aged 49, loses his wife, Melvina. Two years later, Charles loses his mother, Betsy Ann Benson, who died in Pulaski, Missouri. The same year, Charles loses his daughter, Mary Elizabeth Lee, who died at 31 years old.
Charles seems to have moved to Grass Valley, Nevada, and died there in 1905 on May 15th. Charles Henry was buried at the Greenwood Memorial Cemetery in Grass Valley, Califoria.
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Wendell Orie Lee 1922-1999
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Wendell Orie Lee (1922-1999) was born in the city of Bellflower in Los Angeles, California, on June 22, 1922. His father was in the produce business, mostly oranges, and Wendell helped his dad box up the oranges to sell. Wendell always complained of splinters in his fingers from scraping the oranges from his father’s flatbed truck. Wendell met Marilyn, his wife, in church in the Long Beach area and married Marilyn Maxine Miller (1924-1996) in Bellflower, California in on September 13, 1942. Wendell enlisted in Coast Guard on September 18, 1942 and was discharged to work on his father’s farm in Oregon on June 8, 1943.

By this time, Wendell was still hauling produce with his father, Orie, who liked to be called either ‘O.F.'. or ‘Lee’, during the season and living in southern Oregon on his father’s ranch in the winter. Wendell built his own home on his dad’s land and worked in the logging industry and on the ranch. Every summer, Wendell would return to Los Angeles, with his family, to help run ‘O.F. Lee and Sons Wholesale Watermelons’. Wendell was a very creative guy and could always make money doing whatever he could come up with in times of need.

In 1956, Wendell and Marilyn split up and got a divorce. They both stayed in California. Marilyn got a job as a medical receptionist wth a Doctor of Osteopathy. Wendell convinced a small grocery store in Pico, California, to add a fresh produce section, open-aired, like in the old days, out in front of the store to increase the store’s business. On top of that, the owner allowed Wendell sleeping quarters on the property.

When he wasn’t selling watermelons to chain stores like Alpha Beta, Wendell was either driving a delivery truck or running his own ‘fruitstand’ business. Some years, his father, Orie, and Wendell’s brother-in-law, Fred McClintock, operated open air produce markets. One of which was in Whittier, California, named Sundown Farms. I got to work there once in awhile if I was visiting my dad. Wendell also trucked down fir and pine trees from the families ranch in Oregon, for Chrismas, and operated Christmas tree lots. If I was lucky I got to work with him, showing the trees to the customers. I can remember my dad flocking the trees and making the lot enticing with resh wood chips on the ground and colorful Christmas lights all around the lot.

In the summers, the whole family would be involved in the watermelon business and I spent many summers riding in my dad’s truck pulling twelve ton of watermelons around L.A. delivering to the Alpha Beta Stores. He would pick me and my brother up down on the corner with his truck and trailer of watermelons, and off we would go on our route for the day. My brother and I pitched a lot of watermelons and displayed them out on the floor of the markets where the customers were shopping. It was quite surreal now that I look back. “Yes ma’am, I heard my father say to many customers, "these are real sweet melons", while giving them a slice off the top of a freshley sliced pink striped melon just picked yesterday far away in the melon fields. In 1963-4 the watermelon company came to a close and Wendell had to find another means for income as he had remarried and had a young son, Robert, my half brother.

By 1969, Wendell had relocated to Cave Junction, Oregon, and moved into the house that he had built back in the late 1940s. He opened a small produce business and soon sold it and moved to nearby Rogue River, Oregon, along the Rogue River Highway and again started a produce market. Real soon after that, he bought a nice little roadside house and converted it into the roadside market that he would work until his death. Lee’s Produce became well-known, far and wide, as Wendell specialized not only in first-class produce and fruit, but olives and juices made in Chico, California. There was not a store like my Dad’s anywhere in Oregon, as it was completely designed and built by him, like the fruit stands of days past.

Wendell would drive his one-ton truck to California and buy local green olives packed in glass jars, stuffed with garlic, peppers, pimentos and cheese; and fruit juices produced near Chico, California, locally grown, juiced and bottled. These products were not sold in the supermarkets around the state and many folks, from everywhere, on their trips passing by, stopped at Lee’s on the old Rogue River, Highway. This exact area just down the road at the Weasku Inn right on the river, folks like Clarke Gable would vacation on a fishing trip. Wendell had finally created a very successful business and his store was an ‘icon’ to the wannabees. The ‘Harry and David’ pear company opened a store like Wendell’s in Medford, Oregon, and used his ideas of ‘display technique’ to entice their customers.

I spent many Saturdays with my father in his store. His employees marched to his orders and displayed the goods exactly as he showed them. Wendell built the store on the front of the house that he bought and had garage doors on the front that would open up in the summer and fall. The local produce in season would be displayed prominently out front attracting the cars going by. He soon had a parking lot built and huge signs that were common in the old days. He would by local honey and repack it in jars to resell. Towards the end of his life he added jelly beans to his store and became the local ‘Jelly Bean King’, for he had all the flavors and then some.

Wendelll didn’t take vacations and if he did it wouldn’t be more than a few days. He focused on his store and the business, working everyday, and sometimes on Sunday. When the internet first came on line, Wendell was sure to have a website, selling packed fruits, candy, and olives. Wendell was not behind the times at all, but he was unsurpassed at bringing the past to the future as his store was like the ‘old days’. Wendell passed away in 1999 in Rogue River, Oregon. He was 77 years old.

Story written by D. Scott Lee, Wendell’s son.
Orie Finiae Lee 1896-1984
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Joseph Francis Lee (1867-1933)
Great Grandfather
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Orie Lee’s brothers Bill and Frank Lee
(with their wives Nell and Bernice)
This photo was taken at the Pike amusement park in Long Beach, California in the 1940’s. Great uncle Frank Lee (1905-1969), also ran a watermelon company in Los Angeles, but on a smaller scale than Orie Lee. Frank’s wife, Bernice Bradley (1912-2012) passed away on March 29, 2012, just 3 months and 14 days of being 100 years old. Frank and Bernice had three daughters, Cleo, Joyce and Joan. Great uncle Bill (William M.) Lee died in 1967. Bill’s wife was, Nellie Romero.
Left to Right: Nellie Romero, William M. ‘Bill’ Lee, Frank Lloyd Lee, Bernice Bradley
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Haying Season on Orie Lee’s Oregon Ranch
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Left to Right: Orie Lee, Wendell Lee, Alberta Lewis Lee, Marilyn Miller Lee c.1940’s
Orie Finiae Lee 1896 - 1984

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Hartshorne, Oklahoma
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Photo taken by D. Scott Lee 2017
Memories of my Grandpa
Orie Finiae Lee (1896-1984)
By D. Scott Lee, Grandson
Grandfather Orie Finiae Lee (1896-1984) was born in the Indian Territory of Heartshorn, Oklahoma. He had five brothers and one step-brother. When he was 20 years old he married Alberta Lewis (1898-1963) in Colton, California in about 1916. Orie died in December of 1984. Orie’s father was Joseph Francis Lee.

I have a lot of memories of my grandpa Orie. Orie was the primary owner of 'O.F. Lee and Sons Produce’. His business specialized in ‘watermelons’. Orie worked with his son, Wendell, and his son-in-law, Fred McClintock. They would deliver their watermelons to their retail store customers. Orie smoked a pipe, wore western shirts with snaps, and his personal car was usually a Cadillac. He spent his time mostly in the watermelon fields during the watermelon season, buying the local watermelon fields, from Nogales, Mexico and north to Turlock and Manteca, in California. His work truck was an El Camino.

‘O.F.’ or ‘Lee’ was what he answered to, except in the watermelon fields they called him ‘Mister Lee’. His job was buyer for the company. Orie’s job was to oversee the loading of the watermelon trucks that were bound for Los Angeles, moving north as the season progressed. I remember being able to spend a week with him in Blythe, California when I was around 12. We would be up at dawn, having breakfast, and coffee for him, and then we would drive out to the local watermelon fields. Just behind us was a nice orange and black Kenworth diesel, brightly painted by my dad, pulling two orange trailers. The diesel would slowly pull the trailers down the watermelon field, with hay being thrown in with a special ‘stacker’ catching the melons and stacking them in rows, while stuffing straw in between the melons. Orie’s stackers were hand-picked by Orie himself. The melons had to make it all the way to Los Angeles with minimal breakage. Once the trailers were full, Chris, the driver, would drive off to Los Angeles listening to a baseball game on the radio. Every other day or so, Chris would meet Orie at the fields again, to load up once more. Major melon fields were usually in Nogales, Brawley, Blythe, Riverside and then north to Wheeler Canyon, Bakersfield, Manteca and Turlock. I remember going with my Dad one time to Arizona to buy melons.

Once the watermelons arrived at the warehouse in Paramount, California, and the trailers were unhooked, they were connected to other delivery trucks. Chris, the driver, would hook up to another set of empty trailers and get back on the road to wherever Orie was buying watermelons. Day after day all through the summer we would deliver watermelons to the our customers. Mostly the stores were Alpha Beta markets, but some were independent and smaller chains like the ‘All American’ and ‘Greater Central Stores’. I earned one penny for every watermelon I threw to my brother. Watermelons were averaging 20 lbs each, approximately 100 per ton, and each trailer held about 12 ton. You do the math! For a kid, I had plenty of spending money, however, some went for clothes. ‘Child Labor’!

Before starting his watermelon business, in 1920, Orie was living on a small farm in San Diego, with his wife, Alberta, mother-in-law, Jennie Hibbard, and daughter, Bonnie. By the time his son, Wendell, was born in 1922, Orie had his own wholesale produce business, selling mostly oranges and melons. Back then, Orie was working alone, and would drive his Model T truck over the San Bernardino Mountains to fields near the desert. He would load so many watermelons on his truck, that on the way back, it is said, that he would turn around at the bottom of the mountain, and drive up in reverse, the lowest gear he had. I guess he spent a lot of time on the running board!

In the winter, Orie would stay on his ranch in Southern Oregon. In the late 1930’s, Orie and Alberta bought land in Southern Oregon. The spread covered 125 acres of meadows and trees. I spent a lot of my childhood on this farm, as my dad had built a house next to Orie’s home. His daughter, Bonnie, who was married to Orie’s partner, Fred McClintock also built a home on the property. I am not sure what they did on the farm as I was fairly young at the time. They lived off the land, raising beef, chickens, and pigs, and then butchered them for the meat. Every now and then I would be eating venison for dinner, as my dad would bag a deer out near the ‘eight-acre knoll’. But once late spring rolled around, the Lee’s and McClintocks headed south to sell watermelons.

Grandpa Orie outlived his wife Alberta by 21 years. He remarried to a lady named Bernice, who he called Bee. Bee also died before Grandpa Orie and he passed away on December 16, 1984. Orie is buried in the Laurel Cemetery, in Cave Junction, Oregon, next to his wife, son and daughters.
The James Lee Letter
Dated May 15, 1888

(The letter is from James Lee to his brother-in-law Alfred Benson.)
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Richland, Mo May 15, 1888 Mr. Alfred benson,
Dear Brother, We take this opportunity to write to you. We are in common health at present and hope this will find you well and doing well. We are living in Richland, Missouri at present following the Harness and Saddlery trade, dull times here. I quit farming because Betsey became ailing.
We got a letter from sister Polly. She gave us an account of the death of sister Elisha. It was sorrowful news to us but we will soon all be gone and if we prepared to all will be well.
We would be glad to see you and your family, but write to us and tell about your family. We have only have 2 children living, William and Charles. Write about the country you live in, write soon,
James and Betsey Lee
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References: 1) 1930 U.S. Federal Census.  2) State of California Marriage License; Book 1841, page 281, County of Los Angeles.  3) U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs BIRLS Death File, 1850-2010.  4) U.S. Social Security Death Index 1935-2014.  5) 1900 U.S.Federal Census, Lebanon, Laclede County, Missouri.  6) U.W. World War I Draft Registration Card, 1917-1918, San Joaquin County.  7) U.S. World War II Draft Registration Card, 1942 for Orie Finiae Lee.  8) 1930 U.S. Federal Census, Downey, Los Angeles, California.  9) U.S. Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014.  10) 1910 U.S. Federal Census; Boles, Tulsa, Oklahoma.  12) Missouri Marriage Records, 1805-2002.  13) 1910 U.S. Federal Census.  14) 1920 U.S. Federal Census.  15) California Death Index, 1905-1939.  16) 1880 U.S. Federal Census; Corinth, Osborne, Kansas.  17) 1860 U.S. Federal Census for Charles Lee,  Keene, Adams County, Illinois.  18) U.S. Civil War Draft Records, Illinois.  19) Illinois Marriage Index, 1851-1900.  20) Charles H. Lee, Find-A-Grave; Memoria #57471230, Jim Davenport, 22 Aug 2010.  21) 1850 U.S. Federal Census, Honey Creek, Adams County, Illinois.  22) 1870 U.S. Federal Census; Auglaze, Miller County, Missouri.  23) 1850 U.S. Federal Census; Honey Creek, Adams, Illinois.  24) Letter copy in files; dated May 15, 1888; Richland, Missouri.  25) 1860 U.S. Federal Census; Erik B. Lee, Keene, Adams County, Illinois.  26) Missouri, Find-A-Grave Index, 1812-2012.  27)  1900 U.S. Federal Census; James and Mary Lee; Liberty, Pulaski County, Missouri.

Page Header Image Credits: Mail Coaches on the Road “the Louth-London Royal Mail progressing at Speed” by Charles Cooper Henderson (1803-1877 British Artist born in Chertsey and died in Middlesex. Image courtesy of DcoetzeeBot at Wikimedia Commons.
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