About Elizabeth Caroline Lee (LaFlesh)
ELIZABETH LA FLESH LEE, COMPILED BY, RUBY H. SORENSON
Elizabeth La Flesh Lee was born in Ontario County New York, 24 April, 1805. Her parents were a French-Canadian named Peter La Flesh, and a New Englander, Mary (Polly) Lush Dudley. It has been said that Peter La Flesh had Indian blood, but no records have been found to confirm this. However, we know that during the War of 1812, he was entered on the lists of enemy aliens living in Prattsburg, New York. He was described as a carpenter and cabinet maker and a man of pleasant nature.
Elizabeth La Flesh married Alfred Lee, 6 September 1825, in Wilmington, Clinton County, Ohio. He had gone to Randolph County, Indiana. When he was Eighteen, he homesteaded a farm. After their marriage, they lived in Randolph County. Here they had four children born to them: Issac, 1826; Thomas, 1828; Elizabeth Ann, who died in infancy, and Mary, 1832. It was while they were living in Randolph County that the Latter Day Saint missionaries found Alfred and his brothers. They joined the Church, and in company of about 100 others, and moved to Clay County, Missouri.
We can tell where the Lees were driven, along with the other saints, by the dates and places of birth of their children. Samuel Francis Lee was born 1835 at Liberty, Clay County, Missouri; Alfred La Flesh Lee was born at Far West, Caldwell County, Missouri in 1837. He lived only one year. Joseph Smith Lee was born at Payson, Adams County, Illinois in 1839. George Henry Lee and Eli Lee were born in Nauvoo, Hancock County Illinois in 1841 and 1843 respectively.
The Alfred Lee family was with the Saints in Missouri, during all the persecutions and atrocities. As the Saints were being expelled from Missouri, the Prophet Joseph Smith told them to go to Nauvoo. It was during this part of their journey, that they found it necessary to stop in Payson, Illinois, for a time, as Elizabeth's time was due for her seventh child. He was born in Payson, Adams County Illinois on 23 April, 1830, and was given the name of Joseph Smith Lee. At length the Lee family reached Nauvoo, where they immediately set about building a home. They also helped to build the Temple, with their son Samuel Francis Lee being extra diligent and helpful in the work.
Here Elizabeth gave birth to two more sons. She was also active in weaving cloth and sewing clothes, not only for her own family, but for those working on the Temple who needed clothing. This must have been a very happy rewarding time for Elizabeth, and in 1846 she and Alfred received their endowments in the Nauvoo Temple. They were driven out of Nauvoo by the mobs, and settled on a farm near Montrose, Lee County, Iowa, which is directly across the Mississippi river from Nauvoo. It was here that John Lee, Elizabeth's 10th child was born, November, 1848.
As John Lee was being born, members of the household stood outside the house and watched the flames that roared high in the sky as the Nauvoo Temple was being burned. The Lees continued to live near Montrose until the spring of 1849 when they decided that they had enough resources to go West to join the Saints.
Elizabeth now had, living at home, seven children, six boys and one girl. Issac the oldest son had married in 1845, so there were Samuel, age 20; Mary was 16; Samuel Francis 14; Joseph Smith, was 10; George Henry 8; Eli 5 and John six months. This was quite a family to feed, clothe, find sleeping quarters, and to over-see generally. But, Elizabeth was an organizer, and managed very well. Isaac Lee's wife, Julia Ann Chapman became very ill as they progressed West, so Isaac turned back, and got as far as Loupa Fort where she died on 10 July 1852.
A disturbing and life changing event took place while the Lee family was first starting their journey West. A family named Wolkitt had moved onto a farm close to the one they farmed near Montrose Iowa. The oldest girl, Harriet, age 15, fell deeply in love with Thomas Lee, and when the wagon train was two days out, here came Harriet riding her father's horse, with all her belongings in a pillow case, declaring that she wanted to join them and go West. Alfred and Elizabeth were very concerned, because they knew the temper and disposition of Samuel Wolkitt, Harriet's father. They agreed to let Harriet stay overnight and to talk things over the next day, after much prayer and consideration. The next day, they were dismayed but not surprised to have Samuel Wolkitt, along with his brother and several other men, overtake them, demanding his daughter back. A long, heated discussion took place, with Harriet firmly determined not to go back. Finally, after Thomas promised to marry her, the Wolkitts left leading the horse she had taken, which event led a descendent in Quincy, Illinois to say in an interview with this writer, "Well, anyway, they got the horse back."
As the Lees reached the banks of the Missouri, they found about 100 men who were on their way to the gold fields. In this group was Samuel Lee, father of Alfred, Francis, Issac and Eli. The sons talked to their father and persuaded him to join them and go to "Deseret", instead of going to California. This he did, and later in 1850, he was baptized into the Church.
After purchasing more supplies at Kanesville, the family joined the Ezra Taft Benson Company. Alfred was made a Captain over ten families, Thomas was called to be a scout and hunter for the train. Samuel Francis, a boy of 15, was given an ox team and wagon to drive, and the rest made themselves useful, most of them walking part of the way West. They arrived in Salt Lake City, 17 October, 1849.
Brigham Young sent them to Tooele in the Summer and Fall of 1850. Peter Maughan, Benjamin Clegg, Alfred Lee, Francis Lee and his father Samuel, Isaiah Hamblin, Jacob Hamblin, W.F. Silcox, Thomas Lee; Thomas Heath; Joseph Robinson, Joseph Boyington, Widow Smith and families moved into the Tooele Valley to help with the settlement there. They were instrumental in getting a wall built around the small settlement, and housed of a sort built. A county government organization was formed with John Rowberry, legislative representative; Alfred Lee, Probate Judge; Peter Maughan, Clerk; Francis Lee, Sheriff; Thomas Lee and Robert Shelton constables, and Wilson Lund, road supervisor.
Life in Tooele, for Elizabeth was full of duties. Her children were involved in all the activities. We know that Elizabeth could read and write, because from her granddaughter's journal we read that one winter Thomas Lee taught the school in Tooele, and when he was called away by his various civic duties, his mother Elizabeth taught the school. As her children grew up and needed her less, she also acted as a midwife receiving training from Jeanette De La Mare.
In 1857, a great change came in her life. Her husband Alfred Lee, yielding to the urging of the Priesthood Brethren, took a second wife. On 10 March 1857, he married Rebecca Orme in President Brigham Young's office. His son Thomas at the same time married Primrose Shields. I think that Elizabeth must have given her full consent for the union, and undoubtedly shared her home for a short time.
Alfred Lee moved into Salt Lake City in 1858 with Rebecca and they lived there for the rest of their lives. Elizabeth maintained her home in Tooele. She still had two sons to care for; Eli 14, and John 9. She must have had some means of taking care of her family. Alfred is shown in Salt Lake City records, as working as a draftsman and carpenter, and also as a real estate agent. I don't think that her mid wife work gave her much income, but maybe she and her sons, married and unmarried, worked the family farm.
On 1 November 1870, Alfred Lee died and was buried in Salt Lake City. On 25 December 1875, Elizabeth La Flesh Lee died and was buried beside her son, George Henry Lee, in Tooele, Utah. She was a very strong courageous woman. Her Patriarchal blessing says this in part: "The Lord has blessed thee with firmness of mind, with fidelity of heart, thy very spirit despises evil, and thy heart and hand is against the transgressor. Thou hast no fear of expressing thy views against the ungodly; for this integrity, the Lord loves thee. Thou has more of the blood of Benjamin than of Ephraim. The Lord has given thee strength of mind, of limb, and of body to perform a work and a labor that ever was or ever will be excelled but by a few."
Utah Cemetery Inventory about Elizabeth La Flesh Lee
Name: Elizabeth La Flesh Lee
Birth Date: 24 Aug 1805
Birth Place: Ontario, NY
Death Date: 25 Sep 1875
Death Place: Tooele, UT
Burial Date: 27 September 1875
Cemetery: Tooele City Cemetery
Source: Sexton Records / Grant
Grave Location: 4-35-2
Relatives: Mother Dudly, Mary
Father La Flesh, Peter
Spouse Lee, Alfred G.
Elizabeth LaFlesh Lee's Timeline
August 24, 1805
September 6, 1825
September 12, 1826
Winchester, Randolph, Indiana, USA
January 28, 1828
Winchester, Randolph, Indiana, United States
July 30, 1830
Winchester, Randolph, In
May 18, 1832
Winchester, Randolph, Indiana
July 25, 1835
Liberty, Clay, Missouri, United States
April 21, 1837
Far West, Caldwell, Mo
April 23, 1839
Payson, Adams, Illinois, United States