Henry (Halvor) Hans Lee (Halvorsen) (1852 - 1931)

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Place of Burial: NY, USA
Birthplace: Etne, Hordaland, Norge
Death: Died in West Hempstead, NY, USA
Occupation: harbor business owner
Managed by: Kitty Munson Cooper
Last Updated:

About Henry (Halvor) Hans Lee (Halvorsen)

Etnesoga V p.128 child h. Hans b 1849 utf.til Ameriak 1865

Known as Dada to his grandchildren. His grandson Alex's recollections of him are online here: http://kittymunson.com/Munson/DaddabyAlex.htm

here are some excerpts:

He became an orphan at age 9, and was bound out to a sheep owner who was obligated to reward his labors with the equivalent of $2 and a pair of shoes every year. His older brothers were farmers, carpenters, or joiners, and their cast-off clothing sufficed for the young boy above his shoe tops.

  After a year of tending flocks, he left the sheep and went to live with an older brother who had shown an interest in his life. His brother had a small but prosperous farm up in the hills near Etne. He was given the task of washing dishes, cleaning the house, and caring for the baby. They were kind to him and he was well fed but he was an energetic boy with a yearning for the sea and far off places – especially America. He found the house very confining. He didn’t mind making the lunch, because he loved to eat. One of his duties was to call his brother and sister-in-law in from the field at noon, for lunch.
Shortly after that, he asked his brother to vouch for him in securing a post in the service of one of the many sailing ships at the port of Stavanger. He became a cook on a North Sea fisherman.
  At fourteen he was confirmed and shipped as the member of the crew of a sloop in the Baltic. He qualified as an able seaman by his experience as a cook on the herring boat.
  Then he transferred, still before the mast, to a brig on the Black Sea. Bringing down the colors from aloft in his arms after the halyards had fouled, he tripped high in the shrouds and fell down to the deck.
  Both of his legs were broken badly. He was taken ashore and was put in a hospital at Ebral, Russia. Fortunately his captain spoke and understood a little Russian.

The doctors set his splintered legs as best they could, and ordered that both his legs be placed in ice, to lessen the possibility of gangrene setting in. His legs were in rigid splints and covered with ice. He lay that way for many weeks. His only reading matter was the Bible that the captain had left with him.

hen one great day another brig with another captain but from the same company, picked him up and brought him back to Stavanger. He was not able to work before the mast, but a place was found for him in the company’s storehouse, and he was still paid the full wages of a man, two marks a day, though but a crippled boy. When his legs were fully knit, he shipped before the mast again and crossed the Atlantic many times.

In 1869, when he was seventeen years old, he jumped ship in Chatham, New Brunswick, Canada, and changed his name to Henry H. Lee. He had 75 ? in his pocket. He found employment in a plant where balsam was manufactured, and then in a steamy tanning plant. The balsam was for medicinal purposes, and the tanning of raw hides was for making leather.

  After three years in Canada, he journeyed to New York, at the age of twenty. With his record as a seaman, he had no difficulty getting a job as a member of the crew of a pilot boat. This was before the Pilots Association was organized, when individual pilots raced out to meet incoming vessels at the risk of losing their lives and boats – using tricks of seamanship which the world no longer knows, except in yacht racing. Then he got on the lighthouse tender, Fern. He boarded at a house at Rector and Greenwich Streets. His wages were better than he had ever known, and his lodgings were comfortable.

The young member of the crew of the Fern had developed a big business idea out of the Fern’s official business – the taking of fresh water and other supplies to the off-shore lighthouses and lightships. Henry Lee, having taken himself a wife, bought himself a ramshackle sloop and became a water tender to the ships anchored in the large harbor

(and mucb more on how he founded his harbor businesses and became a wealthy man)

view all 13

Henry H. (Halvor Hans Halvorsen) Lee's Timeline

1852
May 30, 1852
Etne, Hordaland, Norge
May 31, 1852
Etne, Hordaland, Norway
1880
May 10, 1880
Age 27
Brooklyn, NY, USA
1884
June 17, 1884
Age 32
Brooklyn, NY, USA
1886
November 10, 1886
Age 34
Brooklyn, Kings, NY, USA
1889
February 6, 1889
Age 36
Brooklyn, NY, USA
1891
1891
Age 38
1895
1895
Age 42
Brooklyn, NY, USA
1899
1899
Age 46
Brooklyn, NY, USA
1931
May 31, 1931
Age 79
NY, USA