Henry H. (Hans Halvorsen Skjold) Lee

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Henry H. (Hans Halvorsen Skjold) Lee's Geni Profile

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Henry Halvorsen Lee (Skjold)

Also Known As: "Hans"
Birthdate: (82)
Birthplace: Etne, Hordaland, Norge
Death: May 28, 1931 (82)
West Hempstead, NY, United States
Place of Burial: NY, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Halvar Gottskalksen Ostensen Skjold and Marta Åmundsdotter Skjold
Husband of Maren Wold and Anna Kristine Olsdatter Stubberud
Father of Henry Martin Lee; Helen Lee Youngman; Herman Hjalmar Lee; George Lee; Ruth Lee and 2 others
Brother of Anna Halvorsdatter Stephenson; Åmund Halvordsen Skjold; Oistein Halvorsen Osnes; Gotskalk Halvorsen Skjold; Hans Halvorsen Skjold and 3 others

Occupation: harbor business owner
Managed by: Kitty Munson Cooper
Last Updated:

About Henry H. (Hans Halvorsen Skjold) Lee

There is some confusion about when he was born. According to his marriage certificate it was May 30,1852 (which fits with his obituary of him dying at 78 in 1931). Both his passport applications cite March 18, 1853 but according to the Etne birth records and a letter his daughter wrote it was March 18, 1849. We suspect he made himself younger ... He is clearly NOT his brother Halvard (Halvor) who was the one born in 1852, as we are in touch with some of his descendants in Norway.

See this blog post for details of why he was born in 1849 http://blog.kittycooper.com/2018/08/figuring-out-an-ancestors-actual-birth-year/

The local history book has him born in 1849 as well. Etne-soga by Ståle Dyrvik, vol V "Folket. Grindheim sokn." Skjold p.128 item 6 h. Hans b 1849 went to America in1865



Known as Dada to his grandchildren. more about him including his grandson Alex's recollections of him are online here: http://kittymunson.com/index.php?page=lee-family

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 [Amund Skjold] 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.

Then 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 much more on how he founded his harbor businesses and became a wealthy man)

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

March 18, 1849
Etne, Hordaland, Norge
May 31, 1852
Age 3
Etne, Hordaland, Norway
May 10, 1880
Age 31
Brooklyn, NY, United States
June 17, 1884
Age 35
Brooklyn, NY, United States
November 10, 1886
Age 37
Brooklyn, Kings, NY, United States
February 6, 1889
Age 39
Brooklyn, NY, United States
Age 41
Age 45
Brooklyn, NY, United States
Age 49
Brooklyn, NY, United States
May 28, 1931
Age 82
West Hempstead, NY, United States