John Lee of Johnston County, North Carolina

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John Lee, Esq.

Also Known As: "John Esq. Lee"
Birthdate: (76)
Birthplace: Northumberland County, Virginia, Colonial America
Death: 1766 (75)
Johnston County, North Carolina, Colonial America
Place of Burial: Johnston, North Carolina, United States
Immediate Family:

Husband of Mary Lee
Father of Barthania Elizabeth Ingram; Robert Lee; Edward Lee, I; Capt. Thomas Lee, of Lee Valley; John Lee, II and 4 others

Occupation: Lawyer [Esquire]
Managed by: Jacqueli Charlene Finley
Last Updated:

About John Lee of Johnston County, North Carolina

John Lee is the father of Capt. Thomas Lee of Lee Valley, Tennessee. Capt. Thomas Lee is not the missing heir of Richard Lee II of Ditchley. A family bible turned up in Alabama in 1930, which was used to claim descendancy from Richard of Ditchley, through Capt. Thomas Lee. In 1952, a closer examination of the bible showed that entries had been made later than the apparent age of the bible. After this discovery, documentary proof (see below) was found in the North Carolina Court Records of 1768, that the Thomas Lee mentioned in the bible was actually the son of John Lee of North Carolina. No relationship has been proven between John Lee and the Lees of Ditchley.

John Lee's early life is still a mystery. It is believed that he was born c.1690-1695 in Virginia, possibly Northumberland Co. He married and settled along the VA/NC border around 1720, in Nansemond Co. On 26 July 1743 he received a land grant of 500 acres on the south side of the Neuse River in Johnson Co., NC, and moved there with his family. He bought more land and at the time of his death in 1768 he willed a total of 1770 acres to his heirs. He left a will (see text below) dated December 4, 1766 which named his wife Mary Lee and children. The will was probated in February 1768, so the date of death is between those two years. Johnston Co NC was Craven Co NC when John moved there in the early 1740's. It is believed but not proven that his wife's maiden name was Bryan.

Children of John Lee and wife Mary:

  • Robert Lee b: 1725
  • Edward Lee b: 1726 in VA or NC
  • Fredrick Lee b: 1727 in NC
  • Elizabeth H Lee b: 1728 in NC
  • Rachel Lee b: 1729 in NC
  • John Lee , Jr. b: ABT. 1730 in Halifax Co., VA
  • Mary Lee b: 1731 in NC
  • Sabry Lee b: 1733 in NC
  • Thomas Lee b: 1735 in NC

Links to additional information:

  • "John Lee Esq. of Johnston Co, NC & Some of His Descendants, May 1975",

NC Archives #27602, Oct. 29, 1720, lists John Lee among the "Roanoke River Settlers, 1720".

Update October 2017:

From What is this site for? Discovering Lee Ancestors using DNA Testing from

  • 1 Colonel Richard Lee (the Immigrant) - Blenheim Subgroup 21: Lees of VA (Richard Lee m. Ann Constable) I-M253
  • 204 Subgroup 7: John Lee Sr Esq, bc:1695, dc:1767 Johnston Co,NC R-M269

Update June 2017:

geni member Keith Corbett writes:

"The Lee DNA project has shown John was closely related to but probably not a descendant of, Thomas Lee who d.1645 on a voyage to Ct. His wife Phoebe Browne was the sister of William Lee's (of N.Y.) mother in-law. William was Lee Magna and likely a close relative of Thomas, He and his wife Mary Marvin had a son John b.1684 who fought in the French Indian war and supposedly died shortly after returning but DNA suggests he went instead to Va., married Mary Bryan and settled in N.C., dying in 1766. William Lee is my ancestor, if John is yours we are related, nice to meet you. I suggest you consult the Lee project available on the internet and provisionally change John's parents to William and Mary. For a pedigree of Lee Magna see Stirnet Lee09. "

Disconnected from Richard Henry Lee, I & Mary Lee as parents

'Will of John LEE, Esquire

from Johnston County, North Carolina, Wills 1760-1830, Vol. II, page 95. Raleigh, NC, State Dept. of Archives and History, Johnston County Records. Photocopy marked Lee-0011-001 to -004 in margin.

Cover: "John Lee's Will. To [possibly 'pro' or 'for'?] February Term 1768.

In the Name of god Amen. I John Lee [smudged mark, possibly 'ym'='yeoman' or 'gn'='gentleman'?] of Johnston County & Province of North Carolina Being So at this Time Tollerbly well in Health and of Sound Mind and Memory but Calling to mind the mortallity of Body and that it is Apointed for all men Once to Die do make and Ordain this my Last will and Testament in manner and form following that is to Say first Principally first of all I Recommend my Soul into the hands of God that Gave it as for my Body I Commit it to the Earth to be Buried in a Decent manner at the Discression of my Executors But Regarding my Worldly Estate with which it hath Pleased god to Bless me with I Dispose of it in the following manner Viz: in the first Place I Desire that all my Just Debts and funeral Charges be fully Sattisfied and Paid.

Imprimis I Lend to my well beloved wife Mary Lee this Plantation whereon I now Live and all my Personal Estate for her to be Possest with and Injoy During her Life or widowhood.

Item. I Give and bequeath unto my Son Robart Lee one Negro boy Named Seasser to him and his Heirs forever.

Item. I Give and Bequeath unto unto [sic] my Son Edward Lee one Hundred Acres of Land more or Less in the Low grounds of Neuse River whereon he has Cleared a Plantation Joyning John Lees Line and a Hundred Acres of Land Lying in the Low grounds Called John Greens field and Seventy five Acres of Land More or less Lying on Mill Creek at the Bridge and one Negro boy Called [torn--appears to be Abel] to him and his heirs forever.

Item. I Give and Bequeath unto my Son John Lee two hundred Acres of Land more or Less in the Low grounds of the River whereon is act [sic] Plantation Called the Cows Bones and one Hundred Acres Lying in Bearhill joyning of his own Land and two Negros a Boy and Girl Called Charles and Linn to him and his Heirs forever.

Item. I Give and Bequeath unto my Son Thomas Lee after my wifes Decease or widowhood the Plantation whereon I Now Live with the Remaining Part of the Low grounds and two hundred Acres of Land Lying in the Low ground Called Fredricks Lands and Part of a Tract of Land Called Trapnals Land it being the Part Joyning the Plantation it being Divided by a Line of Marked Trees Beginning at a Hickrey Tree at the mouth of the Cypress gut on the River and Running by the Line of Marked Trees to the Back Line and one Negro man Called Cuggo and a Negro Girl called Jenney to him and his Heirs forever.

Item. I give and Bequeath unto my Son Fredrick Lee one Negro wench Called Rachel to him and his Heirs forever.

Item. [line at fold torn and illegible--one word appears to be 'marriage'] Called Buster to her and her and her [sic] Heirs forever.

Item. I give and Bequeath unto my Daughter Mary Ballanger one Negro wench Called Nice and the and the [sic] Remaining Part of the Land Called Trapnals Lands to her and her Heirs forever.

Item. I give and Bequeath unto my Daughter Sabray Green one Negro Girl Called Bine [?] and twenty Pounds [illegible word, looks like 'Proek'] to be Paid out of my Estate to her and her heirs for ever.

"Item. I give & Bequeath unto my Grandson Shadrack Ingram one Plantation Containing two hundred Acres of Land more or Less Joyning Richard Ingrams Line & John Lees Line and three hundred Acres of Land Lying ond [sic] White Oak Swamp a Branch of Mill Creek and a Negro Girl Called Judah to him and his Heirs forever.

Item. I will that all the Remaining Part of my Personal Estate after my wifes Diceas or widow hood to be Equally Devided amongst my Children above Named to be Equally Devided by my Executors hereafter Named & I do hereby apoint my Son Edward Lee and John Lee to be my hole and Sole Executors of this my Last will and Testament utterly Revoking and Disanuling all Other Or former wills and Testaments by me before made.

In Witness whereof I have hereunto Set my hand and affixed my Seal this 4th Day of December in the year of Our Lord one thousand Seven Hundred and Sixty Six.

John [I] Lee

[mark appears to be a crossed capital I]

Signed Sealed and Delivered in the Presence of us:

Richard [a cross] GLees his mark [name not clear; could be Dees]

Gilbird [a cross] hix his mark

Samll. Smith jr.

Birth: Mar. 11, 1695 Virginia, USA Death: Dec. 4, 1766 Johnston County North Carolina, USA

I'm adding this John Lee, Esq. or Sr., so we can connect the line of Capt. Thomas Lee. I think its been well proven that this is true. In The book The Lee's of Johnston County, Or it may have a different name, i'm not sure, any way, by Dr. Luby F. Royall, Jr., and his communications with Will F. Frank and other people. John Lee Sr. Built his house in c.1742, and left it in his will to go to Capt. Thomas Lee when his wife Mary, "probably" Bryan, pastaway because of the close association with the Bryan's and the name Needham. Needham Bryan was the son of William and Alice (Macland) Bryan. She died in c.1792 or 1794. Then Thomas sold some of the property and gave house and some property to his nephew, Lemuel Lee son of John Lee JR. John Lee JR.and Capt Thomas Lee moved to Hawkins co. then Green Co. Tenn. in c. 1783. There is a lot more, but I won't add it now.

Family links:

 Richard Henry Lee (1677 - 1726)
 Mary Young Lee (1679 - 1753)

 Mary W. Bryan Lee (1706 - 1780)*

 Thomas Greenbury Lee (1729 - 1816)*
 John Lee (1730 - 1809)*

 John Lee (1695 - 1766)
 Richard Henry Lee (1710 - 1792)*
  • Calculated relationship

Burial: Unknown

Created by: Bobby Lee Dodson Record added: Oct 06, 2012 Find A Grave Memorial# 98353534

The same as John Lee of Johnston County, North Carolina per DNA test results Oct 2017

Confirmations of YDNA:

DNA test results for Mary Bryan wife of John Esq Lee: Mary Bryan reported by b 1706 Isle of Wight Co Va d 178.92 Johnson Co NC dau of William Bryan b about 1681 Isle of Wight and Alice McCloud m John Lee Esq b about 1705 Richmond Co Va d 4 Dec 1766 Johnston Co NC son of Richard Lee b about 1678 Surry Co Va d 10 Dec 1726 N Farnham Parish Richmond Co Va and Mary Young b about 1679 and grandson William Lee and Alice Felton great grandson of Richard Lee and Anne Constable Owen, ancestors of Gen. Lighhorse Harry Lee and Gen Robert E. Lee .......Source:

Will of John Lee Esquire: Johnston Co., NC Wills, Vol. 2, page 95: To wife Mary, he left the homestead and all his personal property for her lifetime or widowhood. To Robert: one Negro boy named Seasser to him and his heirs forever. To Edward: 100 acres of land in and around the low grounds of the Neuse River adjoining the John Lee line, 100 acres in the low grounds called "John Green's field" and 75 acres on Mill Creek at the bridge. A Negro boy named Abel. (The 75 acres is near where the Battle of Bentonville would be fought) To John, jr.: 200 acres in the low grounds called "Cow Bones", plus 100 acres in Bearhill, a Negro boy Charles, and a Negro girl called Linn to him and his heirs forever.To Thomas: the home plantation at the death or widowhood of his mother Mary as well as 200 acres lying in the low grounds called "Trapnall Land," joining the plantation and located at the mouth of Cypress Gut on the river. Also a Negro girl called Jenny. To Frederick: a Negro called Rachel and Negro man called Cuggo. To daughter Eliazbeth Ingram: a negro girl and child, Bristor. To Elizabeth's son, Shadrack Ingram, his grandfather left 200 acres joining John Lee's line, 300 acres on White Oak Swamp and a Negro girl called Judah. To daughter Mary Ballenger: a Negro girl called Nice, and the part of Trapnall's Land not given to Thomas.To daughter Sabra Green: a Negro girl called Bine and twenty pounds. Before making his will, John Lee had deeded prperty to John Green and Sabra and Edward Ballenger and Mary. Executors: sons Edward Lee and John Lee Witnesses: Richard Lee, Gilbred Hix, Samuel Smith,jr. Signed: John Lee

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John Lee of Johnston County, North Carolina's Timeline

March 11, 1690
Northumberland County, Virginia, Colonial America
Age 34
North Carolina, Colonial America
Age 34
Buckingham County, Virginia, Colonial America
Age 34
December 3, 1729
Age 39
Nansemond County, Province of Virginia, Colonial America
Age 39
Albemarle County, Virginia, Colonial America
Age 46
Virginia, Colonial America
Age 47
Age 51
Johnston County, North Carolina, USA