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Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Family information given to us by JDL

(p. 40) ...I got a letter from my sister, informing me of her marriage to Josiah Nichols, a nephew of Barker Berry, the sheriff of Fayette county, Illinois, and inviting me to visit them. Nichols was a wealthy man, and lived sixteen miles north of Vandalia.

Eliza Virginia married Isaiah Nichols, rather than Josiah Nichols. This could have been misinterpreted by the person who "co-authored" the book.

All I know of my father, after I was eight years of age, is, that he went to Texas in the year 1820, and I have never heard of him since. What his fate was I never knew.

If Ralph went to Texas in 1820, he returned in 1826. He is involved in a court case in Randolph County at that time. Mr. Archambeau owed Ralph money and Ralph won the case. His lawyer was Sidney Breese. John D. Lee would be fourteen at this point in time. It does not look like Ralph looked his son up at that time. Charlotte could have been ornery enough that he didn't dare visit his son.

The phrase, "went to Texas" frequently referred to a person who left town and was never heard from again.

When my mother died, my uncle and aunt Conner took all the property--a large tract of land, several slaves, household and kitchen furniture, and all; and, as I had no guardian, I never received any portion of the property...

The slaves were set free by an act of the Legislature; the land was sold for taxes, and was hardly worth redeeming when I came of age; so I sold my interest in all the land that had belonged to my mother, and made a quit-claim deed to it to Sidney (p.41) Breeze, a lawyer of Kaskaskia, in consideration of $200. My sister, by the kindness of Dr. Fisher, her guardian, received a much greater price for her interest in the land than I did.

I was born on the point of land lying between and above the mouth of the Okaw or Kaskaskia river and the Mississippi river, in what is known as the Great American Bottom--the particular point I refer to was then called Zeal-no-waw, the Island of Nuts. It was nineteen miles from the point of the bluffs to the mouth of the Okaw river; ten miles wide up at the bluffs and tapering to a point where the rivers united. ... This point of land is one of the finest on the globe; there I spent my early years;...

The course of the Mississippi River has changed since John D. Lee lived there. The Mississippi now uses the old Kaskaskia River channel. Where JDL lived is now on the western side of the Mississippi, part of what is now called Kaskaskia Island. It is only accessible from Missouri. The area where his home was is probably now in the Mississippi channel.

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I know I have contradicted many things that John D. Lee said. There could be several reasons for the discrepancies. His family information was not from primary sources. His mother did not live long enough to pass family information on to him. The only relatives he had living were his Aunt Charlotte and his elder sister, Eliza. Charlotte's relationship with John D. Lee and his father, Ralph Lee, were not the best. Charlotte was also the younger sister and probably didn't know as much information as her older sister, Elizabeth, would have known. Charlotte may not have even known her mother's name if Chloe died in childbirth having her. I am actually amazed at how much information John D. Lee knew, considering the circumstances.

(More will be added to this as I get time.)

Black, Henry Campbell, M.A. Black's Law Dictionary. West Publishing Co., St. Paul, Minn. 1968.

Lee, John Doyle. Mormonism Unveiled.

Randolph County Circuit Court. 1832-43 Probate Record.

Sapp, Peggy
Lathrop. Illinois State Genealogical Society Quarterly, Vol XIX, No.1, Spring 1987. "Kaskaskia-Randolph County Manuscripts".

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