In Mormonism Unveiled, John D. Lee states the following:
(p. 36) "I was born on the 6th day of September, A.D. 1812, in the town of Kaskaskia, Randolph County, Illinois.
John D. Lee's birth is verified by baptism records from the Church of the Immaculate Conception on Kaskaskia Island. The church is one of the few remaining buildings on Kaskaskia Island, although it is not the building he was baptized in. The new building has been moved from the old city of Kaskaskia which has been washed away by the Mississippi River to the new site since John D. Lee was there.
Copies of the baptism index are on microfiche and are available at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. They are non-circulating and are not available at Family History Centers. The original handwritten index does not give his birth date, but states that he is 3 months old when he was baptized on December 20, 1812 with parents Raphael [Lee] and Elizabeth Doyle.
Microfilm of the original records are available at the Belleville Library in Belleville, Illinois. The original records are available in the Archives of the Diocese in Belleville. Digital copies can also be seen at http://pilot.familysearch.org/recordsearch/start.html#p=3;c=1388122;w=403 this will take you to the 1759-1815 Births, Marriages and Deaths of the Church of the Immaculate Conception from Kaskaskia Island in Randolph County, Illlinois. Go to image 216 (p. 280) and John D. Lee's record is in the lower left corner.
The original record, written in French, stated that he was born on September 6, 1812.
Church of the Immaculate Conception in Kaskaskia, Illinois.
Click on the picture to make it bigger.
Another verification of his birth date is probate records for Elizabeth or Eliza Doyle or Lee dated 3 March 1836, stating in the last three lines that John Lee "is twenty one years on the 6th day of September 1833.
Probate records found in Randolph County, Circuit Court.
My father, Ralph Lee, was born in the State of Virginia.
This has neither been verified nor disproved.
He was of the family of Lees of Revolutionary fame, and was a relative of General Robert E. Lee, of the late war;
Through DNA testing we have discovered that John D. Lee is not related to Robert E. Lee on the paternal side of his family.
In the limited sampling of Lee DNA housed at Ancestry.com, there are currently no good matches between John D. Lee's descendants and any other Lees in the study. We have not given up finding matches with Ralph Lee's DNA. There are other possibilities, for instance Ralph's mother may have been a Lee and he took her name, or Ralph was raised by a Lee family and took their name.
he served his time as an apprentice and learned the carpenter's trade in the city of Baltimore.
Apprenticeship papers for Ralph Lee/Loe were found in December 1785 Orphan Court records in Baltimore, Maryland, stating that he was 17 years old and an orphan. (Click to enlarge)
Ralph's mother may have still been living, but his father or male guardian was probably dead.