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Saturday, July 26, 2008

Religion and Parents

My father and mother were both Catholics, were raised in that faith;

Interesting that Ralph and Elizabeth didn't get married in the Catholic church but instead, by a Justice of the Peace. Maybe it was because Eliza(beth) had been married before. I'm not sure what the rules about marriage are for Catholics. Apparently Elizabeth and Oliver Reed were not married in the Catholic church and neither were Elizabeth and John Rode. Elizabeth did have all three of her children baptized in the Catholic church within three months of their birth.

We do not know Ralph's religious upbringing.

On Elizabeth's side, her father's family, the Doyles, were Catholic, and her mother's side, the Smiths, were Baptists. In some records, John Doyle is listed as being a prominent Baptist in New Design. I believe that John Doyle was Baptist while his wife was alive, but after she died, went back to being Catholic. Also, the Catholic religion was more prominent in the area since it is an area that was originally settled by the French.

I was christened in that Church. William Morrison and Louise Phillips stood as my representative god-father and god-mother.

John Doyle was baptized in the Catholic church. His god-father was Alexis Buat and his god-mother was Marie-Louise Morrison.

His brother's god father was Benjamin Buat, and there are Buatte decendants still in the area. The pastor during that era was Rev. Donatien Olivier from 1803-1818.

It is from that Church record that I could alone obtain the facts and date that referred to my birth.

It is a good thing John D. Lee knew French. Those records are written in French.

When about one year old, my mother being sick,

Could this be from complications from the blow to her head?

I was sent
(p. 38) to a French nurse, a negro woman. At this time my sister Eliza was eleven years old, but young as she was she had to care for my mother and do all the work of the household.

This makes Eliza ten years older than John D., when in actuality, if she is Eugenie, she is only six years older.

To add to the misfortune, my father began to drink heavily and was soon very dissipated; drinking and gambling was his daily occupation.

Ralph may have begun his gambling and drinking before he married Elizabeth. There are two pieces of information that might confirm this. The first clue is from an inquest in 1810 and the second is the list of purchases Ralph Lee charged at Morrison's store in Kaskaskia.

The inquest held on the 8th of June 1810 was on a man who probably died of alcohol poisoning. Copied from the original. Bracketed information added by me for clarity.
Mrs. Fouke states: "This evening after the horse race was over, John Felming (sic) with James Lee and some others came in to her house and was drinking when some moments after[,] Lee Brought her Flemings hat and Sometime after he[,] Said Lee[,] had laid Fleming down along side the cupboard[,] he lifted Said Fleming up and took of[f] his Jacket and gave her the hat and Jacket to take care of and until he himself would call for it, Saying to Said Fleming it was a Shame for him to Drink so extravagantly and make such a Beast of himself and told this Deponent that was
[if] Fleming [were] to goe home to night not to let him have his hat for he would Surely Loose it, That this Deponent Verily Believes Said John Fleming came by his Death from hard Drinking and further says she went to see him now and then[,] when she said Fleming Drew his Breath hard and groaned hard[,] to which [she] has subscribed her name.

Deposition of Ralph Lee: The Depositions of Moses Wooden, Ralph Lee and Francis Gardner who on Oath say that this evening, a little after Sun Set almost Dusk, in Coming into the House of Philip Fouke Esquire in Kaskaskia they found the Dead Body of John Fleming (now before them lying) near the cupboard in the entry of Said house and then found he was motionless called for a candle and upon examination found he was Dead -- Say they do not know how he came by Death but Suppose twas Liquor was the Cause of it which they subscribed their names. Ralph Lee signed his name. Moses Wooden and Francis Gardner made marks
(Sapp 28-29).

So there is at least a possibility that Ralph Lee attended the horse race with the other participants, and apparently members of the party were imbibing.

Morrison's ledger was kept from 1805 to 1831.
Ralph began his credit at Morrison's store on September 19, 1809 and his last charge was on Sept 22, 1820. There are periods where he purchases more alcohol than others. To see his purchases go to, click on "Search Ledger" on the right side of the page, and enter Ralph's name in the proper boxes. Others of interest are James Conner-- Charlotte Doyle's husband, and John Doyle.

The interest and care of his family was no longer a duty with him; his presence was seldom seen to cheer and comfort his lonely, afflicted wife. The house was one mile from town, and we had no neighbors nearer than that.

The neglect and indifference on the part of my father towards my afflicted mother, served to increase her anguish and sorrow, until death came to her relief.

Records in the Circuit Court in Randolph County state that Eliza(beth) died November 1815. John D. Lee would have been 3 1/2 years old.

My mother's death left us miserable indeed; we were (my sister and I) thrown upon the wide world, helpless, and I might say, without father or mother. My father when free from the effects of intoxicating drink, was a kind-hearted, generous, noble man, but from that time forward he was a slave to drink--seldom sober.

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