William Jasper Lee

Male 1846 - 1927  (80 years)

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  • Name William Jasper Lee  [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10
    Born 15 Sep 1846  Oregon Territory or possibly while the family was traveling west on the Oregon Trail Find all individuals with events at this location  [11, 12
    Gender Male 
    Also Known As Bill 
    Occupation farmer, and, according to family stories, circus performer 
    Died 19 May 1927  Los Angeles, CA Find all individuals with events at this location  [12, 13
    Buried 21 May 1927  Hollywood Memorial Cemetery, Hollywood, CA (now called Hollywood Forever Cemetery) Find all individuals with events at this location  [12, 14
    Person ID I1269  Bishir Family
    Last Modified 1 Nov 2016 

    Father George Washington Lee,   b. 11 Nov 1810, Patrick Co., Virginia Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 6 Jan 1888, Colusa, California? Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 77 years) 
    Mother Amanda Lee,   b. Abt 1820, Missouri Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Abt 1870, California Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 50 years) 
    Married 17 Aug 1836  Saline, MO Find all individuals with events at this location  [15, 16
    Family ID F316  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Notes 
    • William Lee, or Bill as he was called, was the third child of Washington and Amanda Lee. His birth place is in question, was it Missouri, the Oregon Trail, or Oregon Territory? In The Brazen Overlanders of 1845 the Oregon Territory and the Oregon Trail are listed as his possible locations of birth. His birth year of 1846 supports this data since the family probably left Missouri in the spring of 1845 and arrived in Oregon by August. However, often Bill Lee listed his birth place as Missouri.

      He lived the first years of his life on the family farm in the Northwest. But his parents soon looked south toward California and moved their young family to Yolo County near Sacramento in time to be counted in the 1860 U. S. Census. After his youngest sisters, Ella and Ada, were born the family packed up and moved southward again. We next find them in the great San Joaquin Valley in Tulare County, California. They are listed in the 1870 census in Farmersville, near Visalia. Bill and his brothers John and Joe worked on their family’s farm, described as “farm laborers” in the census. There is a John Harvey Lee and William Jasper Lee, born in Missouri, listed as farmers in Santa Maria, Santa Barbara Co., in the 1879 Great Register of Voters.

      Although Bill’s parents Washington and Amanda Lee have not been located in the 1880 census, there is evidence that Bill had returned to Yolo County, California. In the 1880 census we find him living as a single man in Colusa with the John Spurgeon family, listed as a farm hand. There does appear to be a connection between the Spurgeon family and the Lee family in Colusa, so there is a possibility that Bill was living with cousins. He appears in the Great Register of Voters for 1890 in Santa Ynez along with both his brothers.

      We next find Bill living in one of the West’s last frontier towns, Calabasas, Los Angeles County, California. His older brother, John, remained in Santa Ynez while his younger brother, Joe and family, had been driven out by the drought and moved south. In the 1900 census Joe and Molly Lee and children are dry farming in Calabasas. Living near them are the Grant, Stokes and Mendenhall families, all of whom would marry into the Lee family. Bill Lee is living alone, head-of-household, next door to the Mendenhalls.

      The 1920 census shows Bill living in the household of his nephew, Fred Lee (George Frederick Lee). Fred was the son of Joe and Molly Lee and was married with children. They resided in Los Angeles and the census mistakenly identifies Bill as Fred’s father. In a 2009 phone interview with Fred Lee’s daughter, Verna Lee Cox, she recalled “Uncle Bill” living with them when she was very young.

      Ray Mendenhall remembers him as being "old" at 50. He was stooped over from lifting. According to Ray, the three brothers were tumblers in Circus. Bill was the "bottom man" - a brute of a man. He could do the work of two men. Ray said he was a very "fine old man”. He was living with Joe and Pearl Lee in 1910 and lived with Fred and Hazel Lee for a while (in 1920), then he lived in an old red barn on Clinton St. at Hoover in Los Angeles.


      A William J. Lee with nearly the right birth information appears in 1880 with the John Spurgeon family in Colusa. Jennie Wright theorizes that Amanda Lee’s sister may have married a Spurgeon and this John is their son.

      He left his money to Fred Lee.


      7/97 checked ancestral file
      1869 Tulare Co., CA (information from the internet GenWeb Site)
      Lee, William, Jasper 22/MOFarmersvilleAug 6, 1866(this age is right to Washinton's son)
      Lee, William, 38/MOFarmersvilleAug 6, 1866 (maybe William's uncle)
      Lee, Washington 56/VAFarmersvilleAug 6, 1866 (William's father?)

      This is probably a relative to our William, but I'm listing him here for now.
      Tulare Co., CA; Kaweah & Mineal King
      Lee,William age 30 Born MO married around 1875?
      Levina w age 29 born Iowa
      Netta d age 4 born CA
      Emma L. d age 3 born CA

      1880 CA did not find (7/31/98 State Library)

      1900 (7/31/98 State Library)
      Lee, William; Los Angeles, Calabasas twp; vol 15; ed 100; sheet 3; line 10
      born Oct 1837; age 62 born Oregon (territory)
      Living alone

      Lee, William BO (brother) Los Angeles; w; age 64; born MO; enumerated with Joseph Lee who is the Head of household and W (Joseph Lee died 1910) (The age & birth place is right for the William Lee I'm looking for.
      Need page number so I can view the actual census.

      Lee, William J. age 73; born MO; living with George F Lee/ Father (of head of household) ; vol 39; ED 147; sheet; 18; ln 24; Los Angeles city and Los Angeles Co., CA House no 1124

      1880 Federal Census
      Butte Co.-not found
      Sutter Co-not found
      Colusa Co-not found
      Yolo Co-not found
      Monterey Co-not found
      Santa Barbara-not found 7/31/98
      CA STATE DEATH INDEX 1905-1929

      Lee, William age 81; died in Co 70 (LA); date 5-19-1927; #24083 (this age and death date would make this William Lee born in year 1845-1847, which is right for our "William Lee." [1]

  • Sources 
    1. [S850] 1890 Tulare Co., California Great Register of Voters Index; Vol II, California State Genealogical Alliance, compiler, (Heritage Quest 2001).

    2. [S100] Interview with Ray and Dessie Mendenhall with M & N M, (EF#62, SN#74, 9 Apr 1977).

    3. [S92] Interview with Ray & Dessie Mendenhall and Thelma Thomas, (EF#62, SN#171, 15 Jun 1977).

    4. [S426] 1850 United States Federal Census, Ancestry.com, (Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2005).

    5. [S514] 1880 United States Federal Census, Ancestry.com and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, (Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2005).

    6. [S589] 1910 United States Federal Census, Ancestry.com, (Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2006).

    7. [S597] 1920 United States Federal Census, Ancestry.com, (Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2005).

    8. [S476] 1866 Tulare Co., California Great Register of Voters.

    9. [S446] 1860 United States Federal Census, Ancestry.com, (Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2004).

    10. [S482] 1870 United States Federal Census, Ancestry.com, (Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2003).

    11. [S428] Census 1900 Thomas N Mendenhall & Joseph C Lee, (EF#162, SN#244, 27 Sep 1977).

    12. [S224] Death certificate for William Lee.

    13. [S848] Correspondence with Jennie Wright.

    14. [S230] Visit to Hollywood Memorial Park, Hollywood, CA to locate the graves of John H. Lee and William Lee., (EF#4, SN#197, 10 Jul 1977).

    15. [S396] "Missouri Marriages Before 1840", Susan Ormesher.

    16. [S789] Marriage record for George Washington Lee and Amanda Lee, Saline, MO.