JOHN LEE. - John Lee, a retired farmer living in Buffalo, has proof of a life of enterprise and activity in the well improved farm of three hundred and twenty acres in Buffalo Hart township, which he now owns. A half century has come and gone since he established his home in Sangamon county. He was born in Yorkshire, England, October 18, 1831, a son of George and Mary (Johnson) Lee, also natives of that county. His maternal grandfather, James Johnson, lived to the advanced age of ninety-seven years.
Our subject is now the only survivor of a family of five sons and five daughters. He was reared in the land of his birth, pursued his education in the public schools and in early manhood he sought a companion for life's journey, being married on the 30th of November, 1852, to Hannah Spink, who was born January 28, 1834, a daughter of Robert Spink, of Yorkshire, England. Mrs. Lee now has in her possession a picture of the old church in which she was christened and married.
In the year 1853 Mr. and Mrs. Lee sailed for America, arriving in New York in July, after a voyage of seven weeks and two days. They located in East Haven, New York, joining two brothers of Mr. Lee there. In 1854, however, they left the east and came to Illinois, settling in Morgan county, where some of their English friends were living. Mr. Lee secured employment as a farm hand and later he rented a tract of land and began farming on his own account. He continued a resident of Morgan county for about twelve years and also spent one year in Logan county. In that time his labor, economy and careful management brought him sufficient capital to enable him to purchase land, and about 1868 he bought a farm in Buffalo Hart township, becoming the owner of one hundred and sixty acres. This he began to cultivate and improve and later he extended the boundaries of his place by the purchase of an adjoining tract of a quarter section, so that he now owns altogether three hundred and twenty acres of rich and arable land. He built two houses upon his farm, also a good barn, and tiled and fenced the place; in fact, he added all modern equipments and improvements and his labors resulted in the development of one of the best properties of this portion of the country. In the pastures and barns were always seen good grades of hogs, cattle and horses and for a number of years he engaged in feeding and fattening stock for the market. He continued his active agricultural operations until 1891, when he removed to Buffalo and purchased four lots in a desirable residence part of the city. He then built two houses and remodeled a third, erected a new barn and made a nice home. At the present time he is practically living retired, merely giving his supervision to his agricultural interests.
Unto Mr. and Mrs. Lee were born twelve children: George R., who died February 18, 1904; William H., a farmer of Christian county; Marian, the wife of John P. Edwards, of Buffalo; Francis O., a farmer of Minnesota; Joseph, who died in his second year; John Albert, who is operating the homestead; Morris P., a resident farmer of Minnesota; Minnie A., the wife of Achlin Matthew, a farmer of Texas; Nora Belle, the wife of Elmer Stubbs, a business man of Minnesota; Anna Adelia, the wife of Elmer Herren, a farmer of Lanesville township; Addie May, the wife of Joseph McDaniel, of this county; and Sarah E., who died in her seventh year. Mr. and Mrs. Lee celebrated their golden wedding on Thanksgiving day in 1902, on which occasion their children and grandchildren and numerous friends gathered to celebrate the happy event of their marriage a half century before. A very pleasant occasion it was, and many substantial souvenirs were left as tokens of the regard in which Mr. and Mrs. Lee are uniformly held. They now possess a fine group picture, consisting of father and mother, sons and daughters, taken when all of the children were home.
Politically Mr. Lee is an earnest Republican, having supported the party since casting his first presidential ballot for Abraham Lincoln in 1860. He has served as road commissioner and school director and the cause of education has ever found in him a warm friend. Political honors and emolument, however, have had little attraction for him. Both Mr. and Mrs. Lee were reared in the Episcopal faith, and they have long been members of the Methodist Episcopal church in Illinois. He is a self-made man who started out in life empty handed, but through his own labor and enterprise has gradually worked his way upward, and is today a prosperous citizen of Buffalo.
George R. Lee, the eldest son of our subject, was born in Morgan county, Illinois, in 1855. He pursued his education in the public schools and acquired a thorough and practical knowledge of farming while assisting his father upon the home farm. When about twenty-one years of age he started out in life for himself, but continued to work for his father until his marriage, which was celebrated on the 3d of March, 1880, his wife being Miss Martha Lanham, a daughter of Clifton Lanham, of Sangamon county. Two children were born of this union: Leona and Lotta May. George R. Lee died on the 185h of February, 1904, when in his forty-ninth year. He was a man of many admirable traits of character, was devoted to his family and was a loving husband and fond father. Honored and respected by all who knew him, his loss will be deeply felt by his numerous friends as well as relatives. In politics he was a Republican, and had held the office of school
director, discharging his duties in a most able manner.