Lake County Ohio GenWeb

Nelson Oaks Lee

This biography is taken from Biographical History of Northeastern Ohio, Embracing the counties of Ashtabula, Geauga and Lake; Lewis Publishing Company, 1893.

Transcribed and submitted by Becky Falin, 1996.

Nelson Oaks Lee, of Painesville, Lake county, Ohio, is now living a retired life in his pleasant home, but for many years was one of the prominent business men of the place. His birth-place was in the town of Rose, Wayne county, New York, the natal event occurring September 12, 1832.

The branch of the Lee family from which our subject is descended have, for their common ancestor one John Lee, who emigrated to this country from Colchester, England, settling in Connecticut, in 1634. Great-grandfather Benjamin Lee was born in Dudley, Massachusetts. Joel Lee, grandfather of our subject, was a native of Uxbridge, Massachusetts, born February 21, 1760. He was a Lieutenant in the war of the Revolution and was brevetted Captain about the close of that memorable conflict. He was a farmer nearly all of hislife but held many county and State offices of trust. He died October 9, 1822, at Townshend, Vermont.

John W. Lee, father of our subject, was born in Townshend, Windham county, Vermont, March 7, 1803. Removing to New York, here there engaged in farming. Before leaving his native village, he married Philura Wells, who was born on the 5th of March, 1802. They reared three children, all sons. The father, who was a strong Abolitionist, was one of the "Underground Railroad" men, and kept many a colored man over night, lending him assistance on his way to Canada. He was a Whig and afterward a Republican. On March 26, 1881, he was called from the shores of time. His wife had died many years previously, on April 27, 1855. They were both active members of the Methodist Church. The maternal grandfather of Nelson Lee, Ira Wells, of English descent, was born in Massachusetts, was a farmer, and it is supposed that he died in Rock Island, Illinois.

Nelson Oaks Lee is the youngest child of his parents. He was brought up on a farm and such schooling as he obtained was in the subscription country schools. On arriving at his majority, he came to Ohio, landing in Morgan, Ashtabula county, in September, 1850. During the winter, he taught penmanship in the Austinburgh Institute, and afterward taught a private school. In 1855, he went into a drug store in Jefferson, as clerk, and after three years spent six months in the County Auditor's office. In the spring of 1858, he came to Painesville, and bought a drug store in which, with his son, he is still interested.

On the 27th day of September, 1860, Nelson Lee and Miss Eliza A. Hickok were united in marriage. Mrs. Lee was born in Jefferson, August 14, 1835. Her father, Eben F. Hickok, came to Ashtabula county from Massachusetts, in 1812, when he was a lad of twelve years. The journey was made by ox and horse team. Upon reaching Ashtabula county his father took up 1,200 acres of land. He developed a part of it and distributed the land among his twelve children. Mrs. Lee's father was a farmer by occupation. He died in 1870, being then just seventy years of age.

Three children have been born to our subject and his wife: Will G., who, upon attaining his majority, was given an interest in the drug store, and who now manages the business; Lizzie E. and Jessie W. The three children still remain as members of the home circle. Mr. Lee and his family are members of the Congregational Church, and for many years he was Clerk of the same. He has been a strong Republican ever since the organization of the party, and has served as a member of the school board and council a number of times. He is a demitted member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. For the past four years, Mr. Lee has been an invalid, having suffered much from muscular rheumatism. In spite of this affliction, his natural good nature and genial manner are the same as in former years. Every one who has had the pleasure of his acquaintance is his warm and true friend.

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