Henry James Lee, 1837-1923 [RG5760.AM]


RG5760.AM:  Henry James Lee, 1837-1923

Diaries, etc.:  1861-1865, n.d.

Bradford County, Pennsylvania and Fremont, Dodge County, Neb.:  Farmer, businessman

Size:  1 folder


Born August 25, 1837, on a farm at Ballibay, Herrick Township, Bradford County, Pennsylvania, Henry James Lee assisted with farm work and then attended Laceyville Academy in Wyoming County, Pennsylvania. Lee’s first trip to Nebraska came in 1857 when he visited his brother William, who had settled in Fremont, Nebraska, in 1856. Henry returned to Pennsylvania and purchased some farmland. In 1864 he apparently sold his farmland and went to work as a clerk in the hardware store of S.M. Bronsen at Orwell, Pennsylvania.

In 1865 Henry went back to Nebraska and purchased farmland near Fremont. Between 1865 and 1869 he purchased more farmland as well as various lots in Fremont. In 1869 Henry and his brother William returned to Pennsylvania for a double wedding. William married Mary Biles and Henry married Sarah Sophronia “Frone” Ellsworth, whom he had met while working in Orwell. They were married on March 16, 1869. They would have two daughters, Eva Jane, born on April 19, 1870, and Mira Sophronia, born Oct. 1, 1871.

During the summer of 1869, William and Henry built a hardware store at the corner of Sixth and Main in Fremont. Later that year Henry bought out William’s share of the business. He expanded the business in 1876 and added a three story addition to the building in 1888. In 1880 Henry also entered the wholesale hardware business in Omaha with C.A. Fried. Starting out as H.J. Lee & Co., the business later became known as Lee, Fried and Co. In 1899 it became Lee-Clarke-Andreesen, and then, Lee-Glass-Andreesen. He sold his share of the business in 1918, when by that time it was known as Lee-Cort-Andreesen.

In 1905 Henry incorporated his Fremont business as the Lee-Miller Hardware Co. with his brother, Jackson Lee and a son-in-law, Thomas Wilson Miller. In addition to his farming and hardware businesses, Henry Lee also served for many years as president of the First National Bank of Fremont. He also served as a councilman and school board member. He helped organize the Fremont Hook and Ladder Company in 1868 and served with the Red Jacket Engine Company, formed in 1874.

Henry James Lee died at Fremont on January 30, 1923.


The collection consists of one folder containing three diaries (1861, 1864, 1865), a typed diary transcript (incomplete) covering the 1861 diary, and some biographical information. The diaries document Lee’s life during that time period, including his coming to Nebraska in 1865.

Note: The NSHS also holds materials relating to George E. Grimes, husband of Eva Miller Grimes, granddaughter to Henry James Lee. See RG5761 for more information.


Diary, 1861

Diary, 1864

Diary, 1865

Diary transcript, 1861

Biographical information



Education — Pennsylvania

Farming — Nebraska

Farming — Pennsylvania

Lee, Henry James, 1837-1923


TMM   06-10-2011

Encoded TMM   06-10-2011

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