[May Lee Queen]
Edith L. Crawford,
Carrizozo, New Mex.
My father, Captain John Lee, was born November 27, 1835 in Edinburgh Scotland. His parents came to the United States when he was eighteen months old and lived in Moodus; Connecticut. Whe he was fourteen years old, he ran away to sea. He followed the sea for many years and came to own his own sailing vessel. He traded extensively in the South Seas and dealt mostly in copra. He went around the world three times in a sailing vessel, and discovered a small island that was called Lee's Island. When I was a small girl in school at White Oaks, New Mexico this island was shown on the maps of my geography.
My father married Mary Purcell, who was a daughter of an English missionary of the Church of England, and a graduate of Oxford. My mother was the granddaughter of King Mata Afa, who was king of the island of Samoa. My father and mother were married at Apia Samoa. They owned a plantation near Apia and lived there for several years. They had nine children born on this island.
Father decided that he wanted his children educated in the United States, so they left Apia, Samoa on a sailing vessel for the States. They were six months on the sea. They ran into “calms” and were delayed for days and weeks. Their water and food supplies ran short and they were put on short rations. Just before the food was entirely gone they made the port of Honolulu and the vessel was restocked. They landed at San Francisco about the year 1879.
After visiting my father's family in Connecticut and traveling around a good bit they decided to settle in Richmond, Virginia. Father bought a farm near Richmond and lived there for about a year and a half. Mother and the children had chills and fever and were sick so much that they decided to move.