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Her Lee Family Notes
Home Up Her Lee Family Notes Her Paternal/Maternal Heritage N Bloomingburg Cemetery

Mary Lee Brady, Ph.D.

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Her Lee Family Notes began with her grandmother Nancy Lee Watson who died in 1912 but she knew very well when growing up near her in Ohio wherein both are now buried side by side.  Though legally free and a bond servant to the Custiss Estate managed by Robert E. Lee, grandma Nancy knew there was little difference between slave and bond servant status in the State of Virginia gentlemen.  

And, it was grandmother Nancy who told her that her natural father was a Banister, and about her mother Rose Lee, a bond-servant to the Custiss Estate (who died in 1864 and was buried in the Arlington Virginia Freedman's Cemetery) and  her beloved father William Lee who died in 1828 who had been a slave to George Washington.   

As with his daughter and grand-daughter, had William chosen to exercise freedom of movement granted in the will of George Washington, he would have had to become a bond servant to another White family or leave the State of Virginia within one year; or be legally fined and re-enslaved by sheriff's sale to cover costs of court and pay his fine. 

Grandmother Nancy Lee left Virginia after the Civil War and passage of the 13th Amendment to the constitution assuring that she was free to travel to Ohio and marry a Civil War soldier who had served to make freedom of movement possible.  For her, freedom was never free and easy.

 

 

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