LEE township, originally a part of Alexander, was separately organized in November, 1819. Among the earliest settlers here were Capt. John Martin, a revolutionary soldier, Philip Smith, Henry Cassel, Ziba McVey, Daniel Knowlton, George Canny, John Holdren, William Brown, William Graham, Jacob Lentner, James McGonnegal, Francis Thomas, Samuel Luckey, Hiram Howlett, and John Doughty.

The population of the township in 1820 was 341; in 1830 it was 418; in 1840 it was 848; in 1850 it was 961; in 1860 it was 1301. The inhabitants of Lee are principally engaged in agriculture, and her farmers rank among the best. Latterly they have given especial attention to the growing of fine stock.

Previous to the discovery of salt by the whites, the Indians had produced scanty supplies of salt by drilling holes into the rocks fifteen or eighteen inches deep, when the cavity would gradually fill up with the brinish water which, evaporated by the heat of the sun, would produce salt. The whites bored wells to some depth, built furnaces, and for many years firnished salt for the surrounding settlements to the distance of seventy-five or eighty miles.


The center of population in the township is Albany, a neat village and handsomely located on sections two and three, and was laid out into lots by William Graham, in 1832 or 1833. The first house in the village was built by Lucius R. Beckley, on the ground now owned by Atkins & Stanly, and known as the old Brown store. In 1840 John Brown purchased this property and commenced selling goods here. Albany has a population of about six hundred, with the usual complement of business men and mechanics. The Free Masons and Sons of Temperance have each a hall in the village. No liquor is sold within the corporation.

The town was incorporated in 1844. At the first election for town officers John V. Brown was chosen mayor, and J.M. Gorsline recorder. For a number of years afterward there was no election, but since 1855 they have been held regularly.

Township Trustees
1820Jacob LentnerJames McGonnegalEphraim Martin
1821Francis ThomasJames McGonnegalElisha Chapman
1822Ephraim MartinJames McGonnegalDaniel Rowell
1823Joseph WallaceFrancis ThomasWilliam Brown
1824-27Ephraim MartinFrancis ThomasJames McGonnegal
1828Samuel MartinFrancis ThomasJames McGonnegal
1829-30James MageeGeorge ReevesMcCowen Bean
1831Wm GrahamWm ThompsonMcCowen Bean
1832Joseph MartinWm ThompsonJohn Havener
1833-35Wm GrahamJames McGonnegalJoseph Martin
1836Joseph PostWm ThompsonNimrod Dailey
1837-40Wm GrahamMichael CanneyNimrod Dailey
1841-42John T WinnJoseph PostJacob Lentner
1843-44Wm GrahamWm HendersonJacob Lentner
1845-46F.E. ClarkA.G. HendersonJames Greathouse
1847F.E. ClarkTravis WilsonJames Greathouse
1848F.E. ClarkJohn BrownGeorge Holdren
1849Andrew MeansJohn DewingGeorge Holdren
1850F.E. ClarkD.M. RossA.W. Brown
1851F.E. ClarkLeonard BrownD.M. Ross
1852James HolmesB. GoodrichJohn T Winn
1853-54James HolmesA. EnlowJohn T Winn
1855James HolmesSamuel ShusterJohn T Winn
1856James HolmesJacob McVeyJohn T Winn
1857James HolmesJames ClementsJohn T Winn
1858James HolmesJames ClementsBenjamin Rickey
1859James HolmesJames ClementsA.W. Brown
1860James HolmesW.W. KurtzA.W. Brown
1861James HolmesA. WilsonA.W. Brown
1862-63James HolmesJ. JenningsA.W. Brown
1864James HolmesA. WilsonA.W. Brown
1865James HolmesWm C. LindleyRobert Dickson
1866-67Lemuel ClineJacob McVeyRobert Dickson
1868Albert VorhesJacob McVeyRobert Dickson
Justices of the Peace
1820Isaac Baker
1822Abner C. Martin
1823Isaac Baker
1824Joseph Wallace
1825McCowen Bean, Michael Canney, James McGee
1828Jacob Lentner
1831McCowen Bean, Abner C. Martin
1832Jacob Lentner
1834Abner C. Martin
1835Jacob Lentner
1837Abner C. Martin
1838John Dickson
1839Lucius Beckley
1840Abraham Enlow
1841A. Warner
1842John T Winn
1843George Means, Francis E. Clark
1844Edmund Morse
1845A.G. Henderson,
Peter Morse
1846Francis E. Clark
1847George Holdren
1849D.M. Ross, Francis E. Clark
1850Joseph Post
1852James Clements, Francis E. Clark
1853Joseph Post
1854George Johnson
1855James Clements, John Brown, Jacob McVey
1856Harvey L Graham
1858James Clements, Jacob McVey
1859Harvey L Graham
1860Peter Morse
1861E.R. Cooper
1862James M Gorsline
1864E.R. Cooper
1865James M Gorsline
1867John Q Mitchell, Isaac Friedlein
1868Abraham Enlow


No community in the county has attended more earnestly to the cause of education than the citizens of Albany, and they have several excellent schools. The "Atwood institute," originally founded, and for a few years conducted, as a "manual labor school," is now controlled by the Free-will Baptists, and, under the management of the Rev. Mr. Chase, is proving a successful and useful school. It has at present three teachers — two male and one female —and about eighty scholars. All the branches usually taught in academies of this class are taught here. The colored people have a good school in Albany, conducted by capable teachers, and attended by young colored persons of both sexes from distant parts of the state. The have a handsome school building, conspicuously located, which has been built mainly by the contributions of colored people, and the good management and complete success, thus far, of their enterprise, are highly creditable. The "district school," divided into an upper and lower department—the former superintended by Mr. J.C. Woodyard, and the latter by Miss Mary L. Kerr—is also a well-managed and useful school. And, finally, there is a good public school for colored children.


Albany also possesses an excellent public library, called the "Wells library." It was founded by Mr. Henry Wells, who dying in 1860, bequeathed one thousand dollars for that purpose as a perpetual fund, the interest to be expended in books, and the further sum of two hundred and fifty dollars for an immediate purchase. The money was securely invested in 1861, by Mr. E.H. Moore, of Athens, whom Mr. Wells made his trustee for this purpose, and about seven hundred dollars worth of books have already been purchased by Mr. Leonard Brown, the purchasing committee. For some time the library was kept in a room gratuitously furnished by the Free Masons of Albany, but in March, 1868, Mrs. Mary Weethee, mother of the founder of the library, bequeathed a frame building to be used as a library room, provided the town should keep it in repair and pay the taxes. The library, consisting now of about four hundred volumes, is a settled and very creditable institution. By the rules of the library any family, living within the corporation, may, for one dollar a year, draw out two volumnes at a time for not more than four weeks, and the library is open two hours every Thursday for members. An interesting instance is thus afforded, of the great and perpetual good that may be accomplished by a very small sum well directed. Possibly the excellent example will incite others to similar action and so its usefulness be indefinitely multiplied. Mr. Wells was a grandson of Hiram Howlett, one of the early settlers of Lee.

Early Settlers [and links to their bios, if any.]

John Holdren and came to Athens county in 1798 accompanied by another young man John Konker. Soon after reaching Athens they took up land in the south part of Alexander township and made a temporary settlement on the waters of Margaret's creek. Their neighbors, at intervals of several miles, were the Hanings, the Brooks family, Joseph Long, Esquire Merritt, and Henry Cassell.

Mr Cassell built a grist mill soon afterward in Lee township on the place now owned by William Minear.

In 1820, when Mr. Holdren settled permanently in Lee township his nearest neighbors were James McGonnegal, Israel Bobo, and George Canney, and soon afterward came David Doughty, James Luckey, Thomas Jones, John Havner, John and Ephraim Martin, Daniel Knowlton, Jacob Lentner, and the Robinetts.

Among those who entered the army at that the war of 1812, Mr Holdren remembers Barnet Brice, John Wood, Reuben Reeves, David Vaughn, Ira Foster, Joel Stroud, Jehiel Gregory, Nehemiah Gregory, and William McNichol.

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