Richard Lee I

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Col. Richard Lee I, “the Immigrant” (1617–1664) arrived in Jamestown in 1639 at the age of 22 with very little to his name other than the patronage of an influential man, Sir Francis Wyatt, the 1st Governor of Virginia. Once there he became Attorney General of the Colony of Virginia, Colonial Secretary of State, and member of the King's Council. He became Clerk of the Quarter Court at Jamestown, within the Secretary of State’s office. He was a loyal supporter of King Charles I of England, and his public offices ceased when Oliver Cromwell seized power in England in 1649. In addition he served as High Sheriff and was a Colonel in the Militia. He was also a tobacco planter, trader, owner and trader of slaves, and employer and importer of indentured English servants (who paid for their passage to America with 7 years of labour). At the time of his death he was the largest landholder in the colony (13,000 acres) and perhaps the richest man in Virginia. He was the great-great-great grandfather of Confederate general Robert E. Lee and great grandfather of President Zachary Taylor.


In 1643 the new Governor, Sir William Berkeley (1606–1677), on the recommendation of Sir Francis Wyatt, appointed Richard as Attorney General of the Colony.

Richard was in the fur trading business with the Indians. Because of this, Richard took his bride away from the capital city, and went to live among the Indians beyond the frontier of...
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