There follows some messages from
RootsWeb, (Ancestry.com), setting out what has been passed down via tradition to
the descendants of some of the survivors of the Faithful Steward tragedy. There
are several web sites which touch on the disaster, and the site of the wreck is
well known and has produced many artefacts.
The description of the events leading up to the ship running aground should be contrasted with the actual newspaper reports which are also shown below.
The English origins for many Lees in Ireland is beyond doubt, but the theory of a common source for all of them is not supported by research.
From: leegent <email@example.com>
Subject: LEE EMIGRANTS PERISH IN SHIPWRECK
Date: Wed, 12 Jun 1996 10:06:41 -0700
38 LEE EMIGRANTS PERISH IN SHIPWRECK On July 9, 1785, forty four members of the LEE family were among the total of 249 passengers and crew who sailed from Londonderry, Ireland aboard the ship Faithful Steward. The ship ran aground at Cape Henlopen, Delaware on Sept 1, 1785 and only 68 of the total aboard survived. Among the survivors were six members of the LEE family; James LEE, the wife of one of his brothers and four cousins who apparently didn't carry the LEE name. James LEE, b. abt 1707 and his wife Isabella BOSCAWEN were the eldest of the family on this ill fated voyage. They, as well as 4 sons and two daughters, drowned. The James LEE who survived, was their grandson. His parents, whose names are unknown were among those lost. FIRST GENERATION: James LEE b. Abt 1707, IRL Sp: Isabella BOSCAWEN b. Abt 1710, ENG (reportedly a dau. of Hugh BOSCAWEN, Lord Viscount Falmouth) SECOND GENERATION: Hugh LEE (not aboard - came to U.S. abt 1790) Sp: Mary ELLIOTT Thomas LEE (drowned on Faithful Steward) James LEE (drowned on Faithful Steward) Son (Name unknown) Mary LEE (Known as Pretty Polly Lee) (drowned on Faithful Steward) Isabella LEE (drowned on Faithful Steward) THIRD GENERATION: James LEE b. Jan 14, 1759, IRL, marr. 1792, PA Sp: Elizabeth Rankin b. 1773, PA William LEE b. 1767, Donegal, IRL, marr. Abt 1792, PA Sp: Jane ELLIOTT b. IRL I am very anxious to add some missing pieces to this puzzle and to correct any errors that might have occurred with various story-tellings. If you wish further information about any of the above, or can supply me with any additional, please contact me directly. Lee Gentemann, 1820 Hamlet Ct. S., Salem, OR 97302
From: "Gene S. Temple" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: [LEE-L] LEE, James - 1707 IRELAND
Date: Tue, 19 May 1998 10:35:50 -0700
James LEE, b. 1707-1708 in Donegal, Ireland., d. 1 Sept 1785 Cape Henlopen, Sussex, DE. m. Isabella BOSCAWEN, b. 1711 England, d. 1 Sept 1785 Cape Henlopen, Sussex, DE This is the information passed down to me when I took over the family Genealogy. Unfortunately, they did not record it's source, so I'm having to go back and find out if this is true or not. James Lee lived in the Province of Ulster, Ireland, but we do not know if that was the place of his birth. He was, without any question, of English ancestry, the family fleeing to Ireland during some of the religious wars. According to Judge Robert Lee of Bucyrus, Ohio on his conversation with General Robert E. Lee in 1848 at Philadelphia the following transcribed: "I met General Lee in Philadelphia at the outbreak of the Mexican War. He was a young officer. I found his a very pleasant and intelligent gentleman, who had the genealoty of the Lee family to a marked degree. He said that during some of the wars or revolutions in England a portion of the Lee Family left England and settled in Ireland and that many of their descendants, both from England and Ireland, emigrated to this country, but all were descendants of one original ancestry. He told me of the loss of the Faithful Steward which I also heard from my grandfather. A large number of the family engaged passage to this country on said ship; among the number was my grandfather, Thomas Lee, with all his family, but when they arrived at the port (Londonderry) the ship was so crowded they could not get passage and were compelled to wait for the next ship that sailed for Philadelphia. The Faithful Steward was a new ship, insured for more than its real value, Somewhere in the Bay, the captain ran the ship upon a rock and wrecked her to pieces. (The vessel was wrecked on the Delaware coast, thirty miles south of Delaware Bay, September 1, 1785.) The passengers alarmed, pleaded with the Captain to shun the roack, but he swore he would drive the ship through or "sink her to hell," and such was the terrible result. The Captain, his officers and sailors, manned their boats, left for shore, and left the passengers to parish. Among the 200 lost were 48 of the Lee family. Also lost was one young lady "Pretty Polly Lee" of wonderful Beauty and accomplishment, called " the Irish Beauty". She was actually the daughter of James Lee and Isabella Bascowen Lee and named Mary Lee. There were many poems written in praise of her beauty. According to Capt. Albert W. Lee of Uniontown, Ohio on Feb. 4, 1895, his grandfather James Lee, b. January 14, 1759 died Dec. 21,1843 and who was the son of James Lee II and who survived the wreck of the Faithful Steward, used to listen to songs of Pretty Polly Lee by old Miss Polly Pollock. Also the Elliott near Zanesville, Ohio are some of the descendants of the cousins saved from the wreck. Thus we are distant cousins of Robert E. Lee. Also in my possession are gold buttons from the uniform of James Lee who fought in the War of 1812.
From: "Iris Temple" <email@example.com>
Subject: [LEE-L] LEE Ireland to USA
Date: Sun, 2 Apr 2000 08:41:04 -0700
I thought I might post some of my LEE information in hopes that someone wouldhave something to add or that it might help. All of my information has comefrom previous family genealogist's ( I've just inherited it, making me 4th generation).I'm trying to get documentation to back up a lot of the information I've received( a slow and immense project). My highest hope is to find someone who has runacross more information on the passengers of the Faithful Stewart. I would be happyto hear from anyone who has comments, information or questions. Hope this is helpful. Iris "I met General Lee in Philadelphia at the outbreak of the Mexican War. He was a youngofficer. I found his a very pleasant and intelligent gentleman, who had the genealogy ofthe Lee family to a marked degree. He said that during some of the wars or revolutions inEngland a portion of the Lee Family left England and settled in Ireland and that many oftheir descendants, both from England and Ireland, emigrated to this country, but all weredescendants of one original ancestry. He told me of the loss of the Faithful Steward whichI also heard from my grandfather. A large number of the family engaged passage to thiscountry on said ship; among the number was my grandfather, Thomas Lee, with all his family,but when they arrived at the port (Londonderry) the ship was so crowded they could not getpassage and were compelled to wait for the next ship that sailed for Philadelphia. TheFaithful Steward was a new ship, insured for more than its real value, Somewhere in the Bay,the captain ran the ship upon a rock and wrecked her to pieces. (The vessel was wrecked onthe Delaware coast, thirty miles south of Delaware Bay, September 1, 1785.) The passengersalarmed, pleaded with the Captain to shun the rock, but he swore he would drive the shipthrough or "sink her to hell," and such was the terrible result. The Captain, his officersand sailors, manned their boats, left for shore, and left the passengers to parish. Amongthe 200 lost were 48 of the Lee family. Also lost was one young lady "Pretty Polly Lee" ofwonderful Beauty and accomplishment, called " the Irish Beauty". She was actually the daughterof James Lee and Isabella Bascowen Lee and named Mary Lee. There were many poems written inpraise of her beauty." "According to Capt. Albert W. Lee of Uniontown, Ohio on Feb. 4, 1895, his grandfather JamesLee, b. January 14, 1759 died Dec. 21,1843 and who was the son of James Lee II and who survivedthe wreck of the Faithful Steward, used to listen to songs of Pretty Polly Lee by old Miss PollyPollock. Also the Elliott near Zanesville, Ohio are some of the descendants of the cousins savedfrom the wreck." "Both Hugh Lee and Mary Elliott Lee's tombstones are in the Cross Creek village cemetery, givingthe dates of their death and their age. So far as we know, all the children of James Lee andIsabella Boscawen Lee were aboard the "Faithful Steward" and Hugh Lee was the only one of thechildren of James Lee who was saved. His wife Mary Elliott Lee was saved, also the children ofJames Lee II." " Lee Family Record. Maternal ancestry of Bernice Coultrap Hugh, founder of the family in this country, son of JamesLee and Isabella Bascown ( daughter of Lord Bascown) was born in Country Donegal, Ireland in 1740.Emigrating thence, he came in 1784 (?) to Cross Creek village, Penn. He died there in 1813, Hiswife, Mary - died in 1820, aged 75 years." James Lee m. Isabella Boscawen b. 1711 children: Hugh Lee b. 1740 James Lee II d. 1 Sept 1785 on board the Faithful Stewart Mary Lee (aka Pretty Polly Lee) d. 1 Sept 1785 on board the Faithful Stewart Isabella Lee d. 1 Sept 1785 on board the Faithful Stewart Hugh Lee b. 1740, d. 28 Aug 1813 Cross Creek, Pa m. Mary Elliott children: Jane Lee b. 1766 Ireland, d. 8 Aug 1819 William Lee b. 1767 Donegal, Ireland, d. 27 Aug 1819 John Lee b. 1770 Ireland, d. 1 Mar 1803 Hugh Lee II b. 1773 Ireland, d. 23 Apr 1837 Robert Lee b. 1776 Ireland, d. 13 May 1861 Eleanor Lee b. 1780 Ireland, d. 22 July 1826 Anne Lee b. 1783 Ireland, d. Apr 1849 In my records there is only mention of Hugh, Mary and James Lee III surviving the shipwreck.According to the birth dates, the children of Mary and Hugh would also have been on the FaithfulStewart. I would like to find reference to their survival.
Two articles from the Daily Universal Register of London, England,
22 November 1785 and 24 November 1785
The Daily Universal Register of London,
Tuesday, November 22, 1785:
A private letter received yesterday from New York dated September 17, gives the following account of the unfortunate disaster which befel the ship Faithful Steward, Connoly M'Casland, Master, from Londonderry, bound to Philadelphia. "On the 9th day of July last, said vessel sailed from Londonderry, having on board 249 passengers of respectability, who had with them property to a very considerable anount. They had a very favourable passage, during which nothing of moment occurred, the greatest harmony having prevailed amongst them, until the night of Thursday the 1st instant, when at the hour of ten o'clock it was thought advisable to try for soundings, and to their great surprise found themselves in four fathoms water. On the second instant they ran aground on Mohoba where they beat to pieces and all on board, except 68 persons perished."
About the same time a French brig from Ostend, bound to the same port, foundered in sight of the above ship, but the crew taking to their boats were saved. We have not learned her name or any other particulars.
The Daily Universal Register of London,
Thursday, November 24, 1785:
Extract of a letter from a passenger on board the Faithful Steward, of Londonderry, Conolly M'Causland Master, dated Philadelphia, Septenber ??, 1785.
"On the 9th day of July last we sailed from Londonderry, having 249 passengers of respectability, who had with them property to a considerable amount.
"We had a favourable passage; during which nothing of moment occurred, the greatest harmony prevailed among them, until the night of thursday the 1st instant September, when at the hour of ten o'clock it was thought adviseable to try for soundings, when to our surprize we found ourselves in four fathoms of water, though at dark there was not the smallest appearance of land.
"The consternation and astonishment which now prevailed is easier conceived than described; every exertion was used to run the vessel off shore, but in a few minutes she struck the ground, when it was found necessary, as the last possible remedy, to cut away her masts, &c. all of which went overboard.
"On the morning of the 2d, we found ourselves on Mohoba-bank, near Indian river, above four leagues to the southward of Cape Henlopen. Every effort was made to save the unhappy sufferers, who remained in the wreck during the night, although distant from the shore only about 100 yards. The very same evening she went to pieces.
"The sea running extremely high, the boats were with difficulty engaged from the wreck, but before they could be manned they drifted ashore; therefore all relief was cut off, except by swimming or getting ashore on pieces of the wreck, and I am sorry to add, that of the above only 68 persons were saved, among which were the master, his mates, and 10 seamen. During the course of the day the inhabitants came down to the beach in numbers, and used every means in their power to relieve the unfortunate people on board, among whom were about 100 women and children, of which only seven women were saved. Several persons who escaped from the wreck are since dead from the number of wounds they received, and many others are most miserably bruised.
"Several humane and public-spirited gentlemen of this city are about raising a subscription for the relief of the unhappy people who were saved from the wreck, and there can be no doubt of their meeting with great success from the benevolent inhabitants, who have never been backward in generously affording assistance to the distressed...."