Dr. Thomas J. Lee. The Lee family, one of the best known and most highly honored in America today, was first established in Virginia by its English representative in Colonial times. Dr. Thomas J. Lee, practicing his profession in Rocky, Oklahoma, is of the same branch as was Gen. Robert E. Lee, of Civil war fame. Doctor Lee was born in Monroe, Union County, North Carolina, on October 15, 1860, and is a son of Joshua and Eliza (Doster) Lee.
Joshua Lee was born in South Carolina in 1830, and he died at Lyerly, Georgia, in 1910. From South Carolina he went to Monroe, Union County, North Carolina, and there married. In 1868 he moved to near Rome, Georgia, where he spent his remaining years in farming, an occupation to which he had been reared and always followed. He served four years in the Confederate army as a volunteer from North Carolina. He was with General Lee at Appomattox and was breveted colonel in appreciation of his gallant service to the Southland. He was a life-long member of the Baptist Church and a deacon for forty-five years. His wife, now a resident of Chattanooga, Tennessee, was born in North Carolina in 1836. She was the mother of ten children. The three eldest, Flora, J. Monroe and G. S., are deceased. William Ellison, a Methodist preacher, lives in Purcell, Oklahoma. Robert E. is a contractor and builder in Gainsville, Florida. Dallas P. is a Baptist preacher and is located at Elba, Alabama. Willis W. is pastor of the Calvary Baptist Church at San Antonio, Texas. Frank S. is with the Richmond Oil Company at Chattanooga, Tennessee. Charles R., pastor of the South Rome Baptist Church, is living at Rome, Georgia, long the home of the family.
Thomas J. Lee was the fifth born child of his parents. He was reared on the home farm, had a common school education in the Rome schools and remained at homo until he was twenty-one years old. In 1883 he was graduated from the medical department of Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee, with the degree M. D. Since that time he has taken numerous post graduate courses, among them training in Atlanta, Georgia, Tulane University, New Orleans and the New York Post Graduate School.
In 1883, soon after his graduation, Doctor Lee began practice in Stilesboro, Georgia. He was there three years, then moved in 1886 to Childersburg, Alabama, where he remained in practice until 1895. In that year ill health caused him to give up his work there and pioneer it to Oklahoma, where he settled in Pauls Valley. He found the climate suited to him, and his health improved. He resumed practice and was there occupied until the year 1902, when he went to West Hobart and bought a farm of 160 acres. He had not been seriously enough inoculated with the agricultural “bug” to induce him to take to actual farming, so he sold the place soon after and took up practice in Hobart, where he continued successfully for a year. It was not until 1905 that Doctor Lee came to Rocky, and here he has since continued in active practice, enjoying a good deal of popularity and success in his professional work.
The doctor has his offices in the Rocky Drug Store. He is a democrat and has served the town as health physician. He has been prominent in politics and has done good work for the party in county and state conventions. He was one of the original Wilson men of the county and ably assisted in the campaign that made Mr. Wilson president. Especially in educational affairs of the community has Doctor Lee shown himself interested, and he has exercised an excellent influence in the town along those lines. He is an active member of the Baptist Church and a teacher in the Sunday school. He has been vice president of the Oklahoma Baptist Convention, was a member of the Oklahoma Baptist Educational Committee, and is a member of the board of trustees of the Oklahoma Baptist University, located at Shawnee, Oklahoma.
His professional ties are with the County, State and American Medical societies, and he is fraternally identified with Rocky Lodge of the Odd Fellows, being past grand of Alabama Lodge.
Doctor Lee was married in 1885 at Jonesville, South Carolina, to Miss Josie Fowler, daughter of E. T. Fowler, a farmer of that state, now deceased. Three children have been born to them.
Mary Virginia is a graduate of the Oklahoma Baptist College, with the degree of A. B., and is a teacher in the Clinton High School.
Joshua is an instructor in public speaking at the Oklahoma Baptist University. He won the oratorical contest at the state university at Norman, Oklahoma, and as an entrant in the Intercollegiate Prohibition Contest of Oratory, won the local, state and interstate contests. It is his intention to engage in the national contest in 1916, • and his chance of winning is everywhere conceded to be a most excellent one.
Thomas J. Jr. was graduated from the Granite High School in 1915.