Dudley Lee, Soldier of the Revolution

Early Settler of Present-Day Garrett County, Maryland

Dudley Lee and his family and descendants were the subject of my book "Genealogy of the Dudley Lee Family of Garrett County, Maryland" (1983). My main purpose in issuing the book was to preserve the extensive information compiled by Lee cousin Mary Ethel "Ethel" Fike Friend and her mother Sarah "Sadie" Catherine (Lee) Fike (1874-1959), which was then in danger of being lost. I supplemented Mrs. Friend's information with old correspondence and family tradition coming down through my great-grandfather, Dudley's great-grandson, Elisha Frank "Frank" Lee (1872-1963). In addition, the book recorded the careful research done by another Lee cousin Dorothy Lee Jones and her husband Fleetwood Jones. I did little research of my own for that book.

Among the happy consequences of publishing that book was that long-lost-cousin Jeffrey Lee, a fifth great-grandson of Dudley Lee, Oak Park, Illinois, learned about his own roots. Jeff is taking the lead in issuing a new Dudley Lee genealogy. Jeff Lee and I are descendants of Dudley's son Frederick Lee, a soldier of the War of 1812. He has done a great deal of careful and productive research, making several research trips back to Maryland. Jeff notes that his upcoming book will add "hundreds of descendants, recently discovered facts, and much supplemental information from secondary sources which add some flesh to the bones of the sparsely documented early generations."

Jeffrey Lee is currently compiling the various lines of Dudley's descendants. If you have any information to contribute to this project, or other items which would be of possible interest for the new Lee book, please click on the hyperlink, or contact him at jpmlee@aol.com or at 945 S. Kenilworth Ave, Oak Park, IL 60304. The following information was prepared by Jeff.

Dudley Lee (born between 1756 and 1765), Revolutionary War veteran, is the immigrant ancestor of the Lee family of present-day Garrett County, Maryland. Many of his descendants still reside in the county and elsewhere in Maryland and West Virginia, as well as many other states.

He was born in Ireland, supposedly in 1759. According to family tradition, at the age of 11 he was kidnapped or stowed away on a vessel. Upon arrival in Baltimore he was indentured (sold) by the captain.

On 6 June 1778 he passed in the vicinity of Taneytown, Frederick Co, MD, as a draft substitute in Colonel Otho Holland William's Regiment, the 6th Maryland. That unit served in New Jersey and New York as part of Washington's army. Dudley continued to re-enlist for the remainder of the war. We have constructed a fairly detailed chronology of his army service, which is only briefly summarized here.

In August of 1780 he mustered in the 1st Maryland Regiment. This was essentially the same regiment, having been reorganized. By this time, the 1st Maryland was in the Carolinas, under the command of General Nathanial Greene. The regiment took part in most of the major actions of Greene's Southern Campaign. Following Cornwallis' surrender at Yorktown, the 1st MD was eventually furloughed in Baltimore and finally disbanded in November of 1783. Perhaps around this time Dudley made the acquaintance of Judith Guevara, his first wife, supposedly a Spanish or Portuguese lady of Baltimore. Interesting information has come to light recently which may connect her to a family named Guevara, which has escaped detection in colonial America. However, that research is still underway and will not be touched upon here.

In the 1790s, Dudley and Judith, then living in Frederick County, near Taneytown (in present-day Carroll County), appear several times in the documentary record...in the census, deeds and a newspaper. By 1800 Dudley appears in the census of Allegany County. Supposedly Judith had died by then and Dudley's second wife was the widow White, the former Margaret Fetters. If Dudley bought land in Allegany County, the deed eludes us, as does any evidence of land-owning among the early Lee generations. Together with White families, Dudley settled in Ryan's Glade south of present-day Oakland.

With his two wives, Dudley is said to have sired 19 children, though this total may include step-children through his second wife. The web of these various off-spring has not been entirely untangled and is further complicated by the children of an unrelated Lee family of Allegany County (which soon migrated to Ohio) who appear in marriage records.

Dudley last appears in the 1810 census. In 1811 he was awarded a pension by the State of Maryland. He died in 1815 and, according to tradition, was either buried near the White Church or on his farm in that vicinity. In modern times, Dudley's descendant Charles Lee erected a memorial in his honor about a mile from the White Church.

Walt Warnick's Western Maryland Family History Home Page. Inquiries about western Maryland Lee families are welcome.