Capt. James Lee Sr. June 1843

   One of the earliest records of Capt. James Lee founder of the Lee Line Steamers comes from the book Steamboatin on the Cumberlin by Byrd Douglas on page 55, which records him as captain of the steamer PARAGON which sank June 29, 1843 on the Cumberland River 10 miles from Eddyville, Kentucky (western Kentucky).   Way’s Packet Directory makes no mention of a steamer PARAGON from or around 1843.  Way’s list two steamers named PARAGON however both boats were built much later.  Steamboatin on the Cumberlin also records Capt. James Lee as captain of the steamer OLD HICKORY.  Way’s Packet Directory records the following about the OLD HICKORY as a “sternwheel packet, wood hull, built at Louisville Kentucky 1845, 445 ton capacity, 250 feet long x 33 feet wide x 7.3 foot draft.  Commanded by Capt. James Lee, Memphis.  Off the list 1850.”   Page 82 of Steamboatin on the Cumberlin also records Capt. James Lee as captain of the steamer BLANCHE LEWIS.  Way’s Packet Directory records the following for the BLANCHE LEWIS, ” sternwheel packet, wood hull, built Dycusburg, Kentucky 1855, 155 ton capacity.  When completed she ran Nashville-Paducah, sank at Nashville, Nov. 5, 1860.  Machinery went to steamer LAWRENCE built 1863 Cincinnatti OH.   Memphis Down in Dixie by Shields McIlwaine records that Capt. Jim moved to Memphis in 1856 when he was 48 years old after he had already spent 27 years on steamboats.  Capt. Jim was born near Dover Tennessee in 1808.

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