Lee Family Businesses

A number of years ago, Shelby County TN Register of Deeds Tom Leatherwood had his staff digitize old records dating to the Civil War and before.   These records include the City Directories from 1859 through 1918, birth and death records, marriage licenses, along with a number of other old city and county records and which are available online.  The following is a list of Lee Family businesses as recorded in various City Directories:.

1866 through 1875 James Lee Jr. was a partner in the law firm Warinner & Lee

1870, 1871, 1872 Memphis Dry Dock Co.  James Lee, Jr. President.  The Steamer PHIL ALLIN was built at Memphis during this time.  Likely it was built at the Memphis Dry Dock Co. since it was owned by the Lee Line.

1872 and forward, the following Lee Line Packet Companies were in operation: Memphis & Friar’s Point Packet Co.  Memphis & Osceola Packet Co.,  Memphis & Hales Point Packet Co., St. Francis River Transportation Co., 1891 Memphis & New Madrid Packet Co., 1895 Memphis & Cairo Line Packet Co., 1897 Memphis & Ashport Division, 1898 West Memphis Packet Co., 1899 Memphis & New Madrid Packet Co.

1880 Robert E Lee began working for the Lee Line as a clerk.  During 1886 he became Secretary and Treasurer of the Lee Line Steamers.  In 1891 he became superintendent of the various divisions of the Lee Line.  1898 he became President of the Lee-Odlum Boiler Co.  In 1901 he took on additional duties when he became President of the Bohlen-Huse Coal and Ice Business.  He also was an officier of the Lee Brothers Co. 

1884 James Lee, Jr. President Bohlen-Huse Machine & Lake Ice Co., Superintendent Milburn Gin and Machine Co.(through 1887), Vice President First National Bank.  James Lee Jr. held most of these jobs until his death in 1905.  James Lee, Jr. was President of the Lee Line U S Mail steamers until 1895 when Robert E Lee took over as President.

1889 Lee Brothers & Co.(advertised oils, mill supplies, ship chandlers, tent and awning mfgrs), managed by Bayliss Lee who ran the business until he took over the Bohlen-Huse Ice business when his father retired from active management.

1899 Lee-Odlum Boiler Co.  Robert E. Lee President.   Manufactures of boilers, tanks, sheet, plate and structural work.  This business was listed in the city directories until 1901.

1894 James Lee III is associated with the Memphis Gin & Machine Co which became the Lee Gin & Machine Co. in 1895.  Lee Gin & Machine Co. was a manufacturer of plantation and gin house machinery, engines, boilers as well as  founders and machinist.  In the 1900 Polk City Directory the business became the Globe Iron Works.  In the 1901 James Lee III was not listed as employed at the Globe Iron Works.

1897 G. Peters Lee joins Lee Brothers as a clerk and in 1898 he becomes an assistant manager for the Lee Line U. S. Mail Steamers.  In 1901 he moves up to the position of assistant general manager.  He later becomes a boat captain.  In 1915 he becomes the proprietor of the Majestic Hotel and Pool room on Linden Ave, Memphis.   Around 1918 he is associated with the Majestic Excursion Line which ran out of Memphis.  Later he bid on several Lee Line boats when the family held a voluntary liquidation of the company in 1926.  The enterprise became the Valley Line which was comprised of the KATE ADAMS (III) and the Lee Line boats he purchased at the 1926 liquidation.  The Valley Line lasted only a few years before folding.

1901 my grandfather Shelby Rees Lee known as Rees became the manager of the Lee Line warehouse.  By 1903 he becomes a manager of the Lee Line and moves up to a boat captain and finally as general manager in 1913. 


1887 Lee Line Steamer Ad Memphis Polk City Directory

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