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Joseph Lee – 1810-1891

Attorney Joseph Lee arrived in 1840 in Austin as the three centers of government; city, county and Republic of Texas were being established. The likeable bachelor was thrown into politics on January 21, 1841. Appointed by President Mirabeau B. Lamar to fill James W. Smith’s two-year term of office 1841-1842. Smith, Travis County’s first Supreme Justice (aka county judge) was killed by Comanche Indians west of Austin on Shoal Creek. When Mexican General Rafael Vasquez invaded Texas in the spring of 1842, Lee was one of the first to join Col. Mathew Caldwell and his volunteers to route the Mexicans in San Antonio. In December of 1842, Lee was a leader of the Archive War to prevent President Sam Houston from removing the Republic of Texas’ archives from Austin. In the summer of 1844, he led a search party in pursuit of Indians that kidnapped the Simpson children just outside the town limits. Lee married Sarah Grooms on October 4, 1846; she died of childbirth in 1850. He married Sarah Ogle in 1852 and they had seven children. Lee practiced law until 1857 when he was elected to the Texas House of Representatives. A Democrat, he supported Texas secession from the United States and was made a Captain in the Confederate Army. His last public service was serving on the commission to construct the present capitol in Austin. He died in Austin, February 25, 1891. He is another First Footer of the Republic of Texas. Lee is buried at Oakwood Cemetery in Austin.

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