Re Basil Lee
Thank you for your information and inquiry. So far as I can determine, George Washington's first listing of his slaves prepared in 1786 did not list a Basil Lee, and if he was sold in 1785 it might be that he was one of the escaped slaves recovered by Washington after war ended in 1783. I seriously doubt that George Washington would have asked a twelve year old boy as to whether or not he wanted to stay at Mount Vernon.
It is also possible that William Lee born abt 1756 or his brother Frank born abt 1758 could have fathered Basil born abt 1773. To the best of my knowledge, all the Lee descendents from Mount Vernon were related to them. I do not know of any other males or females with the surname of Lee associated with Mount Vernon or George Washington.
Following the death of Washington in 1799, a number of his wife Martha's dowry slaves were sold by Bushrod Washington and/or sent to the Custiss plantations in and around Richmond and Fredricksburg.
From: Rick Frederick [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Tuesday, January 18, 2011 1:52 PM
Subject: Basil Lee (c.1773-1873)
Any help identifying the Basil Lee of the following death notice would be greatly appreciated:
An OLD SERVANT OF GENERAL WASHINGTON'S KILL BY FALLING TREE - Basil Lee, the oldest colored man in the county, being in his one hundredth year, was killed in this county while he was burning brush in a new ground and near a tree some men felled with the axe. They hallooed at him and told him to get out of the way, but being rather deaf, he did not hear them, and the tree fell on him and killed him. He was a former slave of General Washington, and was twelve years old when General Washington gave him his choice to live with him at Mt. Vernon or be sold; he preferred being sold, and was sent to Richmond and put on the block, and was bought by a member of the Lea family in this county [Caswell County, North Carolina], and has remained in that family ever since- Milton (N.C.) Chronicle.
(Source: The Richmond Whig, Richmond, Virginia, February 4, 1873) _______________
Based upon the above death notice Basil Lee would have been born c.1773. At age twelve he would have been 1785.
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