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Robert Lee (abt. 1604 - 1663)

Robert Lee
Born about in Englandmap
Son of [father unknown] and [mother unknown]
[sibling(s) unknown]
Husband of — married 1624 [location unknown]
Descendants descendants
Died at about age 59 in Barnstable, Barnstable, Massachusettsmap
Profile last modified | Created 31 May 2009
This page has been accessed 13,242 times.
The Puritan Great Migration.
Robert Lee migrated to New England during the Puritan Great Migration (1620-1640).
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Uncertain Origins

A previous version of this profile reported Robert's parents as Henry Lee and Elizabeth Fletcher of Buckinghamshire, England without adequate source citations or a method proving the relationship. Anderson reported his origins as "unknown".[1] These alleged parents have been disconnected until proof of relationship is provided.


Robert's birth is estimated at about 1604. Torrey estimated Lee's marriage to Mary Atwood as "by 1635"[2] which would normally generate a birth estimate of "about 1610" but his second daughter Mary was married 1651. If she was born by 1631 (assuming 20 at marriage) and first daughter Ann was born about 1629 that would move Robert's birth back to around 1604.

Marriage and Children

Robert Lee married Mary Atwood[3] at Plymouth, Massachusetts

Torrey said this about the union in "New England Marriages to 1700":

LEE, Robert (related to John ATWOOD who m Ann) & Mary [ATWOOD] (-1681); by 1635; Plymouth[2] In 1650, Robert and Mary are mentioned in his sister Ann Attwood's will.[4]

They had the following children who were mentioned in the will of Mary's brother, John Atwood:[5]

  1. Ann, born about 1628, named in her uncle John Atwood's will, written in 1643.
  2. Mary Lee, born about 1630, Plymouth; married 26 Oct 1651 to Lieutenant John Howland Jr. (b. 24 Feb 1626/7)[6].[7] They removed from Plymouth to Barnstable, Massachusetts and they had ten children.


The immigration date and location of this family is not known, Anderson in the "Great Migration Directory" said only "by 1636":

Lee, Robert: Unknown; 1636; Plymouth [PCR 1:48, 12:29; MD 5:153-59, 11:32, 200-6; Emerson-Benson 338-39]. Key

Residency and Miscellany

"At the General Court held 3 January 1636/7 ... Robte Lee (among others) were made free this Court, & sworne accordingly." [8] 7 March 1636/7 Robert Lee was included in the list of Freeman of Plymouth Colony.[8]
On 2th day of March 1637/8 Robert Lee was one of the witnesses of a deed for "Mrs. Elinor Billington of New Plymouth, Widdow" mother of Francis Billington of the same who is the assignee. [9] The deed included several stipulations including her right of control during her natural life over " and a halfe of hills to sett wth Indian corne or sowe wth English graine..." [9]
May 1643 In the Township of Plymouth Robert Lee is a witness in a deed for "...Francis Billington in consideration of the sum of L15 sterl to him in hand payd by Mr. John Atwood of Plymouth..." for three lots of upland containing thirty acres more or less with additional acreage also specified.[9]
2 June 1646 New Plymouth Colony General Court session: Robert Lee was included in the list of Freeman selected for a special panel called the "Grand Enquest" [8] formed for several purposes some of which included holding accountable the execution of an office-holder's duties or for hearing charges of suspected criminal conduct by persons in the Colony. [An analogous judicial body to this last charge would be the use of local justice of the peace courts in England.][10]
22 July 1648 Robert Lee is included in the list of townsmen who were sworn in by Governor Bradford selected to make an inquiry into the brutal death of the four year old child of Alice (Martin) Bishop Allis Bishop, the wife of Richard Bishop. [8] On 1 August 1648 the selectmen returned their report with the details of their on-site inspection (of the crime scene).[8]

Research Notes

Estimated Marriage Date: According to Torrey Robert Lee married Mary Atwood by 1635 at Plymouth Colony. [2] Given their children's birth year this marriage date probably reflects their arrival year.


  1. Anderson, Robert Charles. The Great Migration Directory. Boston, MA: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2015. p. 467.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 New England Marriages to 1700 entry for Robert Lee and Mary Atwood (Online database. New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2008.) Originally published as: New England Marriages Prior to 1700. Boston, Mass.: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2015. Vol 2. p. 936 $subscription
  3. Mistress Ann Atwood's Will. The Mayflower Descendant. Boston, MA: Massachusetts Society of Mayflower Descendants, 1909. Volume XI, p. 200. Available on
  4. "Massachusetts, Plymouth County, Probate Records, 1633-1967," images, FamilySearch ( : 5 March 2023), Wills 1633-1686 vol 1-4 > image 134 of 616; State Archives, Boston. Page 124
  5. Will of John Atwood, in The Mayflower Descendant, vol. 5 (1903), p. 153. See attached image
  6. Torrey, Clarence Almon. New England Marriages Prior to 1700 entry for John Howland and Mary Lee. Boston, MA: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2011. Vol. 2, p. 804. Available on American Ancestors.
  7. Massachusetts: Vital Records, 1621-1850; Published by NEHGS, 2001-2016; (Online db:,; Barnstable Vital Records V1, p. 32. (John Howland (Jr.) (Plymouth) married Mary Lee, daughter of Robert Lee of Barnstable.)link for subscribers
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 Shurtleff, Nathaniel B., M.D., ed. "Records of the Colony of New Plymouth in New England: Vol. I; 1633-1640" p.48, 53, 102, 132-3. Pub. Boston, Mass., USA: Press of William White, 1855; reprinted New York, N.Y.: AMS Press, 1968. Accessed 3 Jun 2021.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Shurtleff, Nathaniel B., ed.; Pulsifer, David, ed. "Records of Plymouth Colony: Deeds, Vol. I, 1620-1651" 'Book of Indian records for their Lands' p. 28-30, 93-5. Pub. Boston, Mass., USA: Press of W. White, 1855. Accessed 3 Jun 2021.
  10. Fennell, Christopher "The Plymouth Colony Archive Project: Organization of the Government & Courts" pub. online, 1998. Accessed 3 Jun 2021.

See Also:

Side Note on Barnstable Town Records: Vol. 1 by L. E. Johnson, PhD.: "The oldest extant copy of the Barnstable Town Records is a 1736 transcription in the custody of the Office of Town Clerk, Barnstable, Hyannis, Massachusetts, 02601." Dr. Johnson continues to explain: "...regarding 17th c. Barnstable, it transcribes the selected town records from 1643 through 1714..." He also explains that the 17th c. town records were "culled" by those requested to "bring forth" older records into new volumes.(See Johnson, pg. ii-iii.) Refer to the 'Forward' section for further explanation and discussion.

(2) Otis, Amos (1801-1875); "Genealogical Notes of Barnstable Families";


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Comments: 13

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What is the source for his parents?
posted by S (Hill) Willson
edited by S (Hill) Willson
Sharen, Re his parents. I've done a high level internet review of trying to locate documentation that helps answer your question but instead of anything useful I've found anomalies in the existence of the attached father (illegitimate born) Henry Waring Lee who is referenced several times in secondary sources as Henry Waring Lee and could be a real person but I question his parentage Robert Lee, M.P. because to be the son of Robert Lee, M.P Henry Waring Lee would have had a half-brother (legitimate son of Robert) also named Henry Lee who did serve at court at age 14. While Robert Lee, M.P. might have been a 'scoundrel' would he have named both son's (legitimate and illegitimate) Henry? Looking at the web site it also appears people are using the primary support for (legitimate) Henry Lee and cross-applying them to Henry Waring Lee.

P.S. It appears various family tree's are also using documentation from "The Yorkshire Archaeological Journal: Vol. XII" p.147, quoting source 'Paver's Marriage Licenses' to support this profile Robert Lee as being the son of Henry Waring Lee who (according to this source) is a real person but who's parentage is unknown. Henry Waring Lee's son (Robert Lee) was married to a Frances Lenthall and they never emigrated to New England.

posted by Leigh Anne (Johnson) Dear
edited by Leigh Anne (Johnson) Dear
Based on the above concerns, I'll perform a complete review of this profile and edit as needed.
posted by Laurence Mohr
Hi Sharen and Leigh Anne,

After reviewing sources provided in GMD and Torrey's Marriages, I can find no reliable, published sources to support Robert's attached parents. Based on records of him from Barnstable, I can conceive of no method that could reasonably connect him to the alleged parents. The profile of the alleged father also lacks a source proving the relationship.

I wrote a short disputed parents section under Research Notes that cites GMD's entry showing his origins as unknown.

posted by Laurence Mohr
I just came across a Magna Carta line for Robert to Hugh Bigod. Not sure if it's legitimate.
posted by Daphne Maddox
I don't see anyone named Robert Lee as a gateway ancestor in Richardson's Royal Ancestry series. He's also not on the gateway ancestor list, so I'm skeptical. I'll see what I can find out.

posted by Laurence Mohr
Thank you, Leigh Anne!
posted by Jillaine Smith
Hello. This profile is an old gedcom upload which hasn't been reformatted since a merge abt 2014. Because I'm a direct ancestor I'm going to 'step-in' and 'clean it up' per the Profile Improvement Project goals.
Hi Leigh Ann, I see there remains a "work in progress" here. Are you still progressing?  :-) Or shall we remove the note?


Lacking a response, I'm removing the work in progress note on the profile.
posted by Jillaine Smith
Jillaine and Cheryl, I apologize for not responding in Dec. 2020, I can't locate the email notification. At this time I believe I have a better monitoring system in place to detect this kind of comment/reply. I have some qualified sources to add to this profile if that's OK with you and the PIT team leaders. Leigh Anne
Since this is a PPP profile, please be sure that the sources you add are quality ones, preferably ones from this reference: There are also sourcing ideas from Anderson at the top of the Research Notes section of the bio.
posted by S (Hill) Willson
FYI: "Mary Lee, dau. of Robert and Mary Lee: he was of Plymouth, 1636; freem. 3 Jan. 1637. From: Patterson, David Williams. The Patterson Family Descended from James Patterson of Scotland. Newark Valley, Tioga, New York: Unknown, 1906. Page 12 chart. Find book on-line


posted by Darlene (Scott) Kerr

L  >  Lee  >  Robert Lee

Categories: Puritan Great Migration