See family history site at http://kittymunson.com/index.php?page=lee-family
according to the farm book (Etne Soga III p 128) he was born in 1849, this is also the date in the churchbook for Etne and a letter his daughter wrote to a cousin in 1993. The 1900 census lists it as 1852. From this newspaper article about him it would also seem to be 1852.
Perhaps he lied about his age. Or perhaps he just forgot the year he was born. His brother Halvard was born in 1852 and stayed in Norway where his descendants live today.
He became an orphan at age 9, and was bound out to a sheep owner who was obligated to reward his labors with the equivalent of and a pair of shoes every year. His older brothers were farmers, carpenters, or joiners, and their cast-off clothing sufficed for the young boy above his shoe tops.
After a year of tending flocks, he left the sheep and went to live with an older brother who had shown an interest in his life. His brother had a small but prosperous farm up in the hills near Etne. He was given the task of washing dishes, cleaning the house, and caring for the baby. They were kind to him and he was well fed but he was an energetic boy with a yearning for the sea and far off places – especially America. He found the house very confining. He didn’t mind making the lunch, because he loved to eat. One of his duties was to call his brother and sister-in-law in from the field at noon, for lunch.
Shortly after that, he asked his brother to vouch for him in securing a post in the service of one of the many sailing ships at the port of Stavanger. He became a cook on a North Sea fisherman.
At fourteen he was confirmed and shipped as the member of the crew of a sloop in the Baltic. He qualified as an able seaman by his experience as a cook on the herring boat.
Then he transferred, still before the mast, to a brig on the Black Sea. Bringing down the colors from aloft in his arms after the halyards had fouled, he tripped high in the shrouds and fell down to the deck.
Both of his legs were broken badly. He was taken ashore and was put in a hospital at Ebral, Russia. Fortunately his captain spoke and understood a little Russian.
The doctors set his splintered legs as best they could, and ordered that both his legs be placed in ice, to lessen the possibility of gangrene setting in. His legs were in rigid splints and covered with ice. He lay that way for many weeks. His only reading matter was the Bible that the captain had left with him.
hen one great day another brig with another captain but from the same company, picked him up and brought him back to Stavanger. He was not able to work before the mast, but a place was found for him in the company’s storehouse, and he was still paid the full wages of a man, two marks a day, though but a crippled boy. When his legs were fully knit, he shipped before the mast again and crossed the Atlantic many times.
In 1869, when he was seventeen years old, he jumped ship in Chatham, New Brunswick, Canada, and changed his name to Henry H. Lee. He had 75 ? in his pocket. He found employment in a plant where balsam was manufactured, and then in a steamy tanning plant. The balsam was for medicinal purposes, and the tanning of raw hides was for making leather.
After three years in Canada, he journeyed to New York, at the age of twenty. With his record as a seaman, he had no difficulty getting a job as a member of the crew of a pilot boat. This was before the Pilots Association was organized, when individual pilots raced out to meet incoming vessels at the risk of losing their lives and boats – using tricks of seamanship which the world no longer knows, except in yacht racing. Then he got on the lighthouse tender, Fern. He boarded at a house at Rector and Greenwich Streets. His wages were better than he had ever known, and his lodgings were comfortable.
The young member of the crew of the Fern had developed a big business idea out of the Fern’s official business – the taking of fresh water and other supplies to the off-shore lighthouses and lightships. Henry Lee, having taken himself a wife, bought himself a ramshackle sloop and became a water tender to the ships anchored in the large harbor
(and much more on how he founded his harbor businesses and became a wealthy man)
Date: 31 MAY 1931
Place: Green-wood cemetery, Brooklyn, NY, USA
Residence: Age: 57; Marital Status: Married; Relation to Head of House:Self;Relation to Head of House: Head
It may be possible to confirm family relationships with Henry by comparing test results with other carriers of his Y-chromosome or his mother's mitochondrial DNA.
However, there are no known yDNA or mtDNA test-takers in his direct paternal or maternal line.
It is likely that these autosomal DNA test-takers will share DNA with Henry: