ROBERT E. LEE
Robert E. Lee, president of the J. L. Lee Lumber Company at Sparta, Christian County, Mo., has held that position since the retirement of the first president, J. L. Lee, who is now residing at Springfield. This company was organized in 1891, and is now operating on the Chadwick & Baltimore branch and on the main line of the ‘Frisco, between Springfield and St. Louis. The vice-president is B. F. Hobert, the secretary is F. W. Fisque, and our subject acts also as general manager of the company. The business is conducted on a very large scale, and the company owns large tracts of timber land, besides buying timber from others. A specialty is made of railroad lumber and ties, and business is carried on at Sparta, Chadwick, and at all other points on the Chadwick branch. This county has lumber very suitable for the business, and the company turns out a large amount of railroad ties and bridge timber. It also handles large quantities of cord wood, and has a mercantile establishment at Sparta, carrying a stock of goods valued at from $5,000 to $10,000, and doing an annual business of from $35,000 to $40,000, and that, with the mill business, amounts to about $120,000 per year. This is by far the largest enterprise in this part of the country, and is managed in a businesslike manner. Eight hands are employed all the time, and work is given to a large number of people. The members of the company are all residents of Missouri. J. L. Lee was born in North Carolina in 1837, a son of Green Lee, and a relative of the Lees of Mississippi. Mr. Lee came to Missouri from Thomasville, N. C., in 1869, and he has followed merchandising for the most part ever since. He first engaged in the business at Marsville, and operated in that line up to 1875, when he removed to McClellan County, Tex., where he was in the lumber business for two years. Returning to Marsville he again resumed merchandising, and continued this until 1879, when he moved to Springfield. He then became a railroad man in the employ of the Frisco as tie inspector and was thus employed for two or three years. From there he moved to Exeter, this State, where, in connection with merchandising, he was in the tie business until 1885, and then moved to Chadwick. In 1888 he moved his family to Springfield and there he resides at the present time. He was engaged in making and buying ties at Chadwick, and in 1891 a stroke of paralysis caused him to retire from active business life. In political matters he is a Democrat, and socially a member of the Masonic fraternity. He was married in his native State to Miss Cynthia Heple, and a family of nine children were given them, five of whom are living: R. E., our subject; Bert S., who is bookkeeper for the company; Clara, George and Nellie. The father has been an active businessman all his life, and has been unusually successful.
Robert E. Lee was born February 9, 1867, and his education was received principally at Neosho, Mo., where he attended the college and high school. When but a boy he started out in business life and became a railroad man. After spending several years in working for the purpose of educating himself, he engaged in the tie business with his father and has since been connected with him. He was one of the prominent men in forming the J. L. Lee Tie and Lumber Company, and as an industrious and active businessman he is well known. He is a member of Sparta Lodge No. 296, A. F. & A. M., and in politics is with the Democratic party. He was married in Sparta to Miss Belle Hornbeck, and they have one child, Robert L. Mr. Lee and wife are leaders in the social life of the city, and are highly respected. Bert S. Lee, who is bookkeeper for the company, was born in Missouri in 1871, and was educated at Springfield and at Drury College. He is a very efficient bookkeeper and a promising young man. He is also a member of the Masonic fraternity at Sparta, and like his father and brother is a stanch Democrat. The company above mentioned has been prospecting and owns a large tract of mineral land. Mr. R. L. Lee is operating a mine, and is also interested in the Purdon mines, located about six miles east of Sparta. He also owns mines on Swan Creek, and the company owns about 300 acres of fine mining land in this section. This land is fine for fruit growing and horticulture. Mr. Lee is a self-made, self-educated man, and by his own exertions is now one of the best businessmen in the Southwest.