Joseph Dunn Bradford Lee

Mr. and Mrs. J.D.B. Lee portrait

Gaston, Joseph. "The Centennial History of Oregon, 1811-1912." Vol. 4. Chicago, Clarke Publishing Co., 1912. p. 132.


During the seventy-two years which made up the span of his life J.D.B. LEE attained a great degree of prominence in farming circles of Coos County and his death deprived that district of a valued representative citizen. He was born in Iowa, December 11, 1830, and was the only surviving member of a family of nine children born to his parents. He resided in the state of his nativity until he came to Oregon. His history in intimately connected with the early development of that state and he was among the many pioneers who crossed the plains with ox teams and were influential factors in the upbuilding of the American northwest. Mr. LEE located first in Polk County, Oregon, where he made his home with his brother for one year. At the expiration of that time he removed to Douglas County and later to Jackson County. He finally located in Coos County, Oregon and made this section his home from 1874, until his death, which occurred December 24, 1902. He took up a homestead claim and was prominent in agricultural circles during his entire active life, with the exception of a short period when he operated a harness business. Even then he made this enterprise subservient to his farming. He was constantly adding to his holdings during his life and finally became the owner of four hundred acres of fine ranch land near Myrtle Point. His harness ship was still in operation at the time of his death but has since been sold by his widow. The agricultural interests of Coos County are the principal source of its wealth and prosperity and the life of Mr. LEE was a contributing factor in farm development. He was an expert agriculturalist, keenly interested in modern ideas along this line and thoroughly versed in the details connected with his activities. His early days were spent among pioneer conditions but his later life was crowned with a degree of success which his labors justified. He served in the Indian Was of 1855 and 1856 and his services merited the pension which his widow now receives.

On June 8, 1856, Mr. LEE was united in marriage to Miss Marilla HUNTLEY, whose birth occurred in one of the central eastern states. Her father was among the pioneers of Oregon and crossed the plains by ox team in 1847. Her stepmother died during the journey and is buried near Willow Springs. By the father's first marriage nine children were born, of whom Mrs. Lee is the only one now living. By the second union was born a son, who is now living on a ranch on the north fork of the Coquille River. Mr. and Mrs. LEE became the parents of four children: Sylvia C., who passed away in the twentieth year of her age; Alva, born January 12, 1859, who is now managing and operating the home farm; Milton R., of Myrtle Point; and one who died in infancy.

Since her husband's death, Mrs. LEE has disposed of his harness shop and given the homestead over to the management of her son. She herself has bought a very fine home in Myrtle Point and is now living in that district, where she is well known and widely respected.

Politically, Mr. LEE gave his allegiance to the Republican party and was always intelligently interested in the affairs of his community although he never sought office. He was a member of the Christian church and an active worker in religious circles. He labored diligently during his life and his efforts were rewarded by continuous and rapid success. Since his death others have followed where he lead the way, and the agricultural resources of Coos County have gained by his activities, and his many friends in the district are richer by the memory of the life he lived.

Additional notes from the following book:

"Pioneer History of Coos and Curry Counties, Or."
Orvil Dodge, Historian
Compiled by Miss Birdie Walker and Miss Daisy Dodge
Capital Printing Co.; Salem, Oregon; 1898

Page 226
"J. D. B. Lee opened his harness shop in 1890."

Page 428
"The first wagon load of chickens were hauled from Coquille to Marshfield on the last of June, 1885, by J. D. B. Lee, a farmer; they brought $4.50 per dozen."

Transcriber's additional notes:

I own a home built in 1905 for Marilla Lee. It remained in the Lee family until 1960.

Here are their obituaries:
J.D.B. LEE Obituary
Pioneers and Incidents of the upper Coquille Valley p.29,
Originally printed in Western Oregonian newspaper, 2 JAN 1903

b. 11 DEC, 1832 near Piketon, Pike Co., OH
d. 24 DEC 1902, Myrtle Point, Coos, OR at his home near Myrtle Point [bur Myrtle Point Cemetery]
[m] 8 JUN 1856 Marilla HUNTLEY
c. (3)
1. LEE, Silva C.
2. LEE, Alvia [Alva]
3. LEE, M.R.

Notes: "Mr. LEE was a pioneer of Oregon. He crossed the plains with an ox team in 1852 and has since resided in Oregon continually. He first located in Looking Glass valley and from there moved to Wilber, Jackson County, later to Myrtle Creek and to Coos County in 1873."


Marilla J. LEE Obituary
Pioneers and Incidents of the upper Coquille Valley p.90,
Originally printed in Western Oregonian newspaper, Aug 10, 1916

Mrs. Marilla J. Lee was born in Missouri Jan 12, 1842. Her father was among the pioneers of Oregon and crossed the plains with an ox team in 1847. Her step mother died during the journey and is buried near Willow Springs. On June 8, 1856 she was united in marriage to Joseph D. B. Lee; they became the parents of 4 children: Sylvia C. who passed away in her 20th year; Alva and Milton R., both of Myrtle Point, and 1 who died in infancy.

Besides raising her own children, she reared 3 of her grandchildren one of whom, Mrs. Zeno Gatchell resides at Bandon and the other 2 at Myrtle Point. Mrs. Lee died Aug 3, 1916 at her home in Myrtle Point. Buried in Myrtle Point Cemetery.


Submitted to the Oregon Bios. Project in April 2007 by Diana Smith. Submitter has no additional information about the person(s) or family mentioned above.


Updated on 17 Apr 2007.