Histories of Robert Edmond Lee and Rebecca Cluff


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Robert Edmond Lee was born 2 January 1866 on a cold winter day in New Harmony, Washington County, Utah. He was the eighth child of John Doyle Lee and his fourth wife, Sarah Caroline Williams.

Four years before Robert was born, 6 February 1862, rain and flooding caused the ceiling and adobe wall of the family home in old Fort Harmony to fall, and a brother, George Albert, and a sister, Margaret Ann, were killed under the heavy debris. A new cabin was built for three of Lee's wives, Caroline, Emma and Terressa.

John D. Lee moved some of his families first to Skutumpah, Utah, and then to Lonely Dell at Lee's Crossing on the Colorado River.

Robert, along with his mother and family, were part of the group which left Skutumpah in November 1871, with three wagons. Because she was about to deliver her eleventh child and feeling that her children needed to be attending school, Robert's mother took her young family to the nearby town of Kanab, Utah. They later moved to Panguitch, John Doyle Lee was arrested for involvement in the Mountain Meadows Massacre and taken to jail at Beaver, Utah. The anguish felt by the entire family was unbearable, especially by little eight-year-old Robert.

Robert attended school in Panguitch and was living there at the time that his father was excuted 23 March 1877. the Lee family lived under a stigma for the rest of their lives. Only in recent years has the real story been revealed about the Mountain Meadow Massacre which exonerated John Doyle Lee as being the leader and instigator of the massacre.

When Robert was a young man, he moved to the Gila Valley where he met and married Alphretta Rebecca Cluff 12 December 1885 in Pima by Stake President Christopher Layton.

Alphretta Rebecca was born 25 September 1866 in Provo, Utah County, Utah, to Joseph Cluff and Phoebe Elizabeth Bunnell. When she was twelve years old her parents moved the family first to Show Low, Arizona and later, in the summer of 1879, to Smithville, Arizona. In 1883, when she was seventeen, she moved into the new Cluff family home in Central.

Robert and Alphretta made their home in Central where their first child, Robert Edmond Lee, Jr., was born 22 November 1887. The family moved soon afterwards to Mancos, Colorado for several years before moving to Fruitland, New Mexico, near La Plata, New Mexico. By 1898 the Lee family had moved back to Central where two more of their children were born. Robert Edmond had a blacksmith shop on Central Road and also farmed and had goats. By 1910 the family had moved to their goat ranch near Globe, where Robert also worked in the copper mines. While living in Globe, Alphretta Rebecca passed away 8 July 1913 and was buried in the Central Cemetery.

Robert Edmond passed away in Payson, Arizona 24 April 1929 and was buried in the Central Cemetery next to his beloved wife.

Robert Edmond and Alphretta Rebecca were the parents of seven children: Robert Edmond Jr. (married Alvira Higgins), Joseph Danial (married Harriet F. Grover), Arthur Lee (married Amy Valine Butler and then Rhoda Richardson), Helen Laurine (married Julius Peter Christensen), Marion Franklin (died unmarried), Goldie Marie (married first Robert J. Walley, the Clarence Kay Naff), and Carl Hall (married Lucile Huber).

(A Century in Central. Central, Arizona: Central Centennial Book Committee, [1983] p. 167.)




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