The Manatee County , Florida area was densely forested and mostly uninhabited in 1848 when Edmund C. Lee arrived here from Vermont in company of his wife and daughter. Lee was a consumptive, a term applied once to those suffering from Tuberculosis. His move to Florida was a last-ditch effort to fight the disease that was consuming him. Appearently and for whatever reason his health improved. He outlived three wives.
As Lee regained strength he applied himself to his vocation, that of Presbyterian minister. He was the first minister to establish in Manatee County.
With the coming of secession and resulting war Lee volunteered for military service. He was accepted as a Chaplin of the C.S.A. and was sent to minister to the troops in the Savannah, Georgia area.
In a letter written to his daughter, Sarah, dated 11/6/63, Lee has the following to say about his day's events:
"Visited Ironclad (C.S.S. Savannah)twice lately, saw Miller, Cole, Bager(Sands) Morgan and Chabert. I preached on profane swearing."
Lee mentions a visit by a Capt. Smith who stated that fifteen of his men have come to Savannah, among them O'neill (O'neal), William Williamson & Brison. Smith states that the men are glad to get into the navy, where they are served better fare and get better pay.
The collection of wartime letters of Edmund C. Lee contains several naval references. This collection was transcribed from the originals by the Florida Historical Society in 1937.