10 April 2012

Memoirs of Charlotte Mae Lee Houston, 1964: Who Was Lottie?

This shall be the first in a series....

Among the many treasures my family has passed down is a memoir, written by my 1st cousin, 3x removed, Charlotte "Lottie" Mae Lee. Although I never met Lottie, I have heard about her what seems like all my life. She had a reputation in the family that carried over.

To give an example, she used to tell my Grandpa that if he would just add an "e" on the end of Brown, our family would be held in much higher regard, as BROWNE was of a higher class than BROWN.

That same Grandfather rented his land from her, and he operated a Dairy Farm. Every year, they would "re-negotiate" the lease, and Lottie would add $1.00 to the rent. Just $1. Just because she could.

I think you get it.

She wrote her memoirs in 1964, and the copy I have is an original, given to my Grandparents, "with love". [Ahem.]  They entail 22 pages, which I will transcribe over the next few days to be shared here.  These memoirs were written with this same attitude, so as they are posted, keep that in mind. History is stranger than fiction...

Charlotte Mae was the first of eight children born to Cyrus Homer Lee (1850-1937) and Mary Josephine Lawrence (1850-1931). For those of you keeping track, Mary was sister to my 2nd great grandmother, Frances Elizabeth Lawrence Brown. Born in Silver Creek, Merrick County, Nebraska, the majority of the family stayed in Nebraska most of their lives. Lottie completed three years of high school, and does have some higher education. On the second of September, 1903, she married Andrew Houston in Bellevue, Sarpy County, Nebraska. Between 1910 and 1913, they moved their family of three children to Osceola, King County, Washington; where they bought three "40's", or 3 tracts of 40 acres each, of land.

Mary Houston, Lottie's daughter

The Osceola community no longer exists on paper, though there are some there that still identify themselves with that name. Generally considered to be part of the town of Enumclaw, the property sits not too far from where I grew up. The farm was a continuous part of my childhood.

Andrew passed away between 1930 and 1940. Lottie stayed on in the family home, and that is where we find her, widowed, all of her children moved out, in the 1940 US Census. She passed away 7 Dec 1967, with her daughters in attendance.