The story by Jodi Rogstad, Asst. Managing Editor/Features of the Wyoming Tribune Eagle, dated April 27, 2015, is of interest to anyone with ancestry who traversed the Oregon Trail between 1850 and 1870. Many thousands died along the trail and were buried in unmarked graves or marked graves whose markings have degraded to the point of unrecognizable. This is the story of one such grave – but with a twist – this grave may hold the bones of a well-described person and her place and fashion of burial – so well described that this may indeed be the final resting place of the body of Anne Roelofson Scott, mother of two famous early Oregonians: women’s suffrage crusader, Abigail Scott Duniway; and first editor-in-chief of the Oregonian, Harvey Whitefield Scott.
When Thomas Roelofson (1825-1897) was six-months old, his mother Mary, went back to her old home in Kentucky for a visit. She traveled by horseback alone, except for the baby, Thomas, whom she carried before her on the saddle, guiding the horse with her free hand.
Lawrence’s home was always open to ministers. At the time of the Meteoric Shower (in 1832), a number of neighbors flocked to his house in fear.
About 1835, Mary, climbing a fence with a bundle of yarn she was taking to a loom to be woven, fell and broke her right leg just above the ankle, and was bitten on the leg by a sow, which became infected and would not heal. She was bedfast, suffering great and constant pain for about 7 years. Gangrene finally made amputation necessary. The operation was performed at the hands of an unskilled doctor and crude instruments, no anesthetic. Three operations were performed before it would heal. Young Thomas witnessed his mother’s agony and vowed revenge on the Doctor when he grew up, but the doctor died before he could carry out his threat.
Mary was described as of low stature, blue eyes, and of light complexion and red hair. She loved her home, used crutches when walking any distance after her injury. She did her housework with leg resting on a chair, which she shoved along so she could have it handy when she stopped.
“I have walked with her many times, carrying her knitting bag. I saw her for the last time in 1862; she was blind and feeble.” (Handwritten note in the Oregon State Archives, author unknown)
The best information of the Lee family is that three brothers came from Normandy, France, with William the Conqueror in the year 1066. Their Norman name was DeLei and was Anglicized Lee.
Intervening history is too lengthy for recital in this paper. Joseph Lee, related to the Revolutionary Lees, was born in Cape May County, New Jersey, about 1781. When some 30 years of age he married Amy Lunbeck. In 1817 with their first child Jonathan Johnson Lee they moved to Pike county, Ohio, where were born Nicholas, Richard, Joseph Dunn Bradford and several daughters.