Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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LEE, Jesse, missionary, born in Prince George county, Virginia, 12 March, 1758; died in Baltimore, Maryland, 12 September, 1816. At the age of nineteen he removed to North Carolina, and, entering the ministry of the Methodist church, preached his first sermon in 1779. In 1780 he was drafted into the militia to repel the British invasion of South Carolina, and on his refusal to do active duty was impressed as a chaplain, serving four months in that capacity. His first appointment was near Edenton, North Carolina, and in 1783 he was received into the conference on trial, he was appointed to the Salisbury circuit in 1784, and accompanied Bishop Asbury on a tour of labor that extended from Norfolk, Virginia, to the extreme southwest of North Carolina. Together they reorganized the various circuits that nearly had been destroyed by the war. After three years in North Carolina, Virginia, New Jersey, and Maryland, he was sent in 1789 to Stamford circuit, Connecticut, where his preaching excited general attention. Having visited and established classes in Norwalk, New Haven, and several adjacent towns, he arrived in Boston in 1790, and preached his first sermon on the common. For six years he travelled throughout New England, preaching in barns, private houses, and on the highway, forming new circuits and directing the labors of his assistants. He became an assistant to Bishop Asbury in 1796, and held conferences and superintended churches. His subsequent life was passed for the most part in the south as pastor and presiding elder. In 1808 he advocated a delegated general conference, a plan that he had urged fourteen years before, and on its adoption the general conference became the supreme authority of the Methodist Episcopal church. He was chaplain of the United States house of representatives in 1807, 1812, and 1813, and from 1814 until his death he was chaplain of the United States senate. Lee's labors in New England earned him the title of the "Apostle of Methodism." He published "A History of Methodism" (1807), which was the first work on the subject, and an authority in the early history of that church. See "Life and Times of Jesse Lee," by Leroy M. Lee (Richmond, Virginia, 1848).--His nephew, Leroy Madison, clergyman, born in Petersburg, Virginia, 30 April, 1808; died in Ashland, Virginia, 20 April, 1882, studied law, but entered the ministry of the Methodist church in 1828. He occupied many important stations in the Virginia conference till 1836, when he became editor of the Richmond "Christian Advocate." He was a member of the general conference in 1844, took an active part in the events that resulted in the division of the church, mid represented the Virginia conference in the Louisville, Kentucky, conference of 1845, when the organization of the Methodist church, south, was effected. He retired from the editorial management of the "Christian Advocate" in 1858, resumed the work of the itinerant ministry, and became in 1874 presiding elder of the Petersburg district of the Virginia conference. Besides occasional sermons, and the life of his uncle, mentioned above, he published "Advice to a Young Convert" (Richmond, 1834); and "The Great Supper not Calvanistie" (1855).
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