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Lea, Reverend Solomon

Lea, Reverend Solomon

Male 1807 - 1897  (89 years)

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  • Name Lea, Solomon  [1
    Title Reverend 
    Birth 21 Nov 1807  Leasburg, Caswell County, North Carolina Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Reference Number 3864 
    Death 30 Apr 1897  Leasburg, Caswell County, North Carolina Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Burial Leasburg Community Cemetery, Leasburg, Caswell County, North Carolina Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Person ID I3819  Caswell County
    Last Modified 13 Oct 2023 

    Father Lea, Captain William,   b. 17 Oct 1776, Caswell County, North Carolina Find all individuals with events at this locationd. 17 Jul 1873 (Age 96 years) 
    Relationship natural 
    Mother McNeill, Sarah,   b. 24 Aug 1783   d. 6 Dec 1846 (Age 63 years) 
    Relationship natural 
    Marriage 5 Nov 1800  Person County, North Carolina Find all individuals with events at this location  [2
    Reference Number 62794 
    Notes 
    • Marriage Bond Record
      Groom: William Lea, Jr.
      Bride: Sarah McNiel
      Bond Date: 5 November 1800
      Bondsman/Witness: John McFarland, Vincent Lea
      Location: Person County, North Carolina
      Source: Person County North Carolina Marriage Records 1792-1868, Katharine Kerr Kendall (1983) at 50.
    Family ID F1635  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Ainger, Sophia,   b. 22 Nov 1810, London, England Find all individuals with events at this locationd. 2 Nov 1866, Leasburg, Caswell County, North Carolina Find all individuals with events at this location (Age 55 years) 
    Marriage 1837  Warrenton, Warren County, North Carolina Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Reference Number 29251 
    Children 
    +1. Lea, Anness Sophia,   b. 10 Sep 1838   d. 6 Nov 1892 (Age 54 years)  [Father: natural]  [Mother: natural]
    +2. Lea, Henrietta,   b. 24 May 1840, Boydton, Mecklenburg County, Virginia Find all individuals with events at this locationd. 12 Dec 1929, Milton, Caswell County, North Carolina Find all individuals with events at this location (Age 89 years)  [Father: natural]  [Mother: natural]
    +3. Lea, Adeline,   b. 1842, Farmville, Prince Edward County, Virginia Find all individuals with events at this locationd. 1871 (Age 29 years)  [Father: natural]  [Mother: natural]
     4. Lea, Wilhelmina,   b. 9 Nov 1843, Virginia Find all individuals with events at this locationd. 23 Jun 1936 (Age 92 years)  [Father: natural]  [Mother: natural]
     5. Lea, Edward Wadsworth,   b. 1 Nov 1844, Greensboro, Guilford County, North Carolina Find all individuals with events at this locationd. 27 May 1921, Leasburg, Caswell County, North Carolina Find all individuals with events at this location (Age 76 years)  [Father: natural]  [Mother: natural]
     6. Lea, Lillian,   b. 8 Jan 1845, Leasburg, Caswell County, North Carolina Find all individuals with events at this locationd. 21 Apr 1938, Reidsville, Rockingham County, North Carolina Find all individuals with events at this location (Age 93 years)  [Father: natural]  [Mother: natural]
    +7. Lea, Eugenia,   b. 28 Aug 1846, Caswell County, North Carolina Find all individuals with events at this locationd. 16 Aug 1930, Ansonville, Anson County, North Carolina Find all individuals with events at this location (Age 83 years)  [Father: natural]  [Mother: natural]
     8. Lea, Robert A.,   b. May 1849   d. 7 Jul 1849 (Age ~ 0 years)  [Father: natural]  [Mother: natural]
    Family ID F2036  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart
    Last Modified 13 Oct 2023 

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsBirth - 21 Nov 1807 - Leasburg, Caswell County, North Carolina Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsMarriage - 1837 - Warrenton, Warren County, North Carolina Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsDeath - 30 Apr 1897 - Leasburg, Caswell County, North Carolina Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsBurial - - Leasburg Community Cemetery, Leasburg, Caswell County, North Carolina Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Earth 
    Pin Legend  : Address       : Location       : City/Town       : County/Shire       : State/Province       : Country       : Not Set

  • Photos
    Solomon Lea
    Solomon Lea House

    Headstones
    Solomon Lea Grave Marker
    Solomon Lea Grave Marker

    Newspapers
    Somerville Female Seminary. The Hillsborough Recorder (Hillsborough, NC), 23 Jan 1850
    Somerville Female Institute. The Weekly Standard (Raleigh, NC), 18 Dec 1850
    Greensboro Female College. The Weekly Observer (Raleigh, NC), 8 May 1877
    Solomon Lea Monument, The Milton Herald (22 July 1898)
     Solomon Lea Died, The Landmark, 7 May 1897
    Greensboro Female College, The Greensboro Patriot (Greensboro, NC), 11 Dec 1847
    Leasburg Male and Female Academies. The North-Carolina Star (Raleigh, NC), 15 Jan 1845
    Bethany Church Camp Meetings. Solomon Lea. Raleigh Christian Advocate (Raleigh, NC), 4 Feb 1885

  • Notes 
    • Solomon Lea (1807-1897)

      solomonlea

      Solomon Lea HouseRev Solomon Lea Died

      Solomon LeaIMG_3403

      Rev Solomon Lea 15 Jan 1862 p3 Weekly Standard

      Solomon Lea Monument, The Milton Herald (22 July 1898)

      Solomon Lea Death 1897

      Letter from Solomon Lea to Brother Lorenzo Lea (1829).

      Letter from Solomon Lea to Brother William Lea (1832).

      Leasburg Methodist Church. Rocky Mount Telegram (Rocky Mount, NC), 7 September 1952

      Bethany Church Camp Meetings. Solomon Lea. Raleigh Christian Advocate (Raleigh, NC), 4 Feb 1885

      (for larger image, click on photograph)
      _______________

      See: Solomon Lea.

      See Also: Inventory of the Lea Family Papers, 1797-1934 .

      The following is from The Leasburg I Knew, William S. Dixon (April 28, 1968):

      South of the school, was the Lea home, originally home of my Great-grandfather Solomon Lea, now the home of Uncle Ed and Aunt Willie, neither married. Aunt Willie was a talented musician. Not only could she play the piano well but she composed music and poetry as well. She gave piano lessons and both of her pianos were busy before and after school. Uncle Ed was quite a scientific farmer and used many advanced ideas on his farm. he read widely, was an interesting talker, and was quite a drawing card as he sat on the store porch to dispense his wealth of knowledge.
      _______________

      See Also: Heritage of Caswell County at 354-355 (Article No. 442)

      Note the closeness of the reported birth dates of brothers Lorenzo Lea and Solomon Lea, which are troublesome. As the birth date for Solomon Lea is fairly well documented, this calls into question the birth date for Lorenzo Lea.
      _______________

      "There were private schools [in Caswell County] after the Civil War, of course, just as there had been before, and many children received a good foundation for their education in schools for which tuition was charged. Several of the pre-war academies continued to operate for some time afterwards. Most notable of these was the academy in Leasburg operated by the Rev. Solomon Lea for boys and for girls. Business directories for various years between 1867 and 1884 list the Somerville Female Institute conducted by Lea and his daughters, while the Leasburg Male Academy of which Lea was principal was listed in 1867 and 1869. The Yanceyville Female Academy under the direction of Miss Lizzie Lowndes was listed in 1872, 1877-78, and in 1884, while the Dan River Institute, also in the county seat and under the direction of Joseph Venable, was listed in the 1869 directory. . . ."

      Source: When the Past Refused to Die: A History of Caswell County North Carolina 1777-1977, William S. Powell (1977) at 395.
      _______________

      Apparently was minister at the Connally Methodist Church near Milton in 1865.
      _______________

      Solomon Lea (1807-1897) was the son of William and Sarah McNeil Lea. He graduated from the University of North Carolina in 1833. In 1837, Lea married Sophia Ainger, an English woman. In 1846, he became the first president of Greensboro Female College, the first regularly chartered female college in North Carolina and the second one "south of the Potomac." He returned to Leasburg, N.C, in 1847 and, in 1848, founded the Somerville Female Institute, a school for young women; the school closed in 1892. Solomon Lea and Sophia Ainger Lea were the parents of eight children: Henrietta, Wilhemina, Lillian (Lily Ann), Anness, Addie, Eugenia, Edward, and Robert Lea. Materials include letters between Solomon Lea and his wife Sophia Ainger Lea and their children. In the 1900s, there are letters written to the Lea children from other relatives. Also included is an account book containing entries for tuition, board, schoolbooks, and supplies for students at Somerville Female Institute, 1856-1859, probably kept by principal Solomon Lea. [Adapted from the entry by Mary McAden Satterfield in The Heritage of Caswell County (1985).]

      Source: Caswell County Historical Association Collection (1791-2000s), The Southern Historical Collection at the Louis Round Wilson Special Collections Library (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina).
      _______________

      “My father attended a country school near home for a number of years, preparing himself for college, meanwhile, by hard study. He was sent, as were his two oldest brothers, to the University of North Carolina. His health failing, his studies were interrupted for a time; but an active outdoor life restored him, and he went back to complete the course, graduating in 1833 with fair honors. He then began his life work as a teacher at Warrenton, N.C., where he taught for two years. It was while teaching there that he met the lady whom he married a few years later. She was a teacher like himself.

      “My father was married in 1837 to Miss Sophia Ainger, an English lady of marked piety and intelligence. She was a most congenial spirit and a great help to him in his work as a teacher. She died in 1866. The world little knew how sadly he missed her companionship and what a void was in his heart. Eight children were born to them, six daughters and two sons. One of the latter died in infancy. Two married daughters have passed away.

      Source: Miss Wilhemina Lea (1843-1936), daughter of Solomon Lea and Sophia Ainger Lea: Interview by N. C. Newbold: "Rev. Solomon Lea," The Trinity Archive, February, 1898, by N. C. Newbold.
      _______________

      William Lea (1777?-1873), was a merchant of Leasburg, N.C. He had three sons: Willis M., who became a physician and settled in Mississippi; Lorenzo, Methodist minister and teacher in Tennessee and Mississippi; and Solomon (1807-1897), Methodist minister and schoolmaster at Boydton, Greensboro, and Leasburg. Solomon's six daughters included Adeline, Lilianne, Eugenia, and Wilhelmina (1843-1936). The collection includes letters, 1812-1820s, consisting of family correspondence of William Lea (1777?-1873) and his brothers, Vincent and James, all merchants, writing from Leasburg, N.C., Petersburg and Norfolk, Va., and New York City, chiefly about business matters, prices, economic conditions, debts, current news, and other topics. Letters, 1820s-1850s, are chiefly between William Lea and his children and among the children. Willis M. Lea wrote from Philadelphia, where he was studying medicine, and later from Holly Springs, Miss. Solomon Lea was a student at the University of North Carolina and later lived at Boydton, Farmville, and Greensboro, N.C.

      Letters from 1861 onwards are chiefly correspondence of the daughters of Solomon Lea, most written by Wilhelmina from the various places where she taught school, including Louisburg, Olin, and other places in North Carolina and Murfreesboro, Tenn., and at the Marshall Institute in Mississippi. Volumes are ledgers, 1797-1803, of William Lea (1751-1806), merchant of Leasburg and uncle of William (1777?-1873); school accounts, 1853-1862, of Solomon Lea, who taught at Somerville Seminary and founded Somerville Female Institute in Leasburg and was president of Greensboro College, 1846-1857; and reminiscences and a 19-volume diary, 1872-1934, of Wilhelmina Lea.

      Source: The Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina.
      _______________

      "Although there is scant material on James Lea Sr., his children residing in Leasburg were outstanding and left a rich history. Son Gabriel lived near Leasburg and his son William married Sarah McNeill who were parents to Lorenzo Lea and the famous educator Solomon Lea, president of Greensboro College and owner of the Somerville Institute in Leasburg. One of the pleasures of this writer's childhood was an annual summer afternoon visit in Leasburg with her parents to call on Miss Willie Lea the entertaining and gracious daughter of Solomon Lea."

      Source: The Heritage of Caswell County, North Carolina, Jeannine D. Whitlow, Editor (1985) at 351 (Article #437, "James Lea" by Katharine Kerr Kendall).
      _______________

      Solomon Lea

      "Solomon Lea, my father, William Lea's 3rd son, married Miss Sophia Ainges [Ainger], an English lady, who was born and reared in London with every social and educational advantage. She came to this country with some friends when about 20 years of age. She expected to return to England, but began teaching in Philadelphia in the family of Dr. Shippen. Afterwards she went South and taught in a private family in Warren Co. N.C. My father, who was teaching in the town of Warrenton met her. It was love at first sight, but he was courting her for 5 years before he gained her consent to marry him. After his marriage he went to Virginia, in which state he taught for several years. Then he returned to N.C. and to Leasburg, his native place, and was conducting a school here, when elected to the presidency of Greensboro college. He served in that capacity for two years (1846 & 1847) then he resigned and came back to Leasburg.

      "He then founded Somerville Female Institute a school that flourished and was extensively patronized up to the Civil War. Besides teaching, my father was a Local preacher in the Methodist church, and preached whenever opportunity afforded. He was called on to perform many marriage ceremonies, and to preach funeral sermons. He received his A.M. at Chapel Hill in 1833.

      "My father was one of the most genial men, kept open house, and was almost universally popular. He loved the out-of-doors, and gardening, and was particularly fond of horse-back riding. He was exceedingly active and young in his looks and ways until his health failed. He was born 1807 and passed away in 1897 in his 90th year. My mother died in Nov. 1866, preceding him to the eternal world 31 years. He neve married again.

      "To this happy, congenial union were born 8 children, 6 daughters, and 2 sons, Anness Sophia, Henrietta, Adeline, Wilhelmina, Lilianne, Eugenia, Edward Wadsworth and Robert Albert. The last died in infancy.

      "Solomon Lea third son of Wm. Lea was born in Nov. 1807 and died here in May 1897. He graduated at the University of N.C. (Chapel Hill) and made teaching his life work. He also became a local preacher in the Methodist church. He was one of the most genial and hospitable of persons or individuals & a man of much energy. And with few exceptions later generations have honored their good heritage by being true in all the relations of life and leading exemplary lives."

      Source: Lea, Wilhelmina. Reminiscences of Miss Willie Lea. Copied from Manuscript in Possession of Mrs. M. H. Moore (Weaverville, North Carolina). Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill, North Carolina). June 1943. Mostly a narrative account of her family, with biographical data, dates, and relationships, written in the 1930s. Typescript was made in 1943 from a manuscript lent by Mrs. W. S. Dixon.
      _______________

      "Literary Notice. THE examination of the Young Ladies of the Somerville Female Seminary, in Leasburg, will take place on the first Tuesday in June. At the close of the exercises in the evening, Rev. Samuel S Bryant of Danville, will address the Young Ladies. The friends of Literature and the community generally are respectfully invited to attend. SOLOMON LEA."

      Source: The Milton Chronicle (Milton, North Carolina), 16 May 1850, Thursday, Page 3.
      _______________

      Rev Solomon Lea m Sophia Ainger, Issue: 8. b 1807 Leasburg d 30 Apr 1897, Leasburg N. C.

      Source: Amite County, Mississippi 1699-1890 (Volume #3): The Environs, Albert Eugene Casey (1957) at 555.
      _______________

      With some degree of truth it may be claimed that Caswell was a cradle of education in North Carolina and that Archibald D. Murphey was the father of public schools. The state's most versatile biographer, R. C. Lawrence, has said of him: "The name of Murphey must stand near the top in any list of the great of Carolina." Rev. Solomon Lea was the founder of Leasburg's "Somerville Institute for Girls" and was afterwards the first president of the Methodist school, Greensboro Female College.

      The list of notables in the teaching field is too lengthy to be given here, but Rev. Hugh Shaw, the Caldwell brothers, Joseph and John, Archibald C. Lindsay, and the Poteat brothers, William Louis and Edwin McNeill, should be mentioned.

      The News and Observer (Raleigh, NC), 18 May 1940.
      _______________

      Once, in the Solomon Lea School in Leasburg, Caswell County, North Carolina, a room was devoted to the memory of its namesake, with a large portrait displayed.

      The Herald-Sun (Durham, NC), 31 March 1940.
      _______________

      The following is from the Raleigh Christian Advocate (Raleigh, North Carolina), 4 February 1985 (paragraph breaks added):

      Reminiscences of By-Gone Days

      Camp-Meetings At Bethany Church, Near Leasburg, Caswell County Fifty Years Ago

      By Rev. Solomon Lea

      "It may be both interesting and instructive during these Centenary Years of Methodism to call to mind some incidents connected with these meetings, and the distinguished preachers who participated in them.

      "Bethany Church still stands in a grove of venerable oaks, which, if they could speak, could tell many a thrilling tale. The house is of brick, which looks as fresh as if it was just built. It still stands as a monument to the memory of Benjamin F. Stanfield, and John Johnston, who lived near by, and who were the main leaders in its erection.

      "The neat cabins for the tent-holders that surrounded the Church have all disappeared and the Church, as to members, has nearly gone down. In former times the membership amounted to hundreds, now it has dwindled to some eight or ten. They still cling to it and are unwilling to give it up.

      "But the influence that emanated from these camp=meetings at Bethany Church have not died away. For many miles around the sacred spot, both in Caswell and Person, Methodism is fully established. Leasburg and the surrounding country are almost exclusively Methodist, and a more religious and moral community can hardly be found anywhere.

      "Doubtless it may be traced back to these camp-meetings at Bethany Church held between 1831 and 1840. I call to mind some of the noted preachers who attended these meetings, and who have left their impress upon this community and the Church at large. Among them may be mentioned Moses Brock, Hezekiah G. Leigh, John Early, Peter Doub, Lewis Skidmore, Hammett, McAden, and several others. They have all long since gone to the better land, from the Church militant to the Church triumphant, where camp-meetings will never end. These ministers were giants in their day. They would preach sometimes two hours or more, hold the audience spell bound, many powerfully convicted, and when invited, there would be a general rush to the altar amidst the shouts of Christians. At some of the camp-meetings as many as seventy-five, and a hundred, and one time, one hundred and sixty-seven professed religion.

      "I remember one thrilling incident. It was Sabbath, a vast crowd had assembled. Brock, I think, was the preacher (another brother thinks it was Hammet). As he proceeded in his discourse, a divine unction rested upon him, the word was attended with power, and when penitents were invited, among the scores that pressed to the altar, was Ned Davis, a notable character, a professional gambler and horse-racer. He was standing on the outskirts of the congregation, catching hold of the arm of one of his associates, he walked rapidly towards the pulpit, his friend releasing his hold, passed off. Just before reaching the altar, he turned around to the audience, exclaiming aloud, 'farewell world.' Advancing a few steps further, he knelt down amidst the cries of the penitents and the shouts of the Christians. It was not more than sixty minutes before he rose praising God. A shout went up from the camp that thrilled the whole congregation. Davis had his horses on the premises, attended by his negro boy, who said to his baster, 'what shall we do with the horses now?' As quick as thought, he replied, 'go to camp-meetings with them.'

      "He had a very devoted pious father-in-law on the camp ground whose prayers were continually ascending in behalf of his son-in-law. Once he caught hold of the arm of Davis, held him fast and knelt down and poured out an agonizing prayer for him. He did not resist, but stood still until the prayer was finished and walked off apparently unaffected. Let us follow the career of this notable character. He disposed of his horses, became a most devoted Christian, moved out to the Western part of North Carolina where he worked and superintended a gold mine. The last I heard from him, he employed a minister to preach to the negroes while he himself held on to his religion.

      "Doubtless he has long since died and gone to the Heavenly country, where he is exploring a mine more precious than gold. Hey yet speaketh, though dead."
      _______________

      1850 United States Federal Census (Somerville Institute, Leasburg, NC)
      Name: Soloman Lea
      Age: 42
      Estimated birth year: abt 1808
      Birth Place: Caswell
      Gender: Male
      Home in 1850 (City,County,State): Caswell, North Carolina
      Family Number: 697
      Household Members: Name Age
      John Johnston 67
      John Pittard 47
      Soloman Lea 42
      Sophia Lea 40
      Sophia A Lea 12
      Henrietta Lea 10
      Adaline Lea 8
      Wilhelmin Lea 6
      Lillia A Lea 5
      Eugenia Lea 4
      Edward Lea 2
      Maria Montgomery 14
      Fannie Wiley 14
      Sarah Brown 14
      Elizabeth Brown 11
      Margaret Reid 13
      Hannah Reid 14
      Cynthia Reid 15
      Jemima Reid 14
      Nannie Snipes 14
      Hallie Lewellyn 15
      Elizabeth Scott 16
      Sarah Harris 15
      Mary Holden 16
      Helen Palmer 20

      1860 United States Federal Census
      Name: Solomon Lea
      Age in 1860: 53
      Birth Year: abt 1807
      Birthplace: North Carolina
      Home in 1860: Leasburg, Caswell, North Carolina
      Gender: Male
      Post Office: Leasburg
      Household Members: Name Age
      Solomon Lea 53
      Sophia Lea 50
      Adeline Lea 18
      Wilhelmina Lea 17
      Lilinnia Lea 16
      Eugenia Lea 14
      Edward Lea 13

      1870 United States Federal Census
      Name: Solomon Lea
      Birth Year: abt 1807
      Age in 1870: 63
      Birthplace: North Carolina
      Home in 1870: Leasburg, Caswell, North Carolina
      Race: White
      Gender: Male
      Post Office: Leasburg
      Household Members: Name Age
      Solomon Lea 63
      Willie Lea 26
      Lillie Lea 25
      Edward Lea 22

      1880 United States Federal Census
      Name: Solomon Lea
      Home in 1880: Leasburg, Caswell, North Carolina
      Age: 73
      Estimated birth year: abt 1807
      Birthplace: North Carolina
      Relation to head-of-household: Self (Head)
      Father's birthplace: North Carolina
      Mother's birthplace: North Carolina
      Occupation: Teacher-Farmer
      Marital Status: Widower
      Race: White
      Gender: Male
      Household Members: Name Age
      Solomon Lea 73
      Willie Lea 32
      Edward W. Lea 30
      Addie C. Richmond 15
      Ella Stipe 16
      _______________

      The 1860 US Federal Census-Slave Schedule shows a Solomon Lea, Leasburg, North Carolina, as the owner of fifteen slaves. Whether this slave owner is the same Solomon Lea of this record has not been confirmed. See the other Solomon Lea entries in this database.
      _______________


  • Sources 
    1. Details: Thomas McNeill of Caswell County, North Carolina, His Forebears & Descendants, Ben L. Rose (1984) at 35.

    2. Details: Person County North Carolina Marriage Records 1792-1868, Katharine Kerr Kendall (1983) at 50.