William M. Lee, who came to Whitman County in 1872 from Walla Walla, died at his home in this city Tuesday evening [June 16, 1925], surrounded by his wife and four surviving children. He suffered an attack of pneumonia about two weeks ago and due to his advanced age of 77 years the after effects proved fatal.
Funeral services were held from the Baptist Church Thursday at 2 p.m., Rev. W. P. Osgood, a former pastor coming from Albany, Oregon, to officiate, assisted by the new pastor, Rev. J. L. Peringer. Mr. Lee was an active member of the finance committee which made possible the erection of the present modern church structure from which he was buried. Colfax business houses closed for a half hour during the services.
Honorary pallbearers were J. L. Strevy, F. N. English, Henry Hickman, Alex Hickman, J. R. Good, S. W. Crumbaker and Charles Stilson. The active pallbearers were John Aegerter, Frank Schreiber, Fred Waldrip, Will T. Smith, Chester Hamilton, Philo Stilson and Miller Stripe.
Besides his wife, Tressa, he is survived by two sons, Harvey and Louie Lee of Diamond, and two daughters, Mrs. A. C. Palmer of Walla Walla and Mrs. E. F. Schuldt of The Dalles, Oregon.
Mr. Lee was born at Bartholomew Co., Indiana, May 3, 1948. A year later his parents, Mr. and Mrs. T. G. Lee moved to Iowa, where they lived for about 10 years. The family left Iowa in 1860, coming overland to Walla Walla where they arrived on October 1.
In 1872, Mr. Lee, then 24 years of age, made a trip to the Palouse country in company with Hamilton Laird and John Laird, his prospective father-in-law and brother-in-law. Returning to Walla Walla he married Tressa Laird on October 12, 1872, and a week later started with his bride for Whitman County. They settled on Pleasant Valley, built a house of hewn logs with no floor and endured the hardships of the early pioneers whose spirit has made the great west what it is. The following year the crickets ate the crop and Mr. Lee and his young wife went back to Walla Walla, where they remained until 1878, when they again settled in Whitman County four years ahead of the railroad. After a move or two they secured a preemption 12 miles west of Colfax and remained there, accumulating a farm of 1200 acres.
In 1889, when the present court house was built, Mr. Lee was one of the county commissioners. On October 12, 1922, Mr. and Mrs. Lee celebrated their golden wedding anniversary.
Contributed by: Shelli Steedman