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The E-Sylum: Volume 12, Number 3, January 18, 2009, Article 19

RESEARCHING AN AUTOGRAPHED ROBERT E. LEE DOCUMENT

On a related note on name searching, Sam Deep submitted these thoughts on researching an autograph he recently added to his collection. -Editor
In the fall I purchased a Robert E. Lee signature in a Heritage auction. The particular attraction was that it is not the typical "R. E. Lee" on a small slip of paper, but rather a receipt written by Lee to a "John Lloyd, Sen." whom the auction catalog description represented as John Lloyd, Senator. I spent some time looking for such a politician in VA and states contiguous to no avail, but when I searched for John Lloyd, Senior I hit the jackpot. Here goes my best crack at an accurate attribution of the piece.
Robert E. Lee signature


The Story of This Signature

John Lloyd was born in 1775 in Philadelphia. His maternal grandfather was Captain John Harper of Revolutionary War fame. His first wife Rebecca died in 1819 after she birthed eight children, including John, Junior.

John, Senior remarried one year later to Anne Harriot Lee, first cousin to Robert E. Lee. To house their growing family he and Anne purchased the elegant Hoffman residence in Alexandria, Virginia in 1832 at auction for $3450.

Robert E. Lee very likely made a significant loan to Lloyd either to buy the house or when he built a new kitchen (separate building) the next year. The evidence is this 1836 receipt to Lloyd for $180 paid to Lee in interest—about $3400 in 2009 dollars!

In 1832 Lee had graduated from West Point (1829) and as an engineer was playing a major role in the construction of Fort Monroe, Virginia. In 1836 he was serving in the Chief Engineer’s Office in Washington D.C. It wouldn’t be until 1861 that he would turn down President Lincoln’s request to head the Union Army and take up command of the Virginia State forces.

The Lloyd family owned the house until 1918. After the Civil War the house was confiscated by the U.S. government, and from 1865-1868 it housed the Alexandria office of the Freedman’s Bureau. It is now the Office of Historic Alexandria.





Wayne Homren, Editor

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