Judge George Hay Lee

The Wheeling Daily Register., November 24, 1873
Image of the Honorable Judge George Hay Lee

We transfer to our columns from the Sunday News of yesterday, notice of the death of Hon. GEORGE HAY LEE. This sad intelligence will occasion surprise to many of our readers who were not aware of Judge Lee’s illness,. Though it has been long known that his health has been delicate during a number of years past.

In the death of Judge LEE the State loses one of the most learned and distinguished lawyers who has ever graced the bench of the bar. As a Judge of the Supreme Court of Appeals of Virginia, his opinions were always scholarly and always carried with them great weight, and his arguments before the courts in this State during the later years of his professional life have been models of perspicuity and of legal research. He will be sorely missed.


The Wheeling Daily Register., November 24, 1873

The many friends of HON. GEORGE HAY LEE, of Clarksburg, throughout the State, will be grieved to learn of his sudden death, which occurred at his home on Thursday last. In his decease the legal profession, loses one of its brightest ornaments, the State a prominent and honored citizen, and society a most useful and deserving member. He was Judge of the Supreme Court of Appeals under the old State. But resumed the active practice of his profession after the separation, and has since occupied a distinguished position among the legal fraternity in this section. We copy from the Conservative the notice hereto appended.

Sketch of Court

Thursday morning at twenty minutes of three o’clock the spirit of the Honorable George Hay Lee, left this mortal earth for the realms of immortality. The community was not at all prepared for his decease, as but few heard of his illness.

Old Regime

Judge Lee belonged to the old Regime and was a courtly Virginia gentleman, whose punctilio and politeness were noticeable in the smallest particulars. Virginian by birth and feeling, he ever preserved a high bred air of courtesy and refinement. He was given to hospitality and was a perfect host, making his guests feel entirely at their ease.

But he was not so much distinguished for the outward polish of his manners as for the culture and faculties of his mind. He was one of the chief counsel of the B. & O. R. R., and as such distinguished himself. In the discussion of legal questions his ability and masterly method of handling cases entrusted to him were remarkable.

The Judge was no mean scholar. In his youth he read very extensively and in consequence, apt quotations were ever ready on his tongue.

His birthplace, it is understood, was Winchester, Va.

The condolence of this as well as other communities will be extended to his large family.

Spirit of Jefferson., December 02, 1873
Blind Scales of Justice

DEATH OF JUDGE LEE.– The Clarksburg Sun announces the death, in that place, on the 20th instant, George H. Lee, formerly Judge of the 21st Judicial Circuit of Virginia, and afterwards one of the Judges of the Virginia Court of Appeals, whose presence as counsel at the late session of the W. Va Court of Appeals in this place many of our readers will remember.

Since the war, says the Sun, Judge Lee applied himself diligently to the practice of his profession, of which he stood at the head. He was a faithful counsel for the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, and managed the difficult and important cases of that Company with great zeal and ability. His decisions as Judge of the Court of Appeals stand very high and are quoted as the best authority. He lived almost exclusively in his profession and was the most careful lawyer in the State in preparing his cases. But he will never again figure in the Courts of earth. His case is now submitted to the chancery on high where mercy and justice are met together.

Death of Hon. George Hay Lee.

The Wheeling Daily Register., December 04, 1873

From the Charleston Free Press.

The people of both Virginias will learn, with profound sorrow that this distinguished citizen died at his residence, Clarksburg, West Virginia, on Thursday, the 20th instant, after a brief illness.

His fame is the property of both States, and will with pride, be cherished by both. The annals of the jurisprudence of Old Virginia are rich with the treasures of his mind expended in her service whilst the judicial history and records of West Virginia are filled with the evidence of his varied and solid learning as a jurist.

We intend no disparagement of others when we say that he was entitled to rank as the first legal mind of the State. His acquirement and high sense of honor in the discharge of professional duties attracted to him a valuable clientage and increased his practice to a larger proportion than was attained by that of any other practitioner of the State.

Map of Virginia and West Virginia

Judge Lee was a native of Winchester, Va, — was the son of Daniel Lee, Clerk of the old Court of Chancery, and was about 65 or 66 years of age. He was a gentleman of courtly and affable manners such as belonged to the old regime of which he was a most excellent type. His tastes were of the most refined order and many of his able legal arguments were embellished by most apt classical quotations which not only enforced the points presented to the Court, but evinced the stores of information he had gathered in the fields of general and elegant literature.

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