William Lee (diplomat)

William Lee (1739-1795) was an American diplomat during the Revolutionary War. he was born at Stratford Hall Plantation in Westmoreland County, Virginia to Hon. Thomas Lee (1690-1750) and Hannah Harrison Ludwell (1701-1750). His brothers, all also active within the Continental Congress, were Arthur Lee (1740-1792), Francis Lightfoot Lee (1734-1797), and Richard Henry Lee (1732-1794). Lee married his cousin Hannah Philippa Ludwell on March 7, 1769.

William Lee was a mercantile agent for Virginia in London, and served as a High Sheriff of London in 1775. He served as an agent of the Continental Congress during the American Revolution. He attempted, but failed, to obtain support from Austria or Prussia. An unofficial U.S.-Dutch treaty that he helped draft became the cause of war between England and the Netherlands.


William married Hannah Phillipa Ludwell (1739-1784) on March 7, 1769. Hannah died August 18, 1784 in Ostend, Belgium. She was buried in London, England. Hannah was the daughter of Philip Ludwell III (1716-1776) and Frances Grymes (1717). Frances was the older sister of Lucy Grymes the "Lowland Beauty" (1734-1792), who married Maj. Gen. Henry Lee II (1730-1787).

Frances was the daughter of Hon. Charles Grymes (1693-1743) and Frances Jennings. Charles resided at "Morattico" in Richmond Co., Virginia.

Philip III, was the son of Col. Philip Ludwell II (1672-1726) and Hannah Harrison (1679-1731). Philip resided at "Greenspring", Virginia.


1. William Ludwell Lee (1775-1803), who never married.

2. Brutus Lee (1778-1779), who died young.

3. Portia Lee (1777-1840), who married William Hodgson (1765-1820).

4. Cornelia Lee (1780-1818), who married John Hopkins (ca. 1778).


William was the son of Col. Thomas Lee, Hon. (1690-1750) of "Stratford Hall", Westmoreland Co., Virginia. Thomas married Hannah Harrison Ludwell (1701-1750).

Hannah was the daughter of Col. Philip Ludwell II (1672-1726) of "Greenspring", and Hannah Harrison (1679-1731).

Thomas was the son of Col. Richard Lee II, Esq., “the scholar” (1647-1715) and Laetitia Corbin (ca. 1657-1706).

Laetitia was the daughter of Richard’s neighbor and, Councillor, Hon. Henry Corbin, Sr. (1629-1676) and Alice (Eltonhead) Burnham (ca. 1627-1684).

Richard II, was the son of Col. Richard Lee I, Esq., "the immigrant" (1618-1664) and Anne Constable (ca. 1621-1666).

Anne was the daughter of Thomas Constable and a ward of Sir John Thoroughgood.

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