Henry Munson remembers Henry Lee
Henry M. Lee
My Uncle Henry was my real favorite in the family and he was Mother's favorite too. He owned the major share of Lee & Simmons, the biggest Lighterage firm in the NY harbor. He was almost as successful as Dada . He didn't have the dynamic leadership qualities that Dada did. On the other hand, he was much more aesthetically aware and had a genuine sense of style.
For example, he was the only one in the family to use "finger bowls." I did too as long as I could. I even had some porcelain decorative flowers to put in the finger bowls that I bought from Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt's estate as I admired and loved her.
Uncle Henry had a wonderful camp in Canada which I visited when I was only 11 years old. The Pullman sleeper was exciting and scarey because it was the first time for me. I got off the train early the next morning at Vanceboro, Maine. Uncle Henry had sent a boat to meet me and we went many miles up the lake to his Island. A most comfortable log cabin - fresh bread every day, guides and all the comforts. The fishing was great and I caught a land-locked salmon.
I heard my first Loon - very scarey and saw my first Moose.
We drove back to N.Y. and stopped at some great hotels - Poland Springs and Bretton Woods, Mt. Washington, etc. Later he told me that he had two daughters but no son and that he would like me to come into his business and eventually take over from him. I was thrilled but overawed. He said with my name I could easily establish a good rapport with his customers. I agreed and settled on a date when I would commence.
Then he had to make a trip to Washington B.C., I think it was. He had a bad sinus attack and had an operation. He died I think on the operation table and was only 58. It was only a few weeks before I was to start at Lee & Simmons.
I went to see Mr. Simmons but he was more interested in his family than in me so that was that.
In his will Uncle Henry left each of us children $500- of Lee & Simmons stock. Well, there had been a corporate reorganization since he made out his will and his Executors decided they did not have to honor share bequests.
Well, one of the good friends I made at Rutgers was Mrs. Roger Hull and her daughter Barbara. I told her about this development and she was outraged. She instructed her own law firm - a well-known Wall St. firm - to take up my case at her expense.
After her law firm looked into it and made their presentation, Uncle Henry's Executor reversed himself and each of my brothers and sisters and I did get our $500.
After Mom and I were married, she held the wedding reception at her apartment at 876 Park Ave.
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