Jonathan Fairbanks and Clyde Edwin Tuck

Past and Present of Greene County, Missouri

Early and Recent History and Genealogical Records
of Many of the Representative Citizens


BERT S. LEE. One of the most conspicuous figures in the commercial circles of Springfield and Greene county of the present generation is Bert S. Lee, a man actively identified with the business and industrial interests of this section of the Ozarks and for a number of years widely known as one of the leading members of the Masonic Order in Missouri. Equally noted as a citizen whose useful career has conferred credit upon the community and whose marked abilities and stirring qualities have won for him much more than local repute, he holds today distinctive precedence as one of the most progressive and successful men that ever inaugurated and carried to satisfactory termination large and important undertakings in this locality. Strong mental powers, invincible courage and a determined purpose that hesitate at no opposition have so entered into his composition as to render him a dominant factor in the business world and a leader of men in notable enterprises. He is essentially a man of affairs --sound of judgment and far-seeing in what he undertakes, and every enterprise to which he has addressed himself has resulted in a large measure of material success.

Mr. Lee was born in Marshfield, Webster county, Missouri, October 30, 1871. He is a son of Joshua L. and Cynthia (Perry) Lee.

Bert S. Lee removed to Springfield during his youthful period, and there attained man's estate and made it his permanent residence. Educational advantages were obtained in the public schools and Drury College in that city. He grew and expanded with the environment, becoming identified strongly with the business, social and moral interests of the community to which he contributes energy, fellowship and exemplification of those influences which tend toward the elevation of erring humanity. Endowed with executive ability in managing business affairs, he was entrusted by the Hobart-Lee Tie Company with the handling of its finances in the position of secretary and treasurer, which position he as held continuously since its organization in 1891, having been one of the potent factors in building up this firm, which ranks with the leading firms of its kind in the Southwest, handling large quantities of railroad supplies, especially ties, for the Frisco system. For several years he has been a director of the Springfield Grocery Company, one of the largest and best known wholesale grocery houses of southwest Missouri, and is now president of the corporation and is managing its affairs in an able and eminently satisfactory manner. Interested with the Branson Town Company and the Arkansas Mining and Mercantile Company, he is the secretary and treasurer of each.

Mr. Lee was married on December 27, 1893, to Mabelle Lingsweiler, a daughter of John G. and Emma R. (Ostrander) Lingsweiler, a prominent family of Lebanon, Missouri. The union of Mr. and Mrs. Lee has been graced by the birth of five children, named as follow: John Lawrence, Francis Theodore, Raymond Fitshugh, Mabelle Lucille and Richard Albert. They are receiving excellent educational advantages and are all youngsters of much promise.

Politically, Mr. Lee is a Democrat and is loyal in the support and work of that party, and yet not with ambition to become a political leader. While not the sport of common parlance, he has sporting proclivities growing out of his social nature, and holds membership in the James River Hunting and Fishing Club, the Country Club, the Springfield Club, and the Young Men's Business Club. He is president of the Springfield Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution. Identified with the Young Men's Christian Association of Springfield, he is one of the directors, president of the board and a trustee of the association. When the energetic and enthusiastic members of the Masonic Fraternity of his city determined to provide a substantial meeting place in and by the erection of a splendid temple building, he was designated on the first committee of arrangement and plans, and became one of the board of directors of the association and its treasurer. In religious matters he is equally active, being a member of St. Paul's Methodist Episcopal church, South; he has for over fifteen years conducted its Sunday school as superintendent; he is one of the trustees of the church and chairman of the finance committee of the board of stewards.

Before this municipality of affairs all had inception Mr. Lee became interested in Freemasonry and in Sparta Lodge No. 296, located at Sparta in Christian county, on March 31, 1893,he was made a Master Mason. Transferring membership to Gate of the Temple Lodge No. 422 of Springfield, he served as worshipful master in 1899, 1900, and 1907. Since 1901 he has been district lecturer of his Masonic district, and from 1904, president of the Masonic Board of Relief of Springfield. In Vincil Chapter No. 110, Royal Arch Masons, on September 24, 1897, he was exalted to the Royal Arch degree, and served it as high priest in 1901 and 1908. On April 24, 1901 he was anointed, consecrated and set apart to the Holy Order of High Priesthood at the grand convention held in the city of St. Louis. He serves the Grand Chapter as chairman of important committees and is the representative of Tennessee near the Grand Chapter of Missouri. At the resuscitation of Zabud Council No. 25 of the city of Springfield, he was one of the few who were ready to extend a helping hand, petitioned for its instruction, and on May 17, 1904, received the degrees of Royal and Select Master. Devoting himself to its interests, he was elected thrice illustrious master in the years 1905, 1906 and 1907, and his fidelity, energy and enthusiasm contributed largely toward the enviable condition which Zabud has attained among the councils of the state. In April, 1905, he was appointed grand marshal, and was regularly advanced, becoming grand master in April, 1910. His record in that important position shows that he accomplished much for the propagation of the Cryptic system. At the triennial assembly of the General Grand Council of Royal and Select Masters of the United States of America, held in Indianapolis, Indiana, September 9, 1912, he was honored by his companions by being elected to the position of general grand steward of the United States.

The Grand jurisdiction of Rhode Island honored him with a. commission as its representative near the Grand Council of Missouri. The orders of Christian Knighthood were conferred upon him on November 4, 1897, in St. John's Commandery No. 20, Knights Templars, stationed at Springfield, and in 1902 he was elected its commander. In the Grand Commandery of Knights Templars of the State of Missouri, in April, 1904, he was appointed grand warder, subsequently elected by the suffrage of his fraters, he served in every station in the line except one and became grand commander in May, 1911, closing the year of service at Cape Girardeau, May 29, 1912. That it was strenuous the record shows, and if no other tablet ever appears distinctively many will be found reproduced by memory to consciousness for courteous treatment under his command. A commission from Virginia authorizes him to respond for that Templar jurisdiction in the Grand Commandery of Missouri. In 1907, St. Andrew Conclave No. 11 of Joplin, created him a Knight of the Red Cross of Constantine and appendant orders. He attained the thirty-second degree of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite in 1906 by Joplin Consistory No. 3. He is a Noble of the Mystic Shrine, postulated in 1903 to Abou-Ben-Adhem Temple of Springfield.

Thus is portrayed, in part at least, the accomplishment of a busy man. It was attained through the solving of an economic problem: The art by which human needs and comforts are applied. The systematic use of time, free to everybody, but frequently wasted by injudicious application and the further fact that the average possessor is not stimulated to an economy of time by necessity arising through desire to make it count in weight and power as it passes to the wheel. Prompt, reliable and responsible, he maintains dignity, being genial, affable and courteous, none have difficulty in approach; careful of his antagonisms, he preserves friendships. Of strong religious inclination, he has faith in things not perceived, and is affected morally somewhat after the philosophy of Kant, "Act so that the maxim of thy will can likewise be valid as a principle of universal legislation." Mr. Lee is yet young, has barely passed the inception of usefulness to his fellows. His methods demonstrated contain the elements which point to a successful culmination of the divine purpose in the bestowal of life, and the future years will evidently find his advancement further in paths of honor and righteousness as well as usefulness. These and more are due his conscientious course and one is justified in employing the lines of Tennyson:

"We will do him No customary honor; since the knight Came not to us, of us to claim the prize Ourselves will send it after."

[1666-1669]


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