Charles Lee (1758 – June 24,
1815) was an American lawyer from
He served as United States Attorney
from 1795 until 1801.
was born to Henry (1729-1787) and Lucy
(Grymes) Lee on his father's plantation of Leesylvania in
William County, Virginia.
He was the third of eleven children and a
younger brother of General Henry "Light
Horse Harry" Lee
. Another brother was Congressman Richard
. A third cousin was Zachary
. He graduated from the College of New Jersey
University) in 1775, and then read law
with Jared Ingersoll in Philadelphia before returning to Virginia.
Charles married Anne Lee (1 December 1770-9 September 1804), a
cousin and the daughter of Richard
(his first cousin once removed) in 1789. Before her
death in 1804 the couple had six children; Anne Lucinda Lee
(1790-1845), Infant Son Lee (1791-1791), Richard Henry Lee (Feb
1793-Mar 1793), Charles Henry Lee (b. Oct 1794), William Arthur Lee
(b. Sept 1796), Alfred Lee (1799-1865). He married a second time in
1809, to Margaret Scott (1783-1843), and had three more children in
this union; Robert Eden Lee (1810-1843), Elizabeth Gordon Lee
(1813-1813), Alexander Lee (1815-1815).
appointed Lee the Attorney General after William Bradford
office. After Senate approval he took office on December 10 1795
through the rest of the administration. He was continued in office
by John Adams
and served through the
entire Adams administration until February
term in office Lee lived in Alexandria, which was then part of the capital
district. He was an early advocate for the return of
the southern part of the District of Columbia to Virginia which
finally happened in 1847.
After his time as Attorney
General, he became the port officer for the District of the
and among the most prominent
trial lawyers in Northern Virginia and the District of
Lee represented William Marbury
other appointees of John Adams
Marbury v. Madison
, the landmark case against the
Jefferson administration for unfulfilled political appointments.
Simultaneously, he defended Hugh Stuart in Stuart v. Laird
declined Thomas Jefferson's offer
to appoint him a justice of the Supreme
in 1815 in Fauquier County, Virginia, aged 56 or 57, and is buried in the Warrenton
Cemetery in Warrenton.