Joe Lee is north of the Little River and four miles southwest of Rogers in southeastern Bell County. Jefferson Reed, a member of Robertson's colony, provided land for the settlement and named it Mud Springs, apparently because a large spring there provided water for cattle, which kept the area muddy. The first settlers arrived on the site in the 1830s, and Reed donated land for a community school sometime thereafter. The Mud Springs school had eighty-three pupils and two teachers in 1903; in 1958 it was consolidated with the nearby Rogers Independent School District. Reed's daughter, Millie Reed McLean, renamed the settlement in 1912, combining the names of the two principal business-owners in the community, Joe Reed, a storekeeper and presumably a relation of hers, and Lee Underwood, a blacksmith. In 1948 the Joe Lee community had numerous scattered dwellings, a school, a church, and a cemetery. Later the community declined, though in 1989 its County Line Baptist Church was still active. Two cemeteries, Reed Cemetery and McLean Cemetery, are near the church. In 1990 the community's population was reported as two. The population remained unchanged in 2000.
Adapted from the official Handbook of Texas, a state encyclopedia developed by the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA). It is an authoritative source of trusted historical records.
Malcolm D. McLean | © Texas State Historical Association
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