Edgar Duckworth
Mary C. Duckworth


Family Links

1. Frank Elmer Lee

Mary C. Duckworth 1

  • Born: 1887, , Monterey, CA 1
  • Marriage (1): Frank Elmer Lee on 20 Feb 1915 in , Monterey, CA 1

   FamilySearch ID: LKJS-BJT.

  Noted events in her life were:

1. Newspaper: Evening News: Wife Stabs Husband To Death In Fight In Watsonville Store, 19 Dec 1921, Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA. 2 WIFE STABS HUSBAND TO DEATH IN FIGHT IN WATSON VILLE STORE

Frank Lee, proprietor of a second hand store in Watsonville, is dead, and his wife, Mary Lee, Is In the county jail awaiting arraignment on charges soon to be announced by District Attorney Smith as the result of a tragic quarrel In the store in Watsonville yesterday afternoon about half-past two, when Mrs. Lee, as the culmination of the fight, stabbed her husband with a beet-topping knife, through the body, causing his death in the hospital about a half-hour later.

According to the story a given out by the officers and by Messrs. George W. Smith of this city and Clay Seevers of Watsonville, Mrs. Lee's attorneys, yesterday's fatal quarrel came about through the accidental act of the wife, who had been at home washing, in throwing a cupful of suds out of the window of the room in which she was working, the water striking the aged mother of Mr. Lee, who was passing the window at the time. Mrs. Lee complained to her son, and the trouble began. Lee, who was in the store, went to the kitchen of the home, which adjoins, and began remonstrating with his wife. The two from there went into the store, still quarreling, and, according to the wife, Lee struck her, and continued to abuse her. She picked up the knife from a sewing machine close by and made a lunge at him, striking him in the shoulder, where at Lee struck her again between the eyes, knocking her partway across a counter. She then lunged at her husband again with the knife and the man ran into the alley next to the store, where he collapsed.

Mrs. Lee then called the police, explaining that she and her husband had had trouble, and at the time did not know of the seriousness of her act.

When officers John Corr and Tony Majore arrived Lee was dying. He was rushed to the hospital, but according to reports had died before the place was reached.

Mrs. Lee was immediately arrested, and brought to Santa Cruz by Constable Devine and lodged in the county jail. District Attorney Smith had been called to Watsonville immediately after the tragic quarrel and obtained a statement from Mrs. Lee in which the woman admitted stabbing her husband, but claimed self-defense, as necessary at the time.

The police records in Watsonville show that the Lees had had difficulties before. Mrs. Lee appeared before the police court within the past three months with blackened eyes and asked for protection from her husband. General evidence from the apple city also indicates that they had had other squabbles in which fighting played a prominent part. They had been married about seven years and in that time had built up quite a business.

The inquest is being held by Coroner Congdon in Watsonville.

2. Newspaper: Santa Cruz Evening News: Defense Witness Springs Surprise in Lee Murder Trial: Wife Tellls Sordid Life Story To Jury", 21 Jan 1922, Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA. 3 When the Lee murder trail was practically closed in the superior court yesterday afternoon, the defense had a distinct advantage as a result of the unimpeached evidence submitted by the accused, Mary Lee, and as a result of the bombshell testimony of Fred Estrada.....
....Ray Duckworth, a brother of Mrs. [Mary] Lee said that he witnessed an attack made on his sister by [Frank E.] Lee in their store in Watsonville. He hit her and shoved her up against a counter. Duckworth went to his sister's assistance and was struggling with Lee in the back of the store when Officer Mann came in and separated them...

3. Newspaper: Evening News: "Mary Lee Declared Not Guilty On Murder Charge", 25 Jan 1922, Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA. 4 MARY LEE DECLARED NOT GUILTY ON MURDER CHARGE

Mary Lee, accused slayer of her husband, Frank Lee, in a stabbing affair that occurred in Watsonville on December 18, walked out of the superior court room last night a free woman, when the jury returned with a final verdict at 10:12, announcing the defendant not guilty. The court room was crowded when John Maher, foreman of the jury read the verdict, at the conclusion of which the defendant was surrounded by friends and relatives.

District Attorney Ralph H. Smith devoted much time to the closing argument and upon reconvening of the court at 7:30 last evening, resumed his plea for conviction and it was close on to 9 o'clock before the case was submitted and the jury given final instructions by Judge B. K. Knight. The latter, during the course of his instructions announced. there could be one of five verdicts rendered, first degree murder, death penalty; first degree with life imprisonment; second degree murder, 10 years and over; manslaughter, not more than 10 years; and not guilty.

In conducting the case for the defense, attorney Geo. W. Smith pleaded self-defense for his client, and this was not only manifested during all the cross-examination of witnesses, but in his argument he put forth the same reasons for the acquittal of his client, and advanced all his points, from facts based on testimony actually presented during the trial. Attorney Smith was ably assisted in the defense by Clay Seevers, of Watsonville.

4. Newspaper: Evening News: "Mary Lee Arrested In Watsonville On Charge Of Attempt To Commit Murder", 28 Nov 1924, Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA. 5 MARY LEE ARRESTED IN WATSONVILLE ON CHARGE OF ATTEMPT TO COMMIT MURDER

County police circles were stirred this morning when the news of a stabbing affray, which occurred in Watsonville during the early hours of this morning, was reported to the office of Deputy District Attorney Hall.

As a direct result of the brawl, Frank Rodriguez of Watsonville, is in the hospital with a serious gash in his back, presumably from a long, straight steel blade, and many other serious and minor cuts on other parts of his body, while Mary Lee, who was acquitted three years ago in the local superior court on the charge of murdering her husband, has been lodged in the Watsonville jail to await the filing against her of a complaint and warrant charging assault with intent to commit murder. Another complaint and warrant, drawn on the same same charge, is being prepared this afternoon charging John Doe, an unidentified Mexican, who has not as yet been apprehended, with assisting the Lee woman in the fight.

According to long distance advices to The News from the Watsonville Register this afternoon the brawl took place in front of a house at 34 Broadis street, near the home of Rodriguez. When the attention of near-by residents was called to the affair, the Mexican now sought by the police was fighting with Rodriguez on the sidewalk, when suddenly from an adjacent house, a woman, reported to be Mary Lee, was seen to run toward the scene of the melee with a shining object held her hand.

The three tussled for a few moments, after which Rodriguez was left wounded and bleeding on the sidewalk white .the other two disappeared.

From persons who glimpsed the affair but who were unable to render assistance before injury was done, descriptions of the woman were given the police which led to the arrest of Mary Lee by Officers Corr and Rooney early this morning.

According to Deputy District Attorney James A. Hall, the authorities of Watsonville have been from time to time recipients of complaints against the establishment conducted by Mary Lee during recent years. Her trial in Santa Cruz on charge of murdering her husband was one of the most bitterly fought in local court annals. Mr. Lee was found shot to death in his second-hand store as the result of a fight which occurred immediately preceding the fatality.

Mary married Frank Elmer Lee on 20 Feb 1915 in , Monterey, CA.1 (Frank Elmer Lee was born on 1 May 1879 in , , CA 1 6 7 and died on 18 Dec 1921 in Watsonville, Santa Cruz, CA 2 6.)


1 FamilySearch.org, California, County Marriages, 1850-1952, https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:KZ3F-1BV Frank E. Lee and Mary Duckworth, 20 Feb 1915; citing Monterey, California, United States, county courthouses, California; FHL microfilm 1,290,902.

2 Santa Cruz Evening News (Santa Cruz, California.), 19 Dec 1921, page 1.

3 Santa Cruz Evening News (Santa Cruz, California.), 21 Jan 1922, page 4.

4 Santa Cruz Evening News (Santa Cruz, California.), 25 Jan 1922, page 8.

5 Santa Cruz Evening News (Santa Cruz, California.), 28 Nov 1924, page 1.

6 Ancestry.com, California, Death Index, 1905-1939 (State of California. California Death Index, 1905-1939. Sacramento, CA, USA: State of California Department of Health Services, Center for Health Statistics.), https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QK91-YRJR Frank E Lee, 18 Dec 1921; citing certificate 49561.

7 United States World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918, https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:KZKW-ZX9 Frank Elmer Lee.

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