Robert “Lee” McComb was born in San Francisco, California on March 24, 1868. His maternal grandparents were a prominent Southern family, and he was named in honor of General Robert E Lee.
Lee spent his youth living in Memphis, Tennessee. Later, the family moved to New York State where he attended Troy Academy and later Cornell University. He was a member of Zeta Psi, baseball director for his freshman class, and stroke of the varsity four-oared crew. This crew won the Downing Cup at Philadelphia on July 4, 1888, defeating Pennsylvania, the Tritons of Newark, the Ariels of Baltimore, and the New York Rowing Club, in a race of 1 ½ miles.
Although he was enrolled in the class of 1891, Lee left school early to study art in Paris, France. He exhibited his many landscapes in the Salon in France until his return to the US.
Lee married Louise Mandon, circa 1891. He brought her and their three children back to the US around 1904, along with many of his paintings. His family settled in Roanoke, Virginia and he continued painting, as his occupation is recorded as an artist in official death records.
Lee McComb passed away in West Virginia on November 10, 1920 from probable heart failure at the age of 52.
Family Bible preserved by descendants
Shelby County, Tennessee federal census records 1870, 1880
Roanoke County, Virginia federal census records 1910
Cornell University alumni records
Cabell County, West Virginia Death Register, 1920
Submitted by Kate McComb, great-granddaughter