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Kenneth Mays
Town sign at Clifton, Idaho, birthplace of President Harold B. Lee.

Margaret Lee bore 11 children, none of which survived. Finally, her 12th child lived, but Margaret died. That surviving child was Samuel, father of another Samuel Lee. As a teen, the younger Samuel moved to southern Idaho where he met and married Louisa Bingham, mother of Harold Bingham Lee (see "The Presidents of the Church," edited by Leonard J. Arrington, page 346).

Kenneth Mays
Elementary school between Preston and Clifton, Idaho, named in honor of President Harold B. Lee.

Harold was born in the small town of Clifton, Idaho, on March 28, 1899. His childhood years were simple but meaningful. Harold once said “We had everything that money could not buy" (see "The Presidents of the Church," page 347). He had the opportunities for fun that other barefoot boys enjoyed, went to school and had enough to eat and an abundance of chores.

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He was ordained a deacon at age 10 and learned to play the family piano. Beginning in fall of 1912, Harold attended the Oneida Stake Academy in nearby Preston, Idaho. At the time of graduation, Harold participated in a tradition where seniors climbed the flagpole and kissed the colors. During the night, members of the junior class secretly took down the colors. “A grand fight followed which was finally stopped by officers” (see "Harold B. Lee: Prophet and Seer," by L. Brent Goates, page 48). It is of interest to note that a member of the junior class was a boy named Ezra Taft Benson.

Elder Harold B. Lee served in the Western States Mission from 1920-1922. A fellow missionary was Sister Fern Tanner, who would one day become his wife. She spent much of her time serving in Pueblo, Colorado. On one special occasion, Elder Lee was able to visit Nauvoo and Carthage, Illinois, with his mission president. That event had a deep affect on young Elder Lee.