Poplar Grove Farm

Lee Brockenbrough Fitzhugh

Lee was the first Fitzhugh at Poplar Grove Farm, beginning a 100 year legacy. He was a lawyer who struggled to make his own way. During the Depression he left his wife Sally and son John to operate Poplar Grove Farm while he lived in Alabama taking care of struggling family members.

Lee Brockenbrough Fitzhugh Table of Contents

Lee Brockenbrough Fitzhugh was the son of the Reverend George Stuart Fitzhugh and his wife, Mary Brockenbrough.

Lee studied law at the University of Maryland and Richmond College and University of Virginia. Licensed to pratice law in Oklahoma in 1913. Lee was a County Attorney and post master in Sand Springs, Oklahoma. He was a member of State Bar Associations of Oklahoma, Alabama, and Virginia and a member of the American Bar Association.

In November 1921, tragedy struck when Lee’s brother, George Collier Fitzhugh, completed suicide just three weeks after his marriage to Rosa Beverly Hunt of South Carolina.

In ??? Lee moved to Alabama to look after his father and two sisters in Alabama. I always heard that nephew Roland, son of sister Mary Elizabeth Fitzhhugh Padgett, was a deadbeat who frustrated Lee by his unwillingness to work and help the family. George S. Fitzhugh died in 1925, and sister Mary died in 1928. Brother Edward remained in Florida living in Sanibel Island on the property there.

1935??? Tragedy struck again when the home at Poplar Grove Farm, which had been built by John I French in about 1900, burned to the ground. The displaced family members lived in the granary until the new home could be completed. Sally Lou, who was too young to live rough and was underfoot, was sent to live with her Aunt “Eddie” Edna French Pilcher and her three daughters as the house was built. 17 year old John French Fitzhugh assembled the house out of wood milled from the farm and whatever doors and windows they could find. John had the assistance of a neighbor we believe to be Stanley Jones. Lee was in Alabama with his family and could not help, but the bookish Lee would probably not have been much help anyway.

Lee had been unwell for some time with Bright’s Disease. He continued to decline while in Alabama. Sick though he was, he walked home to Poplar Grove from Alabama/the train station?, and by the time he arrived he looked so bad the family barely recognized him. Little Sally Lou cried when the strange man tried to hug and kiss her, but she soon warmed up to her daddy, who dearly loved her.

Last moments

Lee died in the parlor of the new house at Poplar Grove Farm the young age of 51 of Bright’s Disease in 1936.

Lee’s daughter, Virginia, my grandmother, told me that the family knew he was poorly and so they sent her upstairs, worried she’d make a scene as her beloved daddy died. She went upstairs for a few minutes, but then crept back down a few stairs so she could be present as her daddy passed.