land. He was in the editor’s chair when the
causeway opened, 23 years later, in 1871.
Lee published overseas news, weeks after
the event, cribbing most of it from foreign
newspapers arriving on ships, and from first-
hand accounts of ships’ crews.
He published reports of parliamentar-
ian proceedings, court cases and news from
Dockyard to St. George’s, much of it filed by
The work was long and laborious: he wrote
editorials, set type and trained apprentices.
The four-page paper was set on manual type
by candlelight. The position of King’s printer,
abolished during the early twentieth century,
gave him the right to use “royal” in the newspaper’s title. Lee also ran a stationery store—as
the Gazette’s parent company does today—
and published an annual almanac.
Lee, who had a strong work ethic and took
few vacations, settled in Bermuda permanent-
ly. He married Anne Lightbourn and had nine
children, five of whom lived to adulthood.
He was on the job until two weeks before
his death. He had started work on the January
30, 1883, edition when he took sick. Upon his
death, The Royal Gazette paid tribute, saying
he was “a man of practical ideas, and endeav-
oured to get at the reason of things. He was at
once Editor, foreman, and journeyman.”
A subsequent obituary published two weeks
later said his long tenure as editor was unusual,
“if not altogether unequalled anywhere.” Lee
was succeeded by his son Gregory Vose Lee,
whose death in 1898 brought an end to the
Lee connection with the Gazette. The Gazette
became a bi-weekly paper in 1900. In 1911,
it stepped up publication to three times a
week. In 1921, it merged with the Colonist to
become a daily.
Somehow, despite his relentless work sched-
ule, Lee found the time to put the story of his
harrowing journey to Bermuda on paper. It
was published several months after his death.
These days, his name is familiar to few, but Mid-Ocean News founder S.S. Toddings was a legendary and multifaceted newsman. A gifted editor, he was also
a member of parliament and a church organist,
first at St. Peter’s, and following his conversion
to Catholicism, at St. Theresa’s in Hamilton.
He was born in St. David’s in 1847, and ac-
cording to historian and former Royal Gazette
editor William Zuill, his black ancestry was an
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