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Lee County was established on October 26, 1866, and named for Robert E. Lee,General in Chief of the Armies of the Confederate States. It was carved from Itawamba and Pontotoc; therefore, the record and list of pioneers mentioned in those counties embrace a great number who were residents of what is now Lee. In 1925 L. Q. Ivy, an African-American was accused of rape in New Albany. The Sheriff transported him to Lee County, where they turned him over to a mob who burned him to death.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 453 square miles (1,170 km2), of which 450 square miles (1,200 km2) is land and 3.2 square miles (8.3 km2) (0.7%) is water.
There were 29,200 households out of which 36.10% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.60% were married couples living together, 14.60% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.70% were non-families. 25.00% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.50% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.55 and the average family size was 3.05.
In the county, the population was spread out with 27.70% under the age of 18, 8.50% from 18 to 24, 30.50% from 25 to 44, 21.80% from 45 to 64, and 11.50% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females, there were 92.30 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.50 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $36,165, and the median income for a family was $43,149. Males had a median income of $31,039 versus $22,235 for females. The per capita income for the county was $18,956. About 10.50% of families and 13.40% of the population were below the poverty line, including 17.90% of those under age 18 and 15.50% of those age 65 or over.
Lee County has the ninth highest per capita income in the State of Mississippi.