Paul Covington Gee

1887 – 1958

 

Paul Gee chauffeuring “Miss Dolly Dimples” in

an American Traveler automobile in Utah in 1909

Utah Historical Society

Paul Gee claimed that he had been born on August 21, 1887 at Stockville in Frontier County, Nebraska although some records say that he was born at Midland in Lancaster County, Nebraska.  He was the younger of two children born to Rev. William Sanford Gee (1847-1921 and his wife, Emeline Priscilla “Emma” (Covington) Gee (1845-1923).  He was married in April of 1911 at Gloucester, Massachusetts to Helen B. Lycett (1885-1961) and they were the parents of Frances Story Gee (1914-2010) and Janet Gee (Mrs. John Kirk “Jack” McWatters) (1920-2018).

 

In 1909, Gee accepted a job as chauffer for “Miss Dolly Dimples” in a publicity stunt for the American Motor Car Company and the fledgling Salt Lake Herald-Republican newspaper.

 

Paul Gee seems to have moved frequently during his lifetime.  He claimed his home as Cairo, Illinois in 1900 and Goldfield, Nevada in 1905 where he was working for $1,104 per year as a clerk for the U. S. Post Office Department.  After that time, his jobs were in various branches of the automobile business.  He became a dealer for Lexington automobiles in Kansas City, Missouri in 1910 but then moved to Lincoln, Nebraska later that year to open a “school of automobile instruction.”  Gee had moved to Omaha, Nebraska by 1912 where he managed a branch of the Brooke Automobile Company which was another Lexington automobile dealership.

 

Gee took up racing automobiles when he got a chance to drive a Stafford 90 owned by Albert Striegel of Kansas City, Missouri in the late summer and early fall of 1914.  With Striegel residing at Kansas City and entering the car in various races, sports writers assumed erroneously that Gee was from Kansas City as well.  Actually, he lived in Kansas City less than a year around 1910.

 

Paul Gee’s incomplete racing record:

 

September 1, 1914 – ½ mile dirt oval – Cloud County Fairgrounds at Concordia, Kansas

Car:  A Stafford 90 #9 owned by Albert Striegel from Kansas City, Missouri.

Total purse:  $350

Finish:  Gee finished 3rd in the feature race behind Glenn Breed of Chanute, Kansas who was driving his own 1909 Model 17 Buick and W. W. “Cockeye” Brown of Kansas City, Missouri who was driving his own Buick.     

Feature race winner:  Glenn Breed of Chanute, Kansas who was driving his own 1909 Model 17 Buick.

 

September 8, 1914 – ½ mile dirt oval – Ottawa County Fairgrounds at Minneapolis, Kansas

Car:  A Stafford 90 #9 owned by Albert Striegel from Kansas City, Missouri.

Total purse:  $350

Finish:  Gee finished 2nd in the feature race behind Glenn Breed of Chanute, Kansas who was driving his own 1909 Model 17 Buick.     

Feature race winner:  Glenn Breed of Chanute, Kansas who was driving his own 1909 Model 17 Buick.

 

September 9, 1914 – ½ mile dirt oval – Seneca Fairgrounds at Seneca, Kansas

Car:  A Stafford 90 #9 owned by Albert Striegel from Kansas City, Missouri.

Finish:  Gee won the 1st 3-car, 5-mile heat race over Grover Cleveland “Cleve” Willis of Hiawatha, Kansas who was driving a Maxwell 25.

             Gee won the 2nd 3-car, 5-mile heat race over Grover Cleveland “Cleve” Willis of Hiawatha, Kansas who was driving a Maxwell 25.

Feature race winner:  Paul Gee of Kansas City, Missouri who was driving a Stafford 90 #9 owned by Albert Striegel who was also from Kansas City, Missouri.

 

September 11, 1914 – ½ mile dirt oval – Seneca Fairgrounds at Seneca, Kansas

Car:  A Stafford 90 #9 owned by Albert Striegel from Kansas City, Missouri.

Finish:  Gee won the 1st 3-car, 5-mile heat race over Grover Cleveland “Cleve” Willis of Hiawatha, Kansas who was driving a Maxwell 25.

             Gee won the 2nd 3-car, 5-mile heat race over Grover Cleveland “Cleve” Willis of Hiawatha, Kansas who was driving a Maxwell 25.

Feature race winner:  Paul Gee of Kansas City, Missouri who was driving a Stafford 90 #9 owned by Albert Striegel who was also from Kansas City, Missouri.  Gee was named the “overall” winner of the races on this day.  [Note:  Grover Cleveland “Cleve” Willis sued Paul Gee of Kansas City, Missouri, in court at Seneca, Kansas and successfully collect his prize money.]

 

September 17, 1914 – ½ mile dirt oval – Madison County Fairgrounds at Norfolk, Nebraska – Sanctioned by the American Automobile Association (A.A.A.)

Car:  A Stafford 90 #9 owned by Albert Striegel from Kansas City, Missouri.

Attendance:  3,000

Finish:  Gee finished 2nd in the 20-lap feature race behind Erwin R. Bergdoll of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania was driving a Buick #16 owned by Hagey Rea of Lincoln, Nebraska.

Feature race winner:  Erwin R. Bergdoll of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania who was driving a Buick #16 owned by Hagey Rea of Lincoln, Nebraska.

 

September 26, 1914 – ½ mile dirt oval – Central Kansas Fairgrounds at Abilene, Kansas

Car:  A Stafford 90 #9 owned by Albert Striegel from Kansas City, Missouri.

Total purse:  $300

Attendance:  2,500

Finish:  Gee won the 1st 5-lap heat race in 6:16.75.

              Gee won the 2nd 5-lap heat race in 6:09.0.

  Gee won the 10-lap “Free-for-All” race.  2nd place went to Glenn Breed of Chanute, Kansas who was driving his own 1909 Model 17 Buick and 3rd place went to Dick Seip of Kansas City, Missouri who was driving a Speedwell automobile.  Glenn Breed of Chanute, Kansas claimed this was the 1st time that he had lost a race in Kansas when the driver who beat him was not driving another Buick.

Feature race winner:  Paul Gee of Kansas City, Missouri who was driving a Stafford 90 #9 owned by Albert Striegel who was also from Kansas City, Missouri.

  

October 9, 1914 – ½ mile dirt oval – Four-County Fairgrounds at Chanute, Kansas

Car:  A Stafford 90 #9 owned by Albert Striegel from Kansas City, Missouri.

Finish:  These races were postponed until October 10, 1914 due to rain.

  

October 10, 1914 – ½ mile dirt oval – Four-County Fairgrounds at Chanute, Kansas

Car:  A Stafford 90 #9 owned by Albert Striegel from Kansas City, Missouri.

Finish:  Gee lead the 1st 5-mile heat race for a time but that race was won by Dick Seip of Kansas City, Missouri who was driving a Speedwell automobile.

               Gee won the 2nd 5-mile heat race, finishing in front of the Speedwell being driven by Dick Seip of Kansas City, Missouri.

               Gee finished 2nd in the “Free-for-All” race behind Dick Seip of Kansas City, Missouri who was driving a Speedwell.

Feature race winner:  Dick Seip of Kansas City, Missouri who was driving a Speedwell automobile.

  

 

1915 photo

Detroit Free Press

This is the Stafford 90 (with a different car number on it) that Paul Gee drove for car owner Albert Striegel in the races they entered together in 1914.  The man sitting in the car in this photo has been identified as Albert Striegel who drove the car himself in races in 1915 and 1916.

Newspapers.com

Albert Striegel changed the number on his Stafford race car and drove it himself in the races that he entered in 1915 and 1916.

 

Paul Gee moved from Omaha, Nebraska to Detroit, Michigan in 1915 where he became wholesale manager for the L. J. Robinson Company which was a Chalmers automobile dealership.  He was living at Grand Forks, North Dakota from 1917 until 1920 where he sold REO Automobiles.  Gee then moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan later in 1920; Detroit, Michigan from 1930 to 1932; then to Cleveland, Ohio where he became a regional sales manager for the Dodge Brothers’ Motor Company.  He lived at Lakewood, Ohio from 1935 to 1940 and then Jacksonville, Florida where he and his wife purchased an interest in the Garden Court Hotel in 1941.  He must have liked Jacksonville as he continued to reside there for the remainder of his life.

 

Paul Gee passed away in July of 1958 at Jacksonville, Florida and is buried in the Evergreen Cemetery at Jacksonville.  His wife, Helen, passed away in 1961 and is buried beside him.

 

 

 

 

 Autograph signed in 1917