Henry David Lee (December 9, 1849 – March 15, 1928) was the founder of the HD Lee Mercantile Company, inventors of Lee Jeans.
He was born in 1849 in Vermont and attended school in South Tunbridge, he moved to Galion, Ohio, in 1862 where he worked as an hotel clerk and parlayed livery and real estate investments into the purchase of Central Oil Co. of Galion.
Early successes in the oil industry coupled with advice from his doctor (he was tubercular) to head west, Lee moved on to Salina Kansas in 1889 and setup the H.D. Lee Mercantile Co. soon becoming the major food distributor between Kansas City and Denver. Later the product range was expanded to include Sales of notions, furnishings, stationery and school supplies. Later the H.D. Lee Mercantile Co. would solve workwear supply problems by taking matters into its own factory and hence the Lee Jeans brand was born.