The root of the Incheon Lee Clan goes back to Lee Huh-geum at the 15th year of the reign of the King Hyeonjong of Goryeo Kingdom. The clan contributed to revivals of the kingdom for 130 years and fostered numerous preeminent figures over a thousand years. The offspring of the clan preserved the grave of the progenitor Lee Huh-geum alongside a shrine Won-Injae located on 322 Gyeongwon Main Street, Yeongsu District, Incheon Metropolitan City.
The Incheon Lee Clan is the offspring of King Suro of Geumgwan Gaya and his wife Heo Hwang-ok. Heo requires the second and the third princes of the 10 siblings to follow her surname. The Heo-ki then was the chief military general who went to Tang China as an envoy. Seeing Emperor Xuangzong of Tang in exile, he escorted the emperor at the risk of his life. Recognizing his valor, the emperor bestowed an emperor family name Lee and Heo-ki became Lee Heo-ki.
The offspring of Lee lived in Soseong and had Lee Huh-geum, who was a granddaughter of King Gyeongsun of Silla Kingdom, during the reign of the King Hyeonjong of Goryeo. The origin of the clan then shifted from Soseong to Gyeongwon to Inju to Incheon; the reason Incheon Lee Clan is also called Inju Lee Clan and Gyeongwon Lee Clan.
“Gimhae Kim Clan, Gimhae Huh Clan, Yangcheon Huh Clan, Hahyang Hug Clan and Incheon Lee Clan came from King Suro of Geumgwan Gaya. So they are linked” says Lee Hwa-ju, Secretary General of the Incheon Lee Clan Reunion.
The Incheon Lee Clan has produced many renowned people and among the living are former lawmaker Lee Young-gwon (honorary chairman of the reunion), former vice prime minister Lee Sang-ju, former home affairs minister Lee Dong-ho, and former Constitutional Court president Lee Jin-sung. Former president Kim Dae-jung and former prime minister Kim Jong-pil also came from Gimhae Kim Clan.
“There are about 5,000 family names in South Korea of which 280 have genealogy. But those who have preserved the grave of the progenitor are less than 5. In this respect, Won-Injae is a valuable historical asset that has embraced a thousand years of history.”
“The tombstone of Lee Huh-geum was damaged and the color became black with a lot of moss here and there. So we preserved it with white color. You can also see bullet marks of the Korean War on the tombstone.”
One of the factions of the Incheon Lee Clan is the Gongdogong Faction. The members of the Gongdogong Faction runs an ancestor education course at Oh-Chunjae shrine in Cheonan City every year by inviting 40 first year university students. The course is consisted of family tree and decorum and scholarship is given.
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