McKee Family Matters
#14 MacKay Correction/James McKee of Kentucky

This page is dedicated to the McKee name and all those who are interested in news on our heritage, backgrounds, family stories, letters, and anything that might be sent this way to share with other McKees from around the world. I have been asked to do something like this, and time permitting, and with interest and input, I will endeavor to pass along information that I and others run across that would be interested in sharing.

This newsletter is dedicated to James McKee of Montgomery County Kentucky as related by Mary B. McKee Gifford (Book of McKee). Also a correction regarding the history of the surname McKee-pasted from e mail received from Beth K.

McKee Family Tales of Pioneer Days in Kentucky.

"My father, James McKee, was the son of James McKee and Sarah Wilkerson of Montgomery County, Kentucky. He was born June 14, 1846. His father died when he was sixteen years old. When he was twenty he married my mother, Elizabeth Hensley, daughter of James Hensley of Kiddville, Clark County, Kentucky".

"Grandmother McKee was the youngest child. Her mother came to Kentucky with Daniel Boone and settled in September 1775 at Boonesborough. Grandmother was born July 23rd 1804".

"When Grandfather McKee was twenty-six years old he married my grandmother, who was then eighteen years old. Grandfather was born Sept. 4, 1796. They had twelve children. They were married November 10, 1822".

"Grandfather for years was a member of the House of Representatives of teh State of Kentucky, and later became a Senator. While attending to state affairs and other business that took him away from the farm, Grandmother managed with the help of slaves".

"The first log cabin in the state was built by Grandfather and a brother. When it was built of where I do not know, but I have a picture taken of it at the time it was being torn down. Judge Henry Clay McKee, my uncle, and his son Reid are in the picture".

"My father used to tell us tales his mother related about her own mother and the early days. In those times just a bear skin was hung over the doorway to keep out the cold. It was nothing unusual for a bear to come hunting food, which meant someone had to throw out a large piece of meat. At other times a bear would get into the molasses barrel and have a sweet meal. Those were in the days when the Indians were still about and causing trouble for the settlers. When Indians were known to be coming, the men would ride to their appointed points to warn other designated folk, while the women would gather up the children, put some provisions in a poke, get on a horse, and start for the fort. On one such an occasion Grandmother had several children, some in front and some behind on the horse. They started off over the narrow path through the woods. On the way she saw a bear tearing and eating a lamb on the path. The horse became frightened, so she dismounted and told the children to shut their eyes and not to look back, but to keep on to the fort, as she might have to wait there for a while. She talked to her horse to calm him then led him towards the bear. When she got there the bear stepped aside and they were able to pass without any trouble".

Grandfather McKee's participation in public affairs caused him to spend a great deal of time in Frankfort, Kentucky, the state capital. Several times he had tried to persuade Grandmother to go with him to attend the inauguration and the Governor's Ball. Finally, she consented to go. When she came down the stairs of the hotel that night for dinner she was horrified to see the women in their decollette gowns and announced right then and there that she would not sleep under the same roof with such indecent women! So she ordered her horse and started back to the farm that very night".

"In those days the men used to sit up at night and play cards, sipping on their bottles of whiskey or brandy. One night Grandmother was awakened by loud talking so she got up, lighted her candle and came down to see what was the trouble. She gathered up the cards and threw them in the fireplace, then ordered them off to bed saying "for shame". Not another card in this house, since brother quarrel over a game. She was small and never weighed a hundred pounds, but she was mighty".

It was customary in those days for someone who could to attend a neighbor during childbirth. Grandmother was quite expert at this, so they said. Often when folk were ill and needed someone to sit up with them at night the neighbors would go and take turns helping out. It was on such an errand of mercy one night that Grandmother went to stay with an old gentleman who was very ill, bloated with gas. To set his mind at ease she announced to him in her forthright manner, "Brother William, just pass your air freely as there's more room out than in"."

One cold spring day while it was maple-sugar-camp time and everybody in the neighborhood was needed to lend a hand, Grandmother went with the others to the camp to do her part. However, it was not long before labor pains started. She knew she must get back to the cabin, so she picked up two buckets of syrup and started the long walk back. It was a mile or more. She got just into the yard when the baby came, so she took off her flannel petticoat and wrapped it around the baby. THen she drew a bucket of water from the well, went in and built a fire to heat some water, and took care of herself. It was noon when the men came in and found both her and the baby resting comfortably".

"My mother was a girl of sixteen when she first went to live with the McKees as a bride. She had been raised in a little country community but not on a farm, so she had many hard lessons to learn about farm life. She admitted that at first she shed many tears, but soon learned to love Grandmother McKee because of her sterling qualities, including courage and good sense. Mother said she was never idle a minute. She wore large pockets in her long black dresses, and in them she always carried some work to be done for sitting-down periods. Even when preparing a dinner over the open fire she would take out her knitting and go to work. She taught her children how to knit and my father taught my mother how to knit sox for him".

Going way back now to Grandmother McKee's and Grandfather's courting days it was a known fact that he carried her shoes for her until after they crossed a little creek on their way to church, then she would allow him to put them on for her. Shoes were priceless in those days and few had them".

Our ancestors had character, integrity, and were good people. I am proud to be a McKee because what I have known about them has been an inspiration to me. I hope my children and their children too will take some pride in having such fine ancestors".

Correction-Book of McKee-MacKays of Scotland pg 233

I paste a correction which is explained and provided nicely by Beth. I have corrected this on the page I published on MacKay research as well (on my homepage)

Hi Kevin, Been awhile but I have Dr Black's article and lost your address until I saw your website so thought I should email rather than rely on the post office. This article is in correction of Raymond McKee's Book of McKee description in which the typo error of the name McKas should be McKaa. Dr George Fraser Black, 1866 to 1948 wrote "The Surnames of Scotland, Their Origin, Meaning, and History" . Refer to page 522 of his book. MACKAY, Mackie, Maccay. G. MacAoidh, "son of Aodh," q.v. Nothing certain is known of the origin of the northern Mackays beyond the fact that they were early connected with Moray, and may have been a part of the ancient Clann Morgunn. The Inverness-shire Mackays are usually called in Gaelic Mac Ai, that is, MacDhai, or Davidson; they formed a branch of Clan Chattan (Skene, Highlanders, p. 421). In 1326 there is entry of a payment by Gilchrist M'Ay, progenitor of the MacKays of Ugadale, to the constable of Tarbert (ER.,I.p. 53, and intro., p. lxxiv). Gilchrist Mac ymar McAy had a confirmation from Robert I of certain lands in Kintyre, to be held by him and his son, a minor, also named Gillichreist or Gilcrist, granted at Mayreth (Monreith) in Galwida. a. 1329 (RMS., 1, App. 1, 99). Odo Macidh was canon of Argyll, 1433 (Pap. Lett.,V111, p. 468). Several payments were made to Robert Makgye (Macgye, Macye, M'Gy, Makgy, Magy), the king's jester between 1441-50 (ER.,v). Gilnew McCay was tenant of Arskynnel Beg in Kintyre, 1506 (ER., x11, p. 707), and Niniane Makke and George McKe of Myretoun are mentioned in 1538 (RSS., 11, 642). Patrick McKe was burgess of Wigtown, 1575 (RPC., 11, p. 503), and Daniel M'Cay was retoured heir of Iver M'Cay of Arnagiae and Ughaddell and in the office of coronator "insulae et limitum de North Kintyre," 1662 (Retours, Argyll, 71). Percy Wallace MacKaye (b. 1875),an American dramatist and poet. The unique Gaelic charter of 1408 was granted by Donald, lord of the Isles, to Brian Vicar Mackay of Islay (facsimile in Clan Donald, 1, opp. p. 1). In islay and in a lesser degree in Kintyre the a of Mac is prolonged, the c becoming prefixed to the surname, thus MacAoidh becomes MacCaidh on the east side of the island next to Kintyre, MacCaoidh in the middle as at Laggan. It is MacAoidh in the Rhinns. M'Akie 1559, McCa, McCaa, McKa, and McKaa all 1684, MacCey 1719, MacIye 1781, Mackai 1619, Maickie 1600, McKeiy 1618, Makhe 1538, Makie 1558, Mackkye 1588, Makkcee 1506, Makkie 1600, M'Ky 1663, Maky 1513, Makky 1567, Meikkie c. 1649; Makcawe, McCei, Mackaw, Makay, M'Kee, McKey, Mckeye, Makkay, Makkaye, Makkey, Makee, Makkee, Macky, McKy, McKye. On page 523 is the following: MACKEE. A variant form of Mackay, q.v. John M"Kee was servant to John de Crauforde in 1460 (Friars Ayr, p. 50), and Patrick Makkee had a grant of half the lands of Dunguild, Bute, in 1506 (RMS., 11 2987). A man named Lang Mc ke was taken furth of the "stokkis" where in he had been placd by Simon McCristin, sheriff-depute in Wigtoun, 1(Trials, 1, p. *89). Above in the first description is where the correction of McKaa needs to be made. In Raymond McKee's book, the McKaa is listed as McKas and I am sending a copy of the article to you at your address listed with the website. I hope this . We need to correct the typo error. Thanks, Beth K

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