Alexander McKee

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Alexander McKee

Birthplace: Antrim, Ireland / Strathnaver, Scotland
Death: Died in Cumberland, Pennsylvania
Immediate Family:

Son of James Mackey of Strathnaver, Scotland
Husband of Marjory McKee; Elizabeth McKee and Catherine McKee
Father of Capt. Thomas McKee; Edward McKee and William McKee
Brother of John McKee and Hugh McKee

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About Alexander McKee

Alexander McKee, born about 1665, died 1740. lived in County Antrim, Ireland. Came to America and settled in Donegal, Lancaster County, prior to 1735. His son Thomas McKee was born in Ireland about 1695, and came to America with his father; and with them was Alexander, young son of Thomas. Thomas was a farmer and Indian trader. He died in Harrisburg in 1770 (actually 1769 as his son Alexander was his administrator when he appreared in Orphans Court, Dec 6, 1769) He married first in Ireland with issue. He married next an Indian woman, with issue. (As will appear elsewhere, James McKee was one of the children of this marriage, and since Mrs Fredrick in her American Revolutionary soldiers of Franklin County, Pennsylvania, opined that James McKee was in some way related to Hugh McKee, the latter and the son of the former, James McKee, Junior, having married Nesbitt sisters, it is the authors conclusion that Hugh McKee and James McKee, Sr were probably brothers, and sons of Thomas McKee of McKee’s Half Falls. Their half-brother (Colonel) Alexander McKee may have been from an Irish or Scot mother, one account having him born in Ireland circa 1720, although two other accounts say or imply Alexander was born in America. However, James McKee and Hugh McKee would have been borne by Thomas McKee’s second wife, a Shawnee girl; of course they could have been brothers of Thomas, as Alexander McKee Sr.’s will shows he had other children) Children of his Irish wife: Alexander, born in Ireland about 1720, died 1799. Alexander married an Indian woman with issue. Children by (Thomas McKees) second marriage: Catherine, married Greydon, issue: Elizabeth; Nancy; James born 1755, died 1834; married first an Indian woman, with issue; married second, Elizabeth Verner (1769-1809) with issue”.

In the above mentioned biographical sketch in American Biography - the statement is made that Thomas McKee’s father, who although unnamed in that particular sketch is named in the Eleanor Guthrie Reed papers reposing in the State Library at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, as Alexander McKee (a) died after engaging for 35 years in the fur-trading business with his son Thomas McKee ; and, (b) that Thomas McKee thereafter “continued the business at McKees half Falls, in what is now Snyder County Pennsylvania, where he established a trading store. He had his business at this place in 1742, although it is believed that he had established a branch of his father’s business there six years before his death”.

This would date the arrival of Alexander McKee and his son Thomas McKee in America circa 1707 (in the year 1707 three McKee brothers landed at Boston from Ireland. The descendants of one of them, Andrew McKee, who settled near Hartford, Connecticut, are detailed in the chapter McKee Septs and their Brief Genealogy herein. What is known of their arrival was written by a decendant Julius C. McKee, as follows:

“ My pedigree, as near as I know it, according to the traditions in our family, four generations back, as I have been informed by my father and Uncle Jason McKee. There were three brothers as my father says; two as Uncle Jason thinks. I think father is correct, as he was 16 or 17 years older and his memory very good. They came to America and landed at Boston.

The youngest, 16 years old, named Andrew McKee, or MacKee as it used to be written, settled in East Hartford, east of old Hartford City, in the state of Connecticut, about five miles from the city, and became a farmer, in 1707. It is supposed that the other brothers settled one in Virginia, the other in Kentucky. Andrew was born in the North of Ireland in 1691. His father was Scotch, a chief among them, my father says: his mother Irish. He live in America 58 years. He died September 24, 1765, aged 74 years, and was interred at Manchaster Center, Connecticut. Andrew had a first wife and a second wife and had children by both. I can only speak of three, Nathaniel and Joseph by first wife, John second wife.”) However, other accounts merely say the came before 1735, but one of them definitely states that Thomas McKee married in Ireland, and by his Irish wife had his first son Alexander, who was said to have been born in Ireland circa 1720. Thus it will be seenthat there is an uncertain gap of from 14 to 27 years between the two suggested dates of their arrival in this country, that is to say between te year 1707 amd say 1734, the latter to meet the condition “before 1735”.

2. Alexander McKee, the younger, who by one account was born in Ireland of an Irish mother, whom Thomas McKee is suppose to have married there, but who by another source of tradition is attributed to a Shawnee Indian mother whom Thomas married in America, rose to be a commanding figure in the frontier country. The following brief sketch of him came in a letter dated January 23, 1957, from Douglas Thurston Kee, Q.C., of Chatham, Ontario, Canada:

“ At Blenheim, Ontario, not far from Chatham, there is a memorial cairn known as the McKee Treaty Cairn. This commemorated the signing of a treaty with the Indians at Detroit in 1790 under which this part of the country was open for settlement. The Indian agent at Detroit, which was of course then still in British hands, was Colonel Alexander McKee, wand he was instrumental in arranging the treaty. This Colonel Alexander McKee was a very important man in his day, in this part of the country. For example, in 1788 when the District of Hesse was set up he was named one of the Judges of the Court of Common Pleas, and in the list of names suggested for first Executive Council for Upper Canada his name appears. He appears to have died in 1799 in Windsor, Canada. He had a son (and probably other children as well), who was Colonel Thomas McKee, who was also very prominent in the early history of this district.

This Colonel Thomas McKee was member of parlimant for Kent in 1796 and for Essex in 1801, they being counties in present Province of Ontario. One of his descendants, W.J. McKee, was long member of parliment for Essex , and the family generally played a very important part in Windsor’s early history for three or four generations. While at the moment I cannot put my finger on my authority, I am fairly certain that the original Colonel Alexander McKee came from Pennsylvania and was probably connected to your (RWM) family.

The first time I am in Toronto with a few minutes to spend, I’ll see if I can find anything out as to these McKees, in case you do not have a record of them. Strangely enough, when Chatham was laid out in 1795, town lots were granted to Colonel McKee and to Lieutenant Thomas McKee, his son, probably a case of land speculation, as they certainly lived in Windsor.”

As we gradually assemble what little is actually known of this extraordinary person Colonel Alexander McKee, we come slowly to realize that he was just what Douglas Thurston Kee described him as being, a very important man of his day. In good fortune and bad he seems to have held stedfast to his persuasions, and having commited no dishonorable acts he deserves our admiration as a thoroughly able and honorable man. _________________________________

Will of Alexander McKee, 1740 Pennsylvania Probate Records, 1683-1994

Lancaster, Wills 1730-1773 vol A-B

McKee Alexander, A, 45

(image 26 of 514)

In the name of God Amen the Twenty Seventh Day of May in this year of our Lord 1735 Alexander McKee of Donigall in the County of Lancaster, Gentleman Being very sick and weak of Body but of Perfect mind and memory thanks be to God therefore calling unto mind of mortality of my Body and knowing that it is appointed for all men once to Dye do make and ordain this my Last Will and Testament that is to say Principally and First of all I give and recommend my soul into the hands of God that gave it and for my Body I recommend it to the Earth to be Buried in a Christian Tysre and Decent manner at the Discretion of my Execcutor Nothing Doubting but at the Generall Resurrection I shall receive it again by the mighty Power of God. And as Touching such worldly Estates wherewith it hath Pleased God to Bless me in this Life I give Devise and Dispose of the same in ye following manner and form Item I give to my well beloved son Thomas McKee whom I Likewise Constitute make and ordain my only and sole Executor of this my Last Will and Testament all my worldly substance by him freely to be possessed and enjoyed by him, his heirs and assigns forever and I do hereby uterly disallow prevoke and disavaill all and any other former Testaments, wills, Legacies and Executors by me many ways before this time Named Willed and Bequesthed Ratifying and Confirming this and no Other to be my last Will and Testament in Witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand Seal the Day and year above written.

Signed sealed Published Pronounced and Declared by the said _____ as his) /s/

Last Will and Testament in the presence of us the Subscribers viz ) Alex'd. McKee (Seal)

John Mitchell, Samuel Chambers, Lazarus Lowrey, Thomas McKee )

LANCASTER CO.: May the twenty sixth anno dom. 1740 then personally appeared Lazarus Lowry and Thomas McKee, two of the witnesses to the within written will and on their oath did declare they were present and saw and heard Alexander McKee the Testator within named sign execute and pronounce the within will to be his Last Will and Testament and that at the Dome. thereof he was of sound and disposeing mind, Memory, and Understanding to the best of their knowledge. Before Sa: Blunston D Reg

BE IT REMEMBERED that on the 26th Day of May anno dom. 1740 the Last Will and Testament of Alexander McKee deced. ws proved in due form of Law and Probate and Letters Testamentary were granted unto Thomas McKee having first sworn well and truly to administer the said Deceds. Estate and bring an Inventory thereof into the Registers Office in Lancaster County on or before the 26th Day of June next and also to render an acct. when thereunto lawfully required given under ye Seal of the said Office. /s/ V.Sa. Blunston Dep. Regist.


He could be the same as Alexander William McKee Birth: between 1665 and 1668 Strathnaver, Scotland / Derry, Northern Ireland Death: 1740 North Ireland / Mckees Half Falls, Cumberland, PA

  • Son of James David Mackey and Margaret Patterson
  • Husband of Miriam Brown
  • Father of Robert Brown McKee; Jean McKee; Thomas McKee; William McKee; Patrick McKee John McKee and David McKee
But PLEASE  DO NOT MERGE till further  information is found.

On the founding of McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania

If the Delaware King Shingas became persona non grata in colonial McKee's Rocks so did Alexander McKee. McKee was a valued British Indian agent and guide who worked at Fort Pitt. Because of his valuable service, the British through Colonel Henry Bouquet, granted McKee 1,375 acres, twice the size of the current Borough. The grant read:

"By Colonel Bouqet, Commanding Officer in the Southern District, permission is hereby given to Alexander McKee, assistant agent for Indian Affairs, to occupy and build upon land at the mouth of the Surtee's Creek (Chartiers), on the south side of the Ohio."

McKee built a substantial house 200 yards from the mouth of the creek in the area of River Road. George Washington dined here in 1770 and refers to the house as a "Mansion" with eight rooms. This first venerable structure existed until 1902 when the P&LE, which had used it as an office from 1886, tragically burned it. Interestingly, Washington also refers to "Chartiers Creek" in his diary indicating the name was commonly used by early visitors.

Trouble for McKee came during the Revolutionary War. He was a staunch British supporter and spy and was forced to flee his home in 1778 when soldiers at Fort Pitt were sent out to arrest him.

James McKee assuemd the title to his borther's lands and historians believe that the name, McKee's Rocks, can be attributed to early settlers at the Point referring to this area of the Indian Mound and McKee's mansion as such. His descendants lived in this area for more than 125 years.


FAIRVIEW TOWNSHIP was also one of the original townships in this [Erie] county, and its first settlement seems to be, so far as can be ascertained, that of Francis Scott in 1797. But the real activity towards the settlement of this section arose from the organization and activities of the Harrisburg and Presque Isle Company, organized at Harrisburg July 25, 1796, by ten men putting up 200 pounds each (about $1,000) to form capital to be used in exploiting lands at and near Erie. 

Three of these men were Thomas Forster, Captain Richard Swan, and William Kelso, who were natives of Paxtang, and may have been some of those famous "Paxtang Boys" who so mistakenly attacked a peaceful community of Indians.

This company bought a considerable amount of lots and tracts at the Carlisle sale Aug. 3 and 4, 1796, including a large section in Fairview Township. Colonel Forster, for the company, built the first grist mill in the county in 1798, and the second saw-mill in 1797, at the mouth of Walnut Creek, later called Manchester.

Captain Swan brought his family here in 1802 and settled near the lake at Walnut Creek, where he rented and operated the company's mills, and a log tavern built by the company also near the mills, of peeled hemlock logs.

Colonel Forster and Captain Swan, when approaching the lake, came out on the high bluff and first beheld a clear view of the expanse of blue water, when the former is said to have exclaimed, "This is the fairest view I have seen yet", and the place was named forthwith. Here in the old log tavern was held the first church services in the western part of the county, resulting in the erection about 1810 of the first church building west of Erie in this entire section.

Amongst those coming in later were,

  • John and George Nicholson, John Kelso, Patrick Vance, ALEXANDER, JOHN and PATRICK McKEE, William Sturgeon, Jeremiah Sturgeon, and William Haggerty, in 1797;
  • John Dempsey, in 1798;
  • Thomas Kennedy, James Moorhead, and Thomas MeCreary, in 1800;
  • S. F. Gudtner, William and James Arbuckle, of Maryland, and Joseph M. Kratz, a Frenchman, in 1802;
  • Jacob Ebersole, in 1801;
  • James Ryan, in 1805;
  • Rev. Johnston Eaton, in 1806,
  • all followed by John Caughey, Samuel McCreary, Moses Barnett, Arthur Oney, John Silverthorn, son of James who located in Girard about 1801,
  • David Russell, Samuel P. AlIen, Daniel Bear and Andrew Sturgeon.
    This original township has been largely reduced by the formation of a part of Girard Township out of it in 1832. Its population in 1820 was 536.

SOURCE: Reed, John Elmer HISTORY OF ERIE COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA Topeka - Indianapolis: Historical Publishing Co., 1925 CHAPTER XXX, TOWNSHIPS. Accessed online @

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Alexander McKee's Timeline

Antrim, Ireland / Strathnaver, Scotland
Age 18
Antrim, Antrim, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom
Age 18
Antrim, Ulster, Ireland
Age 30
Antrim, Ireland
Age 30
Antrim, Ulster, Ireland
Age 35
Downton, Ireland
May 1740
Age 75
Cumberland, Pennsylvania