About William McKee, Colonel
He married 2nd his cousin 19 Jan. 1801 Harrodsburg, Merer, Ky. Jenennett (Jean) Hamilton Davis widow of Col. Joseph Davies dau. of ROBERT HAMILTON and MARGARET MCKEE. She was born April 07, 1746 in ,Lancaster Co., Pa., d. Nov 1806 Mercer co.Ky.
Wm. McKee qualified Lieutenant of Militia , AUGUST 16, 1763.
He was Lt. and Capt. Va. Militia in 1776, at Battle of Point Pleasant. House of Delegates 1777-9 and 1787-94. Justice of Peace for Rockbridge co., Va., 1778. Soldier at Braddock's defeat. Sheriff of Rockbridge co., Va., 1781. Appointed Col. of Rockbridge co., Va., 1785 and resigned 5 Apr. 1796. Resigned as commissioner of Land tax 6 Jan. 1786. In 1781 he was a pioneer on Gilbert's Creek, he built the McKee house at Lancaster, Ky. in 1804. He voted for the ratification of the constitution of the United States in 1788.
Old Monmouth and Its Times By. J. D. Morrison No. X COLONEL WILLIAM MCKEE Colonel McKee was one of the most active and liberal contributors towar ds the building of the old church. He gave of his time and means both without stint. He was n ot one of the Kerrs creek McKees, but was born in Rockingham and removed to Rockbridge and lived on the west side of Brushy Hill on a place afterwards owned by Dr. Baxter. He held vario us offices of honor and trust. He was a member of the convention of 1788, sheriff of the coun ty and trustee of Washington college. He was a soldier and fought under General Andrew Lewis at Point Pleasant, and was a member of Washingtons Continentals at Braddocks defeat. He removed to Kentucky in 1816 and died there at the age of eighty-four years. His grandson was the Colonel McKee that was killed at the head of one of the two famous Kentucky regiments that fought at Buena Vista, the other regiment losing its Colonel Hardin and its Lieutenant-Colonel Clay at the same time.
Captains Wounded - Matthew Arbuckle, William Christian, John Dickson, James Harrod, ______ Herbert, Joseph Hayne s, Benjamin Harrison, John Lewis, John Lewis 2nd, _____ Lockridge, _____ Love, William McKee , Samuel McDowell, Alexander McClanahan, George Matthews, William Paul, _____ Paulin, James Robertson, William Russell, John Stewart, John Skidmore, Evan Shelby, William Shelby, _____ Slaughter, I. Skidmore, Daniel Smith, James Ward, Samuel Wilson
1. Judith Elaine (McKee) Burns, Descendants and Ancestors of Joseph Howe McKee of Owen County, Indiana (McKee's of Virginia, Kentucky and Indiana, The (Transcript), Judith Elaine (McKee) Burns,
2 . George Wilson McKee, McKees of Virginia and Kentucky, the, Pittsburgh, J. B. Richards, 1891, pg. 60-79. " Colonel William McKee.
OF ROCKBRIDGE COUNTY, Va. SON OF ROBERT, THE PIONEER.
William McKee, son of the Pioneer, Robert, was born in 1732. He must therefore have been about six years of age when lie came to America with his father from County Down, Ireland. Some of the McKees state that he was born in the Shenandoah Valley, but I think that is a mistake, and that at the age of five or six years he came with his father to Lancaster, Pa. The traditions of the family are that he was at Braddock's defeat with his father, and that lie held some commission or appointment in the English Army or forces in America, previous to the American Revolution. He, however, with the great majority of the Scotch-Irish joined, in the Rebellion against the English Government in the war of Independence.
Col. William McKee was appointed Colonel of Rockbridge County, Va. in 1785. William McKee, brother of Miriam McKee never held a military commission. He was a combative man, hot-tempered, genial and generous.
Mr. Varner writes: "A gentleman informed me recently, that he had it from Mrs. Margaret McKee Carson (born 1791) that Capt. McKee's Company in the Indian wars (at Pt. Pleasant?) had 67 men on the roll, not one of whom stood less than six feet in his moccasins and every one of whom had a Deckhard rifle.
"The Valley McKees turned out some good Presbyterian ministers several excellent civil engineers, and a score or more of fine soldiers. They belonged to all branches of the service and they shed their blood on every battle-field in Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania for the Confederacy. Two yielded up their lives on the " bloody steeps" of Gettysburg, and fill unknown and unmarked grave. Not one ever deserted the cause he thought righteous, and at roll call, on the eve of battle, like old Col. Newcomb when he was about to die, every man with a drop of McKee blood in his veins, answered. " Adsum."
"Their name are synonimous with virtue, integrity, exalted courage and fervent piety. What more need the world ask for? What more can it command of its children? Before the war they were all ardent, uncompromising Whigs, and they were all strong, Union-loving people, until Mr. Lincoln madea requisition on their Governor for troops in 1861, when they cast their fortunes with their State. Mrs. Berry says her grandfather, William MeKee,[he was the brother of Miriam McKee and first cousin and brother-in-law of col. Wm. McKee, colonel commandant of Rockbridge] was the first sheriff of Rockbridge County, after its formation in 1778. and was about five years old;it the time of the death of his mother, Jane Logan McKee.
" The Logans were tall, sparely-built people, with black hair and eves, and complexions inclined to sallowness. The McKees were tall. well proportioned people, with reddish, bushy hair, shaggy brows and small piercing blue or gray canny eves.
" In the course of my investigations I came across a deed from colonel McKee for his farm near Lexington to Joseph Patton. I quote these words: 'This indenture made the fifth day of April, one thousand seven hundred and ninety-six, between William McKee and Miriam, his wife, of the one part, and Joseph Patton. of the other part, both of the CoUnty of Rockbridge, etc' Then follows the certificate of the county Clerk, stating that they (Colonel McKee and hi- wife) appeared in Court, 'and the said Miriam having been privily examined, voluntarily relinquished her dower in the land'.
"I merely touch this matter to prove that it was your great-grandfather [In my investigations and correspondence with Mr. Varner I got Col. William McKee, the Colonel Commandant, confused with his first cousin and brother-in-law, William McKee, who, according to his descendant, Mrs. Berry, was the first Sheriff of Rockbridge County. But it will be seen that Mr. Varner was entirely right, and the mistake was altogether on my part. Dr. John Lapsley McKee says in his statement under head of "Accounts from Different Sources," which occurs further on : "Some confusion as to the date of my grandfather, William McKee's moving to Kentucky, has arisen from the fact that he visited the State at least once before he moved.'" Mr. Varner says: " The appearance of Col. McKee in Court to resign his commission in April, 1796. may be explained. His presence in Virginia at that time might have been due to business requirements. His father-in-law was dead and his brother-in-law, John McKee, who died unmarried and intestate, and who owned considerable and valuable lands, may have made the visit to Virginia necessary, his wife being one of his heirs." ] who resigned his commission as Colonel of the County on the same davand year this deed was acknowl edged in Court."
"Recently, in examining the records of Rockbridge County, I came across some entries that may. perhaps, interest you: On September 4. 1781, William McKee qualified as Sher iff of Rockbridge County. He was commissioned by His Excellency, Thomas Nelson, Esq., Governor, under the seal of the Common wealth, August 10, 1781. His bond was fixed at £1,061,500 a fabulous sum even in Continental money ! On the same date Samuel Wallace and William McKee produced their commissions in Court from Governor Nelson, appointing them Lieutenant Colonel and Major, respectively, of the county, 'and qualified thereto according to law.'
It is a little singular that our great-grandfathers were thus associated more than a century ago. The male line of my mother's people were nearly exterminated through the casualties of battle, or by disease, during the Revolution. samuel Wallace had four brothers, all of whom were officers in the regular Continental army. Lieutenant Hugh Wallace died in hospital in Philadelphia; Lieutenant Malcolm Wallace died of fever, contracted in the trenches before Boston : Captain Andrew Wallace was killed at the battle of Guilford; and Captain Adam Wallace was butchered by Tarleton's fierce troopers in the affair at Waxhaw, South Carolina.
" The last named belonged to the Tenth Virginia Continental Line. Colonel Buford (progenitor of your Kentucky Bufords).
"January 4. 1785, William McKee, Colonel of the County of Rockbridge, produced his commission in Court (from Governor Patrick Henry) and qualified thereto according to law." ["'Note: Colonel Samuel McDowell having emigrated to Kentucky, and Lieutenant Colonel Wallace having died, Andrew Moore was appointed Lieutenant Colonel, and Major William McKee "jumped"' to the Colonelcy of the regiment."]
"June 6, 1786: William McKee resigned the office of Commissioner of the Land Tax. and here is another coincidence. My brother, Andrew Wallace Varner. now holds this office. He commanded a company (Twenty-seventh Virginia Infantry. Stonewall Brigade) at Get- tysburg, and lost an arm and was otherwise badly wounded in the charge on Culp's Hill.
'April 5, 1796: William McKee, Colonel Commandant of this County, appeared in Court and resigned his commission.
"After this date I can find no mention of Colonel McKee. Could he have removed to Kentucky as late as 1796? [He removed to Kentuckty about 1790] His wife died October 3, 1796, and it would seem he ten- dered his resignation while here on business. I find that at that time ' a rifle company,' 'a grenadier company.' and 'a light horse troop." composed part of the military estab lishment of the county. There seems to have been no artillery company. I have two old books, one of them Dr. Campbell's account of the ' Battle of Point Pleasant/ and the other Wither's 'Border Warfare' in which frequent and always honorable mention is made of your great grandfather. 'Border Warfare' was found in the attic of M__ 's old home, and doubtless belonged to some of the older Mc- Kees. If you have not met with them I will loan them to you.
"When I wrote yon that Colonel William McKee had voted in the Virginia Convention of 1788, for the ratification of the Constitution, I merely stated what I had always heard from well informed people. I find, on refer- ring to my copy of the 'Debates and other Proceedings' of that Convention, that Colo nel McKee, along with Henry Lee, ('Light Horse Harry,' and father of General R. E. Lee,) Edmund Pendleton, Governor Randolph, John Marshall, James Madison and George Wythe, voted for ratification; while Alexander Robertson, with Patrick Henry, William Grayson, James Monroe and George Mason voted against ratification. The vote was: yes, 89; noes, 79. So yon will see that while your great-grandfathers were honest in their views, and differed on this question, both were in 'mighty good company.'
" Col. McKee and General Moore were elected delegates from this county because thev were in favor of ratification. As the sessions of the" convention wore on, the fiery eloquence of Patrick Henry seems to have brought about a change in the sentiments of the Rockbridge people. A large public meeting was held at the Court Mouse in Lexington, at which a resolution was adopted Instructing the dele gates from this county to vote against ratifica tion. As will be seen, thev refused to obev these instructions, and they did righl in my opinion. This is a piece of unwritten county history. I have often thought that this convention was the ablest, most experienced, respectable and sagacious assemblage of men ever held in the United States. This is saying a great deal. " Light Horse Harry Lee's speech, in reply to Patrick Henry' great and splendid effort, is the finest thing I ever read."
Col. William McKee was twice married. His second wife was a widow. Mrs. Davis, who was related to him by blood. Miss Jeanie D. McKee writes: He removed to Kentucky about the year 1792. settling in what was then Lincoln County, hut which was afterward included in Garrard County. He brought with him to Kentucky some negroes, four men and one woman, that my father can remember and a white convict, Peter Wiggison, who, after serving the time of his sentence, continued to live with the family. Peter's duties do not appear to have been onerous, consisting mainly in winding up the tall clock every Sunday morning, and entertaining your father and my father with wonderful yarns.
" These two brothers spent a good deal of time with their grand-father, who taught them both to read. Although kind, he was a strict disciplinarian, and such a devout Presbyterian that lie would never entertain anybody on Sunday. If people went to his house on Sunday, he gave them something to read while he himself read the Bible. He always asked a blessing at table, but was frequently compelled to stop in the midst of it to admin ister reproof to my father,[Hon. George R. McKee] who was disposed to take meat before grace.
" William McKee had the broadest Scotch accent and certainly made the impression upon those who remember him of being thoroughly Scotch.
"The record in the Bible is in my Grand- father's [Hon. Samuel McKee] writing. I copy a few of the notices which may he of interest to you. There seems to he a slight discrepancy in some of the dates. I think that William McKee must have been in the 34th and not the 31st year of his age, at the time of his marriage.
" William McKee and his cousin, Miriam McKee, were married the 20th of May, 1766, in the 31st year of his age and the 19th year of her age. Robert McKee, father of William, who was father of Samuel, departed this life, in Rockbridge County, Va., dune 11th, 1766, aged 82. Grandmother Agnes McKee, wife of Robert, departed this life at the same place, January 29th, 1780. in the 80th year of her age. ” John McKee, mother's father, departed this life March 2d. 1792. in the 84th year of his age. â€” William McKee, father, departed this life the 11th day of October, 1816, in the 84th year of his age. Miriam McKee, mother, departed this life, October 3d, 1796, in Lincoln County. Ky., in the 50th year of her age.
"I enclose a little sketch of Grandfather McKee's life, as there may be some facts with which you are not familiar. I regard it as a serious misfortune that his correspondence with Harrison and Calhoun should have been destroyed. It would make particularly interesting reading at the present time, besides being a valuable addition to the history of the country.
" The correspondence was voluminous. Grandfather's opinions seem to have had great weight with both men, and his advice was frequently sought by Gen'l Harrison.'
The following extracts are taken from the " Catalogue of the ( Officers and Alumni of Washington and Lee University, Lexington, Virginia, 1740-1888:
Page 9. "In April, 1775, the Presbytery resolved that as guardians and directors, finding that they cannot of themselves forward subscriptions in a particular manner, they do, for the encouragement of the Acad- emy, recommend it to the following gentlemen to take in subscriptions, in their behalf, viz.: The Rev. Mr. Cumming, Col. Wm. Pres ton, and Col. Wm. Christian, in Fincastle (County): Col. Lewis. Col. Fleming and Mr. Lockart, in Botetourt; on south side of James River, Capt. John Bowyer, capt Wm. McKee, Capt. Audley Paul, capt. John Maxwell and Mr. James Trimble.
Pages 34 and 35. " Augusta Academy and Liberty Hall. Trustees. Previous to charter of 1782. Entered office, 1776. Capt. Wm. MeKee. (re-appointed 1782). Vacated office 1782. Secretaries to Board of Trustees. Previous to charter of 1782. Entered office, 1776. Wm. MeKee. Vacated office, 1777.
Page 36. "Washington College and Washington and Lee University, under the charter of 1782. Trustees appointed. 1782; Gol. Wm. McKee. Vacated office.
page 49. Register of Alumni, 1749-1782; (Previous to charter of 1782). 37, [The date of his death and age, as above given , are slightly incorrect. He died October 11, 1816, aged 84, in that part of Lincoln County, Ky., now included in Garrard.] Col. William McKee, Rockbridge co.; Soldier at Braddock's Defeat; Captain at Point Pleasant: Member Virginia Convention, 1788 ; Member Virginia Legislature; High Sheriff of Rock bridge County; Trustee Liberty Hall academy, 1782-96 ; Garrard Co., Ky.; Died October 12, 1816, aged 82."
LETTER FROM WM. McKEE DUNCAN.
Wm. McKee Duncan, Attorney at Law, 341 Fifth Street. Louisville, Ky., August 14. 1890. Dear Cousin :
John forwarded your letter to me here where I have been living for several years. I forward you herewith the extracts in regard to Grandfather William McKee, from "Border Warfare' a literary relic I picked up in Carter County, Ky., last April, and which I prize on account of the mention of our ancestor. I have copied for you. There is but one other copy of the book I know of in the State, and that is in the collection of Colonel Durrett, of this city, of rare documents and books relating to the early history of Kentucky. I send you considerable of the contents of these extracts in order to give the true effect of the references to Grandfather as I view them. In these accounts he takes equal rank with the noblest and best men of the age in which he lived. From what I read of history I am satisfied the past never produced nobler men and women than the Scotch-Irish Presbyterians who settled west of the Blue Ridge in the early part of the eighteenth century. Our ancestors were not the least among that noble band, whose subsequent histories show them to have been not only of Spartan courage, but of the highest order of intellectual and moral force. I send the full extract so von can use the author's privilege of running your pen through such portions of it as arc not suitable for your book. I have heard Uncle George relate a laughable incident about Grandfather William, which illustrates his fearless and outspoken charac- ter. Genera] Thos. Kennedy, a revolutionary soldier and Indian tighter, and a great bully, who figured in the early history of Madison and Garrard Counties, was a candidate against William Bledsoe for the Legislature. Grandfather very cordially hated Bledsoe. It was then the custom for the contending candidates to sit at the one voting place in the county and thank the voters.
"Give way!" cried the election officers, "here comes Col. McKee to vote. Who will you vote for, Col. McKee?"
" I vote for William Bledsoe,' he responded. "Thank you, Col. McKee, thank you!" said Bledsoe, with a flourish.
"You needn't thank me, Billy Bledsoe," said the old man in his broad Scotch, "you are a dommed mean mon, but as between vou and Tom Kennedy I will take the less of the evils."
"I recollect you very distinctly. I haven't seen you since 1 was a very small boy. I expect time has wrought a greater change in me than in you, for I now weigh about 200 pounds. If you come to Louisville at any time, call on me.
I remain, very trulv. Wm. McKee Duncan.
"Border Warfare.pp. 129, 130, etc. Battle of Point Pleasant. This distinguished chief and consummate warrior (Cornstalk) proved himself on that day to be justly en titled to the prominent station which he occupied. His plan of alternate retreat and attack was well conceived, and occasioned the principal loss sustained by the whites. If, at any time, his warriors were believed to waver, his voice could be heard above the din of arms, exclaiming in his native tongue, " Be Strong! Be Strong!' And when one near him by trepidation and reluctance to proceed to the charge evinced a dastardly disposition, fearing the example might have a pernicious influ ence, with one blow of the tomahawk be severed his skull. It was. perhaps a solitary instance in which terror predominated. Never did men exhibit a more conclusive evidence of bravery in making a charge and fortitude in withstanding an onset than did these undisciplined soldiers of the forest, in the field at Point Pleasant. Such too was the good conduct of those who composed the army of Virginia on that occasion, and such the noble bravery of many, that high expectations were entertained of their future distinction, nor were those expectations disappointed. In the various scenes through which they subsequently passed the pledge of after eminence then given was fully redeemed and the names of Shelby. Campbell, Matthews, Fleming. Moore and others, then compatriots in arms on the memorable loth of October, 1774, have been inscribed in brilliant characters on the roll of fame.
[Note. The following gentlemen, with others of high reputa- tion in private life, were officers in the battle of Point Pleasant: Gen. Isaac Shelby, the first Governor of Kentucky, and after- wards Secretary of War ; Gen. William Campbell and Col. John Campbell, heroes of King's Mountain and Long Island ; Gen. Evan Shelby, one of the most favored citizens of Tennessee, often honored with the confidence of that State ; Col. William Fleming, an active Governor of Virginia during the Revolutionary war; Gen. Andrew Moore, of Rockbridge, the only man ever elected by Virginia from the country west of the Blue Ridge to the Senate of the United States ; Col. John Stuart, of Greenbriar ; Gen. Tate, of Washington County, Virginia ; Col. William McKee, of Lincoln County, Kentucky ; Col. John Steele, since a Governor of Mississippi Territory; Col. Charles Cameron, of Bath ; Gen. Bazabel Wells, of Ohio, and Gen. George Matthews, a distinguished officer in the war of the Revolution, the hero of Brandywine, Germantown and of Guilford, a Governor of Georgia and a Senator from that State in the Congress of the United States. The salvation of the merican army at Germantown is ascribed, in Johnstone's Life of General Greene, to the bravery and good conduct of two regiments, one of which was commanded by General, then Collonel, Matthews.
Note 2. I suppose you know from the family record in the old Bible that grandfather Samuel McKee was born ctober, 1774, while his father, William McKee, was commanding, as a Captain, at the battle of the ' Point.']
"Border Warfare. pp. 176-7-8. Defenst o>f Paint Pleasant May. 1778. The determina tion of the Shawnees to revenge the death of the Sachem, (Cornstalk) had hitherto been productive of no very serious consequencas. A while after his murder a small hand of them made their appearance near the fort at Point Pleasant, and Lieutenant Moore was dispatched from the garrison with some men to drive them off'. Upon his advance they commenced retreating, and the officer commanding the detachment fearing they would escape ordered a quick pursuit. He did not proceed far before he fell into an ambuscade. he and three of his men were killed at the first fire: the rest of the party saved themselves by a precipitate flight to the fort. In the May following this transaction a few Indians again came in sight of the fort, but as the garrison bad been very much reduced by the removal of (capt. Arbuckle's company, and the experience of the last season had taught them prudence, Captain McKee forbore to detach any of his men in pursuit of them. Disappointed in their expectations of enticing others to destruction, as they had Lieutenant Moore in the winter, the Indians suddenly rose from their covert and presented an unbroken line, extending from the Ohio to Kanawha river in front of the fort. A demand for the surrender of the garrison was then made, and Captain McKee asked till the next morning to consider of it. In the course of the night the men were busily employed in bringing water from the river, expecting that the Indians would continue before the fort for some time.
In the morning Captain McKee sent his answer by the grenadier squaw (sister of Corn stalk, and who, not withstanding the murder of her brother and nephew, was still attached to the whites and was remaining at the fort in the capacity of interpreter) that he could not comply with their demand. The Indians im- mediately began the attack and for one week kept the garrison closely besieged. Finding, however, that they made no impression on the fort, they collected the attle about it and instead of returning towards their country with plunder proceeded up the Kanawha river towards the Greenbriar settlement. Believing their object to be the destruction of that set tlement and knowing from their great force that they would certainly accomplish it. if the inhabitants were unadvised of their approach Captain McKee dispatched two men to Col. Andrew Donnelly's (then the frontier house) with the intelligence. These men soon came in view of the Indians ; but finding they were advancing in detached groups and dispersed in hunting parties, through the woods, they despaired of being able to pass them and returned to the fort. Captain McKee then made an appeal to the chivalry of the garrison and asked, " Who would risk his life to save the people of Greenbriar.' John Pryor and Philip Hammond at once stepped forward and replied, "We will." They were then habited after the Indian manner and painted in Indian style by the Grenadier Squaw, and departed on their hazardous, but noble and generous undertaking. Travelling night and day with great rapidity they passed the Indians at Meadow river, and arrived about sun set of that day at Donnelly's fort, twenty miles further on.
As soon as the intelligence of the approach of the Indians was communicated by these men, Colonel Donnelly had the neighbors all advised of it: and in the course of the night they called at his house. He also dispatched a messenger to Capt. John Stuart to acquaint him with the fact and made every preparation to resist attack and insure their safety of which his situation admitted. Pryor and Hammond told them how by the precaution of Captain McKee the garrison at Point Pleasant had been saved from suffering by the want of water and advised them to lay in a plentiful supply of that necessary article. A hogshead was accordingly rilled and rolled behind the door of the kitchen which adjoined the dwelling house.
When intelligence was conveyed to Captain Stuart of the approach of so large a body of savages Col. Samuel Lewis was with him and they both exerted themselves to save the set- tlement from destruction by collecting the inhabitants at a fort where Lewisburg now stands. Having succeeded in this, they sent two men to Donnelly's to learn whether the Indians had advanced that far. As they approached the firing became distinctly audible and they returned with the tidings. Capt. Stuart and Col. Lewis proposed marching to the relief of Donnelly's fort with as many men as were willing to accompany them; and in a brief space of time commenced their march at the head of sixty men. Pursuing the most direct route without regarding the road they ap proached the house on the backside, and thus escaped an ambuscade of Indians placed near the road to intercept and cut off any assistance which might be sent from the upper settlements."
William McKee, Colonel's Timeline
May 7, 1732
May 20, 1766
May 4, 1767
Kerr’s Creek, Augusta, Va.
February 19, 1770
Kerr’s Creek, Augusta [Botetourt], Va
October 19, 1771
Kerr’s Creek, Augusta [Botetourt], Va
June 26, 1773
Kerr’s Creek, Augusta [Botetourt], Va
October 13, 1774
bKerr’s Creek, Augusta [Botetourt], Va
October 10, 1776
Kerr’s Creek, Augusta [Botetourt], Va.;
February 17, 1779
Karr’s Creek, Rockbrisdge, Va
July 25, 1781
Kerr’s Creek, Rockbridge, Va.