Alexander McKee Family
Randolph County, Illinois, United States of America
b. 1778 Ireland
d. 1855–1860 Randolph County, Illinois
1.1 Agnes McKee
b. 1802 Ireland
d. After 1870 Galum, Perry County, Illinois
1.2 Joseph G. McKee
b. 1804 Ireland
d. 11 Feb 1884 Sparta, Randolph County, Illinois
1.3 William C. McKee
b. 1812 Ireland
d. 1870–1880 Randolph County, Illinois
1.4 Robert G. McKee
b. 1816 County Armagh, Ireland
d. 17 Sep 1880 Sparta, Randolph County, Illinois
1.5 Jane McKee
b. 1821 Ireland
1.6 Alexander McKee
b. 28 Feb 1827 Ireland
d. 10 Jan 1886 Randolph County, Illinois
Based on census records, Alexander is born in Ireland in the year 1778 plus or minus one year. At this time, I know nothing of his life in Ireland. The family’s Presbyterian roots would lead one to believe that they are from Ireland. Another researcher indeed claims that the family is from Kircubbin, County Down, Ireland. However, the researcher provides no source information. I have found no records to support or contradict the assertion.
The two bits of evidence that I do have for a location in Ireland come via death certificates: one for a MCKEE son that says his place of birth is County Armagh and one for a MCKEE grandchild whose place of birth is Port Norris, County Armagh, Ireland.
Mrs. Alexander MCKEE is conspicuously missing from all records. A reasonable assumption would be that she dies sometime after the 1827 birth of her last child (Alexander (Jr.)) and prior to the 1837 emigration of her family to the United States. As of this writing, I do not know her name. However, one possibility is that her maiden name is Duncan. Two children’s middle names lend support to this theory; Irish naming customs include using women’s maiden names as middle names.
The first record of Alexander living in the United States is his appearance in the 1840 census of Randolph County, Illinois. Alexander is living with his son, Joseph G. MCKEE, with Joseph listed as the head of the household. Included in the group are Alexander MCKEE’s youngest child, Alexander MCKEE (Jr.), and Joseph’s first wife and their children—three at the time.
The second record of Alexander MCKEE (Sr.) in the United States is his appearance in the 1850 census of Randolph County, Illinois. In this entry, Alexander’s age is seventy-two years old and he is the head of the household. He resides with his son Joseph and Joseph’s family and works as a laborer. His youngest son, Alexander (Jr.) is no longer living in the household. Alexander (Jr.) is living on the 40 acres of land that he acquires in 1848.
Subsequently, Alexander MCKEE (Sr.) appears with Joseph in the 1855 Illinois State census. After that census entry, Alexander (Sr.) disappears from official records. Since Alexander is already 77 years old in 1855, assuming that he dies before the 1860 census seems to be a reasonable assumption for the time span.
Locating a grave for Alexander has eluded me to date. I am assuming that he is buried somewhere on the 80 acres of land owned by his son Joseph on the outskirts of Sparta, Randolph County, Illinois. A Google Earth search shows the land as a heavily forested area today. So locating actual graves may never be possible.
One additional piece of information on Alexander exists. A charming tale appears in the memoir of Dr. J. B. Gordon, Early History of the Flack School District Randolph County Illinois. The tale paints a first-hand picture of who Alexander—and several other family members—might have been. You can find a copy of Dr. Gordon‘s memoir at the Chester Public Library in Chester, IL or the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library in Springfield, IL.
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