Alexander McKee Family
Randolph County, Illinois, United States of America
1.2 Joseph G. McKee
b. 1804 Ireland
d. 11 Feb 1884 Sparta Randolph County, Illinois
Unknown Wife 1
1.2.1 Unknown Female McKee
1.2.2 Mary Jane McKee
b. 1838 Randolph County, Illinois
d. 12 Mar 1883 Hopkins County, Texas
1.2.3 George D. McKee
b. 1839 Randolph County, Illinois
d. 16 Jan 1870 Perry County, Illinois
1.2.4 Joseph A. McKee
b. 1843 Randolph County, Illinois
d. 15 Feb 1863 Memphis, Shelby County, Tennessee (Civil War Service)
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1.2 Joseph McKee
m. 3 Jul 1848 Perry County, Illinois
Martha Caroline Woodside
b. 23 May 1817 Randolph County, Illinois
d. After 1882
1.2.5 Robert James McKee
b. 3 Aug 1853 Sparta, Randolph County, Illinois
d. 15 Feb 1929 Sparta, Randolph County, Illinois
Excerpt from Early History of the Flack School District Randolph County, Illinois by J. B. GORDON, M.D. published by Sparta News-Plaindealer, Sparta, Illinois. Pages 9-10
Registration in the Sixties and What It Meant
Some time in the Civil War (the idea of calling any war civil) an election was due in Sparta. Though too young then to vote the writer went.
At the polls Mr. Joe McKee asked to ride back with us as we passed close to his house on our return; in fact forded the Lick Branch itself.
Lest I forget it later on I will say “Lick” Branch was so called because of “deer licks” on its banks. Once I saw one of these “licks” and could go close to the spot yet I think. The poor deer are long ago gone, and the “licks” too. The white man was too much for the deer and the Indians as well. It begins to look as if the white man is too much for everything brute or human. He has killed off most of them, and is now killing himself and his fellow man.
He is a gay fellow, this white man. “Pray to God, and take care of yourself,” is his slogan today. How men will wonder some day that such a thought is today the title of a book.
Joe was worried and mad and we soon discovered what was wrong. He had neglected to register, and each party closely watched the other for such delinquents. Joe was one of them this time, and the Democrats had promptly challenged him.
As he got in the wagon, father wanted him to get in the spring seat with us.
“No,” he wouldn’t and didn’t but sat down on the straw in the bottom of the wagon bed, his back braced against one side of the bed, his feet against the other. He was chewing tobacco vigorously and spitting vindictively. He shook his head menacingly, grumbled constantly, sometimes in a low voice to himself, but often he turned and directed some remark to us, when the thought of the indignities which has been heaped upon him became too heavy to bear.
This went on the whole road back home, some six miles or more.
Finally with his right hand clenched and raised high over his head he wrathfully exclaimed: “I voted in Sparta when it was Columbus, and today I had to swear in me vote.”
According to “The Story of Randolph County since the day of the Red Man,” long running in the News-Plaindealer, it was in 1837 that what is now Sparta, was incorporated as Columbus.
Here the writer wished to express his appreciation of the help he has had from these articles in writing the history of the Flack District, as well as for much further information obtained from some of his old classmates.
I have given the exact works (not the substance of Joe’s remarks. It is now some 64 years ago, but I remember the language as vividly as if I had heard it this morning. And it was just to say that there was not a syllable of profanity in the entire statement…
Transcribed from Sparta Plaindealer, Tuesday, 19 Feb 1884, Page 4
McKee—At his home in Six Mile Prairie, on Monday evening, February 11, Mr. Joseph MCKEE, aged 80 years. Mr. MCKEE was one of the oldest inhabitants of this vicinity, and was a man of marked individuality and character. He has numerous friends who grieve to hear of his death.
Joseph is a most interesting member of the MCKEE family. He is full of paradoxes. On the one hand, there is Dr. J. B. GORDON writing extensively about Joseph in a manner that betrays deep affection and respect. On the other hand, you have the fact that Joseph sues in son-in-law Ananias Jackson BOOTH in court. A BOOTH family member has told me that their family lore is that the BOOTH family left Illinois because of the McKee’s. As near as I can tell when the BOOTH family leaves, Joseph’s estrangement from his daughter Mary Jane is permanent.
Joseph appears to be a successful farmer. And yet when his son George dies—leaving an infant son—Joseph appears to do little if anything to assist the remaining family. When his daughter-in-law—who also happens to be his niece Mary Jane—dies, Joseph again appears to do nothing to come to the aid of his grandson or extended family. Instead, it is the family of Mary Jane’s third husband who take in family members to raise them to adulthood.
When Joseph dies, his farm goes to his son by his second wife. His grandchildren by children from his first marriage appear to receive nothing from his estate. And yet his obituary says, “He has numerous friends who grieve…” My only conclusion is that perhaps Joseph is easier to love and admire when you know him rather than when you are related to him. That can be true of so many people in life.
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