Write what should not be forgotten - Isabel Allande

Month: August 2016

McGee Family History Poem

This is another treasure from Uncle Lee McGee through Mike and Amy McGee There is no date on Uncle Lee’s letter but I am guessing early 1980’s. It is the story of the first McGee’s who came from Ireland to the United States to start a new life.



Veronica Calmes has come across some more McGee history that she has just sent on so I’ll undoubtedly have to issue an addendum in the near future. However I can not resist the temptation to express my amazement for the contribution of an Angie McGee poem written Nov. 16, 1929 that tells the McGee story far better than I have in the preceding few pages. Many thanks and sincere appreciation to Cousin Mary Evelyn McGee who still lives in the house on Center St that I have mentioned way back in my “Lawn-Mowing Days.”  The first line was my Great Grandfather and Angie’s Grandfather. (William and Margery McConnell McGee)


A father, mother, two daughters and four sons

On this foundation my story runs.

They from Union Corners to town of Perry came

The parents William and Margery, Nancy, Ellen, Michael,

William, John and Bernard (the children by name).

John, the eldest, took for his mate

A worthy maiden whose name was Kate.

Dear Uncle John! How we watched for his coming,

And over the hill we all went running

For a ride on his cart was the greatest of treats,

While he sold his fresh fish and sweetest of meats.

To them two sons and three daughters came

And all proved worthy of the name.

Well, the oldest tall, and ?

Left many pleasant memories behind

And his next generation I now see coming on.

The sweet faced Nora, Orrin and John.

The three daughters Kate, Mary and Nell

All have left us, I’m sorry to tell.

John, a merchant chose to be,

And sold numerous articles including rice,

Raisins, starch and tea.

His stove was large and long and wide

A shopping place for the country side.

William and Sara were quietly wed

July 3rd I think ‘twas said

Their life was wrapped up in one son and two daughters

And lived on a farm in comfortable quarters

Lebbie, the eldest, so gentle and sweet

Awaits in the promised land, her love ones to meet.

Martha Theresa with eyes of brown

Married a farmer in Eagletown

For years her pies and cookies were of the best

Her bread, I know, has stood the test

But now to antiques both new and old

She has turned her attention or so I am told.

If it is a house or farm you wish to see

Consult our good agent, W.G. McGee

Bargains of the best are sure to be had

(I’ll call in tomorrow and collect for this ad).

The history of Nancy and Ellen I will not try

I’ll leave it to others who can do better than I.

Bernard’s two daughters – Mattie so faithful, kind  

And to my best birthday wishes are extended to you.

For making good things to eat – like pickles, cake and jelly

The title goes to my cousin Nellie.

Lawrence and Veronica we have with us tonight

They need no introduction but they sit at my right.

With snow piled high and winter cold

They plighted their love with a band of gold.

For at Portageville, Michael and Mary were wed.

Then one day a little girl came

Known to all around as Angie by name.

Oh! What a sight! With a face so red

Was what my good Aunt Sally said.

But what did it matter what anyone thought

They had a treasure that could not be bought.

Good Mrs. Calkins, across the street

Was ever near each babe to greet

Cried Mike why all this joy?

It’s not a girl but just a boy.

So now George what will I say about you?

I think I’ll let you sit in your easy chair

And tell of the news you get from the air.

Charles, the youngest, a farmer lad

Left us early and made us sad.

Mary, Mattie, Orrin and Maude – you all have a part in my picture tonight

And if my rhyme should longer run

Might mix some sadness with the fun

So let us now by friends and cousins dear

Just fill this birthday with good cheer

Slow News Day


I love, love, love reading old newspaper articles. Especially the small local ones – news sure did get around!  Even without Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc everyone seemed to know what was going on in town!

This afternoon I was browsing around one of my favorites websites . It is an absolute treasure for genealogy and I am indebted to them for the amount of information I have been able to find.  The following article caught my eye because it is about a Reardon and a McGee – my married and maiden names!  It is from Long Island in 1937 on what was obviously a slow new day.  Neither one of the people are from our family tree – but I think the writer really captures the spirit of the thing…


Resourceful   Patrolman McGee Shows Vamps How It Is Done Patrolman  Thomas  McGee, animal expert  and general  rescuer of the Garden City police department,  joined with Fireman   Jake  Reardon,   a  member of the   village’s   paid  force,   to  write  a new chapter in  the  natural   history of the community   last   night.   With  a butterfly net, an  aptitude for  “shinnying,” a desire for  quiet and a love for vociferous dumb animals, Fireman Reardon and Patrolman McGee rescued two distressed felines from the  branches of  tall trees.   McGee   On   Hand   At 6:30  o’clock,  Robert  H. Harrower   called   fire headquarters to inform  the vamps  that   a  cat  was   squalling   in the  branches   of  a  tree   right outside  their  door.   Reardon,    together with  two  other   fire  addies,  Edward  Gorry and Karl Herrnkind,  grabbed  ladders,  hooks,  ropes  and  other  paraphernalia,  and sped to the  tree,  ten  feet  from the firehouse  door.  Patrolman   McGee,  who   once distinguished himself  by pulling  a disheveled cat   from   between    the    walls   of   a    house, and more recently,   rescued a   brood  of squirrels from   an   unused   furnace,   got   to   the   tree  later,   but  he brought  the   equipment   which   bagged  the cat. McGee bore a huge butterfly   net   as   he   walked to the   rescue.  Silently, he handed it to Reardon.    Reardon  climbed    the tree.  The cat   hunched its back and spat.    Reardon crept nearer.  The   cat   backed   away.  Reardon slid out on a feeble limb.   The cat perched at the end of the branch.  One sweep of the net, and the cat was caught. McGee walked   back to the stationhouse to receive the plaudits of  his  fellow cops  with  the  assurance of a man who has done similar  great  things   in  the  past.  Reardon and his fellow-firemen retired to the firehouse. About four   hours   later, Harry E. Maule of 108 Arthur Street  called police and told of a second cat squalling its fear in the   topmost limb of a tall tree near his house. Reardon, McGee, the   ladders and the net once more went bounding to the rescue.  This time experience proved its worth and the cat was down in a flash. The only fly in Reardon’s and McGee’s ointment late last night was the rumor of  the fatal effects of their rescues started when a third resident of the village reported a dead cat lying in   the street at Rockaway road and First street.  Village employees took the corpse away, without waiting for the autopsy which might have cleared Reardon and McGee.

Fireman and Cop Rescue Two Cats. (1937, January 13). The Nassau Daily Review, p. 3. Retrieved August 14, 2016, from

Go Dumbass!

the track


My love for genealogy is in uncovering the past and bringing it to life.  It makes me so happy to break down a brick wall or connect to a new branch of the tree.  That being said, I think it is important to spend some time in the present. To tell the stories as we are living them so that someday if anyone goes looking they will find them!

Our family tree has taken a hit in the last couple of years.  We have lost our last connections to the previous generation with the passing of my Aunt, Uncle, and Mom.  We have begun to lose some from our generation with the passing of two of my cousins.  It was starting to feel like the the only time we were together was at a funeral and that is not ok!  

Some of our local (ish) cousins have really been making an effort to get together just for fun.  We tell the old stories and make new ones.  This past Saturday night was one of those nights.  My wonderful cousin and her partner came from Rochester and my wonderful cousin’s wife came from Buffalo, we met in the middle in my hometown, Batavia.  Now there really isn’t a whole lot to do in Batavia but we met for dinner.  The restaurant is part of Batavia Downs, there is gaming and a harness race track.  There are not a whole lot of harness race tracks around anymore.  The jockeys sit in small carts behind the horses and it is fairly dangerous for both the jockey and the horse.  We had a great dinner and got caught up on each other’s lives, but mostly we laughed.  Is there anything better than an evening spent laughing with people you love?  During dinner my cousin mentioned that she had never seen live horse racing so after dinner we headed right down!

We had a blast!!  Several of us had absolutely NO idea how to even place a bet, luckily a few did.  The first race my cousin won .10, the second race 4-5 of us placed bets and not one the horses we picked even placed!  We sure knew who NOT to pick.  In the middle of it I had to go and pick up my teenage son from work and I brought him back with me.  For the 3rd race my cousin was still in it and she picked a horse named Dumas.  Of course she read it fast and was calling it Dumbass the whole time.  I can’t remember the last time I laughed so hard watching her jump up and down cheering on “Dumbass”.  Unbelievably, he came in first place!!  It was like he had won the Derby.  My cousin excitedly went to collect her winnings – just over $9.00.

What a great night, it will definitely be entered into family lore. My son thought we were all nuts but I noticed he was pretty into it on that last race.  I told him that even though he may not get it now, someday he will understand how important and rare moments like that are.

Photo from left: Brian Ellingham, Eileen McGee, Rosann Kelly, Mary Ellen Reardon, Yvonne Kimaid, Jim Dubois. Front row: Staci Ellingham, Katy Greene

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