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Month: October 2016

Genealogy Win!

So until a few months ago I didn’t even know if there were any McGees’s related to us out there.  Since no one in my family had ever met any others, we didn’t have any names or stories to work with.  With some hard work and a little help from Ancestry DNA, not only did I find them but they put the puzzle together for me!!  They had information that along with what I had already discovered really let me put our history together.

We have been in contact for several months and today my sister and I got to meet our very first McGee cousins ever!!!  We were so excited this morning and the day did not disappoint! It was so much fun meeting and hearing stories about different branches of our McGee family.  There were some family resemblances and some fun coincidences, there were a lot of laughs. I would like to think that there were some Irish eyes smiling from above too!

Hopefully we will be able to get together again will even more McGee’s next time!!

 

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John McGee, Mary Ellen McGee Reardon, Mike McGee, Eileen McGee

Michael McGee

angie

Michael McGee (1832-1894) was born the second son of William and Margery McGee. He was born in 1832 in Ireland, since the McGee’s are bent on making it difficult, I don’t know exactly where in Ireland he was born…  His brother Barney’s headstone says County Donegal, I haven’t been able to prove it yet.  If not Donegal, they almost certainly came from Northern Ireland.

Michael came to the United States aboard the Stephen Whitney in 1841 with his mother and siblings.  The family settled in Wyoming County, NY.  Michael was a lifelong farmer, it looks to me like his father gave him a portion of his farm to make his home.  In 1850, William (his father) had 165 acres of farmland in Perry, NY worth $5145, by 1870 William is no longer found owning farmland. His two sons Michael and William are shown as both owning 70+acres of farmland right next to each other.  The brothers are listed as neighbors for many years after that – how cool is that?!  I was surprised to discover another connection between the boys… as I was researching, I kept getting the their wives confused. They had the same maiden name, after a little more searching it turns out that the brothers married sisters!  I just love the idea the families living so close to each other, at least 2 of their children were born just 4 months apart. (Did I mention that I live next door to my sister?)

Michael married Mary Malone (1840-1911) in Portageville, NY on February 12, 1865.  They had 3 children Mary Angela “Angie” (1866-1942), George (1870-1939), and Charles (1873-1904).  Unfortunately Michael’s line ends with his children.  

Michael and Mary raised their family on the family farm and he lived there most of his life.  I haven’t been able to discover much about him beyond this.  He was able to read and write – something his father was not able to do.  Michael died unexpectedly of a heart attack on December 14, 1894 at home.  His death notice states  “He was held in high esteem by those who knew him for his honesty, integrity and the many fine qualities he possessed as a good neighbor, a kind, loving father, and friend.” Mary lived another 17 years, she passed away in 1911. Michael, Mary and 2 of their 3 children are buried together at St. Michael’s Cemetery in Warsaw, NY

Here is what their daughter, Angie had to say about them in a poem:

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

I think “Aunt Sally” is probably Sara Malone McGee.  Also what a gem that she gave us the name of the neighbor who helped deliver the babies.  My background is as a Labor and Delivery nurse and think that tiny bit of detail is so cool! I will have to add Mrs. Calkins to my research list.

Charles McGee (1873-1904)

Charles was the youngest of Michael and Mary’s 3 children and there is very little information on him.  He suffered from an illness for some time, in the “Personal Mention” section of the local newspaper there is a bit from March 9, 1904 saying that Charles, accompanied by his sister Angela went to the Adirondack mountains.  “Mr. McGee has not been feeling well for some time past, and his many friends trust that the change in altitude and climate will be of benefit to him.”  In May of the same year there is another mention of Charles and Angela returning from the Adirondacks it was said that his health was “greatly improved” by the trip. Now the Adirondacks are a very beautiful part of the world, but March – May are not exactly prime visiting months. My husband went to college in the Adirondack Mountains, once when I was visiting in the winter it took 3 hrs to start my car. However in 1904 what was in the Adirondacks was a large tuberculosis sanatorium.  Without Charles’s death certificate, I can’t be sure but there is a very good chance that Charles suffered from TB.  Unfortunately his improved health was short lived and he died in August of 1904. He was buried with his father at St. Michael’s Cemetery in Warsaw. Charles was a charter member of the Wyoming Grange which was formed in 1902 and was the first member of that chapter to die. I haven’t been able to track down an obituary for Charles but the trusty local paper(Wyoming Reporter) tell us on August 10, 1904 that  “Mr.  George  McGee,   who  has  been in St.  Louis  and  Chicago   the  past  two years  arrived  home  last  week in time for  the  funeral  of his  brother.   Charles   McGee.   He  has  resigned   his  position  with  the  Chicago  Wrecking  and   Con-struction  Co..  and will devote  his  time  to the  management   of the  home  farm.”

George had a pretty busy week – just 1 week later, on August 17, his wedding announcement was published! Also on August 17 – there was a resolution passed by the Wyoming Grange in respect to Charles: Wyoming Grange, No. 042, deprived by death of one of its most faithful and useful members, Brother Charles McGee, desires to express its appreciation of his loyalty to its interests and its sorrow at his untimely removal from its number. We extend our united sympathy to his family in their sorrow, well knowing that when the youth of the household is removed the hopes of the future for the bereaved are clouded; but the sun always shines above the clouds and through the strife and at times a light will fall across our path, which in a measure dispels the darkness. (RESOLVED), that a copy of the* resolutions be forwarded to the family a copy printed in the Reporter and also that they be spread on the minutes of the Grange. Mas. W. A. HAWLEY STRATTON.C. H. SKAVKK.

Angie had this to say about Charles:

Charles, the youngest, a farmer lad

Left us early and made us sad.

 

George McGee (1870-1939)

Michael and Mary’s second child, was born on the family farm.  George was the one who got out to see a bit of the world before coming back to Wyoming County to settle done. He worked for a construction company in Chicago and traveled a bit for his job including Hartford, St. Louis and Chicago.  So I mentioned that George had a pretty busy when Charles died, he quit his job, moved back home and got married. Not only did he get married but he married a non-Catholic, surely that caused some talk around town.  He married Ida Lemon who was originally from Cincinnati, OH.  They were married at the Presbyterian parsonage on August 16, 1904 and moved to the McGee Homestead just East of Wyoming.  Ida was described as a “young woman of fine physique and her picture was published in a Cincinnati paper as one the three celebrated beauties of that city” Born in March of 1879, she lived in Cincinnati until the age of 15 when she moved to NYC to live with an Aunt.  She somehow came to Wyoming County and and spent the winter of 1901-02.  Sadly Ida died on February 24 , 1907.  According to the obituary she had been in ill health for about 4 yrs.  This would have been her entire marriage, no children were born to them.  She had gone to St. Mary’s Hospital in Rochester, NY for surgery to remove a tumor.  She died a week after the surgery. Bad news tends to follow the Irish side of family, the next obituary after Ida’s is also of a relative Edmund Dillon – Mr. Dillon was a neighbor and relative by marriage of the family. After Ida’s death, George stayed on in the area living with his sister Mary Angela working as a real estate broker.  George became blind later in life and was  known for being very well informed on world events – he would listen to everything he could on the radio.  In 1912 George and Angie had lost both of their parents and had moved into Warsaw, NY. They lived at 100 Center St – this house remained in the family for many after their deaths. According to Uncle Lee’s Christmas letter, George was a comedian and was fun to be around.  Uncle Lee would go to the house and do the trimming and mowing, he said that George somehow always knew if he had missed a spot! George died on October 21, 1939 and is buried with his wife Ida in the Wyoming Cemetery – the only one of his family not buried at St. Michael’s.

 

Mary Angela “Angie” (1866-1942)

First of all Angie sounds pretty awesome! She is described as the family historian with a quick mind and ability to make up poems and rhymes on the spot.  Angie was the oldest the Michael and Mary’s children.  She never married and lived in Wyoming her entire life.  Angie took care of her mother after her father’s death in 1894.  This was probably a big job – believe it or not I actually found the following in the ever dedicated Wyoming Reporter in 1909…”Mrs. Mary McGee, who has been suffering from nervous prostration for several weeks past is now able to sit up for several hours each day.” Folks, Facebook does not appear to be a new concept – yikes! She also helped to care for her brother, Charles before his death.  After the death of her sister-in-law and the above mentioned Mr. Dillon, Angie rented the family farm and purchased a house belonging to Mr. Dillon’s estate, located near the B. R.&P. rail station. She then went on to re-open a store formerly owned by Mr. Dillon.  She renovated with “new paint and paper” and made the store her own.  She stocked various goods including “an attractive assortment of fresh, high grade groceries.” She was highly praised in the paper “Miss Mcgee is a progressive and practical young woman, and we bespeak for her a goodly share of patronage and wish her a full measure of success in her business venture”  Not bad for a young woman in 1907 – who didn’t even have the right to vote!! In 1908 Angie placed the family farm – which had grown to 108 acres up for sale.

References

“LaGrange.” The Wyoming County Times [Warsaw, NY] 20 Dec. 1894: n. pag. Fulton History. Web. 5 Oct. 2016.

“Obituary.” Wyoming Reporter [Wyoming, NY] 25 Oct. 1911, Volume 25 ed., Section 23 sec.: n. pag. Fulton History. Web. 5 Oct. 2016.

Mary Angela McGee, Poem, November 16, 1929. [The location of the original poem is unknown. Copy from Michael McGee].

Personal Mention. (n.d.). Wyoming Reporter. Retrieved October 15, 2016, from www.fultonhistory.com

Personal Mention. (1904, May 04). Wyoming Reporter. Retrieved October 15, 2016, from www.fultonhistory.com 

Hawley, W., Mrs. (1933, January 25). History of Wyoming Grange. Wyoming Reporter. Retrieved October 15, 2016, from www.fultonhistory.com 

Personal Mention. (1904, August 10). Wyoming Reporter. Retrieved October 15, 2016, from www.fultonhistory.com 

Lemon-McGee. (1904, August 17). Wyoming Reporter. Retrieved October 15, 2016, from www.fultonhistory.com

Week’s Death Record. (1907, February 27). Wyoming Reporter. Retrieved October 15, 2016, from www.fultonhistory.com 

Around Town. (1909, January 06). Wyoming Reporter. Retrieved October 15, 2016, from www.fultonhistory.com 

Grocery Store Re-opened. (1907, May 22). Wyoming Reporter. Retrieved October 15, 2016, from www.fultonhistory.com 

(1942, February 12). The Wyoming County Times, p. 8. Retrieved October 16, 2016, from www.fultonhistory.com

 

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