Write what should not be forgotten - Isabel Allande

Month: May 2017

Maps, Maps, and more Maps!

Perry Current day.jpg

Google has a pretty amazing program, called Google Earth and it does a whole lot more that just showing you a picture of your house! I have been learning about some of the incredible features of the program. Of course I had to give it a try to find even more info about my McGee’s! The above picture is a current view of Perry, NY in Wyoming County of New York State. My McGee family has its US roots here. The McGee’s owned a good chunk of the land above, the horizontal road running across the map is LaGrange Rd and the McGee farms were located on this road.

Land Map 1902.jpg

I have had this map of Perry in my files for a while now, it shows land ownership in Perry in 1902. The McGee’s are shown twice, Wm McGee and Mrs. M McGee. LaGrange Rd is at the very top of the map on the border of Covington.

Land Map Wm McGee 1902.jpg

Here is a closer view. From the top left you can see EP Dillon, Wm McGee, Mrs. M McGee, and Thomas Murray cool right?! However still a little hard to put together (at least for me).

Using Google Earth I was able to overlay the 1902 map onto the current view to get a better picture of where my McGee’s lived. The whole process wasn’t exactly flawless and I had a lot of help from my very patient husband, but once I got the hang of it, it wasn’t too bad. I now have something that looks like this.

Perry 1902 Map.jpg

Here is a zoomed in view showing the farms in a row. You can see there is very little difference in the land from 1902 to today. There are buildings in virtually the same place and the land is clearly still being used as farmland!

GoogleEarth_Image (1).jpg

This is my favorite view – if you look to the far right you can see Mrs. H Calkins – she was the midwife mentioned in Angie McGee’s poem, she delivered many of the McGee babies. The poem said that she lived across the road – now I can see that road is called Van Allen Rd (trust me I have spent hours with this map)! The Dillon family on the left side of the map is also related to the McGee’s. One of William McGee’s daughters married a Dillon. I haven’t worked out exactly which Dillon lived next door but I am confident they are connected.

I found a treasure trove of information going through Deed Books for Wyoming County. Reading through it all took some time. William McGee (my 3x GG) bought this land in 1849. At the time he lived in nearby Pavilion, NY. He purchased approx 244 acres of land, costing around $11,780. Part of it was mortgaged, but it looks part of it was paid in cash. In today’s money it was approx $348,000! Over the years parts of the land were subdivided and sold. Two of William’s sons, William and Michael purchased plots next to each other. In 1864 Michael put the land in his wife’s name – so in 1902 it show up as Mrs. M McGee. I don’t know why he made the change, but his brother Barney and his mother both died in 1864. Maybe he was hoping to make things easier on his wife in case something happened to him, Michael died in 1894. Son, John (my direct relative) lived in the Village of Perry. When I was researching Barney I knew that he lived in Covington, but didn’t know why he wasn’t in the same place as his father and brothers – that is until I saw this. In 1860 Barney started buying farmland starting with Lot #8 in Covington. If you look at the bigger map you see the lots start at #12 and count down to #9 before the land changes to Covington. Barney bought Lot 8 right over the border and across from his family! I just love when everything comes together!

One of these days I am going to write about what a typical farm in the mid to later 19th century was like. Until then, I am planning on taking a drive out to LaGrange Rd to see what it all looks like in person.




New York Land Records 1630-1975. Vol. 15-16. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Print. Image 177 .

Google Earth

McGee Family Tree:










William and Sara McGee

William and Sara Malone McGee

William and Sara McGee

William was born in August of 1837 the 5th of 6 children of William and Margery McGee in County Donegal, Ireland.  William arrived with his mother and siblings in the United States in 1841.

Sara’s her parents were born in Ireland, she and her siblings were born in Niagara County. (Sara in 1844) It is possible that William and Sara’s father’s worked together on the Lock system in Western NY and that may be how the families met.  However they met, by 1850  the McGee’s and the Malone’s were living on nearby farms Perry, Wyoming County, New York. Perry was (and still is) a small rural community.

The two families were very well acquainted – William and his brother (Michael) both married Malone girls. The two sets  of siblings went on to live on neighboring farms for many years.  William and Sara were married in July of 1868. Their first child Mary Elizabeth “Libbie” was born in 1869, followed by Martha “Mattie” in 1869, finally son William was born in 1876.  The 1900 census shows that Sara had 4 children, 3 of whom were living. The following is an excerpt about the family written by Angie McGee in 1929.

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

Libbie, the eldest, so gentle and sweet (Mary Elizabeth)

Awaits in the promised land, her loved 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 idea of William and Sara living next to their siblings just makes me happy.  I love to imagine them spending time together and helping each when needed.  I imagine all of the cousins growing up and getting into mischief together.  The families were married within 3yrs of each other and all the children were fairly close in age, they both had 2 daughters and 1 son. Being a farming family was no easy job in the mid to late 1800’s. It involved  nearly constant back breaking work, I like to think that living so close to each other helped lighten the load.

Sara died in 1905 of pneumonia, William died just eleven months later at his home at the age of 69 of heart disease.  William’s Obituary in part is as follows:

Mr. McGee was born in Ireland and came to this country, when a mere child, with his parents and nearly his entire life has been spent in this immediate vicinity, becoming a prominent and successful farmer and an honored man in the community, kind and thoughtful in his family where he will be greatly missed. On July 5, 1868, he was married to Sarah A. Malone, who preceded him to the Better Land, eleven short months ago, and whom he greatly missed.

Mary Elizabeth “Libbie” married Edward Dillon and together they had 5 children; Martha, Florence, Edward, Bernice, and Doris.  Libbie died in 1912 and Edward in 1938. I haven’t had much luck tracking down more on this branch – but will keep at it.

Martha “Mattie” married her farmer from Eagletown,  James Simons in 1908. Mattie was 35 when she married James, he was 40 and was a widower. Mattie and James had one son, James. Mattie was known for her baking, she died in 1946. James died in 1931.  One of the McGee cousins that I have discovered in the last year is from this branch.  She works at the church where the majority of the McGee’s are buried.  We had been emailing back and forth for a while when she mentioned that her Grandmother was a McGee!

William George or WG was a real estate agent in Warsaw, NY. He married Maude Crawford and they raised a large family; 4 daughters and 4 sons. Marjory, Mary, William, Charles, Elizabeth “Betty”, Richard, and Maurice “Mike”.  There are many mentions of the family – especially of the boys playing sports for Warsaw over the years.  At some point I will do some more detailed work on this branch.  One interesting thing I did find is that Mike married a woman who became a NYS Senator from Cattaraugus County.

William and Sara’s branch has been fun to research and write about. I am hoping to have some more information and maybe some pictures to add soon. The McGee son’s have been very generous in giving information, The two McGee daughter’s – Ellen and Nancy are another story.  I haven’t been able to find a whisper of them except for census records while they lived at home.  There is record of them coming to the United States, and on the 1850 census, after that they disappear.  Angie McGee’s wonderful poem – which has given me so much information it rather mysterious when it comes to Ellen and Nancy. She says:

The history of Nancy and Ellen I will not try

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

For now it is time to take on another branch of the McGee’s. I am going to work on my direct line – William’s brother John.  Most of the McGee’s cousins that I have met are also from this line.    



McGee Family Tree

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

Year: 1850; Census Place: Perry, Wyoming, New York; Roll: M432_617; Page: 271A; Image: 181

Year: 1860; Census Place: Perry, Wyoming, New York; Roll: M653_883; Page: 625; Image: 169; Family History Library Film: 803883

Year: 1870; Census Place: Perry, Wyoming, New York; Roll: M593_1119; Page: 267B; Image: 58724; Family History Library Film: 552618

Year: 1880; Census Place: Perry, Wyoming, New York; Roll: 948; Family History Film: 1254948; Page: 221D; Enumeration District: 208; Image: 0445

Year: 1900; Census Place: Perry, Wyoming, New York; Roll: 1179; Page: 6B; Enumeration District: 0129; FHL microfilm: 1241179

U.S., Find A Grave Index, 1600s-Current

U.S., Indexed County Land Ownership Maps, 1860-1918; Collection Number: G&M_13; Roll Number: 13;

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