Write what should not be forgotten - Isabel Allande

Category: Biographys

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;

Uncle Emil Part II


The most interesting thing I discovered about my Uncle Emil was that in spite of how many people knew him and how many lives he touched, we didn’t really know anything about his origins  My cousins(along with the rest of us) didn’t know that their father was born in Syria until after his death.  When they would travel over the Canadian border to visit an Aunt, Uncle Emil would say he was from Buffalo.  They knew their Sito (Grandmother) spoke with a thick accent as did their Uncles.  Sometimes Uncle Emil would speak French.  For a long time they thought he had been born in Lebanon – that was close.  Uncle Emil was actually born in Syria on August 28, 1914, his family was likely from a French speaking part of Syria.  As the Ottoman Empire expanded, the country’s landscape changed and in 1925 the area did become Lebanon.  After Uncle Emil’s death they received a letter stating there was still land in his name in modern day Lebanon!  The real breakthrough came when my cousin Yvonne was going through a box of her father’s papers and she came across a document that she couldn’t read.  She sent it to the Rochester Institute of Technology where they translated the Arabic document and found it to be Uncle Emil’s Baptismal Certificate.

Emil was born to John and Tameny Mattar Kimaid. John Kimaid was born in 1875 in Syria, Tameny (Mary) was born in 1887.  John was a successful Tailor and the family owned a home overlooking a bay.  With the expansion of the Ottoman Empire, the family suffered financially and they decided to move to Australia and rebuild their business.  Their first 2 children Antoine (1905) and Yvette (1908) were born in Australia.  Tameny was was approx 17yrs old when her first child was born.  The family was again very successful with their business and after several years they made the decision to move back to their homeland.  Their next 3 children were born in Syria, Paul (1911), Emil (1914), and Victoria (1921).  The family again suffered financial losses under the Ottoman’s.  They decided to leave their homeland for good. The family emigrated to the United States in 1923, my Uncle Emil was just about to be 10yrs old. I was able to find the arrival of Tameny, Boulos (Paul), Emil and Victoria.  They came through Ellis Island arriving in the US on August 1, 1923 aboard the Madonna from Beirut, they listed Sahel-alma, Syria as their last place of residence.  

The family made their way to Western NY and settled in Buffalo – that had to be such a drastic change from their warm homeland!  The family again set up shop as Tailors, they owned the successful Kimaid-Mattar clothing stores in Buffalo.  My cousins remember making the drive to Buffalo to visit their father’s family while he had new suits made. According to an ad in The Courier Express, in 1954 a new suit would set you back $50.

As with many immigrants – their surname went through several variations.  The earliest version is Kmeid and is still used in Lebanon today, when the family came through Ellis Island they were listed as Kemeid, and finally Kimaid.

The family was active in their South Buffalo community and church. Two of the sons, Antoine and Paul went into the family business, Yvette married and raised a family, Victoria became a Nun and Emil graduated from Canisius College in Buffalo and went on to Medical School.  He paid his way by working at a steel mill. He did his residency at Mercy Hospital in South Buffalo and that is where he met my Aunt Lillian Marshall.  Aunt Lil went to the nursing school run by the Nuns at Mercy Hospital.  I didn’t know that part of their history until my mom mentioned it – after I had accepted my first job as an RN at the very same hospital!  I actually met another Kimaid relative while I was there.  Once I knew the story, I was so thrilled to be walking the same halls they once had.

With WWII approaching, like many couples of the time Uncle Emil and Aunt Lil were married quietly, with little fanfare and no family present.  Uncle Emil was stationed down south before going overseas, Aunt Lil flew down and they were married.  They spent a short time together before he left for Europe and didn’t see each other for a couple of years.  It was said that the families weren’t especially thrilled at first, both of Emil’s brother’s had married girls from Lebanon and Lil’s family was German.  Sentiments ran high on both sides. Uncle Emil was sent to Germany as an Army Doctor, he served under General Patton.  While overseas he met his brother in law, Ronald Hermance for the first time.  Uncle Ron had married my Aunt Claire but the two didn’t actually meet in person until they were in Germany.  They were close for the rest of their lives.

After being discharged in 1946 Uncle Emil and Aunt Lil moved to Leroy, NY and he joined the medical practice of Dr. Paul Welsh.  The two men served the area for many years, they were small town Dr.’s in every sense of the word.  I picture a very Norman Rockwell practice. They made many, many house calls and did everything from delivering the babies to caring  for people at the end of their lives.  Leroy was just an hour or so drive from his family and a 20min drive away from the Marshall’s in Batavia.  Uncle Emil also worked at the Catholic Hospital, St. Jerome’s in Batavia – there are a couple of good stories of him laughing while tending to some foolish injury of my family (usually one of my brothers). My mom was an x-ray tech at the same hospital and they were always close. He also served as the County coroner for many years.  In fact he was called to the scene of the fatal car accident where my Grandfather, his father in law had a heart attack at the wheel.  My grandparents had been on their way to his house when the accident happened. He was also one of the first people allowed to go into Attica Prison after the famous prison riot in 1971 He wrote an official, approved report for the State, but he took the things he saw behind those walls to his grave.  It had to be a heavy burden for him to bear.  

I was just about 5yrs old when Uncle Emil died, but I have vivid, happy memories of him, He had a huge model train set in the basement of their home, I remember being mesmerized by it and the wonderful man who wore a train conductor’s hat while running it.  My memories are of him smiling often, while calling everyone “honey”.  When people spoke of him, it was often about Aunt Lil and how much they loved each other.  My mother and her sisters always said that Emil died first so that he could make sure everything was ready for Lil.  My Aunt had battled cancer on and off for several years but Emil was diagnosed and died fairly quickly.  He spent about a month at St. Jerome’s before he died (Sept 4, 1978).  My mom would go visit him and spend time during work.  Sadly she also did the same just 4 months later for Aunt Lil, she passed away on January 11, 1979.  They left behind their 3 children, Suzanne, Yvonne, and Paul who were all their 20’s. Their family continued to grow and at the time of this writing they have a legacy of 3 children, 5 grandchildren, and 8 great-grandchildren.

Addendum 2/18/17: So right after I published this I found a really interesting article from the New York Times published on August 2, 1923.  The article was about the overwhelming numbers of immigrants who arrived to Ellis Island on August 1 – the very day that Emil and his family arrived!  The article says that 15,000 immigrants arrived that day. 16 ships, 35 nationalities were represented.  They had to send ships to Boston and Philadelphia just to deal with the sheer numbers.

Kimaid and Mattar Ad. (1954, November 25). Courier Express, p. 71. Retrieved February 15, 2017, from

Obituaries. (1978, September 07). The Leroy Gazette News, p. 8. Retrieved February 15 , 2017.
Ellis Island Foundation. (n.d.). Retrieved February 15, 2017, from

The Kimaid Family

I am excited to be sharing my first guest post today!   When I started this blog, my hope was that other branches of the family would add their stories.  My cousin Yvonne posted this originally on Facebook and gave me permission to share



Back from left: Antoine, Emil, Paul, Yvette. Front from left: Tameny, Victoria, John

Immigration from Syria. My father (2nd man from the left) was born in 1914 in Syria. He and the family migrated to America via Ellis Island August 1, 1923. His father a tailor by trade established a men’s store in Buffalo, NY creating tailored men’s suits. My father did not follow his trade but worked his way through pre-med in a steel mill. He graduated Medical School from Notre Dame University and after residency became a captain in the army and joined General Patton’s army during WWII. After the war he settled in Leroy NY and provided medical care to the residents for 31 years until he died in 1978. This is what immigrants from Syria do… work their way through medical school, join the army during WWII and care for the injured American soldiers, and dedicate their lives to serving a community!



Barney McGee



Bernard “Barney” McGee was born the second son of William and Margery McConnell about 1831.  He was born in Ireland. According to his headstone he was a native of County Donegal. Bernard came to the United states in April of 1841. He arrived in New York with his mother, brothers and sisters aboard the Stephen Whitney, sailing from Liverpool.

There is some documentation that they lived in Lockport, NY for a while before settling Perry, NY. Barney married a Maria Fitzgerald and they made their life on a farm in nearby Covington, NY. In 1860 they were listed on the census for Covington, their real estate was worth $1900.  They had 2 daughters born between 1860 and 1864, Nellie (maybe Ellen) was born in 1862, Mary “Mattie” was born in November 1863.*

Barney died on December 10, 1864 he was only 33yrs old.  I haven’t been able to find out what he died from.  The odd thing is that he is buried a few towns over, in Batavia, NY.  There were other Catholic Churches in the area and I don’t know why he was buried there.  It looks like his mother, Margery is also buried there.  I am working on finding out if more the family are buried there.

I was able to track down the Probate records for Bernard that include an inventory of his possessions.  It is one of the more interesting things I have come across!  It is tough to read but it looks like his wife Maria was Executrix of the will, his brother William was also mentioned as a witness.  Reading through the things he owned and what they were worth is fascinating. Some of the highlights include a grey mare and a bay mare each worth $125, a lumber wagon $35, a Democrat buggy (see picture) $10, a lumber sleigh $6, 7 barrels $7, stone ware, a wooden bowl .35, 100lbs pork $14, and 4 forks(!) $1.25.  There was a whole host of farm equipment and several animals also, sheep, turkeys, geese, swine, and a heifer.  They had both a cook stove and a parlor stove, a table with 6 chairs and a settee.   It is an amazing glimpse into a simple farm in 1864.  

Democrat buggy

In 1870 Maria was still living on the farm, now with her brother Morris and the girls.  She did eventually remarry  to a Dennis Herrington, probably somewhere around 1876. She and Dennis show up on the 1880, 1900, and 1910 census records living in Warsaw. According to the 1910 census she had 3 children but only 2 were living at that time.* Nellie was 47yrs old and living with her mother and step-father.  Mattie’s daughter Helen Donahue is also listed as living at the residence.  I lose Maria by 1920 and Dennis may have remarried. He shows up in 1920 married to a Catherine, living on the same street that he and Maria lived on.

Both Mattie and Nellie were involved in several organizations in Warsaw, NY.  There are many mentions of their comings and goings around town.Mattie McGee married William Donahue and Helen was their only child. On the 1900 Census I found both  Nellie and Mattie listed at being servants for the Beardslee family in Warsaw. According to the poem written by Angie McGee that was previously posted, Nellie was a great cook.  Sounds like Nellie did the cooking and Mattie took care of the house. Mattie is listed at Mary Donahue and as a widow.  She had 1 living child (Helen). In 1910 Nellie and Helen are living with Maria, by 1920 Nellie and Mary are again listed as living with the Beardslee family. Mattie died in 1939 and is buried at St. Michael’s Cemetery. Nellie never married she died in 1948, she was survived by her niece Helen and a great nephew, William Bracht. Nellie is buried at St Michael’s also.


(n.d.). Retrieved September 3, 2016, from

*Addendum 10/13/16  Barney and Maria’s had 3 daughters. Their first daughter, Alice was born in 1861 and died in  1864. She is buried in St. Joseph’s Cemetery Batavia, NY with her father and her Grandparents. Alice died on October 9, Grandmother Margery on October 15, and Barney on December 10.

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