Thomas Newton McKee


THOMAS NEWTON McKEE, M.D., an eminent physician and surgeon of Kittanning, belongs to old pioneer stock of Sugar Creek township, Armstrong county, where he was born Nov. 18, 1867, on his father�s farm---the old homestead place of his grandfather. His parents were Thomas Vincent and Mary (Craig) McKee, and on both sides he belongs to the hardy Scotch-Irish race which has done so much for Pennsylvania.

The Doctor is a great-grandson of Andrew McKee, who was born in 1747, in Ireland, and coming to America prior to the Revolution settled in Cumberland county, Pa., near Carlisle. He served in the Revolutionary war from the beginning to the close, in two regiments, in March, 1776, becoming a private in the company of Captain Adams, Colonel Irwin�s regiment, Pennsylvania troops, with which he served sixteen months. In June, 1780, he again enlisted, this time in Captain Zeigler�s company, Colonel Stewart�s regiment, and served till the end of the war. Afterward he came to Allegheny county, Pa., settling at what is now McKeesport, named after another branch of this family. After several years� residence there he moved to Armstrong county, first living in what is now East Franklin township, near where Montgomeryville now stands, and there building what was originally known as McKee�s mill, later the Christman mills. He settled on a heptagonal tract of 403 acres, 136 perches, probably about 1797, and in 1805 and 1806 was assessed at $131, 400 acres, one horse and one cow. By virtue of his improvement, settlement and residence on that tract he had a joint interest in it with Francis Johnston, and in the partition between them McKee took the southern part, most of which is now in East Franklin township. In the latter part of 1814, or early in 1815, McKee and John Christman agreed to sell and purchase the former�s interest, and the latter built his gristmill on Limestone run, with which, 400 acres, one horse and one cow he was first assessed in the last mentioned year, at $307. He built his sawmill five years later. McKee obtained the patent April 19, 1820, and conveyed to Christman 201 acres, 148 perches, June 27, for $1,100. Charles Campbell conveyed to Robert Orr, Sr., and John Patton 100 acres, 36 perches, which he had agreed to sell to James Fulton, in trust for the persons claiming under Fulton, which they conveyed to Andrew McKee, Sr., Dec. 25, 1820, who had agreed to purchase, and had paid the purchase money for the same. It appears 140 acres of this tract was vested in John Brown, for he conveyed that quantity to Andrew and Thomas McKee, Oct. 25, 1819, for $775, which became vested in the latter, who conveyed 115 acres to his son, Thomas V. McKee, July 17, 1855, for $800. Andrew McKee conveyed 100 acres, 36 perches, to Andrew Rodgers Dec. 27, 1830, for $800, which with another parcel, his heirs conveyed to Joseph and Samuel Rodgers, Nov. 17, 1849, for $1 "as well as other good considerations." By his will, dated Dec. 11, 1860, and registered March 13, 1862, he devised his real estate equally to his daughters. The Johnston purport is chiefly in what is now Washington township. McKee�s name appears in several land transactions in Sugar Creek township. From East Franklin township Andrew McKee removed to West Franklin, settling where his grandson, James B. McKee, now lives (and which place is now owned by his great-grandson, James H. McKee) and where he died in 1835, when eighty-eight years of age. He held several local offices of trust. He had a large funeral, all who attended riding horseback or walking; the roads to the cemetery at Cowansville, four miles distant, were so bad that the remains were hauled on a half wagon, the front wheels, on which was a bed on which the coffin was placed. His grave is decorated by the Sons of the American Revolution of the State of Pennsylvania; he was a gallant patriot. McKee married Mary Blanford, who is buried beside him, and she was by act of Pennsylvania Assembly, December, 1838, granted a pension as the widow of a soldier of the Revolutionary and Indians wars. They had children: (1) William, his eldest son, was the first man buried in the Union cemetery at Cowansville. His father, Andrew McKee, lies beside him; the former was accidentally killed at a barn raising. (2) John. (3) James made an improvement and settlement in East Franklin township on a tract of 434 acres, 134 perches, about 1797. In 1805 he was assessed with 400 acres as a single man, at $100, and the next year, as married, and with one horse and one cow, at $121. Philip Anthony conveyed 108 acres to McKee for $400, which he conveyed to Anthony Montgomery, Oct. 17, 1812, for $600, who reconveyed to him 108 acres of the southwestern part, May 20, 1813, for five shillings and his bonds for $500. (4) Joseph settled on a tract of over 400 acres lying principally in Washington township, partly in East Franklin township, and was assessed with 400 acres of it in 1804 at $80. He was later assessed with a smaller quantity, the last time in 1810, with 200 acres. In Will Book II, page 15, of Armstrong county, may be found the will of Joseph McKee, dated Aug. 1, 1851: "First I give and bequeath to my son Thomas McKee all the farm we now live on, to my beloved wife Jane, should she survive me, all the household furniture, etc. and the house in which I live during her natural life, cows, brass clock, etc., to dispose of as she sees fit. I direct that my son Thomas McKee pay unto my daughter Sarah Davis, one dollar, to Ann Rasher one dollar, to Joseph McKee one dollar, to Margaret Kelly one dollar, and to Martha Hart one dollar." (5) Rev. Andrew. (6) Thomas (7) Polly married a Stewart. (8) Jane married a Mr. Henry of Armstrong county. (9) Nancy married a Mr. Hanna, a river captain.

Thomas McKee settled in Sugar Creek township. He was born March 1, 1790, in Cumberland county, Pa., and died Aug. 8, 1865. He became a farmer when a young man, and after his marriage to Margaret Blaine, daughter of James and Deborah (Baird) Blaine, he purchased the farm now owned by William Foster, near Adams post office. About 1828 he moved from there to Sugar Creek township, and purchased a farm adjoining Robert Hays, afterward his son-in-law. On Sept. 15, 1831, Thomas Foster conveyed to Thomas McKee 265 acres, 135 acres for $450, five acres, two perches, of which he conveyed to Thomas Templeton, April 28, 1832, for $14. Mr. McKee resided there until his decease, opening his store there prior to 1860. He died intestate, and in proceedings in partition the inquest valued the residue of this parcel, 264 acres, as surveyed by J.E. Meredith, Feb. 2, 1867, at $8,740, which was not taken by any of the heirs at the appraisement, but all of them expect one having conveyed their interests to Thomas V. McKee, the court decreed June 3, 1867, that this land be awarded to him.

Mrs. Margaret (Blaine) McKee was born Aug. 5, 1793, and died Sepy. 17, 1859. Thomas and Margaret (Blaine) McKeee raised fourteen children, seven sons and seven daughters, namely: (1) Deborah Jane married Robert Hays, and they became the parents of Hon. Thomas Hays, of Butler county, Pa. (2) Harvey followed farming and later became a merchant in what is now Cowansville, in East Franklin township, where he died. He married Phebe Foster, daughter of Alexander Foster. They left no children. (3) James B., now (1913) ninety-three years of age, is a farmer, residing on the place where his grandfather, Andrew McKee, lived and died. He rode one of the two horses that drew the two-wheeled hearse on which his grandfather was carried to his grave. He married Catherine Patton. (4) William, a farmer, married Miss Martha Pence, and he and his life died in Lathrop, Mo. (5) Mary Ann is the wife of David Reed, a farmer of East Franklin township; his nephew, Hon. Thomas Hays, owns his old farm. (6) Ellen married James Herron, a farmer of East Franklin township (near Worthington), and they moved to a farm at Joplin, Mo., where they died. (7) Nancy became the wife of James Templeton, and they moved to near Altoona, Ill., where they engaged in farming and died. (8) John B. went to California in 1849, and in 1874, had four thousand acres in wheat and barley near Salinas Ca., where his family reside. He had children late in his life. (9) Thomas Vincent is mentioned below. (10) Margaret married John Patton and resided in Sugar Creek township. She and her husband are both deceased. They left a family. (11) Eliza is the widow of William Cowan, a farmer, and is now living with her children at Coal Town, Ill. (12) Joseph married Mary Munson and moved to California, where she died; his death occurred in Oregon. Their son, Munson McKee, lives in Pittsburgh. (13) Rachel, twin of Joseph, married Samuel J. Gibson, and they were engaged in farming near Galvia, Ill., where their family now reside. (14) Cryus K. enlisted in the 103d Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, during the Civil War, became sergeant, and died soon afterward in North Carolina, in 1864, while a prisoner of war. He married Elvira Fulton, who resides in Worthington, Armstrong Co., Pa., with her daughter, Mrs. Stella (McKee) McCulley.

Thomas Vincent McKee, born May 11, 1829, in Armstrong county, followed farming in both Washington and West Franklin townships. His father died intestate, as previously related, and he became possessed of the homestead in Sugar Creek township, which is still owned by the McKee family. The 115 acres which Thomas McKee conveyed to his son Thomas V. McKee July 17, 1855, for $800, was conveyed by the latter Oct. 2, 1866, to William Leard, for $3,300. Thomas V. McKee served two terms as county commissioner. On March 9 (29), 1854, he was married, at the Craig homestead, to Mary Craig, who was born Sept. 26, 1835, at the old Craig homestead, daughter of John and Eliza (Huston) Craig, and died April 17, 1907. Mr. McKee died Jan. 3, 1899. They were members of he Worthington Presbyterian Church, and both were buried in the cemetery adjoining that church. Ten children were born to this union, as follows: (1) Eva E. married George Ross of Kittanning, and had: May Van Antwerp, deceased Nov. 13, 1906, who married Marcus D. Wayman; Capt. James G., United States engineer at Memphis, Tenn.; Elizabeth M.; Thomas V. McKee; Washington M., and Helen Josephine. (2) Harvey C. died at the age of forty-two years in South Dakota. He married Mary Leard, and they had three children, Nora, Agatha and Herbert, who live, as does their mother, at Bonesteel, S. Dak. (3) Margaret I. married James J. Titley, of Chicora, Pa., where he is engaged in the oil business. They have six children, Blanch, Arthur, Ralph, Walter, Helen, and Leroy. (4) Ella M. married James L. Garroway, a manufacturer, of Butler, PA, and they have six children, Jessie, Grace, Blanch, Lucille, James and Ruth. (5) Nannie L. married Preston Smith, who is now deceased, and she resides at Leechburg, Pa. She has one son Paul P. (6) Dr. Thomas Newton is mentioned below. (7) Jean M. is the wife of Dr. H.R. Kenneston, of Bonesteel, S. Dak., and they have one son, Hampton Ray, Jr. (8) John Wilbert, D.D.S., is the leading dentist of Butler, Pa. He married Mary B. Clark, and they have three children, Genevieve, Clark and Edgar. (9) Arthur Vincent, attorney at law, of Butler, married Lila Grubbs and they have two children, Arthur V. and Mary V. (10) Raymond L., D.D.S., at present engaged in farming on his place near Worthington, married Margaret Henry, and they have five children, Gertrude, Mildred, Wilbur, Margaret, and Thomas C.

Thomas Newton McKee began his education in the public schools of the home district, and later attended Deanville Academy, to prepare himself for teaching. For the following four years he taught public school, and then began the study of medicine with Dr. C.J. Jessop, of Kittanning. While under Dr. Jessop�s instruction, he was favored with exceptional opportunities for acquiring experienced knowledge, especially along anatomical lines, and in the dissecting room. Entering the University of Pittsburgh, he was graduated from the medical department of that institution March 27, 1890, and then served a year as resident physician at the West Pennsylvania Hospital. The following year he located at Ford City, Pa., remaining there a few years, not only engaging in active private practice but also as physician and surgeon for the Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company. In the spring of 1894 he removed to Dubois, Pa., where he remained about eighteen months, on Feb. 4, 1896, making another change--coming to Kittanning, where he has since been located, building up a large and constantly increasing practice. He has served as county medical inspector, under the State board of health of Pennsylvania, and was subsequently appointed county medical inspector, when the Pennsylvania department of health was created in 1905, which office he still holds. He is physician-in-charge of the Pennsylvania State Tuberculosis Dispensary, No. 24, and has been a member of the medical staff of the Kittanning general hospital since its organization. A prominent member of the Armstrong County Medical Society, he has served as its president, and in 1910 was elected vice president of the Pennsylvania State Medical Society. He was one of the vice presidents of the International Tuberculosis Congress, which met in September, 1908, and delivered a lecture on Tuberculosis before the assembly.

On Nov. 17, 1892, Dr. McKee was married by Rev. J.H. Southerland, now chaplain in the United States army, to Mary Blanche Wayman, of Ford City, who was born in Louisville, Ky., Sept. 15, 1873, and five children have been born of this union: Marcus Vincent, born Sept. 18, 1893, was accidentally drowned in the Mississippi river, near Caruthersville, Mo., Aug. 18, 1910, when within a month of being seventeen years old; he was a high school boy of great promise, and was preparing to take up engineering. Earl W., born Aug. 24, 1895, is just completing his high school course. Margaret M., born Nov. 4, 1897, is in high school. Thomas Craig was born July 16, 1901. Kenneth N. was born July 14, 1903. Dr. and Mrs. McKee and their family are members of the first Presbyterian Church. The Doctor�s ancestors have long been staunch supporters of that denomination, and all his uncles on both sides, McKee and Craig, served as Presbyterian elders. Mrs. McKee is a daughter of M. D. and Margaret (Mongavin) Wayman, now living at Tarentum, Allegheny Co., Pa.; Mr. Wayman, now retired, was a glass manufacturer of Pittsburgh during his active career. He and his wife are Methodists in religious connection. Mrs. McKee received her higher education at the Pennsylvania College for Women, Pittsburgh, at the time Helen Pelletreau was principal of that institution.

Fraternally Dr. McKee is a high Mason, being a member of Kittanning Lodge, No.244 (of which he was master in 1901); Mount Moriah Council, No. 2, R. & S. M.; Orient Chapter, No. 247, R. A. M. (high priest 1903); Pittsburgh Commandery, No. 1, K.T. (held all the offices in that body and was installed as eminent commander April 8, 1913); Pennsylvania Consistory, A. A. S. R. (thirty-second degree, which he joined in 1902); and Syria Temple, A. A. O. N. M. S.

Dr. McKee�s ancestry in the Blaine and Craig lines is given fully elsewhere in this work. (See Blaine and Craig family sketches.)

Source: Pages 301-324 Armstrong County, Pa., Her People, Past and Present, J.H. Beers, & Co. 1914
Transcribed September 1998 by Donna Sheaffer for the Armstrong County Beers Project
Contributed for use by the Armstrong County Genealogy Project (

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