Biography of Samuel McKee
SOURCE: "Portrait and Biographical Album of Champaign County, Illinois," Chapman Brothers, Chicago, 1887
SURNAMES: DAVIS, EAST, HAYES, HENLINE, HILL, JETTS, MATTHEWS, NEBLOCK, PELTZ, ROACH, THOMPSON
SAMUEL McKEE. For the last thirty-five years this worthy citizen of Homer Township, has walked in and out among its people and watched with interest the growth and prosperity of the county to which he came in its primitive days. His early education was conducted in the pioneer log school-house, with its greased paper for window-panes and rude slabs for benches and writing-desks. The dwellings around it usually corresponded with the temple of learning, and the people of those days, with their simple tastes and habits, probably had less of bitterness and discontentment in their lives than those surrounded by the luxuries of a later civilization.
Our subject has been fairly successful in his honest efforts to obtain a livelihood, being in the enjoyment of a comfortable homestead in Homer Township on section 16, where he is carrying on farming and stock breeding with the intelligence which years of experience and observation have brought him. He was born among the hills of Muskingum County, Ohio, on the 16th of November, 1819, and is the son of Joseph and Annie (Ross) McKee, the former a native of Pennsylvania and the latter of Ireland. Joseph McKee followed farming all his life and was gathered to his fathers ninny years ago. Early in life he was a sturdy Jackson Democrat, but later changed his views and cast his lot with the Republican party. Both parents were members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. The wife and mother preceded her tins. band a few years, departing this life in about 1837 in Muskingum County. Ohio. The nine children of the household were Thomas Jackson, John, Elizabeth. Robert and Margaret (twins), Rebecca, Samuel, Joseph and William, the two latter deceased.The boyhood and youth of our subject were passed after the manner of most farmers' sons, engaged in the lighter labors around the homestead and attending the pioneer school during the winter season. After reaching his majority be remained in Ohio a few years, but in 1851 decided to try his fortunes in the farther West. lie accordingly emigrated to Vermilion County, Ill., where he remained one year, and then, coming to Champaign County, purchased the quarter section of land of which he now owns 120 acres. Upon this be has made great improvements, redeeming the soil from its wild condition so that now he has a series of fertile fields, rich in grain and pasturage, neatly fenced, and upon the pleasantest part of the farm,a substantial residence with all necessary out-buildings His industry and straightforward method of doing business, have gained him the esteem and confidence of his fellow-townsmen, who have entrusted him with the minor offices, including those of Treasurer and School Director. Politically he is decidedly Republican, ever ready to fight valiantly in defense of his principles.
Mr. McKee, when about twenty-eight years of age, finding life very unsatisfactory without a pernanent home and a cheerful companion at the hearthstone, invited a greatly respected lady to become the sharer of his fortune, namely, Miss Jane NEBLOCK, who became his wife on the 19th of March, 1849, and has since most worthily filled the position as head of his domestic affairs and the mother of his children. Mrs. McKee, like her husband, is also a native of the Buckeye State, born in Guernsey County. June 30, 1822. She is the daughter of David and Ann (MATTHEWS) NEBLOCK, natives of Pennsylvania. Her father followed farming all his life and rested from his labors in about 1850. The of December, 1867, at the old homestead in Ohio. The nine children of the parental household are as follows: Maria, the eldest daughter, is deceased; Adaline became the wife of John HAYES, now deceased. She lives in Vermilion County, III. Carl died in early childhood, also William; Richard M. died when an infant of five months; James M. married Miss Nancy HENLINE, and lives in Homer; John J. married a Miss DAVIS, who is deceased; David Y. married Miss Mary A. PELTZ; 8olomon N. married Miss Edith JETT,
The home of Mr. and Mrs. McKee gradually became tenanted with little people until their offspring numbered twelve children, of whom the record is as follows: Adaline died when eighteen years of age, on the 3d of April, 1863, leaving a sad vacancy in the household of which she was the eldest child;John married Miss Celia ROACH, of Ohio; Charlotte A. is living at home; Vincent H. married Miss Ellen EAST, who died within a few years, and he has been since married to Miss $adie HUBBARD.This son is a carpenter by trade and lives in Danvile, Ill. Robert L. is single and at home; Elizabeth C. became the wife of Van C. THOMPSON;Maria I. died when three years of age, Oct. 1, 1869, and Mary Jane when fifteen months old, Aug. 15, 1856; Thomas married Miss Belle HILL; James C. died of consumption on the 15th of June, 1886, aged twenty-three years and six months. He was a promising young man, an active member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and a teacher in the Sabbath-school, presenting in his daily walk a bright example of early piety, and whom to know was but to love and respect. His death was a sad blow to the stricken parents, and he passed away lamented by a large circle of friends. Clara E, was the eleventh child; Cora V., the youngest, is a bright and interesting girl of seventeen years.