165th jubilee : official publication commemorating McKeesport's old home week celebration, 1795-1960.
McKeesport, Pa.: Wivagg Printing, 1960.
Bruice A. Yount, Editor
THE EARLY HISTORY of McKEESPORT by Walter L. Riggs
The passing years took their toll as DAVID McKEE, and at the age of 71 he was ready to transfer the cares of the plantation to the broad shoulders of his son, JOHN McKEE, who alone remained at home with his aging parents.On the 10th day of December 1781 DAVID McKEE and his wife, MARGARET, executed a deed conveying the entire plantation of 306 acres to JOHN McKEE, and took back a bond, providing as follows: “I do by these presents bind myself, my heirs and assigns yearly and every year during DAVID McKEE’S, my father, and MARGARET, my mother’s natural lives to give them one-half of the profits of the east side of the Youghiogheny Ferry, and one-half of the south side of the Monongahela Ferry, the said DAVID and MARGARET are to be at equal expense in keeping crafts and ferrymen, and I am to give said DAVID and MARGARET one-half of the grain and fodder that will be raised on the orchard field yearly, and every year, if demanded and called for by the said DAVID and MARGARET, and to give them one-half of all fruit that said orchard produces, and, if made into cider one-fourth if delivered in barrels, likewise the house and barn on the north side of the lane, including five acres of ground with privilege of taking water out of the well, and to lay in fire wood to them, if demanded.”
DAVID McKEE died on the 11th day of October, 1795, at the age of 85 years, and was respectively and lovingly laid away in the old Ninth Avenue Cemetery, which he had dedicated many years before to the public for burial purposes.
There is an unconfirmed tradition that DAVID McKEE was by descent Baron of Learg, but, as he cared little for pomp and ceremony, he never claimed the title.A baron in those days was a peer of the realm, a member of the nobility, and entitled to be addressed as “My Lord.”As he was a baron by descent, it would appear that the title was hereditary.However, there is considerable doubt that any of his descendents in this city would insist on being addressed as “My Lord.”
JOHN McKEE, the founder of McKeesport, was born in the year 1746 in northern Ireland of Scotch ancestry, and was, therefore, about 22 years of age when the family arrived at the present site of McKeesport.JOHN McKEE became a trader of land for profit.He bought and sold land in Pittsburgh, in Beaver Co., along the Allegheny River, and in Versailles Twp., and became a very wealthy man.JOHN decided to abandon his log cabin and erect a large stone mansion on Second St. east of Walnut St.
The census of 1790 as to Versailles Twp., of which McKeesport was then a part, states that there were seven members of his household, and two slaves.One was namedPETER CASCO that he let free.
JOHN McKEE was twice married; his first wife being SARAH GOBEN, a sister of HUGH GOBEN, and his second wife, SARAH REDICK, popularly known as “Sally.”By reason of both wives having the same first names, historians seem to have overlooked the first wife entirely, and no mention of her has been made in any published history.
In Deed Book Vol. 2, at page 311 is recorded a deed signed by JOHN and SARAH McKEE, and dated May 20th, 1789.In the acknowledgement of the deed under date of June 23rd, 1790 it is set forth that the acknowledgement of the deed is made by JOHN McKEE alone, his wife having died since signing the deed.There is also a case reported in Vol. 1 Addison’s Reports at page 272, wherein it is recited that HUGH GOBEN and JOHN McKEE are brothers-in-law.
At least two children were born to JOHN McKEE and his first wife, bearing the names of MARGARET and MARGERY.MARGERY McKEE grew into woman’s estate, and married WILLIAM THOMPSON, “lately arrived from Kentucky.”McKEE then purchased the HUGH GOBEN farm, which had been the home of his wife, and turned it over to his son-in-law, WILLIAM THOMPSON.The THOMPSONS lived on the farm for many years and reared two daughters.MARGARET McKEE, JOHN McKEE’S second daughter by his first wife, never married.JOHN McKEE’S first wife died some time between May 20th, 1789 and June 23rd, 1790, but he did not long remain single.
One July day in the year 1791 a man on horseback and leading a second horse on which was a lady’s side-saddle, stopped at the home of JOHN McKEE.The rider was the handsome HUGH McCOY of Fort Pitt.He was promptly joined by JOHN McKEE.They followed Braddock’s Road into the Cumberland Valley, and finally stopped at the home of JOHN REDICK.They both had second horses on which was a lady’s side saddle. That evening, July 26th, 1791, a double wedding took place, and the next morning when the riders started homeward, the beautiful SALLY REDICK, rode by the side of JOHN McKEE, and her sister RACHEL REDICK, rode by the side of HUGH McCOY.
Although this marriage was a May and December affair, SALLY being 25 years of age and JOHN 20 years her senior, the union was a happy one.SALLY was real patrician, and the prominence of her brothers, JOHN REDICK of Beaver Co., and DAVID REDICKof Washington Co., extended her social reign into both of these counties.JOHN REDICK was an associate judge of Beaver Co. and DAVID REDICK was one of the most prominent men in Western Pa.He was a member of the Supreme Executive Council of the Commonwealth of Pa., and served a term as Vice-President of that body.He was also a member of the first Constitutional Convention, and for a time was its president.