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
FAMILY of JOHN McKEE
JOHN and SALLY McKEE were the parents of four children.The first born received the name of DAVID; he was born on June 15, 1792, but lived less than a year, dying on the 10th day of May, 1793.
The second child was christened JOHN.He was born on July 31st, 1794, the night the “Whiskey Boys” encamped at McKeesport on their way to Braddock’s Field.There is no record of the events of his life, except that on the 7th day of November, 1816, he married SARAH BRISON, one of the society belles of Allegheny City, JAMES BRISON, his father-in-law, was prominent in the political affairs of Allegheny Co. and held the office of Prothonotary from 1788 to 1799.
The third child was christened SARAH ANN but preferred to be called “SALLY.”She was 10 years of age at the death of her father.Shortly thereafter SALLY and her mother went to Washington to live, and SALLY was educated in the home of her uncle, DAVID REDICK.SALLY married DR. JOSEPH I. McDOWELL on September 15, 1818, having broke of an engagement with DAVID McCOY. her cousin.They had two little girls, MARY in December, 1819, and SARAH JANE in March, 1822.In April of 1823 little MARY passed away at the age of three years and four months.In the summer of 1824, an epidemic, presumed to be yellow fever, struck MOBILE, Ala. and DR. McDOWELL was one of the first victims, dying on Aug. 20, 1824, and five days later, on Aug. 25, 1824, SALLY joined her husband in death.
Hearing of the catastrophe, JOHN McKEE, SALLY’S brother, rushed to Mobile, and brought back with him the little surviving orphan, SARAH JANE McDOWELL, who followed the other members of her family on March 12th, 1825.(pg. 19) A portrait of SALLY that was done by DAVID McCOY was placed on a wall of the Western Pennsylvania Historical Society building in Pittsburgh.
The fourth child born to JOHN and SALLY McKEE was christened “REDICK” which was SALLY’S maiden name.He was born on Dec. 7, 1800, and was just 7 years old at the time of his father’s death.Very little is known of his early life, except that he was taken to Washington, Pa. with his brother and sister, and was raised with them in the home of DAVID REDICK.He married ELIZA RITCHIE of Canonsburg, Pa. on Jan. 12, 1826 and raised quite a large family.
Much of the information regarding JOHN McKEE’S family is taken from his family Bible, on the front page of which REDICK McKEE had written,
(not in his handwriting)
“My Father’s Bible, then my Mother’s till her death in 1814,then my brother JOHN’S till is death in 1860.After the death of his wife, SARAH McKEE, it came into my possession and is now confided to my eldest and well beloved son, JOHN, in San Francisco, this 15 day of October, 1877.”
Signed Redick McKee
The Bible was destroyed in the great San Francisco fire, but a relative had made copies of the information contained in the Bible regarding the family, and it was thus preserved.It is peculiar that the Bible contains no information regarding JOHN McKEE’S first marriage and his two children by his first wife, except the following, “Died Aug. 28, 1819, MARGARET McKEE, daughter of the above (JOHN McKEE) at the house of J. BRISON, ESQ., in St. Clair Township, All City.”As REDICK McKEE’S brother, (pg. 20 - picture of REDICK McKEE and monument of JOHN McKEE) (pg. 21) JOHN, married SARAH BRISON, daughter of JAMES BRISON, MARGARET was, no doubt, living with her half-brother, JOHN, and his wife.
REDICK McKEE died on September 13th, 1886.