ALEXANDER MCKEE PLANTER OF COLONIAL KENT COUNTY MARYLAND
as based on early land deed records
Abraham Collett was the original owner of a tract of land at “The Levell”Octorara Hundred, Cecil County, Maryland called “Mount Pisgah and Mount Pleasant,” which were later purchased by Richard Guy. Below are some references to this location from the public records of Cecil County as extracted in part by Edgar Bralley Cecil Co MD, 28 Jan. 2005 Genforum Msg 552.
Deed Book I, p. 78. Deposition. Bartholomew Hewickson [sic, Henrickson?)] Andrew Peterson and Alexander Shresse swore on oath before William Pearce that they saw a locust post set in the ground by the stump of a white which was formerly Abraham Strand's marked tree, belonging to Will Ward on the Back Creek in the Sassafras River. This land is called Leavell was formerly bought from John Coke by the said William Ward, Made 23 January [year not given.This is likely the 300 acres called “Levell” that William Ward obtained from John and Ann Cock and Andrew Peterson in 1671.
Deed Book II, P. 322. Deed. Robert Hews of Cecil Co., planter, for a sum of tobacco, to Alexander McKee, Jr. of Kent Co., 100 acres of land, the middle part of 300 acres called Levell on the north side of Sassafras River on Back Creek which was formerly taken up by William Ward of said county. [Name also spelled Hewes.] Made 29 Mar 1711. Wit: M. Vanderheyden, Henry Ward. JP: M. Vannderheyden. Rec: 6 Jun 1715. John Dowdall, Clerk.
The Indenture states that this parcel was formerly taken up by a Mr. William Ward.Patent records show that a 500 acre parcel in Cecil called Levell was patented by a William Ward about 1687 from a Certificate for land obtained by Henry Ward about 1683.
The above transaction suggests that Alexander McKee Junior of Kent County Maryland was an established tobacco planter prior to 1711.At the time of the land purchase, McKee was very likely to have been between 25 and 30 years of age (bca 1680-90) to be such an established planter with other lands in either Cecil or Kent Counties and with enough spare resources to acquire an additional 100 acres of land.
Alexander Mackey had handed 2000 pounds of Tobacco to Thomas Jefferson Jr. for purchase of a certain parcel of land lying and being in the east side of Chesapeake Bay in the County of Cecil on a river called Sassafras at the mouth of a creek on the north side of the said river and known by the name of Ordinary Point Creek and that Thomas Jefferson Jr. has sold all of his whole Right Title Claim of a certain tract of land called by the name of “Marguires Point”, including edifices and orchards, so reads an Indenture signed on 2 November 1716 as recorded on 26 December 1716 in Vol. 3, page 39 of Cecil county Deed Records.
Alexander MacKey of Kent County had handed 4000 pounds of good sound tobacco and casks to Richard Thacher and his wife Abigail of Cecil County for the purchase of 100 acres of land situated and lying and being near the Brand of Elk River between Elk River and the North East River in the County of Cecil.This parcel a part of the tract called, The Levell” lying in Cecil County and near the head of a certain creek called Back Creek in Cecil County being the middle most hundred acres of the said Tract of Land lying near the land now possessed by Agaell Davis.Running length and breath of 100 acres according to the Course of the Patent containing 100 acres more or less together with all houses, out houses , building, edifices orchards, woods under-woods, water courses, timber trees and fenced edifices.This indenture signed on 11 September 1724 and witnessed by Henry Richardson, James Reis and James Alexander.On the back of the same Indenture there is a note that a sale was recorded on 9 February 1724 in Vol. 4 page 132 of Cecil County Deed Records.
A hoghead of tobacco weighed about 400 pounds, so the above transaction of ten hog-heads, large barrels for shipping, of tobacco was payment for a 100 acre parcel.Barter was common as very little species were in circulation at that time. Note: In the book “Colonial Trade in Maryland 1689-1715 by Margaret Shove Morriss; it is stated that in Maryland as in Virginia, the tobacco trade was overly regulated by Colonial offices with levies beginning in 1671. In addition, the growers in America were dependent on their factors in London to receive and sell tobacco shipments .Generally the grower accepted desirable English goods as payment for each shipment.If the shipment value was less than the received goods, then the grower could become in-debt and locked to his representative.This situation was very prevalent among tobacco growers in Maryland and in Virginia.
A similar parcel of 100 acres was sold by Alexander MacKey or Meacay of Kent County to Henry Hendrickson of Cecil County on 9 Feb 1724 as recorded in Vol 4, page 133 on 10 Feb 1724.
Alexander McKey (signed as Alexander Meacay) sold to James Tibbett, a parcel of land being part of a tract called,“Luck of the Game”, lying on the east side of Main Mill branch being the same Branch that a certain Peter Allaby formerly had a mill on and is the same that John Williams and Samuel White had a mill on at the time of making this Indenture containing by computation fifteen acres more or less and all of lands, trees, woods and or Woods, pastures , etc..This Indenture signed Alexander Meacay on the twelfth of April 1758 and recorded 7 October in book 29, page 36, Kent County Deed Records.Note: James Tibbett and Family were involved in numerous Kent County land Transactions between 1729 and 1780.
The Cecil County Court Records for this time span list several land deals which include various spelling of McKey, etc.It is possible that this Alexander Mcxxx changed his name spelling as part of his dealings in tobacco trading as his outgoing shipments sailed out of the Sassafras Creek.It is reputed that his father Alexander McKee, Sr. Died in 1718 and that may have led to a name change by son Alexander McKee, Jr.
There exists, but difficult to access, so called Maryland Rent Rolls of 1707-1709, that include Kent and Cecil Counties.These rolls tallied all land owners for taxation by Lord Baltimore, the Proprietor.These records should confirm the whereabouts of Alexander Mcxxx in Kent county.
The Kent County Tax List for 1783 includes four possible decedents of Alex McKxx.Elijah and Issac McKey are listed in the 4th Tax district which included Morgans Creek and the Lower South Sassafras Hundred.Jacob McCay and John McCay are listed in the 5th Tax District of Kent County.There are no similar spelled Mcxxx in the Cecil County Tax List of 1783.