The following is a tradition in my McKay family, i.e., that the first wife of Richard McKay, b. 1749, St. Mary's Co., Md., was Ann Hebb. Tradition says dau. of a Stephen Hebb, but I wonder if it is actually a dau. of some William Hebb.McKAY OF ST. MARY'S CO., MARYLAND AND NELSON CO., KENTUCKY
Compiled by Robert P. Moore, 176 Valley Rd., Lexington, Ky. 40503-2023
RICHARD McKAY, probably b. 18 July 1749, St. Mary's Co., Md., d. 8 Dec. 1823, Nelson Co., Ky., bur. Bloomfield Baptist Church cem., Bloomfield, Nelson Co., Ky., m. (1) in Md., Ann (Hebb?), the mother of most of his children, (2) 9 Dec. 1794 (bond), Nelson Co., Ky., Mrs. Margaret (______) Shumate (widow of John Shumate), by whom no children, (3) 11 June 1797, Nelson Co., Ky., Mary Murphy, by whom Sarah and Nancy. Mary Murphy may have been a sister of Hezekiah Murphy of Montgomery Co., Md., and Nelson Co., Ky. (Richard's son Richard Jr. m. Elizabeth, dau. of Hezekiah Murphy.)
Richard McKay was almost certainly the son of John McKay of St. Mary's Co., Md., by Elizabeth ______, widow of Joseph Milburn, who d. by 1734, St. Mary's Co. (Inventories, St. Mary's Co., Book 20, p. 403). John and Elizabeth Mackey, executrix of Joseph Milburn, gave an account of Joseph Milburn's estate on 17 May 1736 by a commission dated 6 Apr. 1736 (Accounts, Book 15, p. 75). John McKay died in about 1751, leaving at least three children, including Richard. John's inventory was taken on 7 Nov. 1751 and recorded 25 Nov. 1751 (Inventories, Book 48, pp. 106-9). It was taken by Stephen Chilton and Thos. Jenkins. His chief creditors were Thos. Bisco and Robert Chesley, and his nearest kin were Gilbert McKeay and Benjamin McKeay. The final distribution of John's estate was recorded on 9 Oct. 1752 with Gilbert McKay and Joseph Kelly acting as Elizabeth's sureties (Balance of Final Distribution, Book 1, p. 60). (Was Elizabeth a Kelly?) On the same date Elizabeth Mackey, with the same sureties, submitted her account (Accounts, Book 33, pp. 206-8). This document states that his daughter Mary was born 2 Jan. 1742 and Richard 18 July 1749. It also mentions another child, probably the eldest, Elizabeth, the wife of John Biscoe. Payments were also made to Jeremiah and Stephen Milburn, orphans of Joseph Milburn.
Richard McKay's land had previously belonged to John McKay, probably his father. Although it is not absolutely certain that this is the Richard McKay later of Nelson Co., Ky., the age is appropriate and it would appear from the records on "McKay's Neck" that Richard of Kentucky was the son of a John. There is nothing in St. Mary's Co. records that substantiates the descent of Richard given in the 1934 McKay reunion booklet, including the names of brothers and sisters given there. However, it is interesting to note the fact that John's nearest kin at the time of the 1751 inventory of his estate were Gilbert and Benjamin McKay. They were, therefore, probably Richard's uncles rather than brothers. The supposed 1792 letter from George Washington to Richard McKay mentions Stephen and Gilbert. The problem there is that Richard McKay appears in Nelson Co., Ky., records already in 1790, and he had sold his land in Maryland in 1789. There are no marriages recorded in Northumberland, Lancaster, or Westmoreland Co., Virginia of the McKays that are so listed in the McKay booklet. There is no Stephen Hebb (said to be the father of Ann Hebb) listed and there is no tract on record called "Factory Lot Farm" for the Hebbs or anyone else. If Richard McKay's first wife was indeed an Ann Hebb, it may be well to look for her under the children of Thomas Hebb Jr., d. 1744, m. (1) Frances Hilliard, dau. of Edward Hilliard and Jane ______, (2) Elizabeth ______. This Thomas was the son of Thomas Hebb, d. ca. 1719, whose residence at death was "Small Hope" in St. Mary's Co. and whose wife appears to have been a dau. of Emmanuel Ratcliff, a witness to the 1676 will of John McKay. Thomas Hebb Jr. had a son William Hebb.
The McKay farm (called "Locust Grove" in the McKay booklet) near Valley Lee, St. Mary's Co., Maryland was sold to the Coad family, and the house stood until about 1900. Robert P. Moore, formerly of Nelson Co., Ky., has a recording made in 1976 in Georgetown, D.C., by a now deceased member of the Coad family - a Miss Virginia Hebb - in which she describes the old McKay house as she recalled it at the turn of the century. The tract that Richard sold to the Coads in 1789 is referred to in the deed as "Mackey's Neck." The original deed was destroyed in the St. Mary's Co. courthouse fire of 1831, but the deed was brought in by the Coads and recorded again in 1843. A photocopy of the record in the St. Mary's Co. deed book exists, but Robert Moore has not yet found the necessary reference to book and page. (Other records cited here were documents recorded at the province [state] level.)
"Mackey's Neck" had earlier been called "Hatch's Neck." It was the same as "Bean Point," which appears in Rent Rolls 1 and 2, Book 7 for St. Mary's and Charles Co., p. 66. This tract was granted by patent of 23 Oct. 1709 to John Mackey (probably of an earlier generation than the John who was Richard's father). It was described as being on St. George's Creek, bounded on the east with a branch of the said creek called St. John's Creek and on the south and west with the said St. George's Creek and on the north. . . . On p. 73 of the same document "Mackie's Neck" was said to have been resurveyed on 23 Oct. 1713 for John Mackie, originally laid out for 100 acres, beginning at a bound Gum Tree standing at the head of Johnsons . . . . The patent was granted on 25 Apr. 1717. It was apparently at this time that it received its final name. Richard McKay paid the rent on this tract from 1770 to 1774, when it was still required that rent be paid to Lord Baltimore's proprietary for any land. In the 1774 record, Richard was paying on 153 acres of "McKey's Neck," while the 1754 debt book charges 153 acres to John Mackey (his heirs?). John McKay (or his heirs?) had paid rent on this tract as well as "Masson" and "St. Richard's Manor" from 1753 to 1768. John McKay, the father of Richard had died in 1751 (Maryland inventories, St. Mary's Co., Book 48, p. 106), so it is not clear who the John is that is paying this rent, unless it was actually his heirs. The March 1958 issue (Vol. 6, No. 3) of Chronicles of St. Mary's, the monthly bulletin of the St. Mary's County Historical Society, has an early history of the "Bean Point/Mackey's Neck" tract as well as an article on the "Portobello" estate of the Hebbs.
It is interesting to note that Vernon Hebb had paid rent on "McKey's Point" during the same period that Richard had paid on "Mackey's Neck." Vernon Hebb's father William was an officer in the British navy during the 1740s, when a campaign against the Spanish was undertaken in South America. Another officer in this same expedition was Lawrence Washington, who left Mt. Vernon to his half-brother George. There were two Hebb estates in St. Mary's Co. named for battles in this campaign: "Portobello" and "Cartagena." (The Portobello house is still standing and belongs in 1992 to Ben Bradlee, vice-president of the Washington Post, who recently bought it from heirs of the Hebb family.) The leader of the South American campaign was an Admiral Vernon, and it was for him that Lawrence Washington would appear to have named "Mt. Vernon." Richard McKay was on Vernon Hebb's list when he took the oath of fidelity to the American colonies on 1 March 1778. It is not unlikely that Vernon Hebb was also named for the admiral. Vernon Hebb paid rent on "Piney Point" (140 acres) in 1769, while Benjamin McKay paid on another part of the same tract from 1762 to 1774, holding 55 acres of it in 1769.
Richard McKay first appears in Nelson Co. records in 1790, when he and Jonathan McCarty swore on 1 Mar. 1790 to the age of Mary Norris who was marrying John Simpson. This causes some puzzlement regarding the supposed 1792 letter from George Washington to Richard McKay reproduced in the McKay Reunion booklet unless Richard first went to Kentucky without his family and then returned to bring them back to Kentucky.
So far no certain link can be made with the John and Elizabeth McKay who are on St. Mary's Co. records of the 1670s. They had been indentured servants and at the end of the required period they received 100 acres of land (in 1671). Tradition has said that the McKays arrived in 1634 in the first group of settlers to Maryland, but that group has been extensively studied, and there are no McKays among them. Besides, those who had been indentured servants did not work 30-odd years in order to get their independence and to receive their own land. This is probably the John Mackey of St. George's Hundred, whose will may be found in the Maryland Prerogative Court records, Wills, Book 2, p. 400. He died in Jan. or Feb. 1676, leaving sons John and James who received land, and there was a small legacy to Dennis Frissell. His overseers were Thomas Dent and Patrick Forrest, and the witnesses were Thomas Carlile and Emmanuel Ratcliff. The name also appears in some records as Mackie, which latter seems to represent a pronunciation closer to the present Scottish pronunciation of McKay - "McEye." That is precisely the way that fairly recent generations of St. Mary's Countians pronounced the name. (Miss Virginia Hebb told Robert Moore that she remembered when it was pronounced that way, and then some "silly young people" started giving it the modern American pronunciation.)
Given the name of Richard McKay's first son, one would wonder if his wife Ann was a daughter of some William Hebb. A partial examination of Hebb records has not revealed any Ann Hebb who married a McKay. Richard McKay and Kennedy Hebb were both witnesses to the will of Ignatius Fenwick in St. Mary's Co. One William Hebb had a daughter Ann who married an Edward Fenwick (seemingly the son of Ignatius), but no record of his death has yet been found, so one cannot at this point suggest that Mrs. Ann (Hebb) Fenwick married Richard McKay after Edward Fenwick's death. If William Hebb McKay was named after his maternal grandfather and Elizabeth McKay Moxley after her paternal grandmother, then perhaps Katherine McKay Froman was named after her grandmother Hebb. No Katherine Hebb of the appropriate time has been found in St. Mary's Co. records, however. Kennedy/ Kenody Hebb's will (Book 41, p. 214, written 20 July 1776, prob. 12 Sept. 1776) shows legacies to brothers Richard and Samuel Hebb and names father William as executor.
Besides their mention in his will, Richard's children Eleanor, Elizabeth, Katherine, and Richard were each deeded a slave child on 9 Dec. 1794 (Nelson Co., Ky., Deed Book 5, pp. 81-82). This was same date as his bond for marriage to Mrs. Shumate. On 5 June 1803, soon after the death of his son-in-law George O'Neal, Richard McKay deeded Eleanor McKay O'Neal's children Matilda, Bryant, and Richard a slave girl then in the possession of their mother (Nelson Co., Ky., Deed Book 6, p. 678). The middle initials of two of these children (Bryant Y. and Richard H.) may prove some day to be helpful in discovering their complete ancestry and whether it includes any Hebbs.
From the number of McKays appearing already in the early records of St. Mary's Co., it is apparent that they were quite early settlers. There is, therefore, no problem with finding McKays in the early St. Mary's records, but rather with putting them together as families. It will require extensive study of estate settlements and land records even to approach an organized arrangement of McKays, because there are very few McKay wills, and it may be that even these other records will not be enough. Although it appears that there are not sufficient records to conclusively prove the ancestry of Richard McKay's father John (died 1751), there is a very strong indication of what it probably was. The earliest records show the immigrants John McKay (with wife Elizabeth) who left a will in 1676, mentioning sons John and James. The next records include only this John and James. This is probably the John who died about 1705-6 and held the tract "Bean's Point," which was later renamed "McKay's Neck." This tract was held in 1707 by his widow Alice. This John and Alice were probably the parents or grandparents of the John who died in 1751, leaving a widow Elizabeth and, among others, a son Richard, who paid rent to the proprietary on "McKay's Neck" and finally sold it to the Coads in 1789 when he was preparing to move to Kentucky. If John and Alice are the grandparents of the John who died in 1751, then his father was probably the John who got a patent for "Bean Point" in 1709 and had it resurveyed as "McKay's Neck" in 1713. The early McKays by other names (Gilbert, Benjamin, Stephen, Daniel, and George, but not Patrick) are very probably of this family, but the relationships are not specified in the records. There are still numerous McKays in St. Mary's Co. in the late 20th century, and there is a community there called McKay's Beach.
For a good many years, starting in 1929 and lasting at least until 1941, McKay descendants held family reunions. They were held in the following places: 1929, Bloomfield; 1930, Bardstown; 1931, Taylorsville; 1932, Jeffersontown; 1934, Bloomfield; 1936, Bloomfield; 1941, Bloomfield. At the 1936 reunion on August 22, a monument to Richard McKay was erected in the cemetery of the Bloomfield Baptist Church.
Here follow the children of Richard McKay:
1. William Hebb McKay, b. 13 Nov. 1773, Md., d. 6 Dec. 1840, m. 20 Dec. 1796, Nelson Co., Ky., Rachel McCarty, b. 24 July 1781, d. 2 Sept. 1842, dau. of Jonathan McCarty. Both bur. Bloomfield Bapt. cem., Bloomfield, Ky.
2. Elizabeth McKay, b. ca. 1775, St. Mary's Co., Md., m. 2 Jan. 1794, Nelson Co., Ky., George Moxley, b. ca. 1759 (probably in Fairfax Co., Va.), d. 4 Apr. 1820. Some of their descendants are bur. in the Old Bloomfield cem., Bloomfield, Ky.
3. Katherine McKay m. 9 Mar. 1797, Nelson Co., Ky., John Froman. Most of this family lived in Spencer Co., Ky.
4. Eleanor McKay, m. (1) 22 Dec. 1796, Nelson Co., Ky., George O'Neal, b. Va., d. ca. 1801, Nelson Co., Ky., son of John O'Neal and ______ ______, (2) John Lawson, by whom no children. John Lawson is buried among the McKays in the Bloomfield Bapt. Ch. cem.
5. Samuel McKay, b. 4 May 1786, d. 18 Feb. 1849, m. 27 Dec. 1804, Nelson Co., Ky., Nancy Murray, b. 20 May 1787, d. 18 Oct. 1851, dau. of John Murray and Dorcas Robertson. They are bur. in the Bloomfield Bapt. cem., Bloomfield, Ky.
6. John C. McKay, b. 20 Feb. 1781, Md., d. 25 Aug. 1865, m. 27 Feb. 1806, Nelson Co., Ky., Sarah S. Edwards, b. 6 Nov. 1786, d. 3 Sept. 1872, both bur. Pleasant Valley cem., Daviess Co., Ky. She was the dau. of William Edwards and Nancy Hammond.
7. Uriah McKay, b. 1782, d. 1830, m. 18 Feb. 1808, Nelson Co., Ky., Elizabeth O'Neal, b. 1786, d. 18 Feb. 1892, aged nearly 106 years, dau. of John O'Neal and Frances Hall (both formerly of Fairfax Co., Va.) and half sister of George O'Neal who m. Eleanor McKay, sister of Uriah. They lived near Madison, Indiana, and later in Taylorsville, Spencer Co., Ky.
8. Richard McKay Jr., b. 1782-90, m. 19 Nov. 1812, Nelson Co., Ky., Elizabeth Murphy, dau. of Hezekiah Murphy and Sarah Cotton. He m. (2) 7 Oct. 1832, Nelson Co., Ky., Mrs. Martha (Ludwick) Collier, b. ca. 1794. They lived in Daviess Co., Ky.
9. Sarah McKay, m. 3 June 1823, Nelson Co., Ky., John Coombs. They probably lived in Spencer Co., Ky.
10. Nancy McKay, b. ca. 1799, m. 3 May 1821, Nelson Co., Ky., Joseph Wilson, b. ca. 1795. They were living in Hickman Co., Ky., at the time of the 1850 census.
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