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Home: Surnames: McKee Family Genealogy Forum

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Providence, Mecklenburg Co NC 1760 era McKee and various other surnames
Posted by: linda mckee (ID *****5772) Date: April 18, 2007 at 11:08:01
  of 5279

I posted the following on the Mecklenburg Co NC Board; but, also, post here in the hopes of some debate about the spelling of the surname McKee:

McKee are among the very earliest burials at Providence. One of the oldest graves is John McKee who died May 17 1764. This John is the father of Samuel born ca 1733; Ambrose born ca 1735; William born ca 1735 also; Alexander born ca 1740; James born ca 1742 according to several researchers prior to the internet.

Foote in his manuscript written in 1846 reports that Robert McKee (NOT MCCREE OR MCREE BUT MCKEE) was an early burial at Sugaw Creek. If this reliable author wrote all the way back in 1846 that this was MCKEE on the tombstone and not the other spellings, it would seem safe to believe that MCKEE is the correct surname.

I believe the earlier John McKee mentioned in the first paragraph has been changed to all sorts of last name spellings but is in fact MCKEE for those children of John McKee in the first paragraph. When you order legal documents most spellings are MCKEE. There are few other spellings listed in the index of official publications.

I am wondering if on this MECKLENBURG Board we might have these other spellings of the surname MCKEE post their data since I qustion their conversion of the spelling of McKee to the other forms when the book written in 1846 says McKee for the area that became Mecklenburg Co NC.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has posted Foote's book and it is online and they are credited for publishing the following as portion of Sketchs of Western North Carolina by Foote originally published in 1846.


ABOUT twelve miles south of Charlotte, on one of the routes to Camden, you will find in a beautiful oak grove, through which the great road passes, the place of assemblage for the worship of God, of the church and congregation of New Providence, or Providence, as it is now more commonly called. Here, as in revolutionary times, are gathered from Sabbath to Sabbath, the inhabitants of a large section of country, which was the scene of many thrilling incidents, when Lord Cornwallis, with his royal army, tested the principles of the North Carolina Presbyterians. The name of the congregation was adopted from one in Pennsylvania, and as an acknowledgment of a kind providence in the circumstances of the settlement of the congregation, particularly in their being unmolested by the Indians.

Owing to the distance of this country from a printing press, before and for some time after the revolution, few books or pamphlets are to be found under the name of any of the Presbyterian ministers that labored so unremittingly among the churches of this interesting population. The law of custom had decided that the destruction of manuscripts was a part of preparation for death, as solemn and indispensable as the making the last will and testament. Very little of the records of the thoughts of these men have been preserved from this destruction. And the unfortunate burning of some houses, together with the carelessness of those who might have rescued some things from oblivion, leaves the present generation in wondering ignorance of the trials, and energy, and principles of those brave and excellent men.

The grave of but one minister is found in the burial-place at Providence. Step into the yard a few paces from the church, and among the chiselled names of Stitt, Potts, McKee, Rea, Patterson, McCullock, and Matthews, the oldest of which bears date of 1764, you will find the plain monument of Wallis, who served the congregation from 1792 till 1819. His mother's monument you will find in the old grave-yard of Sugar Creek, in the corner opposite to Craighead's sassafras trees. Of the previous ministers the accounts are scanty, especially as the congregation was not so fortunate as some of its neighbors in retaining its ministers for a protracted period. Of Mr. Wallis, we shall say more in the close of this chapter.

Settlements in the bounds of this congregation were made about the same time as those in Sugar Creek, and Steel Creek, and Rocky River, and by the same kind of emigrants. The first ministerial labors the settlement enjoyed, beside what they could receive from Mr. Craighead, were from the Rev. William Richardson, who was licensed by Hanover Presbytery, at a meeting at Capt. Anderson's, in Cumberland, Virginia, Jan. 25th 1758. On the 18th of July following, at the first meeting of the Presbytery after the union of the Synods of New York and Philadelphia, held in Cumberland, Mr. Richardson and Mr. Pattillo were ordained. He was appointed to attend at Rocky River on the 27th of the September following, to perform the installation services for Mr. Craighead, being on his way to the Cherokees. How long he remained with the Cherokees is not known. In 1761, he is reported as having left Hanover Presbytery, and joined the Presbytery in South Carolina, not in connection with the Synod. In 1762, the Presbytery sustained his reasons for joining that Presbytery without dismission from his own, with which he was in regular connection.

Mr. Richardson was the maternal uncle of the famous Wm. Richardson Davie, so noted in the southern war, adopted him as his son, superintended his education, and made him heir of an estate, every shilling of which Davie expended in equipping the corps of which he was made Major in 1780.

How long he preached in Providence is not known. His residence was in South Carolina.

The first elders in the church were Andrew Rea, Archibald Crocket, Joshua Ramsey, and Aaron Howie. For some time previous to the organization of the church in 1765, there had been but one place acknowledged as the place of worship by the people of this congregation, and that is the grove where the meeting-house now stands, in the shade of whose trees the first public worship was celebrated until a house was built.

In 1766, there is a notice on the records of the Synod of "a call for settlement among them, from Steel Creek and New Providence." About this time Mr. Robert Henry, who gathered the church on Cub Creek, Virginia, resolved, after ministering to that charge for a number of years, to leave them; and an engagement was made for his services in these two congregations."

It would be good to debate the correct identity of the persons that have been reported as being the above McKee in Mecklenburg / Iredell / Rowan / Anson from ca 1750 thru the end of the 1780's but using different spellings. Even "Carolina Cradle" by Roert Ramsey mentions MCKEE 5 times in writing and 3 further times mentioned on map / list but only uses Mackey one time and that William Mackey is of the same family as the John in the first paragraph - that being the Cecil Co Maryland lineage. None of the other spellings are even mentioned.

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