“The First One Hundred Years of McKeesport”
Compiled and Prepared by Walter S. Abbott and William E. Harrison
Centennial Historical Committee. McKeesport, Pa
Press of McKeesport Times, 1894
Quotes from book.
The McKEES of McKeesport
“About the beginning of the eighteenth century DAVID McKEE, with his family, moved from Scotland to the Protestant settlement in the north of Ireland, settling near Londonderry. But persecution followed the Presbyterians and about the middle of the century he was forced to seek a new home. He came to America in company with several brothers and found in the Province of Pennsylvania what he said he long had sought: “a church without a bishop; a state without a king.”
He settled near Philadelphia, but in the year 1755 he crossed the Allegheny mountains and under the protection of the once celebrated Queen of the Delawares (Alliquippa), he settled permanently in the wilderness he found at the confluence of the Monongahela and Youghiogheny rivers. There he built a log cabin and became the first white resident of the locality...Not withstanding the unfavorable surroundings DAVID McKEE built and occupied his log house and established a home in spite of all difficulties. The seed thus planted, over a century ago, was the nucleus of what afterwards became McKeesport...
DAVID McKEE died on October 11, 1795, eighty-five years and his property passed on his three sons, JOHN, DAVID and ROBERT. DAVID left the settlement, removing across the river and occupying a tract of land in what is now Mifflin township. He was drowned some years afterward while fording the Monongahela river on horseback, at Braddock’s upper rifle, opposite the mouth of Crooked Run, where Braddock crossed in 1756. ROBERT located on a tract of land in the neighborhood of Braddock’s Field, which was at the time a respectable settlement. JOHN retained the old homestead which had been deeded to him by his father some years before.
JOHN McKEE died on January 11, 1807, aged sixty-one years. His remains were placed by the side of his father in the old graveyard, previously described, where they rested quietly until the demands of later years made it necessary to abandon the old burying ground. Accordingly in 1872 the remains were removed by one of his relatives, the late WILLIAM WHIGHAM, to Versailles Cemetery where they are today, the location being marked by the original headstone erected by his family in the old graveyard. But a handsome granite monument to him as the “Founder of McKeesport” was erected over his remains (and those of his wife and his father), in 1887 by DAVID R. McKEE, as executor of the will of REDICK McKEE (son of JOHN McKEE, and born in McKeesport, December 7, 1800), who occasionally visited the Borough and had many friends among its residents.
JOHN McKEE married SALLY REDICK, sister of JUDGE DAVID REDICK, of Washington County, Pa., whose pedigree is traceable back through the HOGES or “HOAGS,” HUMES, STEWARTS, “REDOCHS,” and DOUGLASSES to the dawn of Scottish history, about the year 1100. Two of her grandnieces, MRS. JACOB BURKET and MRS. JOHN MERRINGTON are still living and were recently residents of this city. A grandnephew, R. F. RAMSEY, ESQ., is living in Pittsburgh.
REDICK McKEE, after a long life of great activity and usefulness (largely passed in Wheeling, Va., where in its early days he was prominent alike in establishing manufactories and other business enterprises and in founding religious and educational institutions) died at the home of his son, DAVID R. McKEE, in Washington City, September 13th, 1886. The latter is now the only survivor of REDICK McKEE’S family; and his sons are the last born lineal descendants of the first settler of McKeesport."
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