Thomas McKee: (abt.1695 - 1769)
He was born in Ireland about 1695 to Alexander McKee & Elizabeth Gordon. Thomas emigrated to America and eventually settled in Donegal Twsp., Lancaster Co., Pensylvania, with his father and son (Alexander McKee). Thomas married a Shawnee woman name Tecumsapah, otherwise known as Margaret. He was a trader on the south branch of the Susquehanna in 1742 and was listed among the traders on the Ohio River 1753-54. He served as a captain during the French & Indian War and after the war assisted George Crogan, who was Deputy Indian Agent of Pennsylvania and the Ohio Valley under Major John Campbell. Thomas died at McKee's Half Falls, before the start of the British colonial rebellion.
Alexander McKee (Col.): (abt. 1720 - 1799)
He was born in Ireland to Thomas McKee and his first wife. Thomas came to America with his father and grandfather who settled in Donegal Twnsp., Lancaster Co., Pennsylvania, prior to 1735. Alexander made a claim for a section of land in 1762 and again in 1766. In 1764 he received a grant of 1,400 acres of land from Colonel Bouquet, at the mouth of Chartiers creek, for his role in the Pontiac War. He was a farmer and Indian Trader and became one of the richest men in Fort Pitt, dividing his time between his house in Pittsburg and his farm at McKees Rocks. McKee's Rocks got its name officially on a deed in 1769, when McKee received this property as payment for service in the expedition of General John Forbes in 1758. On 20 October, 1770 George Washington had dinner with him at his farm called Fairview. He had been married to a Shawnee women by then and about the time of Washington's visit became the father of a son, Thomas. Alexander's name was among those Governor Richard Penn sent to the Assembly of those he had selected for justices of the county courts and justices of the peace. The list included James Hamilton, Joseph Turner, William Logan, Richard Peters, Lynford Lardner, Benjamin Chew, Thomas Cadwalader, James Tilghman, Andrew Allen, Edward Shippen, Jr., William Crawford, Arthur St. Clair, Thomas Gist, Alexander McKee, Robert Hanna, William Lochry, George Wilson, William Thompson, Aeneas McKay, Joseph Speer, Alexander McLean, James Cavett, William Bracken, James Pollock, Samuel Sloan, and Michael Rugh, Esqrs. He held several positions in the Indian Department in the 1760's, replacing George Crogan at Fort Pitt as Deputy Indian Agent in 1772. In the Washington Co., Penn. (Augusta Co., Pa./Fort Dunmore) court records for 23 feb.1775, (recorded by loyalist Col.John Connolly) McKee is recommended to the Gov. by Connolly. In 1777 he was imprisoned by General Edward Hand for his loyalist activities, when released on parole he deserted to Detroit, on 28 March 1778 with Simon Girty, Matthew Elliot, his cousin Robert Surphlit and several others. By 29 June, 1778 Alexander was establish in Detroit where he was in council with the Ouiattonons, Quiquaboues and Mascoutins as Captain of the Indian Department under Lt.Gov.Henry Hamilton and former Pennsylvanian and Deputy Agent of the Indian Dept., John (Jehu) Hay. Alexander was with a British force commanded by Capt.Henry Bird, which attacked Ruddle's & Martin's Station in Kentucky. Hundreds of Americans were killed and on 27 June, 1780 the British force began the journey back to Detroit with over 400 prisoners. James May of Detroit gave an account of the parties arrival at Detroit: "...I walked out of town and soon met the party. The squaws and young Indians had ranged themselves on the side of the road with sticks and clubs and were whipping the prisoners with great severity. Among these were two young girls 13 or 14 years old, who escaped from the party and ran for protedtion to me...after knocking down two of the Indians , we succeeded in rescuing the girls and fled with them to the Council House...The next morning I received a message by an orderly sergeant to wait upon Col.De Peyster, the commanding officer...The Colonel stated that a serious complaint had been preferred against us by McKee, the Indian agent, for interfering with the Indians and rescuing two of their prisoners. He said the Indians had a right to their own mode of warfare and that no one should interrupt them...". On 26 April, 1781 Alexander was again representing the Indian Dept. in council as Deputy Agent, joined by Maj.De Peyster (commander of Detroit) and Maj.Gamble (commanding the 47th Regt.). Capt.McKee & Chief Brant lead an attack on Bonne Staion (Shelbyville) in Sept.1781 with a force of Huron & Miami warriors against Col.John Floyd. The next year in June he was in council with tribes loyal to the British cause at Wakkitamiki (Zanesfield) where 1000 warriors were gathered to attack Col.George R. Clark. About 3 weeks before Gen.Wayne is attacked by the British at Fallen Timbers, Alexander McKee writes from Miamis Rapids on 7 July, 1794 to Joseph Chew: "...Early on the morning of the 30th of last month the Indians who had collected a force of about 2000 men took & killed 300 pack horses with about 60 drovers near Ft.Recovery... the night following, but from the want of provisions and ammunition, were obliged to retire to the Glaize, from whence all the Lake Indians as well as those from Michilimackinac have come hither, those latter cannot be prevailed to remain having accomplished the call of their belts by scalps and Prisoners, and are going home again...I perceive great danger of the security of His Majesty's Posts from the unfortunate separation of the Indians at this period, but having no authority to stop them or to keep the others together by giving them provisions & ammunition...". In 1796 the British turn over Detroit to the American's and Alexander moves to the River Thames in Ontario where he died on 13 Jan., 1799.
BACK TO MAIN PAGE