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Fayette County, Iowa  

 History Directory

Past and Present of Fayette County Iowa, 1910

Author: G. Blessin


B. F. Bowen & Company, Indianapolis, Indiana


Vol. I, Biographical Sketches



~Page 899~




In the year 1849, when the California gold fever was raging, a caravan might have been seen journeying westward from the more thickly settled country of the eastern borders of the United States. The passengers in this delegation were Joseph and Elizabeth Weir McGee, with their several children. They came from Rhode Island, and being content with the surroundings in Fayette county, Iowa, they stopped near Maynard and in 1850 entered one hundred and sixty acres of land and here continued to make their permanent residence. As time went on, and this land increased in value and produced abundant crops, Mr. McGee acquired three hundred and twenty acres near Maynard, which he later gave to his sons, Charles, James, Frank and Ernest.


Joseph McGee was married in New York state to Elizabeth Weir. She was a native of Ireland, and lived until the last day of August, 1882, to enjoy the blessings of home and family. Mr. McGee is a veteran in the Mexican war and now, at the ripe old age of eighty-six years, he enjoys relating the experiences which he encountered. These good people followed the admonishing of the Good Book to "multiply and replenish the earth," for unto them were born eleven children, seven of whom survive, as follows: The first in order of birth is William, the subject, Mary A., George, James, Earnest, Frank, and Rachel, who remains at home and cares for her aged father.


William McGee, of Illryia township, Fayette county, Iowa, was born at Newport, Rhode Island, November 20, 1842. He was seven years of age when he came with his parents to this county. He had the same educational advantages as did others of his associates, the training of the district school of Westfield township. As a boy he was of an industrious temperament and when not assisting with the farm work at home he secured employment with neighboring farmers, staying with his parents when work was slack elsewhere. In 1863, he enlisted in Company E., Seventh Iowa Volunteer Calvary, and served three years. He was on duty for the western frontier. Upon his return he again assumed the duties of farm labor, and on November 11, 1870, he was happily wedded to Anna Pritchard, who was born February 24, 1849, in Wales, the village of Breconshire, the daughter of William and Esther Price Pritchard, natives of Wales. For one year the young couple rented sixty acres, located near Fayette, the property of his brother. At the expiration of this time Mrs. McGee's father presented her with fifty acres of land in Section 8, Illyria township, where they moved, and have since made their place of abode. Later the subject's father deeded to him forty acres in Westfield township, which he has sold. He has had the habit of renting ground and working it in connection with his own.


Mr. and Mrs. McGee have had four offspring, the oldest dying in infancy. Those living are Frank A., born April 13, 1875, married April 3, 1905, to Nellie Jennings, who was born in Westfield township, February 20, 1881, a daughter of James and Jane Carmichael Jennings. Frank McGee and wife are the parents of one child, Parker J., born July 26, 1908. William E., second child, born November 28, 1876, and Mary Ann, born March 11, 1881, and who both reside with their parents. Frank owns and lives on a farm of ninety acres in Illyria township and with his brother, William, for seven years operated a threshing machine outfit.


Politically, William McGee was a Democrat until after the war, when he joined the ranks of the Republican party. He deserves recognition as one of Fayette county's honorable citizens.



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