Ann McKee (1804/1805 – 1840/1850), Methodist Convert, 52 Ancestors #55

We know that Ann McKee was born before March 24, 1805 because on that day, her father, Andrew McKee, wrote his will and named Ann as one of his daughters.   Andrew McKee did not die until 1814, so the 1810 census of Washington County, Virginia, shows us that Ann was one of 7 daughters, 5 that were under the age of 10 and 2 that were age 10-16.

Given that Ann married Charles Speak who was born in either 1804 or 1805, it’s likely that Ann was born sometime between 1800 and 1805.

On June 21, 1814, Ann’s father, Andrew’s will was probated in Washington County, indicating that he had died in the spring or early summer.  Court was held every 3 months, so we know that he died sometime after the March court session.  Ann would have been about 10 years old.  Ann’s mother, Elizabeth, was left with 13 children, from about age 24 to less than 4 years of age.

The 1820 census shows Elizabeth McKee with 1 male under 10, no females under 10, 2 females 10-16, two females 16-26 and one female over 45.

This means that Ann was in the 16-26 group because we know there were two daughters born after Andrew wrote his will in 1805 and before it was probated in 1814.  Therefore, Ann was born between 1804 and 1810 according to the census, and before March of 1805 according to her father’s will, so she was born in either 1804 or the early part of 1805.

Ann grew up on the Middle Fork of the Holston River, just across the Holston from Hutton Creek, according to her father’s land records.  Road 751 follows Hutton Creek south out of Glade Spring to where it empties into the Holston River, so Andrew McKee’s land was easy to find.

Andrew McKee Washington Co Va land

Today, this land lays several miles north of Abington, between Glade Spring and Chilhowie, on the south side of 81 on the bends of the Holston off of Friendship Road.

Andrew McKee Washington Co Va land map2

By 1828, the provisions of Andrew McKee’s will had taken effect, and this land was sold, but by then, Ann had married and been in Lee County, VA with her husband Charles Speak for 5 years and had a family of her own.

Andrew’s will stated that his sons were to pay his daughters each $200 when they came of age, which in Virginia was age 18 or marriage, whichever came first.  Ann would have received her $200 about the time of her 18th birthday which would have been in 1822 or 1823.  Perhaps her $200 functioned as a form of dower money and was partly the money Charles and Ann used to move to Lee County, Virginia.  Maybe that money was part of the money used for the Speak land, or maybe they purchased a wagon and livestock.  Today it would be worth about $4500, but then, you could buy a nice farm with that much money.  Land in the west that needed to be cleared and had no buildings, called improvements, certainly cost less than land that had already been improved and was being cultivated.

Ann’s mother, Elizabeth McKee is shown in the 1830 Washington County census, but by 1840 she has either passed away or is living with one of her children.

Ann McKee’s family was assuredly Presbyterian, because her brother, William who was born in 1783 and died in 1833, possibly before his mother, is buried in the Sinking Springs cemetery, with a marker.

Sinking springs McKee marker

Sinking Springs was the church founded by the Presbyterian Minister, Reverend Cummings in 1784.

By 1840, three of Ann’s siblings had passed away, brothers Andrew and William in 1832 and 1833 and sister, Rebecca in 1839.  Two siblings were under 40 when they died, and one was under 50.  Of course, childbirth is a constant danger to women.

Ann switched religions, probably before she went to Lee County, Va.  The dashing young man, Charles Speak, son of Nicholas, the preacher who would found Speak Methodist Episcopal Church in Lee County, Virginia may have influenced young Ann to convert.  Her family may have been very unhappy with her choice, and perhaps her leaving Washington County was a final separation from Presbyterianism and a new beginning in many ways.  Clearly, at least part of Ann’s family continued to embrace the Presbyterian religion, because her brother and his family were buried in the Presbyterian cemetery.

At that time, the Methodists were looked down upon by the Presbyterians for very emotional “exhorting.”

Nicholas Speak, Ann’s father-in-law, founded the Speak Methodist Episcopal Church in the 1820s in Lee County, Virginia, where the entire family settled, on land that Nicholas purchased in 1823.  In 1839, Nicholas deeded a piece of that land for the church to the trustees, and Charles was one of them, so we know for sure that not only did the Speak family all live together, adjacent, as indicated in the census records, but they all built that church and worshipped together too.

Ann Spent every Sunday of her adult life, and probably many other days too, in the original log cabin church that burned, replaced in the late 1800s by this beautiful little white country church, as viewed standing in the cemetery across the road.

Speak Chapel from Cemetery

Ann McKee and Charles Speak had 4 girls and 2 boys, all born in Lee County, Virginia.  The last child, that we know of, was born in 1829, but Ann did not pass away until between 1840-1850.  So either they had children we don’t know about, or several children died, or Ann may not have been well the last decade of her life.

We don’t know whether Ann or her husband Charles died first.  What we do know is that in 1840 they were both living and by 1850, they had both passed away.  Their children who were yet unmarried were living with relatives.

Ann and Charles were undoubtedly buried in the cemetery across the road from the Speak Methodist Church.  Everyone in the Speak family was buried there.  I’ve never been clear whether this is a “family” cemetery or a “church” cemetery, but it probably matters little because most of the people who attended the church were family, and if not initially, were in the next generation.

You can see the cemetery standing in the doorway of the church, looking across the road.  After Charles and Ann McKee Speak passed, Nicholas and Sarah must have looked at the cemetery and thought about them every day, along with their other children and grandchildren buried there.  Nicholas surely preached a lot of funerals there, one for each of those fieldstones.

Speak Cemetery from church

The only contemporary marker is one placed by the Speak Family Association for Nicholas and Sarah Faires Speak.  It looks for all the world like their family is gathered around them – and they are – together in eternity as they were here on earth.  You held them close when they were alive, saw them most every day, and buried them close when they passed over.  Their Methodist faith told them they would see each other again.

Speak cemetery fieldstones

Ann’s mitochondrial DNA was carried by all of her children, but only her daughters passed it on to their daughters.  Mitochondrial DNA can tell us a great deal about Ann’s ancestors in the past.  For example, their ethnicity and what part of the world her ancestors came from.

To find out about Ann’s mitochondrial DNA, we need to find someone who is descended from Ann through all females to the current generation.  In the current generation, the person can be male or female, since females give their mitochondrial DNA to both sexes of children, but only the females pass it on.

Ann McKee and Charles Speak had the following children, where bolded individuals represent Ann’s descendants who passed her mitochondrial DNA on to their children:

  • Sarah Jane Speak born about 1824, died 1888, married Andrew M. Callahan and had three daughters, one of whom died young. The surviving daughters were:
    • Mary Ann Callahan born in 1849 who married Samuel Patton Bartley, moved to Brown Co., Kansas, and who had daughters Estte Callahan (b 1879), Nannie Callahan (B 1881), Della Callahan (B 1886), Stella Callahan (B1888), Dora Callahan (b 1890) and Gladis Callahan (b 1898)
    • Elizabeth Matilda Callahan born in 1863 and married Sterling Brown Owsley.       They moved to Woodlawn, Nemaha Co., Kansas and had daughters Minnie May Owsley (b 1887) and Carrie L. Owsley (b 1892)
  • Nicholas Speak born December 13, 1825, died after 1864, married Rachel Rhoda Callahan
  • Andrew McKee Speak born about 1826, died December 19, 1900 in Grant Co., KY, married Lavina Chance
  • Rebecca Speak born about 1827, married James Painter in 1853 and lived in Claiborne County, TN, then in Kentucky. She had at least one daughter.
    • Martha G. Painter born in 1863
  • Charity Speak born about 1829, died after 1880, married Adam Harvey Johnson and lived in Claiborne County on Little Sycamore Road. They moved to Grainger county and had daughters:
    • Elizabeth Johnson (b 1867)
    • Safrona Johnson (b 1868) married Henry Cook and had daughters Alice Cook (b 1891), Margaret Cook (b1893), Abie Cook (b 1896), Evie Cook, (b 1896), Nellie Cook (b 1903), Lucy Cook (b 1905) and Nancy Cook (b 1917)
  • Elizabeth “Bettie” Speak born July 26, 1832 in Indiana, died Oct. 3, 1907 in Hancock County, TN, married Samuel Claxton and had the following daughters:
    • Margaret Clarkson/Claxton born in 1851and married Joseph “Dode” Bolton and had daughters, Ollie Bolton (b 1874), Elizabeth Bolton (b 1879), Ida Bolton (b 1886), Mary Lee Bolton (b 1888) and Cerenia Elizabeth “Lizzy” Bolton
    • Surrilda Jane Clarkson/Claxton born in 1858 and married Luke Monday having daughters Connie Elizabeth Monday (b 1876) and Hester Monday (b 1888)
    • Clementine Clarkson/Claxton 1853-1880, no record of marriage
    • Cynthia (Catherine) Clarkson/Claxton born in 1860 married William Muncy and had Jelina Muncy?, Geneva Muncy (b 1892), Bessie Muncy (b 1897) and Emma Muncy(b 1893)

I have a DNA scholarship for anyone who descends from these daughters through all females to the current generation. Or, if you descend from this line, and you have already DNA tested, please contact me.

10 thoughts on “Ann McKee (1804/1805 – 1840/1850), Methodist Convert, 52 Ancestors #55

  1. In looking at William McKee’s grand monument, it is probably reflective of his having been a grand person. I have never seen a graveyard monument topped by a fluted column with a garland. It is beautiful. My husband and I have visit churches in Great Britain and Europe, and especially enjoy the graveyards because of the architectural elements of some of the tombstones/monuments which incorporate classical designs.

  2. I am not a descendant, but would like to say how much I enjoy reading everything you post. The stories you tell are so inviting and informative. You have such a gift of storytelling. Thank you for all you post.

  3. Another good one. Not that they aren’t all, but you probably already know the ones I am drawn to, before I reply. Love you.

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  5. This is a very interesting article, though I am not a direct descendant. You mentioned that Ann had a sister Rebecca who died in 1839. I would like to know what your source is. I have been trying to prove that Rebecca belongs to the family of Andrew MacKee and Elizabeth and this is the first that I have read about the connection. I would love to have some help with this.

    • I received this information from another researcher, below.

      I have found the will of Andrew McKee of Sashington Co., Va. written March 24 1806 and probated June 21 1814. It lists 4 sons, James, William, Edward, and Andrew, and 6 daughters, Sally, Mary, Ann, Charity, Jain and Elizabeth. Evidently there were more children born between the time the will was written and when it was probated, including Alexander and Rebecca. There is an 1839 will of Alexander McKee leaving his land to James, his brother and money to his sister Ann Speaks, and her children, his sister Jinny Jones’ children and to the children of his sister Rebecca Jamison.

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