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ca. 1833 - ____
ca. 1843-____


Author - Marcia Farina

James C. McGee was born in Illinois between 1833 and 1835.  He was the son of William McGee and Sirena Tungate.  Burial records show the spelling of "Sirena" for his mother's given name; James' second daughter was named "Cyrena Alice".

William McGee was apparently deceased by the time of the 1850 census.  As the eldest son James would have shouldered much of the hard labor on the family farm, but since there were several McGee sons, he was able to marry within a few years.

His first wife was Rebecca M. Pope.  They married on November 1, 1855, in Hancock County.  Marriage License

Rebecca was the daughter of Elijah Pope and Jane D. Wallis or Wallace.  She was born July 7, 1835 (date calculated from tombstone inscription), in Illinois, and died December 11, 1861.  She was buried in the Pope Cemetery in Tennessee Township, McDonough County, Illinois.

The daughters of James McGee and Rebecca Pope were:

Emily McGee, known as Emma, born September 6, 1856, probably in Hancock County. She died June 13, 1940, at her home in Peoria, Peoria County, Illinois, and was entombed at the Bushnell Cemetery, McDonough County.
Cyrena Alice McGee, born in 1858 in Illinois, probably in Hancock County.  She died May 9, 1946, at Macomb, McDonough County, burial at Mount Auburn Cemetery, Colchester, McDonough County.

Four months after Rebecca's death, on April 13, 1862, James married her sister, Elretta Caroline Pope, also the daughter of Elijah Pope and Jane D. Wallis or Wallace.  Marriage License

Elretta was born August 25, 1843 (date calculated from tombstone inscription), in Illinois.  She died February 21, 1865, and was also buried in the Pope Cemetery.

The son of James McGee and Elretta Caroline Pope was:

Henry Clay McGee, born April 7, 1863, in Hancock County.  He died September 9, 1948, at Warsaw, Hancock County.  Interment at Oakland Cemetery, Warsaw.

When Elretta died, James had three children under the age of 10.  The elder daughter, Emma, and Clay went to live with Rebecca and Elretta's sister, Martha Pope Parker and her husband.  The younger daughter, Alice, apparently stayed with her father - although we might surmise there was some moving back and forth in the years between Elretta's death and the 1870 census.  Alice was only 5 and Clay was only 2 when Elretta died, and James did not remarry until late in 1866.

His third wife was Mrs. Frances A. Grigsly, nee Long.  They married on December 12, 1866, in Hancock County.  Frances was born in either Illinois or Kentucky between, approximately, 1843 and 1845.

The children of James McGee and Frances Long were:

Joseph T. McGee, born in McDonough County, in April 1870.  The 1870 census shows an infant daughter, born in April.  It's probable this was Joseph, incorrectly reported as a female. In the 1900 census, Joseph's birth data was recorded as April 1870.
William C. McGee, born about 1873 in Illinois.
Mertle McGee, born about 1878 in Illinois.

We have found no record of either James or Frances after the 1880 census.

1850 Illinois Census, Hancock County, page 381A
enumerated November 9, 1850, dwelling #1601

Cyrene McGee, 36, female, value of real estate 1600, born IN
James, 17, male, farmer, born IL, attended school within the year
Lewis R, 15, male, born IL, attended school within the year
James W, 12, male, born IL, attended school within the year
George M D, 9, male, born IL, attended school within the year
Sarah J, 6, female, born IL, attended school within the year
Pascal M, 3, male, born IL
Dennis Tungett, 60, male, gunner, born VA


1860 Illinois Census, Hancock County, Hancock Township, page 725
enumerated July 24, 1860, dwelling #3284
[immediately following Elijah Pope]

Despite the discrepancies, this appears to be the correct family -
a fine example of the inaccuracies found in census records.

James M Kee, 25, male, farmer, value of personal estate, born IL
Rebecca, 23, female, born IL
Ella Bell, 4, female, born IL
Jane, 2, female, born IL

1870 Illinois Census, McDonough Co., Tennessee Twp., Tennessee, page 143B
enumerated July 15, 1870, dwelling #64

McGee, James, 36, male, white, laborer, value of personal estate 400, born IL, male citizen of the U.S. aged 21 or more
Fanny, 27, female, white, keeps house, born IL
Alice, 11, female, white, born IL, attended school within the year
Infant, 2/12, female, born IL, born April

1880 Illinois Census, Hancock County, Hancock Township, page 126B
enumerated June 12, 1880, dwelling #90

McGee, James C, white, male, 44, married, farmer, born IL, both parents born IN
Francis A, white, female, 35, wife, married, keeping house, born KY, both parents born KY
Joseph, white, male, 10, son, single, born IL, father born IL, mother born KY
William C, white, male, 7, son, single, born IL, father born IL, mother born KY
Mertle [or Matte], white, female, 2, daughter, single, born IL, father born IL, mother born KY


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