El Dorado County
GEORGE W. McKEE
George W. McKee, a prominent businessman of Placerville, displayed in his life many of the sterling characteristics of his Scotch ancestry, including the reliability, perseverance and keen discrimination for which the Scotch people are noted. In 1805 his grandfather, with his wife and children, immigrated from the land of hills and heather and took up their residence in Pennsylvania. Soon afterward Andrew McKee, the father of our subject, was born. Having arrived at years of maturity he married Miss Mary Hill, who also was of Scotch lineage and was born in the Keystone state. He was a blacksmith by trade and was a man of considerable reputation and influence in his county. For a number of years he served as a captain of the militia of Beaver County and throughout his entire life he lived in that county, bearing his share of the work of progress and improvement. Both he and his wife were worthy members of the Presbyterian Church. In their family were four children, viz.: Andrew James, deceased; Mary Elizabeth, the wife of James Magill, a merchant living in Pueblo, Colorado; Agnes Jane, the wife of William Curry, a farmer living near Burgettstown, Washington County, Pennsylvania; and George W., the subject of this review.
George W. McKee was born in Beaver County in 1840, and there he pursued his education. He spent the greater part of his youth with an aunt upon a farm. With a desire to try his fortune on the Pacific coast he left home at the age of eighteen years and in 1858 sailed for California, crossing the Isthmus of Panama and thus making his way up the Pacific coast. He located in Alleghany, Sierra County, where he became engaged in drift and tunnel mining, meeting with good success in his ventures. In 1864 he returned to his home in the east to visit his mother and relatives, again making the journey by way of the water route. The same year he returned by the Nicaragua route and once more took up his abode in Alleghany, where he continued until 1874. In that year he removed to Fairplay, El Dorado County, where he purchased the Fairplay House, conducting it successfully for twelve years. In 1886 he became the owner and proprietor of the Ohio House in Placerville and continued the conduct of the same until 1898, when he sold out. Thus for twenty-four years he engaged in the hotel business and was a popular landlord, widely and favorably known throughout the northern part of California. His earnest desire to please his guests and his well-conducted hostelry won him a liberal patronage, while his admirable qualities of manner gained him many warm personal friends.
In 1870 Mr. McKee was united in marriage to Miss Mary L. Bain, who was born in Oleta, Amador County, California, and is a daughter of August Bain, a California pioneer of 1852. They have one son, Joseph F., who is now a progressive young businessman of Placerville. Mr. McKee is a member of the Masonic fraternity and has three times served as the master of his lodge. He is also a Royal Arch Mason, is a past king of the chapter and a past commander of El Dorado Commandery. He also belongs to the Mystic Shrine, his membership being in Islam Temple, at San Francisco. In politics he is an earnest Republican, unswerving in his advocacy of the party principles, but he has never sought or desired public office, preferring to devote his time and attention to his business affairs, in which he has met with creditable and well-deserved success.
Transcribed by Gerald Iaquinta.
© 2010 Gerald Iaquinta.
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