JAMES O. MCKEE. Kentucky has furnished a large number of citizens to Menard county, whose value in community affairs is widely acknowledged, and to this class belongs James O. McKee, whose birth occurred in Fleming county, Kentucky, on the 17th of March, 1859, his parents being Hiram and Sarah (Ledford) McKee, who were also natives of Fleming county, Kentucky. There the father was reared and upon one farm remained for many years. Both he and his wife died in the county of their nativity, his death occurring in August, 1882, while she passed away February 28, 1861. His political support was given to the Democracy.
James O. McKee was reared under the parental roof, remaining at home until eighteen years of age, during which time he acquired his education in the public schools there. He then left Kentucky and on the 28th of October, 1877, he arrived in Menard county, Illinois, where he began farming. His attention has since been given to agricultural pursuits and with the exception of two years, passed in Labette county, Kansas, he has remained continuously in this part of the state. His business career has been attended with a gratifying measure of prosperity, all due to his own capable business discernment and unfaltering enterprise.
On the 31st of July, 1881, Mr. McKee was married to Miss Belle McGary, a daughter of Jacob and Martha Jane (Pierce) McGary, the former born in Pennsylvania and the latter in Fleming county, Kentucky. The father was married twice, his first union being with Sarah Adams, by whom he had seven children. His second wife was Martha J. Pierce, and there were five children by that marriage - Mrs. McKee; James Edward; Anna E., who is called Lide; and two that died in infancy. Mrs. McKee was educated in the district schools of Menard county, pursuing her studies in a little schoolhouse about a mile from her home. After putting aside her textbooks she remained with her parents until the time of her marriage, when she went to her husbandís home, over which she has since presided with gracious hospitality. Unto Mr. and Mrs. McKee have been born three children: Leslie, born May 27, 1882; Laura Edith, born July 24, 1886; and Pearl, born November 1, 1889. The second daughter, who was born while her parents were residents of Labette county, Kansas, is now secretary of the Lebanon Cumberland Presbyterian Sunday-school. The other children were born on the home farm, where the family still reside.
Politically a Democrat, Mr. McKee has firm faith in the principles of the party. He and his family are members of the Lebanon Cumberland Presbyterian church and he belongs to Greenview Lodge No. 653, A.F. & A.M., and Greenview Camp, No. 178, M.W.A. His life has been one of continuous activity, in which he has been accorded due recognition of labor, and today he is numbered among the substantial citizens of his county. His interests are thoroughly identified with those of the northwest, and at all times he is ready to lend his aid and co-operation to any movement calculated to benefit this section of the county or advance its wonderful development.