Family Stories

Remodel of William McKee’s Barn

Note by Phyllis Brown:  William McKee came to Rushville, Illinois, Schuyler County, in 1826 with his wife and children.  Here they settled, purchasing a land warrant for 160 acres.  According to information in The Book of McKee, he “erected a double log cabin, using wooden pegs instead of nails; the door was constructed of puncheons, and was furnished with the historic latch-string”.  It doesn’t surprise me that the barn mentioned below was built just as sturdy.

The Rushville Times – October 17, 1934

Remodel Barn Built On The William McKee Farm In 1833

Workmen are now engaged in remodeling a barn on the Wm. McKee farm, two miles north of Rushville, that was erected in 1833, and the massive hewed oak timbers are today in a good state of preservation and will last another hundred years in the remodeled structure of which they are now a part.

This old barn, 60×85 ft., was erected on the northeast quarter of sec. 18, Rushville township, by William McKee, who had settled there in the spring of 1826, and his son, William, then a lad of twenty years of age, who the year before had served with Abraham Lincoln in the Black Hawk war.

Wm. McKee, Jr., was the father of Mrs. C. L. DeWitt of this city and he lived and died on this farm.  Several years ago, Mr. and Mrs. DeWitt made a memorial gift in memory of their daughter to Illinois Woman’s college, Jacksonville, and among the securities, this farm had to be taken over by the college under court decree in which Harry Pratt was named receiver and he now looks after the farm as agent for the college.

Fisk & Sargent are the carpenters engaged in doing the remodeling operations on the old barn and they find much of the timber in fine shape.  Some of the frame sills are 10×10 in. oak timbers, hewed from trees near by, and they will be used again in the new barn, which will be reduced to 36×60 ft. which is the size of the main frame, a twelve foot shed surrounding the entire barn as originally constructed.

The McKee barn without question is the oldest timber frame structure in Schuyler County and the farm where it is located was owned for almost one hundred years by three generations of the McKee family.  Fred S. Phillips is tenant on the 200 acre farm taken over by the Woman’s college, Jacksonville, which now holds title.

2 replies »

  1. Hello Phyllis, Thanks for your post. A month or so ago, another post you had made shared the results of your work on the McKee from whom your husband is descended and I really enjoyed visiting this site of yours at that time. The pictures of the McKee gravestones are so good and the cemetery so well cared for. You deserve great credit for preserving their memory. Linda McKee, Arkansas

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