Family Stories

James J. McAfee, Biography

from Mercer County, Kentucky – Biographies

James J. McAfee was born February 23, 1824.  His father, John McAfee, a native of Botetourt County, Virginia, was born October 20, 1775, removed in infancy, with his parents, to that portion of Kentucky now embraced in Mercer County, where he was reared, and in the War of 1812 furnished a substitute on account of sickness.  He was a farmer and a slave-holder, a stanch Presbyterian, connected with the New Presbyterian Church, a Democrat, and died April 28, 1833.  He was the son of Samuel McAfee, who with his brothers, Robert, William, George and James, came to Kentucky in 1773, made their surveys of lands on Salt River on a part of which James J. was born and now resides; he returned again in 1775, made improvements, and planted fruit tree seeds, and permanently located in 1779.  With his family, in times of danger, he lived in the fort at McAfee’s Station; was active and aggressive as an Indian fighter, slew the Indian who killed his comrade at his side; owned 1,400 acres of land north of Harrodsburg, was the first magistrate in Kentucky, a prominent farmer and slave-holder, was one of the founders of the New Providence Church, and died June 8, 1807.  He married a Miss McConsic, and their offspring were John, William, Samuel, Robert, Hannah (Daviess), Mary (Moore), and Jane (MacGoffin).  John first married Miss McCama, and their children were Samuel, Joseph, William, John and Cynthia (Allen).  His second wife was Mrs. Dicey Curry, daughter of David Caldwell, and from their union sprang Caldwell, Mary A. (Singleton, Williams and King), James J., Phoebe E. (Thompson), and Francis M.  James J. first married, 1845, Miss Elizabeth J., daughter of William and Priscilla (Armstrong) Adams, of Mercer County, who died June 17, 1847, and from their union there was one child, Elizabeth J.  June 3, 1851, he was united in marriage with Elizabeth, daughter of Lee and Nancy Lillard, of Mercer County, who died November 3, 1858, aged twenty-seven years, and to them were born Joel P. and Nannie C. (Davis).  He next married, in 1860, Mrs. Minerva J. Harris, daughter of Jonathan and Eliza (Hamilton) Nichols, of Bloomington, Indiana, and their union has been favored by the birth of Monroe Harris and Bettie H. (Hudson).  Mr. McAfee was engaged for a period of six years in merchandising.  He is now a farmer, owning 127 acres of well-improved and productive land, in McAfee Precinct.  He is a member of New Providence Presbyterian church, also an Ancient Odd Fellow, and a Democrat.  The ancestors of the McAfee family were identified with the reforms of Oliver Cromwell; afterward removed to Ireland on account of the persecutions of the Covenanters, assisted in placing William of Orange on the throne, removed to Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, and thence to Virginia.  Joseph, Samuel, William and John, sons of John, and grandsons of Samuel McAfee, about the year 1835, with their families, emigrated from Mercer County, Kentucky, to Marion County, Missouri, and procured their lands at Congress price, which was $1.25 per acre.  After partially improving their homes, and the settlement had become somewhat strengthened by the influx of immigration, they set about building a house of worship; they soon had a comfortable frame building erected, which they named New Providence, for the church they left in Kentucky.  Joseph, Samuel and John were elected elders.  Joseph, who married Priscilla, a granddaughter of the old pioneer, John Armstrong, educated two of his sons for the ministry; the oldest one, John Armstrong McAfee, was one of the founders, and president of Park College, ten miles from Kansas City, Missouri, which has been in successful operation for a number of years.

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