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One McGehee Family History

This particular line of McGehees begins about 1780 in Tennessee and moves through Tennessee, into Illinois, south to Southern Missouri,
and from there out to the four corners of the globe.

To live upon the earth is a wonderful thing. It is a gift from God that is not to be taken lightly. Often we forget those who have trodden the dusty roads of history. We relegate them to the pages of dusty books and forgotten overgrown graveyards. We do them a disservice. Upon birth they began a course, a singular course that took them to where they last breathed, and we went from there. Although so many are quickly forgotten, with only a glance, we suddenly see their footprints behind us.

It is not for us to forget, but to remember their lives, the strength with which they faced the saddest of sorrows and the most violent of opponents. Whether on fields of battle, or on the fields they plowed, they persevered and made a life for themselves, and for us. They made mistakes, felt the joy of life and the pain of sorrow, laughed at humor, and some dreamed dreams of greatness. They felt the joy of love as they looked into the eyes of a spouse, or that indescribable feeling upon hearing the first cry of a child from an open cabin door. Their actions run deeper than chopping trees to build homes, plowing fields to raise food, defending themselves and their families against attacks from all manner of foes.

We are who they were in some form. Whether genetics have granted us their looks (be that good or bad), whether inheritance has brought to us the land they worked, or the clothes they owned, or if from our mouths flow their words and expressions, we are them in some form, and they are us.

It is for this reason I have set forth to discover, to record, who they were. Not for a religious duty, although I do not condemn that, and not entirely for my own interest, although this has its part. I set forth to remember them for them and for our family; as they were, who they were, good or bad, righteous or evil, they deserve nothing less. A man is no more or no less than what he leaves behind him.
His actions, be it within his family, community or within his own body are his finest and most comprehensive testimony.



This web site is here thanks to the many, many McGehee researchers who have contributed the our family history.
Click here to see a list of our Family researchers

And now... our earliest proven ancestors,

James and Jane McGehee
click here to see a family chart)

Part 1 - The Early Years - Tennessee

James McGehee was born around 1780 in the State of Tennessee. James parentage is still somewhat of a mystery to us, but we are searching diligently(note1). James married Jane Patterson October of 1803 in Hawkins County Tennessee. Her lineage is also a mystery to us at this time (Patterson Note). Jane was born in 1782 in Tennessee.

James and Jane became the founders of this particular line of the McGehees beginning here in Tennessee, and travelling throughout Illinois, Missouri and to date, all over the world.

(This is the flag of the United States of America probably about the time James McGehee was born)

James and Jane had ten children that we are aware of. These children were born from 1805-1828, and according to census records, all were born in Tennessee. We have records (note2) that indicate James and Pleasant McGehee were in Lincoln county Tennessee in the early1800s. Other records indicate that there were several other McGehee's in this same area, including Elijah McGehee, Joseph McGehee, Margaret McGehee, David McGehee and Asa McGehee; but the exact family connections are not yet mapped out.

It was from here that James had his first taste of war as we know it. He became a participant in the war of 1812 against the British.

McGeehee, James 3 Reg't ( Copeland's ) West Tennessee Militia
inducted as a Private
discharged as a private
Roll Box 139 Roll Exct. 602

Click Here For More information on this


Part 2; Illinois

About 1828 James and Jane proceded Northwest, across the river into Illinois. They settled first in Morgan County Illinois (note3). James and Jane were living apparently in the southern part of Morgan county, because they were listed as charter members in the Union Church in Greene County Illinois. The church was at Barrow near Roodhouse, in Green County Illinois. This is just over the southern border of Morgan County. James' was in Knox county Illinois by Enrollment date of June 24, 1832 when he enrolled in the service for the Blackhawk war. The family had settled in the Henderson Grove/"Gum's Fort" area of Knox county Illinois.

This was a dangerous time in that area. The people were encroaching upon the lands of the Indians. These Indians, feeling invaded and rightfully so, began to molest those whites who lived in the area. In good "white man" fashion, the caucasion invaders branded the Indian the agressor and began to take steps to irradicate him.

Many in that area did not own guns, and therefore made a petition to the United States Military to send guns in order to defend themselves against the attacks of the Indians. This Petition was signed by James' son John, and James' son in laws Corbin Pennington and Simeon Pennington- along with others of the Pennington clan. A deposition made by Riggs Pennigton, Asa Pennington's brother (see Pennington decendants) states that during the months of May and June, 1831 the people of Knox county were in a "state of great alarm" as rumors of "hostile" Indians in there vacinity began to circulate. James and Jane may have been in Knox county before 1832, and actually before 1830. Riggs Pennington states that because of the reports of Indian attacks upon the frontier settlements "many of the Citizens on the frontier settlements abandoned their farms, and removed to Sangamon and Morgan counties" .

Unfortunately, war was on the horizon. The Blackhawk war was one of the shorter wars of our nation, but was a part of a conflict that lasted 100s of years, waged by whites against native americans. James entered the war June 24, 1832, fighting under Captain William McMurtry. Capt. McMurtry's Company Odd Batt'n, Mtd. Rangers, Illinois Volunteers is first reported arriving at the Camp of Major Samuel Bogard, 25 miles East of Gum's Fort. At one time, Robert McGehee was also a part of this group but no record of John, Pleasant or other of our McGehees have been found as a part of this conflict.

Captain William McMurtry

James was discharged from service in September 4th, 1833 and was alive at least by the marriage of his daughter Jane McGehee to Hayden Hilton in February of 1834. James died February 13, 1835 according to Asa and Rachel Pennington. This is why on August 5, 1836 it was Robert C McGehee who was a witness to the fact his mother, Jane McGehee consented to the marriage of Lucy and Benjamin Campbell.

I hope truly that James was a man aquainted with God, for I hope to meet him someday.


Robert Carroll McGehee and Jacob McGehee
Born 1815 Tennessee and 1828 Nashville Tennessee
Two sons of James and Jane McGehee

The Children of James and Jane McGehee


Part 3 - The Next Generation

1835-Fall of 1859

The mid to late 1830's was another migratory time for our McGehee family. This family seems to have been on the move from 1825-1840. During the years of 1835-1839 their sights turned south. We do not know why, maybe it was the idea of free land, maybe they thought it would be safer to move from where they lived in Illinois, but for some reason they decided Missouri was the place for them.

Pleasant McGehee purchased land as one of the first settlers to an area known as Barry county Missouri in or around 1836 (Note4). It is unclear just when all the family came to Missouri but it is probable based upon the census records that they did not all come together. The most likely date for much of the migration was around 1835-1836.

We do know that by 1840 all the family had made its way to Lawrence county. The only exception to this is Lucy McGehee Campbell. In Barry County Missouri, Jane lived sandwiched between her two eldest sons John and Pleasant. Pleasant had his sister and brother in law, Simeon and Nancy Pennington living on the other side of him. Then came someone named N.R. Taylor (we dont know who he is or if he is related) and then Robert C. McGehee. Next door to Robert was William G Bryant (whose son married Sarah J Hilton, James and Jane McGehee's granddaughter). A few more houses away would find Asa Pennington's home.

If you went the other direction from Jane's home you would find John as I stated before, then Jane's daughter and son in law, Corbin and Elizabeth Pennington, and another of Jane's children Sarah McGehee Stahl and her husband Benjamin (see Stahl Cemetery).


Click here for
Land records for Jane McGehee
Please give it time to load, as it is large.


From this point the family tree splits off into many branches. Below are each of the names of the children of James and Jane McGehee. Each name is a link that will lead you to a page for each child. I hope you enjoy your reading.

Pleasant McGehee, Nancy McGehee Pennington, John McGehee,
Elizabeth McGehee Pennington, Robert Carroll McGehee,
Sarah McGehee Stahl, Rev. James McGehee,
Lucy McGehee Anderson, Jacob McGehee Jane McGehee


Click here to see an ouline of our McGehee family from James and Jane to the present!! 1780-1999


It seems that no matter what course a family chooses to take, no matter which direction they choose to go, the choice that is made, matters. Where 'ere they travel, they leave foot prints, in the form of stories, records, decendants and gravestones. No land can be lived upon without being effected by those who live upon it.

Today the footprints of the McGehee family are still fresh in the soil of Lawrence county Missouri. The old record books of the courthouse are filled with the names McGehee, Pennington, and Stahl; upon the wall of the courthouse among a montage of county officials is a picture of Judge Knowles McGehee Sr., a decendant of Eli McGehee, and a judge of the area. Then there are the Bryants, who still occupy the land of their ancestors 160 years later. And of course, whether marked or unmarked there are those whose life came to its end there on the rolling hills of Lawrence county, the veil of life closing for them, under the towering trees of Mt. Vernon.

Sarah McGehee Stahl for instance, is buried in one of the most beautiful cemeteries I have ever seen. Her earthly remains rest beside her husband's in Stahl Cemetery, on a sloping hill a few hundred feet from where her home stood. Just a stone's throw from where she watched her children learn to walk, and from Stahl Creek, where she may have drawn water day after day.

Our footprints remain, and will remain for a long time to come. As we walk, we all leave footprints behind. No matter if we move from one town to another or if we are passing from this life, let us seek to leave behind us a treasure and not a burden.


Albert Lee McGehee and George Byron McGehee

(Great Grandsons of James and Jane McGehee)

August 05, 1868 - July 31, 1935 and October 29, 1878 - March 23, 1971



Click Here for the

Marion McGehee / Francis Marion McGeehee
mystery! Can you solve it!?

Also see

Elijah McGehee

Eli McGehee

Eli McGehee's son Isaiah Josiah McGehee lived in Lawrence county. Eli was Elijah McGehee's nephew. They were both from Lincoln County Tennessee just as James and Jane McGehee were.
We are not sure at this time just what connections were between these McGehee families, but the investigation is ongoing.

For more info on these families of Lincoln county Tennessee and Lawrence County Missouri contact

Janice Arnall for Eli McGehee

Ken Thomas or James Watson for Elijah McGehee



For a comprehesive understanding of the McGehee family as a whole you should see the two following homepages.
They are full of great information and links to various sites that will help you.

Kevin McGehee's Homepage

Eleanor Colson's Web Page

These two sites are wonderful sites! They have a huge amount of information.


This page was updated last on February 28, 2003