MCKEE, JAMES LEMUEL (deceased), an early settler of Sangamon County, where for more than half a century he was engaged in farming, was a useful, enterprising citizen, always ready to promote the public welfare and prosperity of his community. Mr. McKee was born in West Virginia, November 13, 1831, a son of James W. and Anna McKee, both natives of the same State. The father died in West Virginia, and his widow died while on a visit to her son James Lemuel McKee, and was buried in Zion Cemetery in Cotton Hill Township. The father of James L. McKee was a well-known farmer of Virginia, spending his entire life there.
James L. McKee received a somewhat meagre education, in his native State, and as a young man was very fond of hunting and fishing. He worked on his father's farm until coming to Illinois in 1855, when he located in Cotton Hill Township, where at the time of his death, he owned a farm of 104 acres, on Section 11, which is now the home of his widow. Mr. McKee was a member of the Methodist church, and superintendent of the Sunday School. In politics, he was a Democrat. He belonged to the Anti-Horse Thief Association for several years, and served four years as Justice of the Peace in Cotton Hill Township, taking an active interest in public affairs. A representative of the best interests of his community, Mr. McKee exercised a beneficent influence, and his family still sustain the reputation for probity and uprightness of purpose established by him.
Mr. McKee was married in Springfield, Ill., October 18, 1856, Rev. Cooper officiating, to Miss Levina Snodgrass, a native of Sangamon County, born October 16, 1838, a daughter of James and Nancy (Moon) Snodgrass. Her father, a native of Tennessee, was a captain in the War of 1812, and died in Sangamon County; her mother, a native of Kentucky, also died in this county, both being buried in Zion Cemetery. Twelve children were born to Mr. and Mrs. McKee, five of whom are deceased, they being: Nancy, born September 28, 1857, married Joseph DeLay of Sangamon County, and died June 9, 1879; James W., born August 8, 1859, died May 10, 1887; Reuben, born October 18, 1861, died in 1868; Josiah, born May 10, 1863, died in 1864; Moulton, born March 4, 1871, was killed by the kick of a horse in 1875. James W. was killed by lightning while on horseback on his way to a fishing expedition. The seven children who survive are: Charles, born March 21, 1865, married Winnifred Sabine, lives in Sangamon County, four children, - Marcia, Maggie, Lena and Grace; Jennie, born September 12, 1867, married Thomas Hunt, three daughters, - Allie, Lottie and Edna; Noah, born November 19, 1862, is unmarried and resides with his mother, a further sketch of his life being given elsewhere in this volume; Sallie, born September 14, 1875, married Samuel Shoup, two children, - Henry and Ruth; Daisy, born March 13, 1877, married Charles W. Jones of Christian County, five children, - Etta, James, Charles, Harry and Leroy )twins); and Leta Lorena, born March 7, 1879, whose biography also appears elsewhere in this work - one daughter, Bernice Helen; George W., born May 7, 1881, married Lillian Burt, lives on the home farm, three children, - Ruth, Ethel and George Lemuel, and is written up at length elsewhere in this record. All of the surviving children are residents of Sangamon County except Mrs. Jones. Mr. McKee died at his home January 13, 1908, and his remains were tenderly laid to rest in Zion Cemetery in Cotton Hill Township where repose the ashes of so many of Sangamon County's beloved dead.