A brick wall. Every genealogist has one at one time or another. My genealogy is no different. With Constitution Day being this week (September 17 to be exact) my thoughts have been centering on my brick wall. You see, the Daughters of the American Revolution work very hard to celebrate Constitution Week (for obvious reasons) and, as I mentioned previously, I’ve been working very hard on gathering up genealogical proof for my application to join the DAR. Thus, in a roundabout way, we arrive at my brick wall. So a few basic facts:
Parents: William Craig and Katie Helms (nothing further known about parents)
Children: 6 (5 boys and 1 girl): John William (#1), John William (#2), Sarah Ann, John William (#3), George Washington and Robert Marion.
Now that we have the basic facts that have been proven through census and vital records, let’s talk about the “myths and rumors” that haven’t been proven yet:
- Sarah Ann (Craig) McKee was married two other times, probably after marrying my 3rd great-grandfather, Ephraim Adams McKee. Her other two husbands were William Coslet and Samuel Coslet (order of marriage unknown); a listing for a marriage between Samuel Coslet and Sarah A. Coslet has been located in the Illinois State Archives Illinois Statewide Marriage Index, 1763-1900 (marriage date of 7 August 1878, five years after the death of Ephraim Adams McKee).
- According to my maternal grandfather, Sarah Ann was of Native American ancestry. Though we’re not certain of the tribe, Grandpa Edward always referenced “Tippecanoe and Tyler Too”. A little bit of research revealed that “Tippecanoe and Tyler Too” was a campaign slogan for William Henry Harrison and his running mate John Tyler in the 1840 presidential election (information courtesy of “The Meaning of Tippecanoe and Tyler Too”). In short it references Harrison’s victory over the Shawnee tribe chief Tecumseh at the Battle of Tippecanoe in 1811.
- Sarah Ann supposedly had enough Native American blood in her that she was granted some land in Mount Washington, Jackson, Missouri. Research on the Bureau of Land Management General Land Office Records website under Jackson County, Missouri has proved fruitless for her name or Ephraim’s name, the last name of Coslet or the last name of Craig but did bring up some other McKees. Research on the area known as Mount Washington has turned up that it was the area that is now Mount Washington Cemetery in Independence, Missouri, where several of my family members are buried, including Sarah Ann (Craig) McKee (in a currently unmarked grave) and her daughter Sarah Ann (McKee) McCabe (also currently in an unmarked grave).
- Further research has led me to believe that Sarah Ann could have been a member of either the Shawnee tribe or Potawattomie tribe due to dates and locations of Sarah Ann during her migration trail and the history of the removal of the Pottawatomie Indians from Indiana in 1838 via the Trail of Death (though the timeline is not the same, the migration trail is). Again this could be completely off, as all I have are stories and not much in the way of solid evidence.
Let’s look at a brief timeline of Sarah Ann’s life.
- 20 February 1830: Sarah Ann is born in Tippecanoe, Marshall, Indiana
- 7 December 1848: Saran Ann marries Ephraim Adams McKee in Danville, Vermilion, Illinois
- 1860: Sarah Ann is listed in the federal census with husband, Ephraim in Clinton County, Illinois
- 1870: Sarah Ann is listed in the federal census with husband, Ephraim in Vance Township, Vermilion, Illinois
- 16 January 1873: Sarah Ann’s husband, Ephraim Adams McKee dies
- 7 August 1878: Sarah Ann possibly marries Samuel Coslet in Douglas County, Illinois
- 1880: a possible listing in the 1880 federal census of a Samuel and Sarah Coslet located in Bowdre Township, Douglas, Illinois
- 1900: a possible listing in the 1900 federal census of a Sarah A. McKee, listed with one son named Edward, located in Allen, Noble, Indiana (I consider this a good possibility because the age is very close and the number of children living is exactly the same, it’s questionable because I don’t know of any son Edward but since she was married after Ephraim it could be a step-child)
- 13 May 1906: Sarah Ann dies in Kansas City, Missouri
My current project with Sarah Ann is checking all the federal census records. I’ve been unable to locate her on the 1890 census at all. I’m not sure where she disappeared at in the 1890 census but searches for McKee, Coslet and Craig return nothing at all through HeritageQuest. I plan to verify that search with Ancestry the next time I go to the library. I haven’t had the chance to check the 1840 or 1850 censuses at all yet.
My goal with this post is primarily to put the information out on the WWW in hopes that someone might have some information about Sarah and/or her husband, Ephraim and their daughter Sarah and/or her husband, Chester. Secondly, it’s my hope that someone, somewhere might be able to give me suggestions on where to look next to either prove or disprove these myths.
Wow brick walls can be frustrating!