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The McKays

Written and Illustrated by Mike Everhart;   Copyright © 2000-2014

Page created 10/15/2000 (Updated last: 08/02/2014



The origin of the McKay family is in the extreme northern highlands of Scotland, a harsh, mountainous country at the edge of the North Sea. The sturdy people of this area are a mixture of Celt, Pict and Viking ancestors. The progenitor of Clann Aodh, or Clan Morgann, Morgund of Pluscarden, was a cadet of the Royal House of Moray. In 1160, Malcolm IV removed the clan with other Moraymen, to a region in the north of Scotland called Ross, whence they spread northward into Sutherland. Eventually they possessed a stretch of land known as "Lord Reay's Country, comprised of the length of the northeast coast of Scotland from Drimholisten to Kylescue, above Assnyt." It was from Aodh, the great-grandson of the Chief who fought for Robert Bruce (Robert I, King of Scotland, 1306 to 1329) that the clan took its current name.

Charles I, in 1628, created the MacKay chief, Lord Reay. Though the McKays opposed Cromwell, they became staunch Whigs during both The Fifteen and The Forty-Five Rebellions. These were the "Jacobite Rebellions" in Scotland and the English border country in 1715 and 1745. The Jacobites were Catholics and members of the House of Stuart and had been given that name after the "Glorious Revolution" of 1688 when James II was dethroned and exiled. In 1745, the Jacobites supported Bonnie Prince Charlie (Charles Edward Louis Phillip Stuart) in an unsuccessful rebellion that spelled the end of the Jacobite movement. The McKay families were Protestant and moved to Ireland to get away from persecution by the Catholic Church and the Church of Scotland. At a later date, the McKay estates in northern Scotland passed to the Earl of Sutherland.

The McKays (the original spelling is likely to have been Mackay or MacAodh, or in Gaelic, Mac Aoidh for "Son of Aoidh or "Son of Fire") came from the highlands of northern Scotland and some of them may have migrated to Ireland in the late 1600's under the reign of King William III (William of Orange). The McKay family is a large Scottish clan with a long and interesting history, including service as mercenaries in several European campaigns. The Motto on the McKay Family Crest is "Manu Forti", meaning "With a Strong Hand" and the clan battle cry was "Bratach Bhan Chlann Aoidh", meaning "The White Banner of MacKay". Their badge is the Great Bullrush. The modern McKay tartan is shown below.

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William McKay, father of James Neil McKay, was born about 1813 in Ireland, and had grown up on an estate near Newtownards (or "Ards" as it is known locally), in County Down, Ireland, where the McKay family had worked as tenant farmers or possibly miners for several generations. In any case, it is likely that at least a part of the McKay family had been moved to Ireland from the highlands of Northern Scotland, north of Loch Ness. The names of his parents are unknown at this time. He died in 1860 while living on the family farm in Dodge County, Wisconsin.

Margaret Neil(l) was born about June 16, 1814 in Belfast, Ireland, according to her headstone, and probably married William McKay about 1835. Her family may have been either Irish (O'Neill) or Scottish (McNeill). There are official coats of arms for both family names. The origin of the O'Neill family is believed to be in eastern County Down, Ireland, not far from the Newtownards estate where the McKays immigrated from. Little else is known about her except that it was said that she was "a Scotch-Irish lassie with big blue eyes and a sunny sweet disposition". According to one account, Margaret's great-grandfather on her mother's side was a well known businessman in Edinboro, Scotland, in the 1700s. He supposedly owned the street railway system of that city.

Prior to immigrating to the United States, the McKay family lived in or near Conlig, Ireland.  Conlig (from Irish: Con Liag, meaning "stone of the hounds") is a village and townland about halfway between Bangor and Newtownards in County Down, Northern Ireland. Mining of copper and lead was an important industry in the area in the early 1800s. 

In a story re-told by William Henry McKay, grandson William and Margaret McKay, to a newspaper reporter from the Blackwell Journal (July 13, 1936), he said:
     "Friends and relatives of William and Margaret had already found homes in America. After all the many years of hard work that these people and their ancestors before them had done on this estate the land still belonged to the absent landlord. William and Margaret wanted a place they could call their own and about the only way they could get one was to come to our shores.
     For six long, tedious weeks, this McKay family, consisting of the father, mother and 6 children -Agnes, John, James, Robert, Sarah and Mary were out of sight of land on the Atlantic Ocean. Their sufferings and hardships for themselves as well as for their fellow passengers were at times almost beyond endurance.
     A terrible storm caused them to go 300 miles out of their course and when it looked as though the ship was about to be demolished, the masts were cut away. This saved all on board, but they were compelled to rig up makeshift masts until they could reach land."
Authors note: The Ship Urgent left Belfast on March 24, 1852 and arrived in New York on May 5, 1852, with 227 passengers. The voyage lasted 6 weeks and one day. 

Here is an advertisement for the voyage posted in The Belfast Mercury newspaper in February, 1852, a month prior to departure.

In June, 2002, Harold McKay provided the following information on the McKay family's trip to America (A copy of the ships passenger list is now available on line):

From the manifest of the SS Urgent, sailing from Belfast to New York. Arrived in New York, May 5, 1852. Listed under manifest I.D. number 900101 (This should mean they were a family):


William Mckay  - age 40-   Occupation labourer - Country of Origin: Ireland
Margaret Mckay- age 40-   Occupation servant
Sarah Mckay     - age 9
Agnes Mckay     - age 7
William Mckay  - age 5
James Mckay    -  age 2
Robert Mckay   -  age 1

Irish immigration to America - Discrimination  (Click for more information) 

Notwithstanding the lack of trust between the predominantly Protestant America-born middle class and the impoverished Catholic immigrants who arrived in the mid-19th century, the main problem for the Irish immigrant was a lack of a skill.  

On passenger manifests the men claimed to be laborers; women said they were domestic servants. In most cases, they had little or no previous experience in these roles; these positions were the limit of their aspirations. A job – a wage – was what they were seeking, and they didn't really care too much about the detail. Being unskilled, uneducated and typically illiterate, they accepted the most menial jobs that other immigrant groups did not want.  

Society looked down on them, and they were forced to work long hours for minimal pay. Their cheap labor was needed by America's expanding cities for the construction of canals, roads, bridges, railroads and other infrastructure projects, and also found employment in the mining and quarrying industries.  

When the economy was strong, Irish immigrants to America were welcomed. But when boom times turned down, as they did in the mid-1850s, social unrest followed and it could be especially difficult for immigrants who were considered to be taking jobs from Americans. Being already low in the pecking order, the Irish suffered great discrimination. 'No Irish Need Apply' was a familiar comment in job advertisements.  

The McKay family shows up first in the June 1855 Wisconsin Census on their farm near Port Washington in eastern Wisconsin. The census provides limited information but does indicate that the family had three boys (William, James and Robert) and two girls (Agnes and Sarah) at that time. Sarah was their first child born in the United States and was named after the Sarah who was killed in a train wreck (?) while the family was traveling across Michigan. Another daughter, Mary(?), supposedly died during the voyage to America.  The ship's manifest, however, seems to have cast some doubt on this story.

Sarah A. McKaywas the daughter of J.N. McKay and Margaret Neill McKayand was born (1854?) in Fort Washington, Wisconsin soon after the family arrived in the United States. Shemarried Daniel W. Jones on January 7, 1886 in Richland, Wisconsin.Daniel Jones parents, William and Elizabeth Jones were from Wales. Sarah and Daniel are enumerated in Madison, Wisconsin in the 1920, with their two adult sons, Harold and Robert. Sarah apparently died between 1920 and 1930. Daniel Jones is shown in the 1930 Wisconsin Census for Madison (Dane County), with his adult son, Harold. 

In the 1860 Federal Census, William is 47 and Margaret is 45. Their children are listed as; Agnes, William, James, Robert, Sarah, Mary and an unnamed infant. Both of the parents indicated that they were born in Ireland and also that Agnes, William, Robert and James were born in Ireland. In the 1880 Kansas Census, however, James N. McKay said that his parents were born in Scotland. It is more likely that they were born in Northern Ireland and were of Scottish decent.

According to an article on William J. McKay in the History of Dane County (Wisconsin), published in 1906, it was stated that his father died in Dodge County (Wisconsin) "at age 45" just before the start of the Civil War (December 20, 1860). It also said that William McKay had been a Presbyterian but had joined the Baptist church later in his life. His son, William John (W. J.) McKay went on to become a prominent Methodist minister in Wisconsin.

In stories retold by Dick Barr, and Jack Everhart, one or two children (Sarah and Mary) were supposed to have been lost or died at sea during the trip to America. In a story written about William Henry McKay in 1936 (above), a child (9 year old Sarah?) died in a train wreck near Niles, Michigan, on the way to Wisconsin. James N. McKay also supposedly suffered a broken leg in the same wreck. In a 1906 Dane County History account, it was stated that Sarah died in the train wreck about 1852. Another child, born in 1854, was named after her. The month old baby in the 1860 Census apparently died in infancy without a recorded name.

William Henry McKay also told the reporter in 1936, his grandfather, (William McKay) bought some land near Port Washington, on Lake Michigan almost immediately after arriving in Wisconsin:

"After a few days of looking around, 80 acres of land was purchased. The land was all cleared and put into cultivation, but adjoining it was heavy timber. At night, the panthers could be heard screaming and fighting, and it was unsafe for the inhabitants to travel at night.

When not busy with their crops, the men of this community fished and cut cord wood. The most common fish caught were the whitefish. They were salted, then packed between layers of salt, in kegs. The wood was sold to the owners of steamboats to be used in the fire boxes.

The McKay family lived here for five years. They had prospered and accumulated stock, but decided to make another move. This time they went to Horican, the town where the Van Brunt Machinery is manufactured."

Horican is northeast of Madison, Wisconsin and is in Dodge County. It was on their farm near Williamstown where the family was enumerated during the 1860 Census and where William McKay apparently died. An 1859 Plat Map of Williamstown township shows the location of the McKay farm as a long, narrow strip of land having the west property line along the shore of a small lake.

James Neil McKay was the second son of William McKay and Margaret Neil. He was born in or near the village of Conlig, south of Bangor, in County Down, Ireland on September 27, 1848 and was brought by his family to the United States in 1853. In 1860, he had three brothers; William John (born 1846), Robert (born 1851), and an unnamed infant who was born just before the census was taken. He also had three sisters: Agnes (born 1844), Sarah (born 1854) and Mary (born 1857). Sarah, Mary and the newborn baby are shown as being born in Wisconsin.

William John (W. J.) McKay, at age 17, served for seven months in the Civil War (Private, Company I, 44th Wisconsin Infantry, 1865). While in the Army, he caught typhoid fever and was severely disabled by it through most of his life. After leaving the Army, he was a farmer and then earned his Doctor of Divinity degree. He married Annabella Roberts-McKendree in 1875 and was living in the town of Richland, Richland County, Wisconsin (Source: 1875 Wisconsin Census of Richland County). They had five children (Helen, Everett, Raymond, William and Paul) between 1878 and 1885. During his career, he was the minister of 12 Methodist churches in Wisconsin. He was also very active in the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) organization for Civil War veterans and served as the Assistant Adjutant General of the Wisconsin Division until his death in 1921.

HISTORY OF RICHLAND COUNTY [WISCONSIN, 1884]                                                                          Page 1211

             R.N. McKay was born in Ireland, Oct. 22, 1851. His parents were William and Margaret McKay. The family emigrated to the United States in 1852 and first settled in Ozankee Co., Wis., and engaged in farming. They afterward moved to Dodge county, where the father died in 1860. The mother now resides in Richland county. Six of the children are still living – Agnes, W.J. James, R.N., Sarah and Mary. R.N. McKay was married in 1875 to Laura Davis, a daughter of J.L. Davis, of Vernon County. In 1877 he came to Richland Center. He had charge of the county poor farm for two years, and was engaged in a grocery, provision and crockery trade. Mr. and Mrs. McKay have two children – Alice and Roxey.

The McKay family had at least two farms in Wisconsin between 1854 and 1867, but have not yet been found in the 1870 Wisconsin Census. In William J. McKay's obituary, it was stated the McKay family moved to Retreat, Wisconsin, in Vernon County about 1867. Margaret McKay died on October 25, 1893 at the age of 79 in Richland Center (Richland Co), Wisconsin and is buried in the Richland Center Cemetery. She is shown living there with two of her daughters (Mary and Sarah) in the 1880 Census.

The whereabouts and fate of several other children of William and Margaret McKay is uncertain.

In the 1880 Census, Sarah H. is 24, unmarried, and working as a dressmaker. In 1886, she married Daniel W. Jones (b. 1856) and lived in Madison, Wisconsin. They had two children: Harold M. Jones (b. 1887) and Robert Daniel Jones (b. 14 March 1895). Robert was killed in an automobile accident on Christmas Day, 1925. Sarah died in 1928 and Daniel died on August 18, 1921, both in Madison, Wisconsin.

Mary Jane McKay was born January 5, 1857. In 1880, Mary Jane is 22, unmarried and working as a teacher. She married William Henry Pier of Richland Center, Wisconsin on October 27, 1891. She died on June 30, 1899, at the age of 42, apparently as the result of complications in child birth and is buried between her mother and her sister, Agnes, in the Richland Center Cemetery. Her son, Harry McKay Pier was born on June 30, 1899. 

William Henry Pier was born on December 6, 1842, the son of William and Susannah (Cook) Pier. He served in Co. H., 15th Ohio Infantry during the Civil War and was first married to Lucy Marie Hoyt (m. February 4, 1866; she died Feb. 18, 1890 in Richland County). William Pier died on March 3, 1924 and is buried in the Richland Center Cemetery with his second wife and mother-in-law (Margaret McKay). 

Agnes was living with her brother, William J. McKay, in 1880, and with her sister, Sarah, in 1906. Agnes died on April 30, 1911, and is buried in the Richland Center Cemetery next to her sister, Mary Jane. 

LEFT: The McKay-Pier plot in the Richland Center Cemetery. Margaret McKay's grave is on the left; Mary Jane McKay (Pier) is in the center; and Agnes McKay's grave is on the right.

RIGHT: A closer view of the McKay-Pier headstone

LEFT: Margaret McKay's headstone. (Born June 16, 1814 in Ireland; Died October 25, 1893)

RIGHT: Agnes McKay's headstone. (Born March 28, 1845; Died April 30, 1911)

LEFT: Mary Jane McKay Pier's headstone.  She was born January 5, 1857, and died June 30, 1899, apparently as the results of complications of childbirth.  Their son, Henry McKay Pier, lived until 1993. 

RIGHT: William Henry Pier's headstone. The star beside the headstone indicates that he was a Civil War veteran. (Born December 6, 1842; Died March 3, 1924).  He enlisted on July 9, 1861 in Ohio and was mustered into Company H, 15th Ohio Infantry Regiment on Sep 7, 1861. At some point during his service, he was reported as wounded. He was promoted to Full Corporal on 01 Jan 1863 and mustered out on April 7, 1863 at Nashville, TN.  

Mr. Pier arrived in Richland County in 1865 at the end of the Civil War and founded the Richland County Bank in 1881.  

Alice McKay was born in 1877 in Richland Center, Wisconsin.  Sara Roxey born on September 7, 1880, also in Richland Center. From her name in two school books in the Everhart family collection, it appears that Sara lived in Retreat, Wisconsin and then lived, at least briefly, near Howard, Kansas. Both children are mentioned in the 1884 Richland County History (above). The family (Robert and his two daughters) reappears in Madison, Wisconsin in the 1900 Census.Robert McKay was said to be a prosperous merchant in Los Angeles (1906) and Hollywood (1921). He is buried in Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California. They are living on Washington Avenue and his occupation is listed as grocer.

LEFT: Robert McKay, his wife Laura, and children: Alice (standing) and Sarah Roxie sitting. Circa 1885 in Richland Center, Wisconsin.

Laura died on August 15, 1888, and Robert apparently did not remarry. After the 1900 Wisconsin Census he and his daughters moved to California where he became a prosperous merchant in Los Angeles (1906) and Hollywood (1921). Alice and Sarah Roxie are shown living with their father in the 1910 and 1920 Census of Los Angeles. The 1900 and 1910 Census indicates that Robert McKay was widowed, but the 1920 Census indicates he was divorced(?). In the 1910 and 1920 Census, Robert is the proprietor of a grocery store; Roxie is working as secretary for the Board of Trade in 1910 and a stenographer in a bank in 1920, while Alice was not working. Robert McKay died in 1927 and is buried in Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale, California. Alice died in February, 1930 and is buried next to her father. Sarah McKay, age 49, is shown as “Head of Household” in the 1930 California Census for Los Angeles. According to Social Security Death Records, Sarah R. McKay died in Los Angeles on November 15, 1974.

There is a story that James McKay may have had to leave his home in Wisconsin because of a fight with an abusive teacher in which he broke the man's jaw. If it actually happened, it would have been in the late 1860s and may explain the move of the family from Dodge County to Vernon County in 1867.

About 1872, James moved to Kansas by train and was among the first settlers to homestead in Phillips County. At one point in his trip to Kansas, the train was halted for several hours by a herd of buffalo. He was living in this region when the Cheyenne Indians slipped away from their reservation in Oklahoma and returned to their Northern Plains homeland. The Cheyenne Indians reportedly had passed near the McKay home.

Although he farmed in Phillips County, James McKay soon went into business as a blacksmith in the town of Logan, Kansas. In the HISTORY OF LOGAN section of the Phillips County Centennial Book, Moments of History, 1871-1971, it indicates that in the hamlet of Logan in 1876, there were two stores, a grist mill and saw mill, a Post Office and a blacksmith shop by the mill that was run by Whitson. Later it says that McKay and Whitson were the blacksmiths. The blacksmith shop was located on the south side of main street, west of Mill Street. When I visited Logan in 1995, the U.S. Post Office occupied the probable site of J. N. McKay's shop.  

It was in Logan, Kansas that James McKay married Nancy Jane Attebury on September 22, 1875. Two months later, on November 21, 1875, James L. Attebury, age 25, married Agnes Womack, age 22, in the McKay home. J.S. Shurtz officiated at both weddings. It is unknown at this point what the family relationship was between Nancy and James Attebury. Twenty-one years later, on February 25, 1897, a note in the Logan paper said that a James Attebury had committed suicide by hanging himself from a bridge near his home, fifteen miles north of Logan on Bow Creek. 

LEFT:  A copy of an early newspaper advertisement (Sept. 19, 1879) for the McKay-Whitson blacksmith shop in the Logan newspaper. 

In the 1880 Federal Census, the McKay family (James, his wife, Nancy, daughters Nettie and Muade and new baby, Johnny) is living in Logan Township (southwest Phillips County).  His occupation is listed as "farmer." At age 34, James N. McKay became a naturalized citizen on March 25, 1884 according to records (Volume A, page 359) filed in the District Courtof Phillips CountyKansas, Phillipsburg, Kansas. In the 1885 Kansas Census, James McKay's occupation is listed as "blacksmith" and the McKay family is shown to be living in Logan. Nettie May is 7, Maude is 5, and William is 3.

Nancy Jane Attebury was born on November 18, 1853, according to her obituary. Her wedding certificate says she was 21 when she married James McKay in 1875 and her age in the 1880 Census was given as 24. When she met James McKay, she was living in Norton County, not far from Logan, Kansas. According to Jack Everhart, she was at least part Indian and her pictures appear to support that contention.Nancy Attebury-McKay died at her home in Pond Creek, Oklahoma, on April 10, 1920, after suffering a fourth stroke and was buried in the Pond Creek Cemetery.

Nettie May, the first child of James and Nancy McKay, was born on February 2, 1877. Maude Pearl McKay was born on May 22, 1878 and another child, known only as "Johnnie" was born in May of 1880. Johnnie died on July 1, 1881 of measles and was buried near Logan, Kansas. William Henry McKay was born on May 6, 1881 or 1882, and Minnie M. McKay was born in April, 1886. Mary Jane McKay was born on October 24, 1891 and was the last of their six children. In 1893, the family sold their property and moved into the Oklahoma Territory during the Cherokee Strip land rushwhere they settled in Pond Creek.

James McKay made the race out of "Outlet No.7" near Caldwell, Kansas. It was one of five registration booths on the northern border of the Indian Territory and served those persons who were interested in settling in "L" County (eventually Grant County). The lands were open to settlement as a result of the Indian Appropriations Bill (HR 10415) passed by the House on February 27, 1893. The bill was ratified by Congress on March 3, 1893. The lands were opened to settlement by order of President Grover Cleveland signed August 19, 1893. Almost 15,000 people made the race out of Outlet No.7.

In a 1972 letter to her grandson, Mike Everhart, Mary Jane Everhart described what she remembered of the trip into Oklahoma. She would have been two years old at the time and would probably have been re-telling the story as she had heard it from her family:

"Sept. of 1893, James Neil McKay, wife Nancy and daughters Nettie, Maud, Minnie and Mary, and one son, William, left Logan, Kansas (Phillips County, in northern Kansas). We had a covered wagon and spring wagon, two teams and one extra horse my father rode to make the race. Also had a baby colt named Nellie. We kept her till she died. We came as far as Anthony, Kansas (about 15 miles from the Oklahoma Territory) and stayed there while my father made the race. We landed in Pond Creek, bought two lots, 15 and 16, block 29. The first night there were over 1000 people registered, so it was classified as a city of the first class. The first thing my father did was dig a well. The old well is still here, then he pitched a tent. We drove in the 18th of September. My mother started serving meals then they built a stable and barn. Lived in the barn till while the house was being built. (After) It was moved into, it (we) continued to serve meals while the house was being built. Hauled the lumber from Caldwell to build the house. It was the first hotel in Pond Creek and was called the Central Hotel." (Photo of the Central Hotel, January, 1894)

James McKay acquired the lots on the northwest corner of 4th Street (US 81) and Broadway in the town of Pond Creek. There he erected one of the first buildings in the new town. It was a livery barn, a few yards north of the Central Hotel which he built soon after. The family lived in the livery barn while he built the hotel with lumber shipped from Kansas.  The Central Hotel was one of the oldest buildings in the Cherokee Outlet until it was torn down in 1979. 

The hotel was used primarily by employees of the Rock Island Railroad. Nancy McKay cooked for the men while they entertained the McKay's youngest child, Mary Jane. James McKay operated a blacksmith shop for many years and was also in the dry goods business along with the hotel and boarding house. A picture of McKay's Grocery was provided by Harold McKay Jr. in 1995.

With his long white beard, James McKay was a common sight in Pond Creek and was always interested in politics. He served 8 years as a city councilman in the 4th Ward (1904-1912?) and lost an election for Mayor in 1913 in what was apparently a very spirited campaign over taxes against the established politicians. According to Jack Everhart, J. N. McKay was defeated in the election by one vote. A copy of his campaign platform and the rebuttal by the election committee of the "Onward and Upward Club" is in our records. At the time, J. N. McKay was described by his opponents as always being "a kicker on town improvements", and "It is a matter of record that he became so accustomed to voting no when on the council that he forgot and voted no when a petition of his own for a cement crossing was pending."

Nancy McKay died on April 10, 1920 at the age of 66, about 3 months after the 1920 Federal Census. She is buried in the Pond Creek Cemetery. 

James Neil McKay died on April 14, 1937 at the age of 89, and was buried in the Pond Creek cemetery. He was one of the last men in the town who had ridden in the Cherokee Outlet opening.


"Henry Thomas Attebury was born in Kentucky, September 30, 1829. He came to Norton County in September 1872. His wife Margaret Neete was born December 18, 1833; seven children were born to them, their eldest child, James Lunzey, was born April 16, 1849. He came to Norton county in May 1874, and was married to Agnes Wamuck, November 21, 1875, settled on Big Timber, one mile south of D.E. Stevens; bought a farm two miles northwest of Norton; moved on it in 1882; sold it in the fall of 1892 and bought a farm on Otter Creek, near Edmond, where he now resides; he has five children." (The History of the Early Settlement of Norton County, Kansas, 1894)

H. Thomas Attebury and Margaret Attebury were the parents of Nancy Jane Attebury. The 1875 Kansas Agricultural Census shows that Thomas Attebury was born in Kentucky about 1830. At the time of that Census (March 1, 1875), the family was living in Center Township, Norton County. It is unknown when he died but he is supposedly buried in an unmarked grave in the Pond Creek Cemetery. In that same Census, James McKay, age 25 and unmarried, was living on 160 acres in Logan Township of Logan County. His occupation was shown as "blacksmith."

Margaret Neet (or Neete) was born in Winchester, Scott County, Illinois on December 25, 1832 and died in Norton, Kansas, on June 3, 1911 at the age of 79. She is buried in the Norton Cemetery, Norton County, Kansas.After the death of her husband, she was shown as living in Oklahoma in 1910, a year before her death, with her daughter Nancy and son-in-law, and her grandchildren in Pond Creek. The Atteburys had ten children, five of whom survived her. They were; Nancy Jane, (born 11/18/1853, in Iowa, died 4/10/1920), who married James N. McKay; Anna, (b. 1863) who married Charles Gillette; Minnie, (b. May 10, 1865), married W. Albert Rose, February 8, 1887. They had three children; Orin Benjamin (born 2/17/1868, in Carroll County, Iowa,lived in Phillips county on Bow Creek, was a farmer, died on 12/29/1913, buried in the Norton Cemetery, Norton County, Kansas) married Matilda Reed; and Florence, (b. April 11, 1860), married a man by the name of Charles Bass but they have since separated. Florence was shown as living with the McKay family in Oklahoma in 1900, unmarried, at the age of 30. Anna Attebury was born February 2, 1863, and married Jack (John) Conarty, February 2, 1878.  Annie died February 19, 1921 and is buried in the Norton Cemetery, in Norton, Kansas. Jack died August 8, 1929.

Mary Jane McKay was a daughter and the last child of James Neil McKay and Nancy Jane Attebury. She was born October 24, 1891 in Logan, Kansas (Phillips County). Logan is a small farm town in the southwest corner of Phillips County, on Kansas Highway 9, 20 miles south of the Nebraska line. She had a brother, William Henry (born May 6, 1882), and three sisters, Maude Pearl, Minnie, and Nettie May. Another older brother, "Johnnie" died on July 31, 1881, from measles at the age of fourteen months.

Mary Jane McKay shows up in the 1910 Oklahoma Census with the rest of the McKay family. She is 18 years old at the time and unmarried. Sometime after that, she apparently moved away from home to find work and wrote a letter on the back of a postcard with a picture of her. The card was sent to her maternal grandmother, Margaret Atteberry, who was living with the McKay's until shortly before her death and reads:

Dear Gramma,

I received your letter. Was so glad to hear from you. O.H. I am not homesick, have plenty of work so I won't come home while I can work. Have ordered me two new dresses. I am going to make Fern a dress when I get time. I don't know when I will come home, perhaps this fall on a visit. Is Mr. Weeks still there? Well, goodby, love all, ans. soon, Mary.

She married Frank Allen Everhart, a recent widower, on September 7, 1915 in Osborne, Kansas and they moved to Wichita about 1916. Their first child, Winifred Marie, was born on December 29, 1919 in Wichita. The family moved to Fairview, Oklahoma, in 1920 where their second child, Jack McKay, was born in 1922.

After the death of her husband, Frank A. Everhart, in 1927, Mary Jane moved back to Pond Creek, Oklahoma, with her two children to take care of her father, James Neil McKay. In a 1970 letter to her grandson, Mike Everhart, Mary Jane retold the story:

We lived at Fairview, Oklahoma, and Nettie wanted me to come to Pond Creek and take care of Papa so I really had a job. He was old and so cross some times I didn't know which way to turn. But I managed to raise them (Winifred and Jack). Sent them both through high school with very little money. I sewed, done whatever I could get to do. But Papa was sick so much, it took most of my time to take care of him. He was 87 when he died. I took care of him for eleven years before he died. He died in April and Winifred graduated in May.

Mary Jane Everhart is shown in the 1930 Census of Pond Creek, Oklahoma living with her widowed father, James N. McKay and her two young children Winifred (10) and Jack Everhart (8). Mary Jane remained in Pond Creek the rest of her life. The Central Hotel and other property was transferred to her, for the sum of one dollar, by General Warranty Deed on June 23, 1932 (Lots 1,2,3,4,5,6, 7,8,15 and 16, Block 29, City of Pond Creek). The deed was recorded April 16, 1937, shortly after the death of James N. McKay. She died of colon cancer on January 16, 1975 in a hospital in Enid, Oklahoma, and is buried in the Pond Creek Cemetery.


William Henry McKay was the second son of James Neil McKay and Nancy Jane Atteberry. He was born in or near Logan, Kansas, on May 6, 1881, and moved to Pond Creek, Oklahoma with his parents in September, 1893.

William married Maude Everhart, daughter of Calvin and Mary Everhart, in Pond Creek on February 11, 1904. At the time, they were both about 21 years old. She had moved to Pond Creek from Missouri in 1900 with her parents and stayed there after her father had died in 1901.

William and Maude McKay had three children; Ida Fern, born October 11, 1906, Harold Franklin, born June 7, 1908, and Larkin Calvin, born September 5, 1916. 

In the 1910 Oklahoma Census, William McKay's occupation is listed as laborer. In 1926, he moved his family to Wichita and they lived briefly with Maude's sister, Grace, and her husband, Jim Walker at 630 Walnut. In 1927, he was working at Cuthbert Cut Stone Company with his brother-in-law, Herman Everhart, and the family was living at 409 N. Hadley. By 1928, the family, except for Fern, had moved back to Oklahoma. Fern stayed in Wichita to work as a barber in the Allis Hotel.

William (better known as Bill) served as Town Marshall in Pond Creek for several years and was known as "Bicycle Bill" because he made his rounds of the town on a bicycle. He tried out a T Model Ford once, but after losing a wheel a few blocks from the agency, he left it in the ditch and went back after the bicycle.

Bill was serving as Town Marshall when Maude McKay died in 1936. He died on July 29, 1964, at the age of 82 in a hospital at Medford, Oklahoma, after breaking his hip in a fall and then getting pneumonia.

Fern McKay moved to Wichita, Kansas and worked as a barber in the Lassen Hotel. She is shown in the 1930 Census of Wichita, living in an apartment with her brother Harold. He is employed in a bakery. Although she may have been working in Enid, OK in 1938, Fern returned to Pond Creek (1940 Census) where she was shown working as a barber. She and younger brother, Larkin McKay, are living with their father. She worked for several years with Ralph Seger as a barber and later married Howard Halcomb. Fern and Harold had no children of their own but raised one son, "Punky" from Harold's first marriage. Fern died on April 18, 1965 and is buried in the Pond Creek Cemetery.


Nettie May McKay was born on February 2, 1877 in Logan, Kansas, and was the first child of James and Nancy McKay. On September 17, 1893, at the age of 16, she drove a wagon loaded with family and household goods into the Cherokee Outlet on the day after her father made the Run. She married David Hull Barr in February 1905.

David Hull "Dave" Barr was born January 13, 1864 and served ten years in the regular U.S. Army before settling in Grant County east of Pond Creek in 1900 (east of the Salt Fork River). He had been discharged after being wounded while serving in the Philippines during the Spanish American War. He first homesteaded east of Pond Creek to be near his uncle, Oscar A. Ware. Ware was the brother of his mother, Mrs. George C. Barr (Adelaide Ware). The Barrs and the Wares had moved to northern Kansas from Michigan and were some of the earliest settlers in the Republic City area (Republic County, northwest of Concordia) in Kansas. Earlier, the Barrs had moved to Michigan from New York and Massachusetts.

David Barr's father (George C. Barr) had served in the Civil War, and helped create Dave's interest in a military career. According to his records, David was enlisted in the U.S. Army on July 7, 1890 by a Lieutenant Webster in Chicago, IL. It indicates he was born in Eaton County, Michigan (near Lansing) and that he was 25 years, 6 months old. Previously employed as a 'laborer', he was 5 feet, 6 inches tall, brown hair, brown eyes and fair complexion. He was enlisted into C Company of the 9th Infantry Regiment. He was discharged as a Private on July 6, 1895, at Madison Barracks, New York (Sacketts Harbor) at the end of his first term of service, in "very good" health.

On July 12, 1895, David Barr re-enlisted in Detroit, Michigan and was assigned to the 11th Infantry. He was discharged on July 11, 1898 as a Corporal upon his return to Tampa, Florida, at the end of his four year term of service. The 11th Infantry had been involved in the Spanish American War in Cuba.

On July 12, 1898, David Barr re-enlisted in Tampa, Florida and was assigned to the 9th Infantry again. He was discharged February 28, 1899 under General Order 40 (?) as a Sergeant at Madison Barracks, New York and immediately re-enlisted (March 1, 1899). The 9th Infantry was sent to the Philippines during the Spanish American War where he was wounded in the hand in combat. The story goes that he was scratching his head when a bullet hit his hand, severing a finger. 

He received a disability discharge (Honorable) at Angeles City, Philippine Islands, on Nov. 7, 1899 [Angeles City is near the former Clark U.S. Air Force Base about 40 miles from Manila, on the island of Luzon].

Arriving back in the United States, David Barr went to Oklahoma with $1,100 in gold coins in a money belt and used that money to buy his first farm.

While farming east of Pond Creek in the sandy area north of the Salt Fork River, Dave met Nettie May McKay. They were married in 1905. At the time, he was 41 and she was 28. Their first son, George Neil, was born in November 1905. A daughter, Edith, was born in 1906 but died a few days before Oklahoma Statehood in November, 1907.

The family moved to Pond Creek for a period of several months in 1909, where their second son, Clarence Lee, was born in November of that year. They lived in Pond Creek while building a new house, barn and outbuildings on a farm they had purchased two miles north of their original home place. Dave planted a Cottonwood tree by the back porch of the new house in 1910. The tree is still healthy and strong, having survived several severe storms. In 1918, a son, Albert Ernest was born, but he died in 1920.

George Barr attended a country school two miles east of Jefferson, while Clarence started school in Jefferson in an old downtown store building while the new brick school was being built. Clarence attended school in Pond Creek in 1920 while his mother was helping care for her ailing mother, Nancy McKay, who died later that year.

Dave Barr purchased and began to work a second farm in the early 1930s. It was located north of Jefferson on Osage Creek (north and west of Jefferson). Dave died on Armistice Day, November 11, 1938, after a period of failing health. He was 74 years old and was buried in the southwest corner of the Pond Creek Cemetery. Nettie Barr died in 1959, after having lived in the Pond Creek community for 66 years.

George Neil Barr served in the Army Hawaii during World War II and returned to farm the home place until his death in 1964.

Clarence Lee Barr married Jessie Lightfoot in 1939 and established their home on the Barr's farm north of Jefferson. They had three children: Karalyn, Richard and Jerald.

Maude Pearl McKay was born on May 22, 1878 in Logan, Phillips County, Kansas. She died on June 25, 1898 at the age of 20 from tuberculosis at the home of her parents in Pond Creek, Oklahoma. She had been a student at the Pond Creek High School until the onset of her illness in October of 1897. She is buried in the Pond Creek Cemetery, next to her sister, Minnie. Their graves share a common marker. Her obituary was published in the Logan newspaper.

Minnie M. McKay was born in April, 1886, in Logan, Phillips County, Kansas and died on August 22, 1897 in Pond Creek, Oklahoma at the age of eleven. The cause of her death was not known but tuberculosis is suspected. Tuberculosis in young adults and children progresses very rapidly in most cases.

Chapter 1: The Everharts - An Everhart Family Saga

Chapter 2: The Qualheims - The Norwegian Connection