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Introduction to The McKays of Virginia

(Webmaster's note: Since this document was first distributed many years ago during one of our family reunions a lot of new information has been uncovered in regards to our family history. I have endeavoured to make notations through the text commenting on any part of the document where I feel a correction is needed so that the reader doesn't make the mistake that what he/she is reading is current and up to date. The most reliable genealogical record on the early family of Robert Mackay Sr. that I'm aware of so far is the most recent book on the family published by Dee Ann Buck. You can purchase a copy by contacting her by e-mail: deeranddoe@hotmail.com. In this book many mistakes made by earlier historians have been examined and corrected. Even so, we are constantly learning new facts concerning our family history which would of course lead to new revisions of what we previously knew in regards to our history. MLM)

August 11, 1957

Introduction to


By John W. Rust, Fairfax, Virginia

xxxxxThe Clan McKay occupied the extreme northern part of Scotland, just south of the Orkney Islands, known as "Strathnavern", and were the highest of the highlanders.

(Webmaster's note: We know the name is correctly spelled as 'Mackay' but this document is being reproduced 'as is' with the name being spelled as 'McKay' as it was in the document when John W. Rust first distributed it. MLM)

xxxxxThe information as to the McKays of Scotland is obtained principally from "History of Scotland, Its Highlands, Regiments and Clans," written by James Browne, L.L.D., published in eight volumes by Francis A. Niccolls and Company, of Edinburgh, London and Boston in 1909. I would recommend to anyone interested in Scotch history to obtain a set of these books, if possible, as they contain all of the clans, their war cries, badges, castles, coats of arms and plaids in color, and a complete history of each clan, giving the family names and location of the various clans.

(Webmaster's note: A better history of Clan Mackay can be found in Ian Grimble's three volume set on the history of Clan Mackay which is discribed elsewhere in this website. MLM)

xxxxxThe first mention of the Clan McKay is in the year 1395, and it was then a strong and powerful organization, occupying a large portion of northern Scotland, and its Chief was Y-McKay of Farr, who had two sons, Donald McKay and Nicholas McKay. In the year 1395 a feud began between the McKays and the Earl of Sutherland, who lived just south of the McKay Clan, in which many lives were lost and great depredations were committed on both sides. The Earl of Sutherland proposed a meeting of the parties at Dingwall in the presence of the Lord of The Isles, some of the neighboring Gentry, and friends of the two families, and a discussion took place between the Earl and McKay, in which high and reproachful words were exchanged, which so incensed the Earl that he killed McKay and his son, and with difficulty effected his escape from the followers of the McKays, and fled to his home. The matter was in some degree reconciled between Robert, the successor of Nicolas, and Angus McKay, the oldest son of Donald McKay. Familiar names of the early McKays of Scotland were Neill McKay, John McKay, Dubh McKay, Y-Roy McKay, Black Angus McKay and Rob Roy McKay.

xxxxxHistory relates many feuds and wars between the Scottish McKays and their highland neighbors. They were typical highlanders and ready to fight upon the slightest opportunity and often provided the opportunity themselves.

xxxxxThe early McKays who settled in Warren County, Virginia, were Quakers and were always of a peaceful and happy nature, and it is rather hard to understand how warlike and fierce their Scottish ancestors must have been as shown by history.

xxxxxGeneral Hugh McKay was invited to England by James II, from whom on the fourth of June, 1685, he received the appointment of Major-General or Commander-in-Chief of all the forces in Scotland. He, however, disliked the arbitrary proceedings of James II and resigned his commission. By a warrant signed January 4, 1689, Hugh McKay was appointed "Major-General of all the forces whatever, within our ancient Kingdom of Scotland," and the Kingdom of Scotland does "Acknowledge the great kindness and care of the King of England, and do hereby warrant and authorize the said Major-General McKay to command any forces, either standing or raised, with the Malitis, within this Kingdom." McKay was raised to the rank of Lieutenant-General in 1696, and was killed in the Battle of Steinkirk.

(Webmaster's note: I believe it is possible that this document may have inadvertantly started the idea that our Robert Mackay Sr. is the son of Capt. Hugh Mackay and Jane Dunbar, probably because of what was written here above. However, if you read this carefully no connection is being put forward here stating that our Robert is the son of this man. This is simply a brief history of the Clan Mackay and a few key events in Clan Mackay history. The only problem I have is the assumption that our family descends from the Strathnaver Mackays simply because of our surname without any actual evidence to back up the claim. MLM)

xxxxxI have given you the foregoing history of the McKays of Scotland in order that you may have some knowledge of your highland ancestors and the important part they have played in Scottish history. The name McKay has been held in high esteem and honor for many centuries in Scotland.

xxxxxThe war-cry of this courageous Clan was "The White Banner of the McKays," and their Badge or Flower was the "Red Grass." known to us as the "Cat-O'Nine-Tails." Their home was a handsome castle known as "The Tongue House," and their coat of arms was a shield of blue with two boar heads above and one below, and a center of gold, with a deer head, and a hand on each side containing a dagger pointing at and almost touching the deer head, a very colorful and lovely emblem.

(Webmaster's note: 'Red Grass' should be 'Reed Grass'. MLM)

* * * * * * * *


xxxxxFrom the best information obtainable, Robert McKay, Sr., the emigrant, was in Pennsylvania in 1726, with his wife, Margaret, and a family of children. See page 150 "The McKays and Allied Families," by Mrs. C. E. Doughtie, Jr. (Beatrice MacKey Doughtie) 3449 Peachtree Road, N.E., C-2, Atlanta 5, Georgia. (Price $10.00)

(Webmaster's note: It hasn't been determined whether Robert Sr. was the immigrant or not. Also, Beatrice Mackey Doughtie is deceased and I'm not sure if the book is still available. We've learned much, much more about our family history since that book was published. MLM)

xxxxxSamuel Kercheval's History of the Valley of Virginia, under Title "First Settlement of the Valley," states that Joist Hite, with his family, and his sons in law, George Bowman, Jacob Chrisman and Paul Froman, with their families, and Robert McKay, Robert Green, William Duff, Peter Stevens and others, amounting in the whole to sixteen families, removed from Pennsylvania, cutting their road from York and crossing the Potomac River about two miles above Harper's Ferry, to Winchester, Virginia. This road was known as the "Road to Opeckon" and was the first wagon road from Pennsylvania to Opequon and followed in a large measure a well marked Indian trail known as the Consetoga Path. Hopewells Friends, page 113. Kercheval states that Hite settled on the Opequon, about five miles south of Winchester. Peter Stevens settled at Stephensburg and Robert McKay settled on Crooked Run about nine miles southeast of Stephensburg, which would be at Cedarville, Virginia.

xxxxxIt would however, appear from accurate records that Kercheval was mistaken in stating that Robert McKay, Sr., settled at Cedarville, Virginia, now in Warren County, about four miles north of Front Royal, Virginia. Hopewell Friends History of Frederick County, Virginia, page 186, states that Robert McKay, Sr., lived on or near the South Fork of the Shenandoah River, several miles above Riverton. This placed him in Augusta County after 1744, then the line between Frederick and Augusta Counties was surveyed, and his will, dated October 7, 1746, was probated in Augusta County on September 19, 1752. His oldest son, Robert McKay, Jr., lived on a tract of 828 acres of land on both sides of Crooked Run in what is now Warren County, which he held by a Crown patent bearing date of October 3, 1734. He was closely associated with Friends of Hopewell and Crooked Run meetings, and meetings were held at his house, and the Journal of John Fothergill records that on September 9, 1736, John "Fothergill went from Alexander Rosse's meeting to the following day near 'Shenando' River held at Robert McKay's the younger, pretty open and comfortable". Hopewell Friends, Page 187.

xxxxxPage 151 of "The McKays and Allied Families, it is quoted as follows:

"On the petition of Robt. McKay & Joost Heyd, of the Province of
Pensilvania, setting forth that they & Divers other families to
the number of one hundred are disirous to remove from thence &
Seat themselves on the back of the great Mountains within this
Colony, & praying that one hundred thousand acres of land lying
between the Line of the Land granted to John Vanmeter, Jacob
Stover, John Fishback & others may be assigned to them, and that
the residue of said hundred thousand acres may be assigned upon
& including the several branches of Sherundo River, above the said
Stover & Fishback & his partners. The Governor, with the advice of
the Council, is pleased to order, and it is hereby ordered that the
petitioners in behalf of themselves and their partners, have leave
to take up Sd. Quantity of 100,000 acres of Land within the limits
above discribed, and that upon the above Number of Families coming
to dwell there within two years, Patents shall be granted them in
such manner as they shall agree to divide the same." Extract from
the proceedings of the Colonial Council of Virginia, October 21, 1731.
xxxxxIt is further stated that they were unable to settle 100 families on their land in two years and the Governor and Council in a subsequent order extended the time to 1737, when it was found that sufficient settlers were in actual residence to comply with the original order.

xxxxxThis grant did not require that the 100,000 acres was to be surveyed in a block, and the said Robert McKay and Joist Hite and their associates could choose any land that they desired in this section. They did choose the most desirable portions of this land, mostly on the rivers and streams, and it was known as "strip grants," and it was objected to seriously by Lord Fairfax in his suits with the McKays and Hites, but Fairfax was overruled by the Courts, and the grantees were entitled to hold the land they had settled upon. It was the courage and adventurous spirit of these early Valley pioneers that blazed the path for progress and civilization and made this section what it is today.

xxxxxThe old Quaker graveyard at Nineveh was a lease for 99 years from Thomas Branson of Orange County, N.C., to John Painter of Frederick County, Virginia, and dated June 1, 1758, to run 99 years. It conveyed 4 acres of land on the southeast side of Crooked Run "for a Friends Meeting house & Burying ground, for that use, and no other." Hopewell, page 74. This lease is recorded in Winchester, Virginia.

xxxxxThe information contained in this article has been obtained from Kercheval's History of the Valley, Hopewell Friends History, 1734-1934, Frederick County, Virginia, the Mackeys (variously spelled), and Allied Families by Beatrice Mackey Doughtie (containing 1002 pages), McKay History and Genealogy by Hunter B. McKay, 2 Colonial Terrace, Belmont, Massachusetts, and other sources. This article should have been written by Hunter B. McKay, the McKay Historian, as he has a vast supply of records and information and has furnished me with a large amount of the data included herein. The McKays owe him a debt of gratitude for his wonderful work in compiling the McKay History.

(Webmaster's note: Hunter B. McKay is deceased. His work can be viewed at Samuel's Public Library in Front Royal, Va. MLM)

xxxxxIt is absolutely impossible for me to do more than simply trace one line of the family from the original pioneer, Robert McKay, Sr., to a certain date. If any of the branches of the McKays are not included in this article and they desire to trace a specific branch, it can be done by references to the above books, and especially to the excellent book of Mrs. Doughtie, above referred to, which can be obtained by writing her and enclosing $10.00.

* * * * * * * * *

xxxxxRobert McKay, Sr., the Pioneer, removed from Cecil County, Maryland, to Virginia, in 1731, and settled in Orange County, Virginia. He married first Ann Brown and, second, Margaret __________.

(Webmaster's note: We now know of three wives of Robert Mackay Sr. Margaret was his 3rd wife. His 2nd wife was named Mary. Also, Orange County is the parent county of Frederick. The area of Robert's settlement is in what is now Warren County. MLM)

xxxxxThe will of Robert McKay, Sr., dated October 7, 1746, and probated in Augusta County, Virginia, on August 19, 1752, mentions the following children and wife:

A. Robert McKay, (Jr.), his oldest son, married first, Patience Job, the youngest
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxdaughter of Andrew and Elizabeth (Vernon) Job, of Chester
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxCounty, Pa., on January 27, 1735. He married, second,
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxbefore April 9, 1769, Mercy Borden-Fernly-Burk, daughter
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxof Zeruiah (Winter) and Benjamin Borden. Page 177,
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxMackeys & Allied Families.
B. Moses McKay
C. James McKay
D. Zachariah McKay
E. Leah McKay, who married William Taylor, also called Tyler.
F. Margaret McKay, who married Joshua Job, January 11, 1730, son of Andrew and
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxElizabeth Job.
G. Hannah McKay, who married George Hollingsworth at the home of Isaac Parkins
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxin Virginia, on December 19, 1734. This is said to be the
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxfirst marriage in the Valley of Friends. - "On Ye 19th day
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxof December in ye Year of Our Lord, 1734, Appeared in a Public
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxAssembly of ye said people and others mett at ye house of
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxisaac Parkins of ye afsd. Place in Virginia, and ye sd. George
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxHollingsworth taking ye sd. Hannah McKay by the hand," etc.
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxHopewell Friends, page 19.
H. Mary McKay who married George Robinson, February 14, 1726.
I. Elizabeth McKay, married Abraham Job, July 8, 1739.

xxxxxThe will mentions his wife, Margaret, and all of the land devised by the will and upon which land he and his sons lived (except Robert McKay, who lived at Cedarville), was upon the South branch of the Shenandoah River a few miles above Front Royal, stretching along the River for about 13 miles. His Executors were his sons, Robert, Jr., Zachariah, Moses and James. Witnesses were Gabriel Jones, David Vance and Abraham Hite.

* * * * * * *

xxxxxRobert McKay, Jr. married, first, Patience Job, the daughter of Andrew and
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxElizabeth Job, on January 27, 1736, and, second, Mercy

(Webmaster's note: My notes have their marriage date as February 27, 1735. MLM)

xxxxxHis children by his first wife, Patience Job, were:

A. Andrew McKay (1736-1804) married Jane Ridgeway, daughter of John and Jane
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxRidgeway, November 27, 1760.
B. Jacob McKay (1738) married, first, Rachel Ridgeway, daughter of Hannah Brown
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxand John Ridgeway on August 15, 1765, second wife Rebecca
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx(Janney) Gregg, widow.
C. Margaret McKay (1740), married Richard, son of Hannah Brown and John Ridgeway
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxon December 22, 1762, at Crooked Run.
D. Robert McKay (1744-1800), probably son, married Mary __________
E. Job McKay, probably a son.
F. John McKay, probably a son.
xxxxxThere may have been other children

(Webmaster's note: Andrew's wife, Jane Ridgeway's parents should read John & Hannah (Brown) Ridgeway, the same as Rachel's & Richard's parents listed just below. Also, three other children not mentioned in this report are: Enoch, Jesse & Sarah. MLM)

* * * * * * *

xxxxxJacob McKay, Sr., married, first Rachel Ridgeway, daughter of Hannah Brown and John Ridgeway, on August 15, 1865, and married, second, Rebecca (Janney) Gregg, widow. Known children by first wife, Rachel Ridgeway, are:

(Webmaster's note: wedding year should read '1765'. Also, Jacob was married three times. His 2nd wife was Rachel (Wright) Shinn whom he married on 7 Jul 1784 in Stafford MM, and his 3rd wife waa Rebecca Janney, widow of Mr. Gregg. MLM)

A. Hannah McKay, who married Joshua Wood on May 16, 1792, at Crooked Run. Hopewell
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxFriends, page 393.
B. Sarah McKay, who married Samuel Walton of Shenandoah County, Va., on December
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx6, 1797, Hopewell Friends, page 402.
C. John McKay, born Nov. 2, 1773, died 1845. Buried at Nineveh, Married
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxRebecca Wickersham. Lived at Painter Place, Cedarville, Va.
D. Jacob McKay, Jr., married Rachel Shinn of the County of Stafford, July 7, 1784,
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxHopewell Friends, page 377.

xxxxxChildren by second wife, Rebecca:

E. Jesse McKay
F. Asa McKay

(Webmaster's note: New evidence suggests that John McKay's wife's surname wasn't Wickersham. Also, Jacob McKay Jr.'s listing is incorrect. More on that later. The children listed as being from the 2nd marriage of Jacob Sr., i.e. Jesse & Asa McKay, are actually from his first marriage. I am not aware of any children being born from Jacob Sr.'s other two marriages. Rachel (Wright) Shinn did have children from her 1st marriage to George Shinn. MLM)

xxxxxRobert McKay, Jr., was the oldest son of Robert McKay, Sr., as shown by the Court Records June 7, 1797. He resided on a tract of 828 acres, lying on both sides of Crooked Run, which was granted to him by the Crown on October 3, 1734. The home of Robert McKay, Jr., is still standing today in the hamlet of Cedarville, Warren County, Virginia, about three miles north of Front Royal on the Winchester Pike, and is marked with a Virginia Road Marker and is said tobe the oldest house still standing west of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the oldest portion being of walnut logs and the new part of native limestone.

* * * * * * *

xxxxxJacob McKay, son of Jacob McKay and Rachel Ridgeway, daughter of Hannah Brown and John Ridgeway, married Rachel Shinn of the County of Stafford on July 7, 1784, Hopewell Friends, page 377, and had a son:

(Webmaster's note: The listing for Jacob McKay, Jr.'s wife is totally incorrect. The woman listed here is actually his step-mother as indicated in the listing for Jacob Sr. Jacob Jr. actually married Elizabeth Wright. She is the mother of Jacob III listed below. After her death Jacob married Margaret 'Peggy' __________. They had children of which there isn't much known except for a son, Jesse who is mentioned in Jacob's will. The others I'm guessing may have died young. MLM)

A. Jacob McKay, 3rd, married Elizabeth Antrim, daughter of Caleb Antrim and
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxSarah Garwood, daughter of John and Esther Garwood of
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxCulpeper County, Va., on September 9, 1786, the said
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxElizabeth Antrim being born on February 10, 1789, Hopewell
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxFriends, Pages 491 and 380.

* * * * * * *

xxxxxJacob McKay, 3rd, son of Jacob McKay and Rachel Shinn, born September 1, 1785, died June 16, 1852, buried in the Quaker Graveyard at Nineveh, Virginia, married Elizabeth Antrim, daughter of Caleb Antrim and Sarah Garwood, who was born October 2, 1789, (Hopewell Friends, page 491) and died July 5, 1854, also buried in Nineveh Graveyard. His will is recorded in Will Book B, page 203 of the will books of Warren County, Virginia.

(Webmaster's note: Jacob 3rd, actually son of Jacob McKay & Elizabeth Wright. MLM)

xxxxxTheir children were as follows:

A. Nancy Antrim McKay (1809-1828) wife of Robert S. McKay

B. Joshua Antrim McKay (1811-1861), married Esther Ann Haycock. He was a surveyor
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxand the first County Surveyor of Warren County.
C. Jesse Hitter McKay (1813-1892), married, first, Lucy May Almond; second wife,
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxMartha C. Lane
D. Sarah Jane McKay (1817-1879), married Charles Buck.
E. Eliza McKay (1819) married John Gill Buck.
F. James Buck McKay
G. Francis McKay
H. Thomas Branson McKay, born August 11, 1831, died August 25, 1911 in Clarke
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxCounty, Virginia.
I. Oscar Cabel McKay, (1835)
J. William B. McKay.

(Webmaster's note: Nancy A. McKay's death year incorrect. Should read 1852. Also, Thomas B. McKay's middle name should read 'Buck'. I have his birthdate as 14 August 1831. MLM)

xxxxxJoshua Antrim McKay lived in the old brick house known as the "Antrim Farm", about two miles north of Cedarville on the east side of the Winchester Turnpike and about one-half mile from the Pike, which was willed to him by his great Uncle Joshua Antrim, whose will was probated on November 18, 1844, in Warren County Virginia.

xxxxxJesse Hitter McKay lived in the fine old home at Nineveh, known as "Erin", one of the show places of the section, on the Winchester Pike.

xxxxxThomas Buck McKay lived during the Civil War in the stone and frame house on the Winchester Pike about two miles north of Cedarville, known as the "Lehew House", and later in a brick house on the west side of Crooked Run about one mile south of Nineveh.

xxxxxJacob McKay, 3rd, willed to his son, Oscar McKay, "All of the residue of my home tract of land, lying west of the road leading from Cedarville to Nineveh and north of Chapel Road, including all of the buildings." This was the original Robert McKay, Jr., home at Cedarville.

xxxxxThis paper was prepared by John W. Rust, of Fairfax, Virginia, at the request of the Committee appointed by the Present Chief of the McKay Clan, H. Randolph Barbee, to be read at the annual meeting of the Clan on August 11, 1957, at Skyline, Virginia. The compiler of these records deeply regrets that it has been impossible for him to extend this paper to the various Virginia branches of the McKay family, and he hopes that anyone interested in a different line of the family will order from Mrs. Beatrice McKay Doughtie one of her fine books that extends all lines of the Virginia McKays from Robert McKay, Sr., to a recent period. The information contained in this book is unbelievable and indicates many years of intensive study, and any one interested in the McKay history will find a full and complete line of all branches of the McKay family contained in this excellent book.

(Webmaster's note: 'Chief of the McKay Clan' should actually be the 'President of the McKay Clan'. MLM)

John W. Rust
Fairfax, Virginia

* * * * * * *

The following inscriptions are on the tombstones at
the old Quaker Burying Ground at Nineveh, Virginia

Jacob McKay, born Sept. 1, 1785, died June 16, 1852.
Elizabeth, wife of Jacob McKay, died July 5, 1854.
John McKay, born November 2, 1773, died May 22, 1845.
James McKay, son of Jacob and Elizabeth, born 1823, died October 2, 1846.
Rebecca McKay, born June 23, 1777, died February 22, 1840.
Francis McKay, son of Elizabeth and Jacob McKay, died February 24, 1843.
Martha Lane, wife of J. H. McKay, born 1827, died 1892.
Lucy Mary, wife of J. H. McKay, daughter of Mann & Barbara Almond, born July 13, 1820, died June 10, 1846.
Mary McKay, born May 22, 1810, died October 6, 1851.
Lizzie McKay, wife of C. E. Miller, born June 23, 1857, died January 6, 1882.
J. H. McKay, born 1813, died 1892.
John W. McKay, born May 7, 1807, died May 29, 1857.
Lucelia, wife of John W. McKay, born June 6, 1840, died Feb. 17, 1882.
T. B. McKay, born 1831, died 1911.
A. Elizabeth Lehew, wife of T. B. McKay, born March 29, 1832, died February 16, 1869.
Joseph Painter, born Dec. 6, 1804, died June 17, 1888.
Emily, wife of Joseph Painter, died January 30, 1869.
Dr. W. N. Melton, born November 24, 1833, died April 24, 1880.
Sarah F. Melton, born April 26, 1833, died Jan. 30, 1873.
Joshua A. McKay, died July 16, 1861.
Esther Ann, wife of Joshua A. McKay, born April 13, 1824, died Jan. 18, 1892.
Betty, wife of B. F. Hicks and daughter of Robert McKay, died July 24, 1890.
B. F. Hicks, died October 1898.
Emma A. Hicks, died December 17, 1901.
Gilbert S. Hicks, died April 16, 1916.
Jacob F. McKay, born March 20, 1847, died November 26, 1917.
Bettie F. McKay, born April 3, 1848, died May 5, 1923.
Dolly A. McKay, born October 14, 1814, died March 8, 1869.
Eliza Haycock, born Dec. 5, 1916, died January 12, 1892.
Joshua Antrim, died Dec. 21, 1844, aged 81 years.
Joseph, son of Winder & Rachel Kenner, born 1825, died 1862.
Sadie B. McKay, 1885-1917.
Robert McKay, born Sept. 1, 1849, died December 9, 1915.
Lucy B. McKay, wife of Robert McKay, born Sept. 14, 1849, died March 23, 1925.

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