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THE McKEE FAMILY IN LOVELY RIDGE IN THE SEVENTIES

Narrator: Mrs. Alice McKee Shaw, 75, of Kidder

 

On Dec. 13th, 1872, the Addison McKee family came to Caldwell County. After service in the Civil War, Mr. McKee, then living in Indiana, resolved to come west. For seven years, he tried Macon County, Mo., but somehow it was not what he wanted. He heard of the good bargains in fine farms in Caldwell County and finally bought what was known for years as the McKee farm in Lovely Ridge district, west of Hamilton. Mrs. Shaw recalls how the family hated to leave Indiana to come to Missouri, even the child playmates pitying them, for in the sixties in Indiana and other states near by Missouri was regarded as very wild, very wolly and full of Indians and rattlesnakes.

When Mr. McKee came here, he found few farms with fences, poor roads and no bridges. People in Caldwell County in the seventies preferred not to use the laid-off roads, as they could drive across the open prairie and save time and horse-strength. Mr. McKee, like other farmers round here, had his cattle on the range and the McKee boys had the daily job of rounding them up in the afternoon. The hunt was over when the last cow was turned homeward. The old McKee farm now belongs to the narrator, Mrs. Chas. Shaw.

Mrs. Shaw attended school at the second Lovely Ridge school (the one which burned down). It was her father, Addison McKee, who suggested the pretty name "Lovely Ridge." Some of her teachers there were Herbert Huson who had attended Thayer College, Sam Bay (who married a Bray girl and came from Vinton County, Ohio) and Hettie Martin (first wife of Dr. Tensley Brown).

The McKee family always traded at Kidder with the Beaumont store and with Pat (P.S.) Kenney who had the largest store building ever put up in Kidder, a three story affair with the store on the first floor. This burned several years ago. Mr. Kenney had a store at Breckenridge before coming to Kidder in 1858. At one time, he owned probably 10,000 acres of land around Kidder, but bad luck and law suits lost much of it for him. It was due to Pat Kenney's activity that at one time Kidder was about the most promising town in the county. (See also Adam Ream paper).

After Mrs. Shaw married Chas. Shaw as his second wife, she moved to Kidder and became interested in the Kidder Congregational Church. This church was first held in Thayer College and lastly in the present church building which stands almost in front of the Shaw home and has been unused for several years, since the congregation federated with the Methodists in Kidder.

Interviewed July 1934.