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Sarah L Magee Magee family photo
Anne Magee
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Sarah L Magee

1829-1915. Never married, no children
Daughter of Charles Magee (William Magee/Hannah Quick) & Mary Paret
Sarah provided a handwritten history of the Magee family which has been preserved. Some excerpts:
Sometime in the year 1790 three brothers came from County Antrim, Ireland and settledfor a time in eastern PA and New Jersey. They were William Magee and his brothers, Henry and Charles. About that time the fame of the Genesee River was drawing farmers from the East and PA and New Jersey – they sold their homes there – Wm and Harry came (to) Groveland buying what is called the Hartman farm now occupied by Mr. Coolidge. Harry bought land further north after a few years spent in various callings he went to Bath, Steuben county. William sold his farm to Mr. Ward and bought the land now owned by Col. Magee. 300 acres. The country was new – bears, wolves and panthers roamed the woods. It was dangerous to go in the woods. My grandmother used to tell me of the privations (?) endured the hard labor to make living comfortable. It seems almost incredible they had 8 children – John the youngest was 2 years old when his father died in 1812. Grandma was a wonderful woman . She managed the farm, had the best stock in the neighborhood and the finest fruit orchard in that part of the country. She was a large, fine looking woman. Kept well posted on all the important events of the time, a sincere Christian, a member of a Pres. Church which occupied what was called the Gully schoolhouse.

Harry Magee was not successful in making a fortune. His habits were not right – he was a slave to drink – Had a noble wife who died when the children were young. There were 3 sons and I think 3 daughters. I cannot recall the third one. I remember the names of 2 – Mary and Rebecca. The sons were John, Thomas, Jefferson and Hugh. The greatest one in enterprise was John who early in life became noted for his honorable character and business talent. Both he and Hugh were strong temperance advocates , John and Jefferson married into a very aristocratic family, the McBirneys (?) Hugh’s wife was of a French family. Two of his sons were in the Mexican war. Harry married a Spanish lady and from her acquired a large tract of land near Santa Barbara. John was a (dost?) of wanderer. Both drunkards. John’s oldest son, Duncan was a fine businessman but drank to such an extent he died from the effects. His son John also. George the last one was a fine man. I do not know of George’s sons – their names are John and George. I wrote his son….(unreadable) He died a young man. His life was disreputable in many ways.

The brother Charles remained in Penn. After years they lost track of him. I don’t know whether they kept up any correspondence with the home folks in Ireland or not. Perhaps not.

You will find in the memorial history of John Magee which I think is in your home, all that is known of the ancestry – the family history of our branch . The descendants of William Magee you probably know. There are dark pages in this volume. William was a drinker. Died but when 46 years of age from a spree with the returned soldiers of the war of 1812. Charles, your grandfather was the most brilliant of the Magees, I mean in intellect. His ability was acknowledged by all the better class of men, the Carrols and Fitzhughs were his friends. He was deputy sheriff when the office was one of honor. But it was his (unreadable word). He was lead to drink. In a few good years, all was lost. The story is too painful to write (unreadable words). His son, your uncle Harry, followed in his career – you know about him. Uncle Sam Magee and Uncle Hugh in their old age disgraced themselves in that weakness. John H. you know became a confirmed inebriate. Col. John was the only brother who never yielded. I think he was like his mother’s family. I do know know of any of his boys who are tipplers (?). God grant that all the young men may “beware of strong drink of the wine that is not in the cup”. I am not sure that quotation is correct, but the meaning is. All the sisters Aunt Julia, Sally Betsey and Rebecca who was somewhat of a dwarf and quite deaf, but who almost had second sight in reading characters and in fathoming motives were thought to be well hidden. She died quite young, middle life. All the sisters were grand women the future history of the Magees rests upon the life work of the young nephews and cousins. What will they make it? Will they learn the lessons of failure of dishonesty, that comes in every daily paper – Most of this is private history for you alone, You can sift out what is proper to give to others besides your own folks. It is poorly written, but gives the facts as I know them.
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Photo taken at Groveland Groveland, NY USA