Huron/Wyandot Art

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Still examining the past and searching for answers

Posted by Margaret Clark-Price on January 16, 2014 at 9:40 PM

A little amazing history story:

I moved to Phoenix in 1985 where I did not know a soul and had no friends, acquaintances or connections. It was pretty scary since I also had 2 small boys with me. (That's a story by itself.)


About 10 years later, through a client, I met an attorney who became a great friend and handled cases for many acquaintances of mine. I did some part-time work for him and we formed a friendship that has lasted all these years! He's always been in the shadows of my "Phoenix life" and, although we have only seen one another a couple of times a year, he's been a stalwart support system!

It's been almost 2 years since last we were in contact. Lo and behold, our paths recently crossed again. We spent a few hours at dinner and the conversation was non-stop as we "caught up" on the ups and downs of our lives, comparing notes through laughter and some tears. Of course, he wanted to be brought up to speed about my 3 sons and their "doings," my sister and niece, my brother and many others in my life who he had known or was aware of through past conversations over the years.

In turn, I learned of his wife's sad passing (a year earlier), his involvement with the Masonic Lodge, his still burgeoning law practice, the marriages and children of his daughters, etc. As one can imagine, we talked rapidly and oftentimes "overspoke" one another in order to get it all said and shared. It was a fabulous dinner to say the least.

When I drove him home, he told me to come in and share some more time because he had found something that morning that made him think of me. I was puzzled – albeit intrigued. He went to a closet and pulled out a book of his maternal grandfather's genealogy that had been written in 1959.

It is important that I digress for a moment in order to realize the impact of this seemingly inconsequential event. My friend had no idea of my own family genealogy. He only knew I was Native American and had been born and reared on three reservations. He didn’t know I was descended from the Huron (Wyandot) People.

I began to scan the pages of the book, not understanding why he thought I should see it. He had earlier explained that he too was a bit befuddled as to why he felt I should see the book. He confessed he had not read it and that it had been sitting on the back of a shelf for years. It was only that morning he had come across it while reorganizing.

While I casually perused the pages, my friend talked on the phone with his daughter. Not too much time had elapsed when I turned a page, read a couple more paragraphs and suddenly, I became overwhelmed with the impact of the information that was jumping off the pages!

I became extremely animated while waving my hands and telling him to hang up the phone! He hurriedly said goodbye and I began to rapidly given him an abbreviated dissertation on my family tree which included the period of time just before the Revolutionary War, being the mid-1700’s!

During that time, Thomas Alexander McKee of McKee’s Half Falls in Pennsylvania, along with 4 or 5 of his close friends, were facing arrest by the Americans for being Loyalists. Under the cloak of dark night, by just a few hours, they barely escaped capture and fled to Detroit (at the time it was part of Canada).

McKee eventually became the Superintendent of Indian Affairs for the British and became well-known in the annals of Canadian history. He and many of his friends eventually resided on the Canadian Huron Reserve in Amherstberg, Ontario and were either adopted into the Huron tribe and/or married Huron women. Many of these men/wives are buried in the Huron Cemetery in Amherstberg.

One of McKee’s fellow “runaways” was a notorious character named Simon Girty. He too is yet another person of great importance in Canadian history and was also involved in the Canadian Indian Department. He eventually was adopted into the Huron tribe (the name was eventually changed to Wyandot ), and he married a French descendant whose name was Catherine Malott.

Again, I must digress for clarification: Thomas Alexander McKee had a sister, Elizabeth, who married yet another McKee “runaway ” and they too resided in Amherstberg, Ontario. Their son was named after Thomas Alexander McKee and at about 18 years of age, went to work for his Uncle in the Indian Department. He married a Huron woman and two of their sons became Head Chiefs of the Wyandots.

You ask: “So?”

The sister of Thomas Alexander McKee, Elizabeth, married John Clarke, one of the “runaways” and they are my 5th Great Grandmother and Grandfather. The McKee, Clarke, Girty and Malotts were a large part of the Revolutionary Period and the formation of present-day Eastern Canada. Most stunning is that they shared everyday lives/events as friends/neighbors living on the Huron (Wyandot) reserve in Canada over 200 years ago.

The chilling revelation in the pages of my friend’s book is this:

My 20 years-long friend is a descendant from the Catherine Malott Simon family that was tied to the McKee and Clarke families 200 years ago! Today, in Phoenix, Arizona, (almost across the country) the Clark and Malott families are friends once again!

Following a zillion excited phone calls to my friends and family and trying to explain the footprints through time, my niece said:   “Many of us travel through time together and forever!”

(I just had to share this event/story!!)



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