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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.)
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
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.
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!
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
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?”
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!!)