Biography of M.H. McKee

M.H. McKee is a prime example of American versatility and variation, having experienced both extremes of fortune in his interesting and varied career. Born in Pennsylvania in 1859, McKee moved to Colorado in 1880, and after trying his hand at various occupations, settled on a ranch in Plateau valley. He has built up a successful stock industry and fruit orchard on his ranch, and takes an active role in Republican politics and community affairs.

M.H. McKee, of near Collbran, Mesa County, presents in his interesting and varied career, in which he has tried both extremes of fortune, a striking illustration of the versatility of American manhood and the wonderful variations of American life. He was born at Etna, Pennsylvania, June 5, 1859, and is the son of Matthew and Ann (Wilson) McKee, natives of Ireland and of Scotch parentage, who came to America in childhood with their parents and found a home at the place of his nativity, where they grew to maturity and were married. The father was foreman in a nail factory there and died at the age of seventy-seven. The mother died at the same place, at the age of eighty-one. She was a relative of James Wilson, of Pennsylvania, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. Their family comprised six children, and their son M.H. was the fifth. He remained at home until he was twenty-one and was educated in the district schools. In 1880 he came to Pueblo, Colorado, and there was employed in the steel works about five months. He then moved to Bonanza, Saguache County, where he remained two years engaged in prospecting. In 1883 he took up his residence at Grand Junction and during the next two years conducted a barber shop and bath house at that place. In the fall of 1885, he moved to the ranch he now occupies, which comprises three hundred and twenty acres of excellent land and is very pleasantly located along Kimball creek in Plateau valley. On this ranch Mr. McKee carries on a flourishing stock industry which he has built up wholly by his own industry and business capacity. He came to this region a poor man owning almost nothing, and now owns his ranch and about three hundred and eighty thrifty and well-conditioned cattle. On his ranch he also has a fine orchard of choice fruit which yields abundantly and for which he finds a ready and profitable market. He is a Republican in politics and takes an active part in the campaigns of his party, as he does in all phases of the public life of the community. In December 1883, he was married to Miss Addie E. Jones, who was born near Denver, Colorado. They have five children, John W., Aaron, Clarence C., Alf C. and their daughter Matt, all living at home and assisting him in running the ranch.

Source: Bowen, A. W. Progressive Men of Western Colorado. Chicago: A. W. Bowen & Co., Publishers. 1905.

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