Calhoun County

1891 Biography - Lucy McAtee

MRS. LUCY F. (GRABB) McATEE. This lady is greatly respected in Barry Township where she has made her home for many years, for her social qualities and her fine character. She is the widow of Elijah McAtee who was formerly one of the leading farmers of this place and a daughter of the Hon. Alfred Grabb, who during his lifetime was one of the most prominent figures in the public and political life of this county.

Mrs. McAtee was born in Somerset, Pulaski County, Ky., January 1, 1821. Her father was born near Pittsylvania Courthouse, Bedford County, Pa., and was a son of Jacob Grabb. The latter was of German ancestry and went from Virginia to Pennsylvania and finally removed with his family to Kentucky in an early day of its settlement and located in Pulaski County. He was a silversmith and followed his trade in Somerset and there died.

Mrs. McAtee's father was a natural mechanic and in early life worked at different trades. In 1830 he started with his wife and six children for Illinois and made the entire journey overland. He located in Pike County and thus became one of the early pioneers of this region. He bought a tract of wild land near the present site of Kinderhook and in the log house which he erected thereon his family made their pioneer home. At that time Indians still lingered here, deer, wolves and other wild animals were plentiful and the country was in a very sparsely settled, uncivilized condition. There were no railways for many years, St. Louis, the nearest city, was but a small place, and for some time produce and stock was taken on a flatboat to New Orleans. Mr. Grabb finally built a hewed log house to replace the humble cabin and later erected a more commodious brick residence. Some years after settlement here he removed to St. Louis and engaged in mercantile business awhile and then came back to this part of the county and took up his abode in Barry. He was a man of more than ordinary force of character, was self-educated and was very influential in public and political affairs, as he was a fluent talker and took an active interest in everything that pertained to the public welfare of county or State. He was the first Justice of the Peace elected in Barry and was one of the early County Commissioners. In 1840 he was elected Sheriff and in 1845 was sent to the Legislature, proving himself to possess fine qualifications for whatever position he might be called upon to hold. The last years of his life he lived retired in Barry, dying in 1867 and thus passed from the scenes of his usefulness one of our most honored pioneers. The maiden name of his wife, mother of Mrs. McAtee, was Jemima Greer. She died in Kentucky in 1824, and the father of our subject married a second time, taking as his wife a Miss January. The four children of the first marriage who were reared to maturity are: Lafayette, who resides in Peru, La Salle County; Mrs. McAtee; Eudora, and Alfred, the latter of whom are now deceased. Of the sixteen children born of the second marriage the following are living: Sarah, a resident of Barry; Joseph, ex-Circuit Judge, a resident of St. Joseph, Mo.; Otie, a banker in Lawrence, Kan.; Susan, of Rockport, Mo.; William, an attorney at Adrian, Mo.; Frances, of Chicago, and Henrietta, of Barry. The following are deceased: Burwell, Eliza, Melvina, Stanilas and Henry.

Our subject was about ten years old when she came to this county with her father and can remember well the incidents of pioneer life here. The family were obliged to live after the most primitive fashion and her mother used to spin, weave and make all the cloth used in the family and she taught her daughter the art of spinning and weaving. She resided with her father till her marriage in 1841 to Elijah McAtee.

Mr. McAtee was born in Kentucky. His father, Hezekiah McAtee, one of the early pioneers of this county was born in Maryland in 1769 and moved from there to Kentucky and thence to Sangamon County, Ill., in 1825. He was a pioneer there and in 1827 became one of the early settlers of Pike County. He bought a tract of land on section 7, Barry Township, on which he built a house and resided there till death brought his life to a close.

Mr. McAtee inherited the old home and was actively engaged in the management of the farm for many years, dwelling thereon till his life was rounded out in 1888, at the ripe old age of seventy-five years. He was well-known in the community and his character was such as to command the consideration and esteem of all with whom he came in contact. His marriage with our subject was blessed to them by the birth of four children, of whom two, Fannie and Frank are deceased. Those living are Sarah and Alfred H. A sketch of Alfred appears elsewhere in this work. Sarah Isabel married Albert Leach, and is the mother of five children, namely: F. Estelle, Lucy, Carrie, Frank and Lucile. Estelle married J. F. Laird and they have one child named Geneva.

Extracted 16 Mar 2017 by Norma Hass from Portrait and Biographical Album of Pike and Calhoun Counties, Illinois, published in 1891, pages 477-478

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