James McGehee is my great grandfather. He was born in Missouri in 1847 to John and Sarah B (Williams) McGehee. In 1850, at the tender age of three, his family had moved to Carroll County, Arkansas, somewhere around the town of Berryville.
By about 1857, the family had moved back to Lawrence County and would soon make a move to Texas. James was only around ten years old when he would traverse the wilderness en route to Texas. I do not know what route they would have taken; however, there is one route that makes sense.
In 1858 the Butterfield Overland State route opened up. This trail lead from Springfield Mo south through Arkansas and part of Oklahoma (then Indian Territory) into Texas. It crossed at Colbert's ferry and went through Sherman and Whitesboro, Texas. This route formed in part from other pathways that already existed, such as part of an Indian trail through Oklahoma and the "Texas Road" farther south.
We may never know which route our family took. However, we do know that when they arrived in Texas, they settled around the small community known as Basin Springs, Texas. A great deal would happen in this little area.
The census of 1860 does not show James in Grayson County. His sister Sidney is listed in the 1860 census with her new husband, Richard Marion Hartzog.
You will also find James' other sister Nancy McGehee listed on the Grayson County Census of 1860, living with the CC Quillin family. Mrs. Quillin was the sister of Richard Marion Hartzog. So it is clear that these families had developed close ties over a short time.
There are numerous people not listed on the 1860 census, so it is my thought that certain areas may have been missed. Another option for our family is that John McGehee, James' Father, would have just left Missouri after being charged with murder. He may have been purposely avoiding anyone taking a census.
Above is the Basin Springs school. Credit for this picture must go to those who have worked to keep the memory of Basin Springs and its inhabitants alive.
I believe the building above is the one built while John Lee Elder was pastor and housed both the church and the school.
At some point, James met Carinthia A Elder.
Because Carintha A Elder McGehee was my great grandmother, I am putting a bit more information here than I would on the other wives of the McGehee descendants. Not because she is more important in general but because of my direct relatives who may view this website and wish to know more. In the future, I will have a page on this site about the Elder family.
Somewhere in the vast and beautiful wilderness of western North Carolina, Carintha A Elder was born in the year 1847 to John Lee and Sarah (Ammons) Elder. John Lee Elder was the son of David and Susannah Hyde Elder. Sarah Ammons was likely the daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth Ammons, but that conclusion is based solely upon DNA approximation and circumstantial evidence. These families all lived near each other in the area of Macon County, North Carolina. John Lee and Sarah had a second child in North Carolina in September of 1849 named David Lafayette Elder.
Shortly after the birth of this second child, John Lee and Sarah Elder moved to Texas. They arrived in the area of Titus county, and their third child was born there in Titus County, Texas, in June of 1851.
I know that by 1859, John Lee was in Grayson County, Texas, along with several other members of his family. In November of 1859, John Lee Elder, his brother, David Fuller Elder a part of a group designated to draw up the "Articles of Faith" for a small church called Mineral Baptist church.
Within a decade, this church merged with the Basin Springs Baptist church. It relocated to the community of Basin Springs, Texas, about two miles to the northwest of the original location. Some of the original charter members of the church were David Fuller Elder, AW and SC Lynch (John Lee's sister and brother in law) and David Fuller Elder mentioned above. Another relative connected with the church was Noah Miller, whose son Jehu Miller would marry the daughter of John Lee Elder's sister. This tells us that the John Lee Elder family lived there in Grayson County during 1860, and John Lee served as pastor of the church until about 1877.
This is likely the area where that James met Carintha.
We know very little about Carintha. I thought, at one point, we had a picture of her. There was a picture located among the belongings of her daughter, Mary Ellen McGehee Shearer, without a frame and unlabelled. A picture frame was located that seemed to match the size and shape of the picture.
The frame was labeled "Cairntha McGeehee" on it. Upon later examination, it was determined that the picture did NOT actually fit the loose frame. This does mean that, if it has survived, out there somewhere is a picture of Carintha. Hopefully, someday, we will find it.
Carintha A Elder McGehee's lineage goes back through her father John Lee Elder to his father and mother, Rev David and Susannah (Hyde) Elder. This family was in North Carolina in the 1700s and moved from there to Texas in the 1850s. Many of the Elder family lived in Hopkins County and Franklin County, Texas, and some are buried in the Como Cemetery.
David and Sussanah are said to be buried in the Old Cypress church cemetery in Winnsboro, Franklin County, Texas.
Also, David Elder was part owner in the land, which would later be used to mine Epsom salts. His descendants were contacted in the early 1800s about settling their affairs in that land.
The above photograph is an of the marriage certificate for James and Carintha A Elder McGehee. If you notice the signature of the man who performed the wedding, it appears to be John C Bates, M.G. John C Bates' wife became ill, and Sidney McGehee Hartzog, James' sister, was her nurse. After Bates' wife died, Nancy married John C Bates.
We are able to follow the movement of James and Carintha based on several things. One of these is the birth location of their children.
Albert Lee McGehee's death certificate states that he was born in "Gray County." This is highly unlikely as Gray county is in far west Texas, it was not created in 1868 and not organized until 1902. However, Gray"SON" county was where they lived. Albert Lee was born on August 5, 1868, in Grayson County, Texas.
His sister Mary was next, born in Feb of 1870, and her death certificate states that she was born in Henrietta, Clay County, Texas. So it is safe to say that in Feb of 1870, the family was still in the North Texas area.
(The picture at right is Mary Ellen McGehee Shearer in the 1890s)
Between Feb of 1870 and August of that same year, the family migrated to McLennan county, south of Waco, in the little community of Mastersville. James and Carintha are shown to be living "West of the Brazos River" in McLennan County, Texas.
Today, If you were to drive South on Interstate 35E out of Waco, Texas, in about 20 miles, you would run into the small community of "Bruceville-Eddy." Mastersville was turned into a ghost town by the emergence of Bruceville, which is two miles to the south of where Mastersville stood. The namesake of Bruceville, Lucien Bruce, lived not too far from James and Carintha in 1870. We can know with some accuracy about where the McGehee family lived (generally speaking, not a specific address) in1870. Today there is a "Cox Cemetery" in Bruceville, Texas. In the 1880 census, the Cox family is living all around James and Carintha. In fact, James Hamilton Cox, who is buried in that Cox cemetery, was living next door to James and Carintha in 1870. Also, living several houses away (a page or two on the census) was Mollie Rutherford, who would be the postmistress for Mastersville.
While some of the McGehee family did seem to be involved in cattle, James is listed on this census as a "farmer," while others around him are listed as being involved in cattle ranching.
Above in the census for 1870, McLennan County, Texas.
MASTERSVILLE, TEXAS. Mastersville was seventeen miles southwest of Waco in southern McLennan County. The area was settled before the Civil War. A post office was established there in February 1868 with Mollie Rutherford as postmistress. In the early 1880s, the community had a flour mill, two steam cotton gins, a general store, two groceries, two churches, a school, and 250 residents. The Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railroad bypassed Mastersville in 1882 and established the town of Bruceville two miles to the south. Many residents and business owners moved to the new town, and Mastersville faded. The post office was discontinued in 1887 and relocated in Bruceville. No evidence of Mastersville appeared on county highway maps by the 1930s. Source: https://tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hvm47
A famous Texas Rager, Thomas Hudson Barron lived in Mastersville sometime after 1870. He died there in 1874 after the McGehees had moved away but he was buried in that same Cox Cemetery.
The later town of Bruceville, that would cause the demise of Mastersville was named after Lucian Bruce. Lucian Bruce, in 1870, lived just 6 houses away from James and Carintha.
(picture at left is Albert Lee McGehee, son of James and Carintha A Elder McGehee)
James and Carintha didn't stay in Mastersville, Texas, for long. By November 26, 1871, the James and Carintha family had returned to North Texas, where James Franklin McGehee was born on that date in Grayson County, Texas. The reason for the move to McLennan county is unknown. I have never found any other family members there and do not know any reason for moving to that specific location at that time. We know that they stayed in the general North Texas area because the next child, Tom, was born according to his social security data in Tarrant County, Texas.
It's not clear if it was actually IN Tarrant County or near it. The reason I say this is that some, at times, will list a large city as a reference point. For instance, if you were born in Palmer, Texas, you might say, "I was born in Dallas." You weren't actually born in Dallas, but that's what people would know, rather than Palmer, Texas. I dont have any documentation other than this one social security document that states the family was ever in Tarrant County, Texas. Tom's obituary states that he was born "Jackson County, Texas," but as in the past, I would suggest that "Jack County" would be much more accurate based on where the family was. We know that in the 1880 census, the family was living in Jack County. Jackson County is down on the gulf coast.
Tom's obit also states that he spent his childhood years in Mason, Texas. Tom's brother and sister later lived in Mason, and it is possible that he might have visited there, but again, there is no evidence that he spent any of his younger years in Mason County. Family stories state that he lived with the Willis P Hedgecoke for a time, and during that time, it is possible that they might have spent some time in that area. However, again, I stress that I have no evidence to that effect and in fact, most of the evidence is to the contrary. I say all this so the information is here, but my suggestions are here as well.
I believe that the family moved from the Grayson County area to Waco in 1870, then moved back up to the Grayson County area and then over to Jack County, Texas, in the early 1870s where they remained.
The McGehee family spent time together because it's clear that they knew each other's names. They repeat some of these names in their children's names. However, there is very little evidence after 1870 that they lived around each other. It is clear, however, that in Jack County, the prominent family connections were those of Carintha A Elder McGehee. Her sister, Susannah Dobson, lived nearby. Her aunt and uncle and some cousins lived just a few miles north of where the McGehee's lived. Carinthia's father and brother lived in Montague County just to the north of Jack County.
After James and Carintha brought five beautiful babies into the world, traversed across miles of wilderness, and made a home for their family, Carintha passed away at the young age of only 29.
One story told I believe by Albert Lee McGehee's family is that she was a woman small of stature and could not handle having so many children. This may have just speculation. Another story is that she was killed in a wagon accident.
Someone heard a story that "Indians killed grandma and grandpa on the trail," and it has been applied to Carintha. This, however, is highly unlikely as Native American attacks by the time of her death were very few and far between, and "grandpa" wasn't killed at the time.
There is no real proof of how or even where Carintha died. The most likely place would be after they moved to Jack County, Texas. Her youngest son was less than one year old when in 1877, Carintha passed away. She left a husband and five children behind.
(The picture at left is said to be a picture of James Franklin McGehee, son of James and Carintha Elder McGehee, when he was a young boy).
Albert Lee McGehee, or "Lee" as he chose to go by, was born August 5, 1868, in Grayson County, Texas. He was a chuckwagon cook on cattle drives north, catching the tail end of that era of America. He was involved in at least one Oklahoma Land Run and lived in Oklahoma for a time. In approximately 1900, he moved to Mason, Texas, where he purchased a farm and lived out the remainder of his days. He married Dona Gertrude Stone (who was 25 years younger than him) in 1908, and they had seven children. L.C. McGehee, William Lee McGehee, John Franklin McGehee, Cordelia Beatrice McGehee, James Luke McGehee, Rhoda Belle McGehee, and Woody Andrew McGehee.
Lee McGehee died in Mason, Texas, in 1935.
Mary Ellen McGehee Shearer was born on February 27, 1870. When Mary was only about 6 or so, her mother passed away and she went to live for a time with her mothers sister, Susannah Dobson, who lived nearby. She later went to live with her mother's aunt Telitha Elder Hedgecoke. She married Sidney Shearer and moved to Mason County, Texas around the turn of the 20th century. She lived out the remainder of her life there.
James Franklin McGehee (who went by "Frank" was born on November 26, 1871, in Grayson County, Texas. He married Dora Freeman in Jack County, Texas, in the 1890s and lived in various places, including Oklahoma and Menard County, Texas. He eventually settled in Wichita Falls, Texas, and remained there for the rest of this life.
Thomas Marion McGehee was born in the vicinity of Tarrant County, Texas, on February 7, 1873. He would later travel to an area just south of Liberal Kansas and live there in Satanta Kansas, having a home out on the Cimmeron River. He was said to be a powerful man. Later in life, as he became older, he moved to the area of Delta Colorado, where some of his children had moved. He passed away there in the 1940s.
John William McGehee grew up in Jack County, Texas. He married twice. Once to a woman named Delia Black, with whom he had one daughter. He then married Jensie Ezzell and while traveling into Oklahoma for a short time, returned to the Jack County area where he lived out the remainder of his life. He died in the 1930s. His descendants still live in the area of Jacksboro and Graham, Texas.
The death of James McGehee, husband of Carintha A Elder, is a very well documented and significantly researched event. For this reason, it occupies it's on-page, and you will need to click on the action button below to navigate to that page.
You may click on the link below to return to the John and Sarah McGehee page, or go to the top of this page and navigate under the drop-down menu.