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McKee, Alexander Robertson, M.D.

Posted by ceddleman 
McKee, Alexander Robertson, M.D.
March 06, 2007 04:07PM
Kentucky: A History of the State, Battle, Perrin, & Kniffin, 4th ed.,
1887, Boyle Co.

ALEXANDER ROBERTSON McKEE, M.D., was born on the 4th of February,
1816, near Lancaster, Garrard Co., Ky. He was the third son of Hon.
Samuel McKee, who was a prominent and successful Lawyer and politician
during the early history of the State. Dr. McKee received a collegiate
education at Centre College, Danville, Ky., and subsequently took his
degree in medicine at the University of Pennsylvania with the class of
1830. Soon thereafter he located at Richmond, Madison Co., Ky., and
formed a partnership for the practice of his profession with his cousin,
the late Dr. William R. Letcher. He at once acquired a large and
lucrative practice and commanded the universal respect and confidence
of the community. During the time he resided in Madison County he was
elected and served for many years as a director of the Northern Bank of
Kentucky, as a member of the board of trustees of the town of Richmond,
and as an elder in the Presbyterian Church. In 1857 Dr. McKee removed
to Clay County, Mo., where he remained only two years. Returning to
Kentucky in the spring of 1859 he located at Danville, where he resumed
the practice of his profession, and resided at that place until his
death on the 13th of February, 1886. He was a diligent student of
medicine, thoroughly devoted to his profession, and was recognized by
the medical profession and the community at large as a thoroughly
qualified and conscientious practitioner. He acquired wide reputation
as a safe and successful physician. Few men in any profession have, for
so many years, retained their practice as Dr. McKee. Until four days
before his death in the seventy-first year of his age he was engaged in
the successful practice of his profession. He was remarkably successful
as a general practitioner, but was known as specially successful as an
accoucher. It is known that out of over 1,600 obstetrical cases that
he attended during his professional career, only one case resulted in
the death of the mother. Dr. McKee was one of the organizer of the
Boyle County Medical Society, also of the district society, and was
frequently elected president of each. He was also a member of the
Kentucky State Medical Society. He was a man of great physical as well
as moral courage. He never failed, or even hesitated, in the discharge
of what he considered to be his duty. No danger or personal
inconvenience ever deterred him, or caused him to falter. This feature
of his character was well illustrated by his conduct during the winter
of 1862, after the battle of Perryville, where he had under his
professional care as many as 1,200 sick and wounded Union and
Confederate soldiers, many of whom had contagious and infectious
diseases. To these he gave as careful and as faithful attention as he
did to his nearest friends and patients suffering from ordinary
diseases. He was a man of great firmness and determination. When once
he made up his mind, or come to a conclusion about any matter, no
amount of threats or persuasion could induce him to abandon his
position. No consideration of personal gain or popularity seemed to
have the slightest influence with him; justice and right seemed to be
the main considerations with him, let the consequences be what they
would. He was a true and steadfast friend, a wise counselor, a
public-spirited citizen, a skillful physician, and an upright and
honest man, beloved and respected by the entire community. Dr.
McKee's father, Hon. Samuel McKee, was a noted man in his day. Born in
Rockbridge Co., Va., October 13, 1774, he removed with his father, Col.
Wm. McKee, to Garrard County, Ky., about the year 1800. He was a member
of Congress from 1806 to 1816, succeeding Judge John Boyle in that
office. He was circuit judge for a number of years, and an officer in
the war of 1812. As a lawyer he commanded a very large practice, and
as an orator he had few equals. He seldom ever had any opposition for
any office to which he aspired. He was so popular in his own county
that the largest number of votes ever cast against him in that county
was six. He was repeatedly elected a member of the Kentucky
Legislature, was a member of the first board of trustees of Centre
College, and at the time of his death in 1826 was serving by appointment
of President Monroe as president of the first commission to clear the
Ohio and Mississippi Rivers of obstructions. Dr. McKee had only two
brothers, Col. Wm. R. McKee, who graduated at the military academy at
West Point in 1829 and was subsequently colonel of the Second Kentucky
Regiment in the war with Mexico, and lost his life at the head of his
regiment at the same time with Lieut.-Col. Henry Clay, Jr., at Buena
Vista. His other brother, Judge George R. McKee, one of the most
distinguished and successful lawyers of the State, still resides in
Covington. Dr. McKee's only sister, Jane Logan McKee, was married to
Dr. Benjamin F. Duncan, of Garrard County. She died at the old "McKee"
homestead near Lancaster in 1873. Col. Wm. McKee's grandfather, Col.
Wm. McKee of Scotch-Irish descent, was a captain in the Revolutionary
war for six years; a member of the convention that drafted the first
constitution of the State of Virginia; a member of the Virginia
Convention that adopted the Constitution of the United States; was high
sheriff of Rockbridge County, Va.; removed to Kentucky about the year
1800, and settled upon Gilbert's Creek near Lancaster. Col. McKee's
first wife was his cousin, Mariam McKee, and his second wife was also
his cousin, being at the time of their marriage the widow of Col.
Joseph Daviess, and was the mother by her first husband of Col. Joseph
Hamilton Daviess, who was killed at the battle of Tippecanoe. Dr.
McKee's mother was Martha Robertson, daughter of Alexander Robertson,
the first sheriff of Mercer County; member of the first county court
for Lincoln County; delegate to the Virginia Convention called to
ratify the Federal constitution; member of the Virginia Legislature
until 1780; voted with all the Kentucky delegates, except Humphrey
Marshall, against the adoption of the Federal constitution. Dr.
McKee's mother was a sister of the late Chief Justice George Robertson
and also of Mrs. ex-Gov. Robt. P. Letcher. Dr. McKee was married in
September, 1842, to Mary Ashby, daughter of Dr. M.Q. Ashby, of Richmond,
Ky. They were blessed with six children: Samuel, Ashby, George, Logan,
Alexander and Margaret Logan McKee. George R. died in infancy, and
Ashby, a young man of rare promise, died in the twenty-eighth year of
his age, in Louisville, Ky. The remaining children are yet living.
Mrs. McKee's family, the Ashbys, were also very prominent and bore a
conspicuous part in the early history of Virginia and Kentucky. Mrs.
McKee's father, Dr. M.Q. Ashby of Mount Sterling, Ky., was a prominent
physician for many years at Richmond and Lexington, Ky., and was one of
the wealthiest and most influential men of central Kentucky. Her
grandfather, Capt. Nathaniel Ashby, was a captain in the Revolutionary
war; also in the war of 1812; served under Gen. Morgan throughout the
war of the Revolution and was at the surrender of Cornwallis at
Yorktown. Her great-grandfather, Capt. John Ashby, was an aid on
George Washington's staff at Braddock's defeat in 1754; was also an
officer in the Revolutionary war with his son, Capt. Nathaniel Ashby.
Ashby's Gap, in Virginia, is named for Capt. John Ashby; and Gen.
Turner Ashby, of "Black Horse" cavalry fame, is of the same family,
being a second cousin of Mrs. McKee.
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