Google has a pretty amazing program, called Google Earth and it does a whole lot more that just showing you a picture of your house! I have been learning about some of the incredible features of the program. Of course I had to give it a try to find even more info about my McGee’s! The above picture is a current view of Perry, NY in Wyoming County of New York State. My McGee family has its US roots here. The McGee’s owned a good chunk of the land above, the horizontal road running across the map is LaGrange Rd and the McGee farms were located on this road.
I have had this map of Perry in my files for a while now, it shows land ownership in Perry in 1902. The McGee’s are shown twice, Wm McGee and Mrs. M McGee. LaGrange Rd is at the very top of the map on the border of Covington.
Here is a closer view. From the top left you can see EP Dillon, Wm McGee, Mrs. M McGee, and Thomas Murray cool right?! However still a little hard to put together (at least for me).
Using Google Earth I was able to overlay the 1902 map onto the current view to get a better picture of where my McGee’s lived. The whole process wasn’t exactly flawless and I had a lot of help from my very patient husband, but once I got the hang of it, it wasn’t too bad. I now have something that looks like this.
Here is a zoomed in view showing the farms in a row. You can see there is very little difference in the land from 1902 to today. There are buildings in virtually the same place and the land is clearly still being used as farmland!
This is my favorite view – if you look to the far right you can see Mrs. H Calkins – she was the midwife mentioned in Angie McGee’s poem, she delivered many of the McGee babies. The poem said that she lived across the road – now I can see that road is called Van Allen Rd (trust me I have spent hours with this map)! The Dillon family on the left side of the map is also related to the McGee’s. One of William McGee’s daughters married a Dillon. I haven’t worked out exactly which Dillon lived next door but I am confident they are connected.
I found a treasure trove of information going through Deed Books for Wyoming County. Reading through it all took some time. William McGee (my 3x GG) bought this land in 1849. At the time he lived in nearby Pavilion, NY. He purchased approx 244 acres of land, costing around $11,780. Part of it was mortgaged, but it looks part of it was paid in cash. In today’s money it was approx $348,000! Over the years parts of the land were subdivided and sold. Two of William’s sons, William and Michael purchased plots next to each other. In 1864 Michael put the land in his wife’s name – so in 1902 it show up as Mrs. M McGee. I don’t know why he made the change, but his brother Barney and his mother both died in 1864. Maybe he was hoping to make things easier on his wife in case something happened to him, Michael died in 1894. Son, John (my direct relative) lived in the Village of Perry. When I was researching Barney I knew that he lived in Covington, but didn’t know why he wasn’t in the same place as his father and brothers – that is until I saw this. In 1860 Barney started buying farmland starting with Lot #8 in Covington. If you look at the bigger map you see the lots start at #12 and count down to #9 before the land changes to Covington. Barney bought Lot 8 right over the border and across from his family! I just love when everything comes together!
One of these days I am going to write about what a typical farm in the mid to later 19th century was like. Until then, I am planning on taking a drive out to LaGrange Rd to see what it all looks like in person.
New York Land Records 1630-1975. Vol. 15-16. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Print. Image 177 . familysearch.org
McGee Family Tree: https://www.ancestry.com/family-tree/person/tree/71173302/person/34238975264/facts