From Biographical Memoirs of Huntington County, 1901
John M. McKee ranks among the wealthiest and most honored residents of Jefferson township, Huntington county, Indiana, and has gained his present enviable standing in the community by his upright dealings and strict integrity in every walk of life. He was born in Butler county, Pennsylvania, November 30, 1850, and is the second in a family of seven chilren born to Josiah and Julia (Lowe) McKee. The father is of Irish descent, while the mother traces her ancestry to the German. They came west and purchased land, where they prospered and reared their family, and now in the evening of their life are spending their declining days in a comfortable home in New Paris, Ohio, the income derived from their farm property being more than enough to meet all their wants. The aged father has passed the eightieth mile-stone in his journey through life, and his wife is two years younger. The chilren who blessed their marriage are as follows: Benjamin, who conducts a large hardware store in New Paris, Ohio, of which city he has been honored by being chosen mayor; John M.,; Nancy, the wife of Joseph Walley, a resident of Preble county, Ohio; Camdon, a prosperous agriculturist of Butler county, Pennsylvania; Addie, wife of William Pattrage, of Butler county; and Elinore, who resides in Preble county.
John M. McKee was reared to adult years on a farm of two hundred and fourteen acres, and found plenty of employment to occupy his time. He was inured to all kinds of farm labor, and during the winter season attended the country school, making good use of his time and acquiring a good common school education, which was supplemented by a term in the high school of Butler, Pennsylvania. It was the desire of his father that John M. should become a teacher, and, agreeable with his wishes, he secured a position in the common schools of Ohio, where he taught one winter; but as he did not like the confinement of the school-room he abandoned any further attempt in this line and turned his attention to other means of earning a livelihood. The following winter he cut cord-wood, making from one and one-half to one and three-quarters dollars per day. When spring came he did farming and also worked at the carpenter's trade, but finally abandoned the latter, giving his entire time and attention to the pursuits of agriculture, for which he had an inherited as well as natural aptitude. He had followed rigid rules of frugality and soon had saved up one thousand dollars, which he invested in farm land, besides giving his note for eight hundred more. He was married about this time and rented the McCord farm, tending it while he also cleared the timber from his own land and got it ready for cultivation. He continued to do this for seven years, by which time he had several acres of his farm under cultivation and all paid for, and he now moved on to it. He raised large quantities of grain and a sufficient number of cattle, hogs and sheep to consume the same, thus making his business a profitable one. He continued to buy up land until he has accumulated a farm of three hundred and thirty-five acres, all lying in Jefferson township. In 1896 oil was discovered on his land and it was leased by the Federal Oil Company and McCormack & St. Clair for development. Fourteen wells have been sunk and are now in active operation, yielding an output of one thousand six hundred and fifty barrels per month, an income of about eight dollars per day to Mr. McKee.
He was united in marriage with Miss Achsah McCord, daughter of John and Margaret (Bramley) McCord, their union resulting in the birth of three daughters, viz: Rosa, born October 7, 1877, married Henry Ballhoefer, a farmer of Grant county, Indiana; Eltha, born March 28, 1879, died in her twentieth year; and Lena, born June 7, 1880, now living with her parents. Both daughters received good practical common school educations and are bright, vivacious young ladies. Mr. McKee and his wife are royal entertainers, their jovial natures attracting a host of friends who enjoy their good cheer and respect and admire their integrity of character. Mrs. McKee holds to the principles of the Christian church, while Mr. McKee is an adherent of the Presbyterian doctrine, although they are not members of either churches. Mr. McKee has never been an active participant in politics, although he has always been a stanch (sic) supporter of the Democratic party.