Meet the Parents of Daniel McAtee (1813-1883)

©2016 Dann M. Norton


 mtp-daniel-mcatee-01                Daniel McAtee was born January 20, 1813 in Kentucky.  We get his birthdate from the age on his tombstone, and his birthplace from what he gave on 19th century census reports.  One son listed Daniel’s birthplace as Ohio, which might indicate Daniel lived in Ohio at some time, but Daniel always gave Kentucky as his birthplace.  We believe the father more than the son.  (Daniel’s memorial on[i] gives birth in 1814, but that is one year off if you do the math.  He also has a middle name, but there are no records that give Daniel a middle name or even a middle initial.  This is probably confusion with his son, Daniel S. Mcatee.)

Daniel married Elizabeth Shirley on January 2, 1834 in Shelby County, Indiana.[ii]  For many years—over 30 for me—that was where the trail ended for Daniel.  There was no information on who his parents might be, or where in Kentucky he was born.  His wife, Elizabeth, was the daughter of Isaac Shirley and Catharine Hendrickson from Mercer and Washington Counties, Kentucky.  Maybe Daniel was a part of the large, Catholic family of McAtees in Washington County.  But none of the records in Washington County linked to Daniel, and he was not Catholic.  Over the years, I have pondered if he were illegitimate, or even a Native American assuming the name McAtee.  Why was it so hard to figure out?

Previous Research—Mistakes and Misses

                 Online, you might find Daniel listed as the son of Abednego McAtee born in 1782 in Rowan County, North Carolina, and died in 1865 in Rush County, Indiana.  This Abednego was married to an Elizabeth Power sometime before 1810, probably about 1807.  Rush County, Indiana, is adjacent to Shelby County, so it would seem likely that Daniel and Abednego were related.  In 2007, I traveled to Rushville, Indiana, the seat of Rush County, and found Abednego’s lengthy probate record.  All of his estate went to his nieces and nephews, and more precisely, the heirs of his wife’s nieces and nephews.  Since Abednego’s wife’s sister, Sarah Power, had married John McAtee in 1799, Fayette County, Kentucky, some of those heirs were McAtees.  No Daniel.  So, we learned that Abednego who died in 1865 Rush County had no children, and that John McAtee (probably Abednego’s brother) had no son named Daniel.  (Sometimes, online trees will say that Daniel is the son of Abednego (1782-1865) and Nancy Moore.  Nancy Moore married an Abednego McAtee on 12 November, 1796, in Rowan County, North Carolina.  If this is the same Abednego who lived in Rush County, Indiana, he would have been only 14 when he married—that would be highly unusal for a male.  Obviously, Nancy Moore married a different Abednego McAtee.)

A decade ago, I had tried to verify who Daniel’s parents were.  I made a list of all the McAtees (and variations of that name) who had a male age 0-10 in 1820 Kentucky census records.  In every case, I could figure out who the child was from other records, and Daniel was not the son of any of these men.  I even checked Ohio records.  One clue I got about 2008 was that Polly McTeer married Abner Wilson in Bath County, Kentucky, in 1826; she named a son Daniel McAtee Wilson.  Also, Granville M. Wilson, Abner Wilson’s son by his first marriage (to Margaret Bradshaw Tipton) married Melissa Shirley, sister to Elizabeth Shirley McAtee.  Could Polly be a McAtee?  Was she related to Thomas Mcteer/Mateer listed in the Bath County census records?  I checked Bath County, and Thomas Mateer was always listed as Mateer or Metier, and he had no son Daniel.

But I had missed someone.  One McAtee had escaped my scrutiny all those years ago.

Last year, my father and his cousins had some DNA matches with McAtee descendants that again suggested that Daniel McAtee was part of the Rowan County, North Carolina branch of the family.  He was not from Abednego of Rush County, Indiana, or from John McAtee.  There were others, but I had ruled them out.  Well, I had ruled them out, except for one—only I didn’t fully realize someone was left out.  There was another Abednego, already mentioned, who married Nancy Moore, but there was yet another Abednego—sometimes spelled Ebednigo—who appears in Rowan County, North Carolina, and later in Montgomery and Bourbon Counties, Kentucky.  Bath County was formed from part of Montgomery, and all three counties touch each other.

The One McAtee I Had Missed!

                 I had missed one McAtee on the 1820 census.  But in my defense, I thought he was someone else.  There is an Abednego McAtee listed in Bourbon County, indexed under Factatee, but the orginal has Factatee crossed out and Macatee written above.  He has a son 0-10, and another son 10-16, a daughter 10-16, a wife age 26-45, and this Abednego is over 45.  This makes him too old to be the Abednego of Rush County, Indiana.

1820 Census, Stoner, Bourbon County, Kentucky

mtp-daniel-mcatee-02 1820 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2010. Images reproduced by FamilySearch. Original data: Fourth Census of the United States, 1820. (NARA microfilm publication M33, 142 rolls). Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29. National Archives, Washington, D.C.

For Clarity, Abednego (I) is the man sometimes called Ebednigo, and he is the oldest of three men with the same name.  Abednego (II) is the man who married Nancy Moore in 1796, and a nephew to Abednego (I), and Abednego (III) is the son of Abednego (I) born about 1782.  The designations I, II, and III, are used only to differentiate men with the same name born at different times, and it is not intended to be part of their actual name.

The Parentage of Abednego McAtee

                 In the will of one Patrick McAtee, Sr, written on 23 March, 1750[iii], he leaves to his wife, Ann, 65 acres of land, and names three sons, Thomas, Edmund, and Ebednigo, all under 18.  Based on the 1751 probate administration of a Benjamin McAtee[iv], we know that Patrick Sr had older children and these boys were his youngest.  Circumstantial evidence leads to a birthdate of about 1745 for Ebednigo, 1747 for Edmund, and 1749 for Thomas.

Ebednigo, spelled Abednego, was listed on the 1768 rent rolls of Pangaiah Manor[v], Charles County, Maryland, with his mother Ann.  He is named in one or two other records in Charles County, the last being a sale of property to Penelope Dyer in 1783.  About this time, Edmund and Abednego (I) move to Rowan County, North Carolina.

Arrival in North Carolina

                 The first mention of a McAtee in Rowan County North Carolina is in a 1782 list of jurors naming Abednego(I) McAtee.  It would not be inconsistent for Abednego to be in North Carolina in 1782, and then in Maryland in 1783.  If his time in North Carolina was profitable, he likely would return to Maryland to dispose of any property and take care of other business, debts, and obligations.  Abednego (I) bought land in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina on 6 March, 1788.

He is listed on the 1790 census of Rowan county as Ebednigo McCathe with two males over 16, one male under 16, and three females.1790-rowan-ebednigo

This probably indicates that Abednego (I) had one son over 16, one son under 16, a wife, and two daughters.  The two sons would be John (who married Sarah Power) and Abednego (who married Elizabeth Power).  The two possible daughters are as yet unknown.

On 21 October, 1792, Abednego (I) of Rowan County  sold his Mecklenburg County land, and two days later, he married Kathrine Shanklin in Rowan County.  Between 1792 and 1807, we lose track of Abednego (I).  He may have passed through Tennessee on his way to Kentucky.  He is definitely listed on Montgomery County, Kentucky tax lists from 1807 to 1811, and then in Bourbon County from 1812 to 1822.  Since he is not listed in the tax lists after 1822, he probably died in 1823.

Kentucky Records

Recall that some researchers had found a Mary McTeer in Bath County, Kentucky, who married Abner Wilson in November 1826.  The original record and marriage consents, though, call this woman Polly Macatee—not McTeer—and her mother, “Marget Macatee” gives her permission.


This record tells us two things: 1) Mary “Polly” was under age 21, and 2) her father was dead.

The Mother of Daniel McAtee

                 Initially, I was looking at Kathrine Shanklin as the mother of Daniel McAtee, but DNA matches corroborate that Polly and Daniel were brother and sister, that means, then, Margaret was Daniel’s mother too—since Daniel was younger than Polly.

There is a deed in 1824, Bourbon County, Kentucky, where one Margaret Macatee sells her portion of her father’s land after her mother dies.  Her father was Joseph Boardman, and his wife’s name was Elizabeth.

In the 1820 Census of Bourbon County, Abednego Macatee is listed next door to Elizabeth Boardman.  When I first saw that, it meant nothing, but after being sent the deed, that detail is important.

Margaret “Peggy” Boardman was born between 1776-1780 to Joseph and Elizabeth Boardman.  (There are those who say Elizabeth’s maiden name is Parker, or Porter, but I note many Praters living nearby her.  I have not researched these possibilities.)  Joseph died in 1818 in Bourbon County, Kentucky, and M. Macatee bought three head of sheep at his estate sale.  Margaret first married a James Delay in 1797—consent by Joseph Boardman.  This marriage did not last long as James Delay then married Mary Delay in 1798, and Margaret Boardman married George Bowman in 1798.  Margaret and George had one daughter, Elizabeth, who married in 1812 in Bourbon County, to John Howard.  Elizabeth was only 12 or 13 years old, and the consent was signed by “Marget McAtee.”


Bourbon County, KY, marrigage bonds and consents.  Marriage of John Howard to Elizabeth Bowman, April 15, 1812; Marriage Book 2, p.45.

Using the Genealogy Proof Standard[vi], after an exhaustive search of all pertinent records, ruling out all the other possible fathers, and testing evidence, then locating the only McAtee who lived in Montgomery County, KY near the Tiptons and Wilsons, and the only McAtee who lived in Bourbon County near the Boardmans, there is only one conclusion to make—

Meet the parents of Daniel McAtee:  Abednego McAtee (b. c. 1745 Charles County, Maryland—d. after 1822, Bourbon County, Kentucky) and Margaret Boardman McAtee.

 After 1823

After the death of Abednego (I) about 1823, Margaret sold her part of her father’s land to Henry Banta—this took place on 20 March, 1824.[vii]  Two years later, Margaret signs consent for her daughter, Polly, to marry Abner Wilson.  Abner Wilson shows up in Bath County, Kentucky tax lists from 1820-1826.  After his marriage, he must have moved.  It seems that he ended up in Hamilton County, Ohio.

Daniel’s father being deceased, it is likely that he and his mother lived with Abner and Polly.  The 1830 census of Hamilton County, Ohio listed the following persons in Abner’s household:[viii]


This indicates that Abner was 30-40, Polly was 20-30, the male 5-10 is Granville Marion Wilson, the two females 5-10 are Louisa Frances and Peggy Marvilla, and the male 0-5 is Franklin Wilson; the male 15-20 fits the age range for Daniel McAtee, and the female 50-60 fits as Margaret, Polly’s mother. (Abner is listed twice in the census, but the second enumeration does not include the older male and female.

Arrival in Shelby County, Indiana

                 On October 20, 1834, Abner Wilson of Hamilton County, Ohio, patented land in Shelby County, Indiana. On the Patent, it says “Abner Wilson of Hamilton County, Ohio.”[ix]

Daniel married Elizabeth Shirley on January 2, 1834, in Shelby County, Indiana.[x]

He purchased land on 28 October, 1835, described as the Southeast quarter of the Northeast quarter of section 33 in Township 11, north of Range seven East, 40 acres.[xi]    This land was adjacent to Abner’s land.


To Grundy County, Missouri

Then Daniel and his wife moved to Missouri with her parents and other relatives.  The connection with the Wilsons was lost over the years.  After a few generations, the name of Daniel’s father was lost; no memories of brothers and sisters were handed down.  The following records chronicle the life of Daniel after he moved to Missouri:

1840 Madison Township, Livingston County, Missouri[xii]

Daniel Mackatee              0000010000000—2100100000000

Grundy County was carved out of Livingston County in 1841.

On May 1, 1843, Daniel patented land in newly formed note the spelling of McAtee—Mcacatee![xiii]


Another patent on the same day–May 1, 1843.[xiv]


Another patent, dated December 1,1848, showing the Macatee spelling.[xv]


Daniel and Elizabeth were listed next to her parents in the 1850 Grundy County census.

1850 Census of Grundy County, Madison Township[xvi]

199-199                Isaac Shirley       63  Farmer           1200       Ill

Catharine            61                                           Mo

Quil                        18                                           S.C.

200-200                Dani’l McAttee  36  Farmer          500         KY

Eliz’th                    33                                           Ind

Margaret             15                                           Ky

Mary A.                                13                                           Ky

Malissa                 11                                           Ind

James H.              8                                             Ind

William A.            6                                             Ind

Rose Ann             3                                             Mo

Nancy C.              1                                             Mo


Daniel patented more land on October 2, 1854, in Grundy County.[xvii]


1860 Census of Madison Township, Grundy County[xviii], the family is indexed as McKade, and it does look like it is spelled Mcteade or Mckade.  The information:

842-735                Daniel McAtee  47           Farmer 2200/1200           KY

Elizabeth 43                                                                        KY

Wm        16                           Farm hand                          MO

Roseanna  13                                                                     MO

Nancy E.  11                                                                        MO

Eliza E.  8                                                                              MO

Daniel  6                                                                               MO


1870 Census of Census of Grundy County, Missouri, Madison Township.[xix]

108-108                McAtee Daniel  57           Farmer  1600/1400           KY

Elizabeth 53        Keeping house                  KY

Eliza M.  18                                                          MO

Roseanna  23                                                     MO

Daniel S.  16                                                        MO

Hughs, Nancy  21                                                              MO

Presilla A. 2                                                         MO


1880 Census of Grundy County, Missouri, Madison Township.[xx]

79-83     McAtee, Daniel 67           Farmer                 KY           not known          KY

Elizabeth  63       Keeping house  KY           not known          not known

80-84     McAttee, Daniel  26        Farmer                 MO        KY                           KY

Anna  23           Keeping house  MO        not known          not known

Ella E.  3                                            MO        KY                           MO

Lizzie 1                                              MO        KY                           MO

James g. 2/12 b. Apr                    MO        KY                           MO


Daniel wrote his will [xxi] on April 16, 1881.  It was recorded on February 17, 1883. In it he named his children: Margaret, wife of Solomon Call; Mary Ann, wife of J. J. Long; Melissa, wife of Toll Hudson; Nancy, wife of John Hughes; Wm. McAtee, Daniel McAtee Junior, and grandchildren, Luther Burnett, son of Eliza M. Burnett, deceased; and Sarah E. Hunter, daughter of Rose Ann Hunter, deceased. Son James was not named because he had died in the Civil War.

Daniel died on January 29, 1883.  Elizabeth Shirley McAtee died April 30, 1886.  Both are buried at Coon Creek Cemetery, Grundy County, Missouri.

DNA—The New Tool in the Genealogist’s Kit

So, DNA has played a role in sparking the new research, but it has taken actual research of records—some digitized and available online, others had to be ordered or sought on location—to solve this mystery.  There are several descendants of Daniel and Elizabeth Shirley McAtee who have tested at  My father—Danny L. Norton, and his first cousins, Liz Claassen Etter and Larry Ratliff, all share one McAtee grandmother—Ida McAtee Shirley Gott, daughter of William McAtee, granddaughter of Daniel.  Sharon Gott Orlowski is another McAtee cousin.  I’ve corresponded with several of the other cousins who have a link to Daniel and Elizabeth.    Dad and his close cousins all match four descendants of Polly Macatee Wilson Hawkins—Daniel’s sister.  Three of the matches are from the Wilson husband, and one is from the Hawkins husband.  A couple of cousins matched a person known as Doc Holaday, a descendant of Elizabeth McAtee Howard.  I thought Elizabeth was another sister, and a daughter of Abednego (I).  After contacting Doc Holday, and working with his cousin Dena Wilson, we learned that Elizabeth was a sister—but she was Margaret Boardman’s daughter by her Bowman husband.  Several of the matches also match username slcarterky—who is a direct descendant of Benjamin Boardman, brother to Margaret.

There is a McAtee DNA project at  McAtee men who can test their y-DNA are strongly encouraged to test and participate.  All McAtee cousins can share their autosomal matches at the project.

About the Author

 Dann M. Norton is a teacher in a small Southeastern Illinois town.  He lives across the Wabash in Vincennes, IN, with his wife and son.  He started genealogy as a high school science project in 1983 and has over 30 years of research experience.  He is a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists.  His blog is




[iii] Will of Patrick Maccatee.  Maryland State Archives, Liber No. A.D.5, folio 60.  Viewed at in Wills 1752-1767, vol. 5, page 60 (image 54/214). “Maryland Register of Wills Records, 1629-1999.” Images. FamilySearch. : accessed 2016. Citing Prerogative Court. Hall of Records, Annapolis.

[iv] Administration of Benjamin Maccatee.  Maryland State Archives.  Accounts 1738-1759, p. 398.  Viewed at, Administration Accounts 1738-1759, p, 398.  (Image 206/287).

[v] Brumbaugh, G. M.  Maryland Records: Colonial, Revolutionary, County, and Church, Vol 11. 1928 Lancaster Press: Lancaster PA.


[vii] Bourbon County, KY.  Deeds R, page 160-61.

[viii] 1830 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2010. Images reproduced by FamilySearch. Original data: Fifth Census of the United States, 1830. (NARA microfilm publication M19, 201 rolls). Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29. National Archives, Washington, D.C.

[ix] Bureau of Land Management.  GLOrecords.

[x] Indiana State Library Genealogy Database: Marriages through 1850;

[xi] Bureau of Land Management. GLOrecords.

[xii] Year: 1840; Census Place: Madison, Livingston, Missouri; Roll: 225; Page: 269; Image: 552; Family History Library film: 0014856

[xiii] Bureau of Land Management.  GLOrecords.

[xiv] Bureau of Land Manaement, GLOrecords.

[xv] Bureau of Land Management. GLOrecords.

[xvi] Year:1850; Censaus Place: District 35, Grundy, Missouri; roll: M432_400; Page: 400B; Iimage: 315.

[xvii] Bureau of Land Management.  GLOrecords.

 [xviii] Year: 1860; Census Place: Madison, Grundy, Missouri; Roll: M635_621; Page 392; Image: 392; Family History Library Film: 803621.

[xix] Year: 1870; Census Place: Madison, Grundy, Missouri; Roll: M593_777; Page 325B; Image: 352229; Family History Library Film: 552276.

[xx] Year: 1880; Census Place: Madison, Grundy, Missouri; Roll: 688; Family History Film: 1254688; Page: 444C; Enumeration District: 216; Image: 0590.

[xxi] Will of Daniel McAtee, Rec. !7 Feb 1883, Grundy County, Missouri, Will Book I, page 118.