McAtee of Rowan County, NC

Note: In 2007, I researched the McAtee family of Rowan County, North Carolina. I found contradictory  evidence to what was found on the Internet.  At the time, I did not know that I was descended from this group of McAtees.  Today, I present my research, and also where and why previous research may be wrong.

The McAtees of Rowan County, North Carolina—From the Records

The McAtee genealogies that have been published in paper and online are fraught with assumptions and mistakes.  The novice family historian might not realize that much of what is passed off as fact has never been proved.   In the search for my own McAtee ancestor, records were uncovered that gave a lineage of the McAtee family of Rowan County, North Carolina, quite different from that which is found online.  This article will present the records and the interpretation of those records to support this new family outline.  It will also discuss the previous research and assumptions of other writers, pointing out suppositions that the records cannot support.

Contradictions in Published Works

“McAtees Mostly” (a Rootsweb website) by Ron McAtee[i] and other online family trees seem to rely on James Warner Robling’s book McAtee Family: From Maryland to Indiana, published in 1996.  Robling clearly stated that his conclusions were guesses and he had no proof for his assertions, yet many have accepted his work as true and now it is all over the internet.  Robling is the source of the John McAtee and Nancy Wade union which has created much confusion among McAtee researchers.

Before I discuss the errors, I want to point out that Mr. Robling did collect a lot of records and  provided references to every record he found.  He was trying to fit the records to a preconceived notion that turns out was wrong.  Although I disagree with his conclusions, the records that he referenced still make his book worth consulting.

Contradiction Number 1:  Wrong John

Basically, Robling states on page 51 of his book that a John McAtee, born about 1730, lived in Charles County, MD.  He cites some 23 October, 1783 court depositions by Walter Pye and Annacletus Dyer, and from these asserts that a John McAtee had left Maryland and removed to North Carolina.[ii]  The problem with this reasoning is that the John he picked is John, Jr,  a known son of John McAtee, Sr (b. c. 1706, son of Edmund), and John Jr. died in 1794 in Prince George’s County, Maryland.[iii]

The case was like this:  Edmund McAtee (son of John Sr) gave his brother, John Jr, a colt from a horse named Jenny Greenleaves.  Edmund died in 1781 leaving his estate to his son, John.  The brother John wanted his horse.  So, he had to go to court with witnesses to claim the horse.  Robling felt that if John Jr was in Maryland at the time of the suit over the horse, he would have made his own deposition.  John, however, was the complainant, and would not file a deposition, but a complaint to the court. John apparently had already made his complain, the depositions were from witnesses in support of his cause.  John was most likely present for the whole case.  One other issue with Robling’s assessment of the depositions is that he calls Annecletus Dyer, Anna Cletis and refers to him as “her.” Annecletus is a man’s name, and such was Annecletus Dyer.

Contradiction Number 2:  McCarty is not McAtee

Robling further states that he found a deed for John McAtty in Rowan County, North Carolina.  He also states that the record says John McCarthy, and it looked like McAtty, and he felt certain this was a John McAtee.[iv]  Searching the published deed books[v] of Rowan County, over a dozen records can be found for John McCarty/McCarthy/McCartney (which deeds show refer to the same man)—none of these refer to McAtees.  The McCarty family was already established in Rowan in the 1760s, although they may have connections to the Maryland and Fairfax, Virginia McCarty family.  The name McAtee did not show up in records until 1782.  McCarty and McAtee are not the same name, and not the same family.  On page 53, Robling wrote, “With all the similarities between John McCarthy, Thomas McCarthy and Ebednego McCathe” but there were no similarities between them.  Perhaps common neighbors, but never a deed or other record that was written for a McCarty, that was also in the name of a McAtee.

Recent research uncovered the will of Daniel McCarty[vi], which is refered to in Rowan County court, naming John McCarty as an executor.[vii]  John McCarty of Rowan is named as a son of Daniel McCarty; he could not be John McAtee the son of John McAtee, Sr of Charles County, Maryland.  (Robling was contacted and asked if he had checked the will of Daniel McCarty, but he replied that  did not do genealogical research anymore and he had discarded his notes after publishing his book.)

Since the will of Daniel McCarty had not been considered, and Daniel had a son John McCarty, and since no records actually name a John McAtee, the final conclusion must be that John McCarty is a McCarty, and not a McAtee.

Contradiction Number 3:  The Death of John McAtee

Online trees repeat Robling’s assertion that John McAtee died after 1804 in Grainger County, Tennessee.  On page 54, Robling writes:  “John McAtee next appears on the Grainger County, Tennessee tax list for 1799, and in 1803 he signed a petition in Grainger County, Tennessee.  This is the last record that I have found for John McAtee.  Abednego McAtee … is listed in the 1804 Grainger County, Tennessee tax records, but not John.”    In an attempt to recreate Robling’s research, it was discovered that 1) a John McCarty, plus several other McCartys are on the 1799 tax list of Grainger County,  but no McAtees. [viii]  2) A John McAtee did sign a petition in 1803, but not in Grainger, it was in Claiborne County (which was formed out of Grainger). Another Charles County name on that petition was Stephen Cawood.[ix]  3) Abednego McAtee is listed on the 1804 and 1805 Grainger County tax lists.[x]

Since there was no John McAtee as Robling has described, this John in Claiborne could be the son of Abednego (I).  Although we have John married in 1799 Fayette County, Kentucky, and he appears in Fayette tax lists from 1801 to 1811, maybe he went to check out prospects in Tennessee for a while.  Or he could be a completely different John McAtee.  Abednego McAtee appearing in Grainger could be Abednego (I), on his way to Kentucky—where we know he was living in Montgomery County, Kentucky, in 1807 (tax lists); or it could be Abednego (III) perhaps coming of age and traveling with brother John to possibly check out the Tennessee prospects; or it could be Abednego (II) who ended up in Lawrence County, Tennessee by 1812—however, Lawrence County is on the Alabama border, and Claiborne County is on the Kentucky border.  Whichever Abednego this is may never be definitely known, but we definitely know that this John is not the father of the Rowan County McAtees.

Contradiction Number 4:  The Wife of John McAtee 

According to Robling, John McAtee married Nancy Wade.  Page 55 has this statement: “It is my belief that he married Nancy Wade, daughter of Zachariah and Nancy (Noble) Wade, but I have not been able to verify this.”[xi]  Here, the author stated this was unverified, but 150 online family trees repeat this as if it were gospel.  Zachariah and Nancy (Noble) Wade have the births of their children listed in the Prince George’s County, MD Register of St. John’s church.

Children of Zachariah and Nancy Wade[xii]

George, b. May 22, 1744

Zachariah Meek, b. April 4, 1748

Charity Mary, b. July 11, 1753

Lancelot, b. November 11, 1757

Zachariah and Nancy Noble Wade do not have a daughter Nancy, or Ann—which is sometimes a nickname for Nancy.  Furthermore, a check for other Nancy Wades found none married to a McAtee.  There is no evidence to even hint that there was a Nancy Wade who married John McAtee.

This fabricated marriage of John and Nancy Wade McAtee has created great confusion among McAtee researchers.  Some conflated Robling’s John with another John creating a double family for the man.  Others saw that there must be two Johns—and there are!  There are two Johns living 1790 Prince George’s County, Maryland[xiii] (and John Sr still in Charles County, Maryland)—but there is no John in North Carolina.  When Robling’s unverified John is eliminated, the other records for this name can be accurately attached to the other two Johns.

Contradiction Number 5:  All the Rowan McAtees were brothers

Next, Robling places all the McAtees named in Rowan County records as children of this John and Nancy Wade McAtee.  Robling assumed that Hezekiah, Zachariah, Thomas, Abednego and John McAtee were brothers to Edmund McAtee.  There were three Abednego McAtees in Rowan, which is not fully explained in Robling’s book.  The author had a record that likely proved Zachariah was a son of Edmund, but interpreted that they were brothers, despite  indications that the two men were at least 20 years apart in age.

Summary of Robling’s Research

Robling was very good in explaining his reason for thinking there was a John and Nancy.  He noted that most Rowan County McAtees named a son John, and a daughter Nancy.  Naming patterns can be clues to finding brick wall ancestors, but  when compared with the records, this reasoning does not hold up.

No McAtee or Wade family website provides any record that this John and Nancy were real, and all sites that list John McAtee and Nancy Wade are directly or indirectly referencing Robling’s book.

My Conclusion

John McAtee and Nancy Wade simply did not exist.



Most genealogists will recommend that you start with the most recent generations, then work backward.  There is a John McAtee, age 50, in the 1850 census of Rowan County, North Carolina.  He is married to Margaret Dent, and they wed on 8 September, 1825.[xiv]  They had no surviving children.  They are also listed in the 1840 census (indexed under the name “Macadie” at  That year John and Margaret were 40-50 with a female 15-20.

The 1830 census gives us an interesting look in the McAtee household.


1830; Census Place: Rowan, North Carolina; Series: M19; Roll: 124; Family History Library Film: 0018090

John is listed as the head of this household.  He must be the male 30-40.  There are two males 20-30, and one more age 15-20.  There are females aged 20-30, 15-20, 10-15, and 0-5.  There is one older female age 50-60.  Based on additional information—previous census and land records, this is most likely John’s mother and brothers and sisters living with him as the majority of the family was moving to Pike County, Indiana.  John’s father was Zachariah.  Zachariah is listed in the 1830 census of Pike County:


1830; Census Place: Madison, Pike, Indiana; Series: M19; Roll: 26; Page: 361; Family History Library Film: 0007715

Note that Zachariah has a female age 50-60, and two males 20-30, and one 15-20.  This could very likely be the same family members as in John’s household in North Carolina.  They may have been counted twice, before and after the move.[xv]

In 1820, John is too young to have a household, and Zachariah is listed in the census as “McCarter.”  After the confusion of Roblings McCarthy/McAtee, calling McCarter, McAtee, seems dubious. However, another McAtee—Sarah, widow of Thomas—was also listed as McCarter (but indexed as Sarah W. Carter at  It should be noted that there were actual McCarters in the county at this time.


1820 U S Census; Census Place: Battalions 2 and 4 or Lexington Side, Rowan, North Carolina; Page: 342; NARA Roll: M33_81; Image: 194

Zachariah is age over 45, with two males 10-16, and two males 0-10; females 0-10, 10-16, 16-26, and 26-45.




Year: 1810; Census Place: Rowan, North Carolina; Roll: 43; Page: 267; Image: 00102; Family History Library Film: 0337916

In 1810, Zachariah is age 26-45.  Edmund—written as McTee—is 45+.  There are two females over 45 with Edmund and a male under 10.  (One could speculate that the male under 10 is John (b. 1803) son of Thomas, deceased in 1806.)

There is also an Eliza Jackson age 26-45, with two females (daughters) ages 10-16 in the 1830 Rowan census.  This could be the Betsy Jackson that married Edmund McAtee on 26 November, 1814.[xvi]

Edmund and Zachariah are also listed in the 1800 census of Rowan County, North Carolina.  Edmund is age 45+, with a wife 45+ and a male (son) 10-15—he would be born between 1785 and 1790.  Zachariah is also listed age 26-45, with a wife 26-45, and a son under 10.

Before 1800

The following McAtees married between 1790 and 1800:

23 Oct 1792         Marr      Rowan  Abednego Macatee to Kathrine Shanklin; bondsman (bm) J.G. Laumann
Nov 12 1796        Marr      Rowan  Abednego McAtee to Nancey Moore, bm Richard Leach.
Nov 15 1796        Marr      Rowan  Hezekiah McAtee to Sarah Smith; bm  Zach. McAtee
Nov 9 1798          Marr      Rowan  Zachariah McAtte to Susannah Letman; bm Thos Gillaspie

Assuming that these are first marriages—and one of them for Abednego probably is not—these men would be of age, so probably over 21. If they are coming of age in the mid-1790s, then one would expect them to be listed in their fathers’ households in the 1790 census.

To this list of marriages, one from Surry County should be added:

Mar 11 1802        Marr      Surry     Thomas McAtee to Sarah Starr; bond, Adam Starr, wit. Thos Watkins

On the same day, Adam Starr md. Keziah Watkins, and Thos McAtee was bondsman.

It is pretty certain that two other McAtees from Rowan County, North Carolina, married in Kentucky.  These two marriages were for John McAtee who married Sarah Power on 2 March, 1799 in Fayette Co, Kentucky; and for Abednego McAtee b. 1782 in North Carolina, who married Elizabeth Power before 1810 in Kentucky.

The 1792 marriage is likely for an older man, per the sale of land two days earlier that was owned by an older Abednego McAtee.  That leaves the rest of the marriages to be for possible sons.  Counting the three Rowan nuptials in 1796 and 1798, the Surry marriage in 1802, and the two Kentucky unions, there are six men—Abednego, Hezekiah, Zachariah, Thomas, John, and another Abednego.  Six younger McAtee men.

The 1790 census


Year: 1790; Census Place: Rowan, North Carolina; Series: M637; Roll: 7; Page: 330; Image: 523; Family History Library Film: 0568147


Edmund “McKatee” has three males over 16—himself and two more—and two males under 16, one female, probably a wife, but possibly a daughter.  These early census records do not give names, just numbers of persons according to age groups.  Over 16 and Under 16 does not narrow the possibilities much.  However, that does make a cut off of birth before 1774 or after 1774.  Edmund with four additional males, two born before 1774 and two born after 1774.


Year: 1790; Census Place: Rowan, North Carolina; Series: M637; Roll: 7; Page: 306; Image: 511; Family History Library Film: 0568147

“Ebednego McCathe” has two males over 16—himself and one other, one male under 16, and three females.  The females would most likely be a wife and two daughters, but a mother or mother-in-law could be a possibility, too.  The males are probably sons—one born before 1774 and one born after 1774.

Taking the two census records together, you have Edmund with four possible sons and Abednego with two possible sons: that makes six young men in the McAtee families.

This would be the logical interpretation of the census records, and the logical choice for the fathers of the six young McAtee men would be Edmund and Abednego.  There is no John in the census record in 1790, and no John McAtee ever named until 1795 (when the younger John is of age).

The Families of Edmund and Abednego McAtee

Using the FAN (Friends-Associates-Neighbors) principle, it is possible to make these census tick marks into solid family groups.  Of course, if a record was uncovered to definitively alter this construction, it would have to be given greater credence.  In lieu of definite records, though, other records can be used to make a plausible, if not absolutely correct, conclusion.

Let’s begin with Thomas McAtee because there is definite misinformation on this man.  Many online trees say that Thomas was born in the 1730s, had a previous wife, then married Sarah Starr in 1802 in Surry County, North Carolina.  The other Thomas[xvii] was a man in Maryland, but there is no record that would connect him to the North Carolina family.  This researcher is unsure where the early birth year for Thomas came from?  It was not in the Robling book.

What we know about Thomas is that he was married March 11, 1802, in Surry  County, North Carolina.  The bride was Sarah Starr, and the bondsman was Adam Starr—her brother—witness was Thomas Watkins.  On the same day, Adam Starr married Keziah Watkins, and Thos McAtee was bondsman. This looks like two men, probably about the same age, who are standing up for each other as they get married—one to the other’s sister.  The legal age to wed was 21, so the men could have been born around 1781.  If Thomas were a little younger, say 18, which is possible, he would be born about 1784.  A birth range of 1781 to 1784 would be logical.  (Some online trees list Adam Starr’s birth c. 1783.)

It is unlikely that this Thomas was an older man, say 60-plus.  If he were an older man, he surely would have had a household, and he would show up in the 1790 or 1800 census records. If he were a young man, he would be in his father’s household in 1790 and 1800.  The 1800 census of Rowan County shows a young man, age 10-16 in Edmund’s house.



Year: 1800; Census Place: Salisbury, Rowan, North Carolina; Series: M32; Roll: 33; Page: 410; Image: 352; Family History Library Film: 337909

That would make a birth of 1784 to 1790.  As ages on census records often fluctuate, this would be within the range for Thomas McAtee’s birth—about 1784.

Thomas died in 1806, per the records on his estate.[xviii]  Thus, he never showed up in any census record with his own family.  His widow, Sarah Starr McAtee, bought  land from William Atchason in 1816.  She is listed as Sarah McCarter on the 1820 census.  Again—in the year 1820, McAtee was spelled McCarter.  It’s pretty certain this is Sarah McAtee, with her son, John, born in 1803, because she lives next to the Call family and Jesse Aytchison (Atchason/Etchison).  Sarah’s sister was married to a Call[xix]; other Etchison/Aytchisons were nearby.

The son, John, married Sarah Starr (as cousin with the same name as his mother) on September 9, 1825, in Union County, Indiana.  He was in the 1830 census for Union County, age 20-30, with a spouse 20-30, three sons and one daughter under 10, and a female age 50-60—possibly his mother.  The older female was also in his household in 1840.[xx]  (By 1850 John was in Van Buren County, Iowa, and later in Mercer and Nodaway Counties, Missouri.)

In 1790, Edmund had four additional males in his household, two over 16 (born before 1774) and two under 16, (born after 1774).  Thomas would be the younger of the two born after 1774.  That leaves three more.  The 1790 neighbors of Edmund give us a strong clue as to which McAtees were his children.  His neighbors were the Leathermans (shortened to Letman in some records), Richard Leach, and William Moore.

Three marriages connect all these names and people:

Nov 12 1796        Marr      Rowan  Abednego McAtee to Nancey Moore, bm. Richard Leach.

Nov 15 1796        Marr      Rowan  Hezekiah McAtee to Sarah Smith; bm.  Zach. McAtee

Nov 9 1798          Marr      Rowan  Zachariah McAtte to Susannah Letman; bm. Thos Gillaspie[xxi]

Census records in Lawrence County, Tennessee, put Abednego McAtee’s birth between 1770 and 1775.  Abednego (II)  married Nancy Moore.  A William Moore with six females in his house is the next-door neighbor of Edmund.  William Moore also appears as a witness for deeds for Abednego.  Abednego’s  bondsman was Richard Leach, a neighbor to Edmund, so this seems to make Edmund the likely father by proximity.

Hezekiah McAtee shows ages that present a birthdate between 1770 and 1775, and the 1850 census of Pike Co, IL lists his age as 79, birthplace Maryland: birth c. 1770-71.[xxii]  Hezekiah’s bondsman was Zachariah, probably a brother. Zachariah married Susannah Leatherman (Letman), and the Leathermans lived near Edmund.  Thus, Hezekiah and Zachariah appear to be Edmund’s sons as well.   Zachariah’s census records give a synthesized birth range of 1765-70.  His tombstone at Poplar Cemetery in Pike Co, Indiana, says he died Feb 14, 1838, age 77 years.  That would be birth in 1761.  Robling states that his actual death date is in 1839, because Zachariah made a deed in October 1838, and administration of his estate began in March, 1839.  If Zachariah died in 1839, at age 77, his birth would be 1762.  Tombstones and census records are frustratingly fickle—but a birth range of 1761-62 would put Zachariah as the oldest of the children.  If Edmund had daughters, they were deceased or married before 1790.

Abednego McAtee (I) (the older) had two extra males in his household, and three females.  There is no indication as to who the females could be—probably a wife and two daughters; names lost to us.  The two sons would likely be John McAtee and Abednego McAtee born about 1782 in North Carolina.  Since Abednego (I) did not appear in the 1800 Rowan census, and he does appear in 1807 Montgomery Co, KY tax lists, it appears that he had already left North Carolina.  One record in the deeds of Rowan shows a John McAtee as a witness in 1795, but not appearing to prove the deed in 1797.  John McAtee married Sarah Power on March 2, 1799 in Fayette Co, KY, but he appears on the 1799 Montgomery Co, Kentucky, tax list; later in Fayette and Trigg Counties.  The younger Abednego (III) appears for the first time on the 1807 Fayette Co, KY tax list.  This would probably indicate that he has come of age, married, and started his own household about 1806.

There is one especially helpful deed in Rowan County which could confirm the relationship of Zachariah McAtee to Edmund McAtee.  On 23 August. 1795, Edmund McAtee deeded all his personal property—cows, hogs, horses, a dutch oven and frying pan, all household furniture, and 150 acres of land on Potts Creek—to Zachariah McAtee.[xxiii]  Robling had assumed these men were brothers, but other records reveal that they were as much as 28 years apart in age.  The wording in this deed sounds very similar to wording in other deeds where a father signs over ownership of lands and property in exchange for the son to be the father’s, and his wife’s, caretaker until their deaths.  It is nice if the wording adds statements such as, “to my loving son,” but this deed does not have such language.  That does not rule out the father-son relationship.  Viewed along with the marriage of Zachariah, and the 1790 census records, it makes a very strong case that Edmund was indeed the father Zachariah and his brothers.

There are other possibilities for the construction of these family groups.  For instance, we assume John and Abednego (III) are brothers because they married sisters, Sarah and Elizabeth Powers.  It is always possible they were first cousins who married sisters.  Hezekiah McAtee appears in Bourbon Co, KY tax lists from pre-1800-1806, then later in Clark Co, KY.  Abednego (I) appears in Montgomery County 1807 to 1811, then in Bourbon Co from 1812 to 1822.  Could Abednego (I) be the father of Hezekiah and John?  Hezekiah and John both lived in Trigg Co, KY.  Hezekiah moved on to Pike County, Illinois before 1830; John died in Trigg in 1855.  For certain, though, each father had to have had a son named Abednego.  Since Abednego (I) had only two sons in 1790, and one was under 16, then it seems that Abednego (III) b. 1782 should be his son.  If he were the father of Abednego (II) b. 1770-75, then why were the bondsmen and brides’ families so close to Edmund in the 1790 census.

It sounds confusing, but trusting the FAN principle to do its work, the organization presented in this article is provable, and if not certain, at least very likely.


* Son, above, child of Kathrine Shanklin—the 1810 and 1820 census of Kentucky shows a son to Abednego born 1800-10.  This could be a child of Kathrine Shanklin, married in 1792.  The marriage date of Abednego to Margaret Boardman Bowman is unknown, so this son could be her child.  Descendants of a possible candidate for this unnamed son have DNA tested and results are expected in February 2017.

The Origins of Abednego and Edmund McAtee

Abednego (I) and Edmund were from Charles County, Maryland.  That can be proven from the will of Patrick McAtee Sr, 1756.[xxiv]  In this will, written in 1750, he states that his sons Thomas, Edmund, and Ebednigo are to be on their own at 18.  That means they were definitely born after 1732—just how much after is speculation. There is a 1751 administration for the estate of Benjamin McAtee,[xxv] son of Patrick Sr, which lists Abednego, Edmund, and Thomas as the three youngest children.  If the children in this record are listed in order, then Thomas is the youngest.  That would mean the boys were named in reverse order in the will. This actually makes sense:  Patrick Sr had older children,  He had sold out all of his personal property to Samuel Hanson[xxvi] and only had his land left to bequeath.  If he died without a will, his oldest son (as heir-at-law) could take the land.  Patrick, probably about 70 years old, maybe older, would definitely want his youngest children to be cared for—thus he might name them specifically in a will.  Using the 1751 order, we would put Abednego older than Edmund, and Thomas youngest.   If Edmund fathered  Zachariah in 1761-62, then we would expect him to be over 21.  If the wording of the father’s will set him up at 18, he may have married younger.  A possible birth year would be 1744, or earlier.  If Abednego is older, that could put Abednego born in the late-1730s or early 1740s, and Thomas in the late-1740s.  (There is some evidence that Thomas may have been born as late as 1749-50.) Although the birth years are speculative, they certainly allow these men to be  fathers of the Rowan County McAtees.

Patrick McAtee, Sr. is often listed as the son of Edmund McAtee, and grandson of Patrick and Rosamond McAtee in published genealogies.  This stems from a mistake in a 1903 book on Maryland history titled, Sidelights of Maryland History by Hester Dorsey Richardson.  Based on the 1751 administration of Benjamin’s estate, three siblings are named as of age; another brother, James of Patrick, is also listed as a next of kin.  If Patrick and his wife were healthy and had healthy babies, they would have a child about every two years or so.  If these “of age” children are over 21—born before 1730, that means they were born from about 1718 or 19 to 1730.  The only Patrick who was able to have children at that time period is Patrick the son of Patrick and Rosamond, who married Sarah Greene between 1718 and 1721.  This means he must be the same Patrick Sr named in the 1733 Tax List[xxvii] of Charles County, Maryland.  (There was another Patrick who died in 1749[xxviii]—these other genealogies say this is Patrick and Rosamond’s son—but this man had very little property and no land.  In fact, he only had one bed and one dish in his inventory.  This sounds like a single man, not the person who inherited one third of his father’s estate.) This would mean that Abednego (I) and Edmund were the grandchildren of Patrick and Rosamond McAtee, the first McAtees in Charles County, Maryland.



                The records in Rowan County, NC, with a few additional from Mecklenburg and Surry Counties, give us many clues to the make up of the family.  Below is an inventory of the records that name McAtees (and other forms of the name) in and around Rowan.
1768                       Tax         Rowan                  Richard Shanklin
1778                       Tax         Rowan  No McAtees listed.
1778                       Tax list of Capt. Geo. Reed’s Co.  (Davidson area) (This is actually 1790 or 1798)
                                Zachariah McAtee           150a, 1 white poll
                                Birne     McAtee                  1 white poll
8 Feb 1782           Jury        Rowan  Abednego McAttee
1785                       Edmond, bondsman for Peter Cline to Rachell Lee.
1787                       Tax list of Capt Douglass Hader’s  (Jersey settlement, Davidson Co, NC)
                                Edmond McTee 2
6 Mar 1788          Patent  Mecklenburg     Abednego McAtee, survey McAlpine’s Crk.
9 May 1788         Overseer of Rds               Edmond McAfee
1790                       Census Rowan  Edmond McKatee            3 m16+, 2 m>16, 1 fem
                                                                Ebednego McCathe        2 m16+, 1 m>16, 3 fem
                                There is also a Zachariah McCartey, but McCartey is probably not McAtee in this case.
17 Nov 1790        Patent Mecklenburg      Abednego McCatee, granted 98a
21 Oct 1792         Deed     Mecklenburg     AbednegoMcCatee of Rowan to Geo. Haddon, __a Four Mile Ck
23 Oct 1792         Marr      Rowan  Abednego Macatee to Kathrine Shanklin; bondsman J.G. Laumann
Sep 16 1793        Deed     Rowan  Arthur Smith to Lewis Brewer; Wit. Abednego Mackatee.
                                                Proved by Abednego McAtee [sic] Nov 1793
Aug 23 1795        Deed     Rown    Edmond Mcatee to Zachariah McAtee, all personal property plus 150
                                                Acres on Potts Creek.  Proved Nov 1795.
16 Oct 1795         Deed     Rowan  Benj James to Benj Williams; wit. Jas Etchison, John McAtee;
                                                Proved by Etchison, Nov 1797
Nov 12 1796        Marr      Rowan  Abednego McAtee to Nancey Moore, bm. Richard Leach.
Nov 15 1796        Marr      Rowan  Hezekiah McAtee to Sarah Smith; bm.  Zach. McAtee
26 Aug 1797        Deed     Rowan  Jacob Little to Bedney McAtee; 100a Ellis Ck, adj Eaton, Adams, Wolfscale, Job, and Linvell.  Wit: Daniel Caul, Phillis Twarklander.  Proved by Twarklander May 1799 (Twarklander is really Swartzlander)
Nov 9 1798          Marr      Rowan  Zachariah McAlte to Susannah Letman; bm Thos Gillaspie
1800                       Census Rowan  Zachariah McAtee           10010-00100
                                                                Edmond McAtee              01001-00001
25 Oct 1801         Deed     Rowan  James Beauchamp of Shelby KY to Abednego; 40a Ellis Creek
                                                Wit: William Moore, Thomas Job.  Proved by Moore Aug 1802
5 Oct 1801         Deed     Rowan  Abednego McAlee to Evan Ellis & Stephen Beauchamp; 47+a on Ellis
                                                Adj, grantor, Thomas Job, Wm Hutchford.  (Sold to Abednego by Jacob Little                                                      [12:689} Wit: Wm Moore, Thomas Job.  Proved by Job Nov 1801
                                                (Deed 12, page 689 is State grant #1986 100 A to Jacob Little, 100A on Ellis                                                             Creek adj. Peter Eton, Benjamin Adams, Wolfscale, Thomas Job, and William Linvel.)
Mar 11 1802        Marr      Surry     Thomas McAtee to Sarah Starr; bond, Adam Starr, wit. Thos Watkins
                                On the same day, Adam Starr md. Keziah Watkins, and Thos McAtee was bondsman.
Jul 7 1802             Deed     Rowan  Abednego McAlee to George Heath; 63a Ellis Crk.  Adj. Wm Linville, Benj                                              Adams, Wm Eytcheson, and Stephen Beauchamp; (Sold to Abednego 25 Oct  1801 by Jas Beauchamp [18:403]).  Wit. Logan, Hilton, Johnson.  Prov. May 1803
July 1803              Birth      Rowan  John McAtee was born, according to Hist.Nodaway MO, 1881, p 614-15
Feb 10 1806        Widow’s Dower Rowan Widow of Thomas MacKatee. (Some say he died 1800 or 1808.)
                                                Orphan’s guardianship starts in 1815, for son John McCatee.
1810                       Census Rowan  Edmond  10001–00002
                                                                Zacarias 21010–20110
Dec 8 1810           Patent  Rowan  Zachariah McAtee; 10a on Potts Ck
26 Nov 1814        Marr      Rowan  Edmond McAtee to Betsy Jackson; Jno.  Travis
                                                (Eliza Jackson is listed as 26-45 in 1810 Rowan Co NC with 2 f 10-16.)
Nov 19 1823        Deed     Rowan  Joseph Burroughs to Zach. McAtee
                                                198a, adj. B.D. Haden and Wm Moor; witnesses Robt Lyster, Nancy McAtte
Aug 2 1825          Deed     BD Haden to Z. McAtee; 21a adj. Haden
Sep 8 1825           Marr      Rowan  John Macate to Margaret Dent; bm Wm Huline
Nov 14 1829        Deed     Rowan  Z. McAtee to Jesse A Hudgens; sells 198a adj. BD Haden.
10 Mar 1858        Robling mentions a deed in Rowan where Zachariah’s land is being sold by John?
(It may be a deed in Pike Co, IN, where the brothers and sisters are selling John’s portion.)


[i] Ron McAtee, “McAtees Mostly,”
[ii] Robling, J.W.  McAtee Family: From Maryland to Indiana, 1996.
[iii] See Donnelly, M.L., My Colonial Relations Plus Others, 2006, page 200.   Although Donnelly conflates two John McAtees, one born 1730 and one born 1744, he former died in 1794 in Prince George’s Co, MD, and the latter died in 1812 in Fairfax Co, Va. Neither man moved to North Carolina.  See also the Will of John McAtee, Prince George’s County, MD, Wills 1770, Vol. 1, page 353.
[iv] Robling, p. 52
[v] See the series of books Abstracts of Deed Books…in Rowan County, NorthCarolina by James W. Kluttz; also Abtsracts of the Minutes of the Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions,Vol I-III by Jo White Linn, and also Abstracts of Deeds of Rowan County, North Carolina, 1763-1774 by Linn.
[vi] Will of Daniel McCarty,
[vii] Linn, Jo White.  Abstracts of the Minutes of the Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions Rowan County, North Carolina, 1775-1789, Vol. III.  1982.  Page 87.
[viii] Tennessee, Early Tax List Records, 1783-1895 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2013.
[ix] “Petition from Citizen of Claibourne County.” Ansearchin’ News (The Tennessee Genealogy Magazine) Vo. 41, No. 4, winter 1994, p. 181
[x] Abednigo McAtee; 1804 Tax List of Grainger County, Tennessee.  Echoes from the East Tennessee Historical Society, Vol. 19, no. 3 Sep 1973, page 660.; Abednigo McEtee; 1805 Tax List of Grainger County, Tennessee.
[xi] Robling, p. 55.
[xii] Brown, Helen White.  Prince George’s County, Maryland, Indexes of Church Registers, 1686-1885. Riverdale MD: Prince George’s County Historical Society, 1979.   The register is an alphabetical list of a church register for the protestant church for St. John’s Parish, which is still in existence.  By cross-referencing the original page numbers, a reader can figure out all the names on a particular page of the original register.  The children of Zachariah and Nancy Noble Wade are listed on page 292 of the original.  There are several pages where a whole family’s births are recorded together—not at the time of birth.
[xiii] See Note ii above.
[xiv] Holcomb, Brent.  Marriages of Rowan County, North Carolina, 1753-1868. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1981, page 253.
[xv] has North Carolina Newspapers which show letters sent to McAtees in Rowan County.  Western Carolinian, 8 April 1828 (to Zach McAtee); Carolina Watchman, 25 March, 1852 (to John McAtee).
[xvi] Holcomb, Brent.  Marriages of Rowan County, North Carolina, 1753-1868. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1981, page 254.
[xvii] McAtees Mostly gives some information on a Thomas McAtee, but this information is incorrect, probably combining two men of different generations.
[xix] From research of Bonnie K. Gorman.
[xx] “Samuel McAtee.” History of Nodaway County. Missouri. St. Joseph, MO: National Historical Company, 1882, page 614-15  This biographical sketch on Eli McAtee states that his father was born in 1803 in Rowan County, North Carolina; that he moved to Union County, Indiana at age 21; he married Sarah Starr in 1825; he was still living at the time of publication.
[xxi] Holcomb, Brent.  Marriages of Rowan County, North Carolina, 1753-1868. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1981, page 253-54.  Some of the names are misspelled, but one can figure out which are McAtees.
[xxii] Hezekiah’s tombstone in Hull Cemetery, Pike County, Illinois.
[xxiii] Kluttz, James W. Abstracts of Deed Books 11-14 of Rowan County, North Carolina, 1786-1797.  Landis, NC: Kluttz, 1996, page 138.  This deed is indexed under the name Watu.  It is not the first time this researcher has seen McAtee indexed as a Wat-name—such as Water.
[xxiv] 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.
 Gibbs, Carson.  “Abstracts of Wills: Abstracted from PREROGATIVE COURT (Wills)” MSA S538. Liber 30 1755-1760.  Link
[xxv] Administration of Benjamin Maccatee.  Maryland State Archives.  Accounts 1738-1759, p. 398.  Viewed at, Administration Accounts 1738-1759, p, 398.  (Image 206/287).
[xxvi] Marshall, Mike.
  “Charles County Land Record Book A#2, 1752-1756; Page (427). Instrument of Writing. I, Patrick Macatee {McAtie) Sr of CC, planter, owe Samuel Hanson 7042 lbs of crop tobacco in hhds & interest, and wanting Hanson to receive full satisfaction, I hereby make over to Hanson, the tobacco now on my plantation and the following articles: 3 cows marked with a crop and 2 slits in the right ear, and 2 calves belonging to 2 of the cows afd, and 1 motherless calf, & 1 bull yearling marked with the mark afd, with their future increase; also 1 sow & 2 shoats marked as the cows afd & 4 shoats, 2 pigs unmarked with their future increase; also 1 white horse called Fidler and 1 horse called Chevelear; and 2 rugs, 2 beds, 1 blanket, 1 old oval table, 1 middling chest, 2 bedsteads & hides, 1 pot & pot hooks, 2 flag bottom chairs, old pewter plates, & 1 desk; and also the rest of my personal estate. Hanson shall not be liable for the effects until the same are appraised, but the same is from this date the property of Hanson, but at the risk of Macatee until the same be appraised. Signed Dec 151 1755 –
[xxviii] Inventory of Patrick Maccatee, Maryland State Archives.  Viewed at Inventories 1735-1752, p. 403.  (image 215/295). “Maryland Register of Wills Records, 1629-1999.” Images. FamilySearch. : accessed 2016. Citing Prerogative Court. Hall of Records, Annapolis.


Abednego McAtee–A Name with a Swing


 Kingsport  (TN) News,  Fri, Aug 20, 1948, Page 4; retrieved from

Four Men named Abednego McAtee

There were four men who bore the name Abednego McAtee.  Three of them were born before 1800; a fourth was born between 1810-20.  When researching the McAtee family, it is important to note THREE separate men born before 1800 who bore the name Abednego McAtee.  No current genealogy has included all four men, and several have conflated two or three into one person.  To expose the mistakes, I give the following example from McAtees Mostly[i], a genealogy at

Abednego McAtee, born 17 Dec 1782 in Rowan Co, NC.  Died 31 Oct 1865, in Rush Co, IN.  Married Nancy Moore 12 Nov 1796 in Rowan, NC.  Second married Elizabeth Power, abt 1802 in Rush, IN.

If this is correct, then Abednego married his first wife at age 14.  What an outrageous story someone might tell on his ancestor, if he read and believed this report.  This did not happen!  I have searched for every record—and found many—that pertains to these men, all named Abednego.  This paper will present the most plausible migrations and life events of these men, the eldest of whom is my ancestor.

McAtees Mostly has a lot of errors and duplications, but it also has a lot of records referenced for in-depth study.  Many mistakes can be fixed with sound research techniques.  At the site, there is an Abednego born 1731 in Charles County, Maryland who died in 12 December, 1792.  It says he was married to Sarah Green, his parents were Edmund and Sarah McAtee, and he had a daughter Elizabeth, born 1800, who married John Howard.  Mistakes:  That death date is for John McAtee whose will was recorded on December 12, 1792 in Charles County, Maryland. Abednego’s father’s name was Patrick, and his father’s first wife was named Sarah Greene.  Corrections:  Recent collaboration with descendants of Elizabeth Mcatee Howard have uncovered proof that Elizabeth was not a McAtee, but a Bomin (Bowman), the daughter Margaret Boardman Bowman McAtee—wife of Abednego McAtee of Bourbon County, Kentucky.[ii]  Elizabeth, then, was a step-daughter of Abednego McAtee.

Another entry for an Abednego McAtee says he is born c. 1743 in Charles County, Maryland and died after 8 December, 1773 (date of sale of property to Penelope Dyer).  This entry says the man is the son of Patrick and Ann Baggott McAtee.  This entry is completely correct, and the first entry is actually about this man. The difference in birth year will be discussed later.  His father, Patrick was married twice.[iii]

Two more entries are for 1) the Abednego born in 1782 (already discussed) and 2) Abednego, born before 1813 in Trigg County, Kentucky who married Harriet Sutton of Scott Co, KY.  He is listed as son of John and Sarah Power McAtee.  (An Abednego is named in John’s 1855 estate settlements as deceased.[iv]  Harriet McAtee married Durand Tapp in 1839 in Scott Co, KY.[v])

Although four entries, the first two are actually about the same man.  There is no entry for an Abednego McAtee who lived in Lawrence County, Tennessee.  How can I be sure that these are mistakes, and that there were only four men with this name?  By carefully checking the records.

Checking the Records

It is true that no record appears where all four men show up at the same time.  However, the 1810, 1820 and 1830 federal census records positively reveal that four separate Abednegos lived and had households .

Let’s look at the 1820 and 1830 census records to establish who is living, approximate ages, and  marital details.

1820 U S Census; Census Place: Lawrence, Tennessee; Page: 207; NARA Roll: M33_123; Image: 110



1820 U S Census; Census Place: Stoner, Bourbon, Kentucky; Page: 72; NARA Roll: M33_18; Image: 47

From 1820, we find one Abednego in Kentucky age 45+, and another Abednego in Tennessee age 45+.  Both are married—Tennessee has a wife age 45+, and Kentucky has a wife 26-45.  Only the Kentucky man has children listed.

Now we’ll compare this with 1830 census records.


1830; Census Place: Lawrence, Tennessee; Series: M19; Roll: 177; Page: 312; Family History Library Film: 0024535

The Tennessee man was age 50-60 in the 1830 census.  He would have been ten years younger in 1820, so between 40-50; but we know on the 1820 he was over 45.  This narrows his age in 1820 to 45-50, thus making his birth between 1770 and 1775.  His wife is also 50-60.  They have picked up a younger female, age 10-15, but since there were no children listed in the previous census, this is probably not their child.

Another report from 1830:


1830; Census Place: Rush, Indiana; Series: M19; Roll: 26; Page: 284; Family History Library Film: 0007715

This Abednego in Indiana is not the man in Tennessee, and he is only 40-50, so he cannot be the man in 1820 Bourbon Co, KY.  The Rush County, Indiana, man lived in that county from at least 1829[vi] until his death on October 31, 1865. He has a Findagrave profile.  He was born in October  1782, in North Carolina, according to the 1850 and 1860 census records.

A younger Abednego is listed in 1830 Scott Co, Kentucky.  Information on him is included in the chart at the end of the article.

I.  Abednego age over 45 in 1820, living in Bourbon Co, KY II. Abednego, b. 1770-75 living in Lawrence County, Tennessee III.  Abednego, b. 1782 NC living in Rush County, Indiana
NOTE:  The designations of I, II, and III for the three men are used to clarify which Abednego is discussed.  These designations were not part of the men’s names.

Continuing the Census Research–1810

There is no census for Tennessee for 1810, so we cannot be sure if Abednego (II) was there that early or not.  We can find additional details on the Kentucky men in 1810.


Year: 1810; Census Place: Montgomery, Kentucky; Roll: 7; Page: 379; Image: 00389; Family History Library Film: 0181352

This man, was over 45.  Montgomery County is the parent county of Bath, and adjoins Bourbon.  This then is the older Abednego (I).  We know from this record he was born before 1765, how much before 1765 will be discussed later.

Another 1810 record:


Year: 1810; Census Place: Lexington, Fayette, Kentucky; Roll: 6; Page: 41; Image: 00053; Family History Library Film: 0181351

This man was age 26-45, with a spouse 16-26.  This is the Rush County, Indiana, man.  Additionally, there are tax lists in the various Kentucky counties that show two Abednegos alive at the same time.  Consistent census appearances for the Tennessee man[vii] show that he was a third person with this name.

Before Kentucky—Records in Rowan County, North Carolina

The marriage records of Rowan County, North Carolina, show two marriages for men named Abednego McAtee.  The first was on October 23, 1792, to Kathrine Shanklin, and the bondsman was J. G. (George) Laumann.  The second was on 12 November, 1796, to Nancy Moore, and the bondsman was Richard Leach.  The names of the bondsmen may indicate relatives, but the connection is not apparent here.  When compared with census records, we can see that these bondsmen were neighbors.  One Abednego owned land in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina on 6 March, 1788.[viii]  At this early date, it must be the eldest Abednego (I).  Two days after Abednego (I) sells this Mecklenburg land, he marries Kathrine Shanklin, 23 October, 1792.  Marriages cost money; Abednego probably sold the land to pay for the marriage license and bond.  This is a logical assumption, although no records guarantee that Abednego (I) was the spouse of Kathrine Shanklin.  It could have been Abednego (II)—he was of age—but the sale of the land and the date of marriage seem so close that they surely are connected.

The second marriage of Abednego to Nancy Moore is most likely a younger man, probably the son of Edmund McAtee, thus a nephew of Abednego (I).  This Abednego—Abednego (II)—if a younger man, would be in the household of his father on the 1790 census.  He marries Nancy Moore, who would be in the household of her father in 1790.  The bondsman was Richard Leach.  Take a look at a portion of the 1790 Rowan County census:


Year: 1790; Census Place: Rowan, North Carolina; Series: M637; Roll: 7; Page: 330; Image: 523; Family History Library Film: 0568147

On this page of the census, we see two Leathermans—Zachariah McAtee (son of Edmund) married Susannah Leatherman.  Nearby is Richard Leach.  Five lines below is Edmond McKatee, with four other males in his household, and next is William Moore with one other male and SIX FEMALES in his household.    William Moore, probably the father of Nancy Moore McAtee, was a witness to deeds involving Abednego McAtee.[ix]

In the same year (1790), Abednego (I)—Ebednego McCathe—is listed with two other males and three females.


Year: 1790; Census Place: Rowan, North Carolina; Series: M637; Roll: 7; Page: 306; Image: 511; Family History Library Film: 0568147

Given the traditional research on Abednego (III) McAtee of Rush County, Indiana—that he was born about 1782 in North Carolina, that he married Elizabeth Power, a sister to Sarah Power who married John Mcatee in 1799 Fayette Co, KY (and John is listed in 1799 Montgomery Co, KY tax list)—and the strong indications that Abednego (III) and John were brothers, it fits that the two extra males in Abednego (I) family in 1790 are John and Abednego b. 1782.  The census report above indicates that one of the other males is over 16 and one is under 16—that cut off being 1774.  John’s age on the Trigg County, Kentucky 1850 census is 74, indicating a birth about 1776, but other census records suggest an earlier birth between 1770-75.  Although tick marks on a census sheet are difficult to name, this seems within the range to make this all plausible.

Abednego I

Abednego II

Abednego III


Abednego (I) does appear in early Rowan records beginning in 1782, but seems to be gone before 1800—he is not listed in the Rowan County census.  We can positively locate him in Montgomery County, Kentucky in 1807.

Abednego (II) stayed on in Rowan for some time, buying and selling land until about 1802 (the year of the last deed with his name.[x])  There is an 1823 deed witnessed by Nancy McAtee  for land from Joseph Burroughs to Zachariah McAtee, land which adjoins William Moore. If this is Nancy Moore McAtee, then she would be visiting from Tennessee, but it could possibly be Zachariah’s daughter, Nancy.[xi]

Abednego (III) probably came of age in Kentucky.  His brother, John, came of age in North Carolina before 1795 (birth would be before 1774) since he is named as a witness on a Rowan County deed in that year.  When the deed was proved in 1797, he was not there to prove it—the other witness, James Etchison was[xii].  This may indicate that John had moved away before 1797.

There is a record of a John McAtee in Claibourne County, Tennessee in 1803[xiii], and an Abednego McAtee in Grainger in 1805[xiv].  We know that John Mcatee, son of Abednego (I), is in Kentucky by 1799—but he could’ve checked out possibilities in Tennessee.  The Abednego could be Abednego (I)—on his way to Kentucky, or Abednego (III), checking out the possibilities with brother John, or Abednego (II), who must be the man who eventually moved to Lawrence County, Tennessee.  We find Abednego (II) on a petition in the “Congressional Reserve” dated 1812[xv].  Part of this “Congressional Reserve” became Lawrence County.

Only the death of Abednego (III) is known—Oct 17, 1865.  Abednego (II) surely died in Tennessee, after 1830, but no record has been found to determine such.  Abednego (I) died between 1822 and 1826.  This can be determined by his last appearance in Bourbon Co, KY tax lists in 1822, and by the marriage record of his daughter, Polly, in April 1826, where her mother signs consent—if her father were alive, Abednego would’ve signed.

The Birth Year of Abednego I

Determining the birth of Abednego (I) is tricky.  In the entries from McAtees Mostly, Abednego had two birth dates—one 1731 and another 1743.  My personal preference has vacillated from somewhere around 1735 to 1745. There is a reason why there’s such a wide range of possibilities for Abednego’s (I) birth year.  We will take what records we have, and see what sense we can make of them.

Abednego (I) and his brother, Edmund, are named in the will of Patrick McAtee, Sr, written in 1750, and recorded on 1756.[xvi]  Patrick’s widow, Ann, is named—assumed to be the mother of Abednego, Edmund, and their brother, Thomas, also named.  The will states that each son is to be “on his own” at 18.  Therefore, we know these three sons were under 18 in 1750—born after 1732.

Abednego, Edmund, and Thomas are also named in the 1751 estate administration of Benjamin McAtee[xvii], son of Patrick McAtee, Sr.  We learn from the estate that Patrick Sr had older children, “of age” (meaning over 21), born in the 1720s.  Abednego, Edmund, and Thomas are listed in this order as the last three siblings of Benjamin.  Patrick, Sr, had been previously married to Sarah Greene, and had several children, including one James (called James of Patrick) and Patrick Jr. (who was also named in Benjamin’s administration).  This tells us that the last three children were under 21, thus born after 1730—but it has already been established that they were born after 1732.

Patrick Sr married Sarah Greene between 1718 and 1721.[xviii]  We have no records or clues as to when Sarah died or how many children she had.  Ann is Patrick’s wife in 1750, but we have no marriage record, so cannot determine how many, if any, of Patrick’s children she bore.   After the death of a wife, it was not uncommon for a man to marry a younger woman and have more children. Since she and the three boys are specifically named in the will, it is assumed she is their mother.   From the records, we can only verify that Abednego (and his brothers) were born between 1732 and 1750.  Some information that may refer to Thomas leads me to believe he was born about 1749-50.  That could put these three boys born in the mid to late 1740s.  However, Edmund fathered a son, Zachariah, born in 1760.  The legal age in colonial Maryland was 21—assuming Edmund was at least 21 when Zachariah was born, his birth was before 1739.  Abednego was listed before Edmund on the 1751 administration, so that could put his birth about 1737 or a little earlier, if the boys were listed in birth order on Benjamin’s record, and in reverse birth order in Patrick Sr.’s will.

Abednego is listed in 1768 Rent Rolls of Panquiah Manor[xix] with his Ann. This is another indication that she is his mother.  According to this rent roll, Ann and Abednego entered into a lease for their land on August 30, 1765 for the term of 18 ½ years.  That would mean the lease would end in February 1784.  Abednego would be in North Carolina by that time.  Abednego sold property to Penelope Dyer on December 8, 1773.[xx]  Penelope Dyer is possibly a McAtee cousin.

This ends the Maryland records for Abednego.  He is next found in 1782 in Rowan County, North Carolina, on a jury list.[xxi]  Several Charles County, Maryland families appear in Rowan County, North Carolina about this time.  There must have been a concerted migration of family and neighbors out of Maryland, about 1781-83.

Word of Caution: Incorrect Information on the Internet

If you get online and search for Abednego McAtee, you’ll find a lot of mixed-up information.  It has taken many years to figure out the truth about Abednego.  In 1996, J. W. Robling published a book on the McAtee family.  He is a descendant of Zachariah McAtee (1760-1838) who left Rowan County, North Carolina and settled in Pike County, Indiana.  Robling asserted that Zachariah’s parents were John McAtee and Nancy Wade.  He clearly stated within the pages of the book that he had no proof of this, it was just his hunch because Zachariah named his first son and daughter John and Nancy.  That was the whole of his evidence.  He then found a record for a John McAtee in Charles County Maryland that he claimed moved to North Carolina, but the John he picked actually died in Prince George’s County, Maryland in 1794.  He also claimed that John McAtee, spelled McAtty, had a deed in Rowan County, North Carolina.  That deed, however, was actually for John McCarthy, not McAtee.  It is true, sometimes McAtee is misspelled, and there is a census record for a Zachariah McCartey in Rowan County.  The McCarty family, though, was well-established in Rowan County in the mid-1760s, before the McAtees arrived.  In order for Robling to prove his assumption that John McCarty was John McAtee, he would have to be sure there was no actual John McCarty in the county.  Over a dozen early records refer to John McCarty, including one for the administration of his father’s will.  John McCarty’s father’s name was Daniel McCarty[xxii].  I personally inquired of Mr. Robling if he had knowledge of this will, and he informed me that he no longer pursued genealogical research.  Additionally, no Nancy Wades married any McAtees.  There are Wades in Charles County, Maryland, even men named Zachariah Wade.  All the Nancys (and Anns—as Ann can be a nickname for Nancy) are accounted for and married to other men.  It is plain that Robling made a guess—it was wrong.

It would be better to look at the marriages of McAtee men between 1792 and 1802, guess that they were with their fathers in the 1790 census, and then make an assumption based off some evidential record—like the 1790 census—and not a gut feeling.  The records of Rowan County show only two McAtees in the county before 1790—they were Abednego (I) and Edmund.  These two men had younger males in their household in 1790, and must be the fathers of the other McAtees named in Rowan County records.

Another word of caution:  In 1903 a book titled Sidelights of Maryland History by Hester Dorsey Richardson, purported that Patrick McAtee who married Sarah Greene died in 1749.  A son John was named, no others.  There was a Patrick McAtee who died in 1749, but a close look at his inventory shows that he owned one bed, one dish, one rug, etc.  Patrick and Sarah had land and several children—how could he have only “one” of so many things?  Plus, no land is listed with this Patrick deceased in 1749.  In a peer-reviewed article specifically about this mix up, I presented evidence to show that Patrick who died in 1749 was a single man, the son of an Edmund McAtee who was a brother to Patrick Sr who died in 1756.  Thus, the nephew Patrick died before the uncle Patrick.  Patrick Sr is listed in 1733 tax lists, and he is also inferred as “Senior” on the 1751 probate of his son Benjamin (since Patrick Jr. is named also), and styled as “Senior” on a 1755 Debt to Samuel Hanson[xxiii].  No Patrick is listed as “Senior” after his death in 1756.

These two corrections will alter most people’s lineage and descent from Patrick and Rosamond McAtee, the first McAtees in Charles County, Maryland.  Apparently no one had challenged the validity of either authors’ claims prior.  When measured against the records, the claims are found unsupportable.

Below is a chart to show the corrected descent, and how many McAtees carried the name, Abednego.  It should be noted that on the families of Abednego (I) and his brother, Edmund, that no records have been found that specifically name their children.  Using advance genealogical techniques, such as the FAN principle, I have placed the McAtees into families based on their proximity to each other.  Although I am sure that Abednego (I) had two sons before 1790 and Edmund had four sons before 1790, exact placement is unachievable.  The family  groups have been formed by analyzing census data and checking the names of bondsmen on marriage records.



[i] McAtee, Ron.  McAtees Mostly. Website.

[ii] Collaboration with Dena Wilson, Crawford County, Illinois.  Marriage consent of Elizabeth Bomin, 4 April 1812, signed by Marget McAtee. E-mail, December, 2016.

[iii] Online trees will state that Patrick Sr who married Ann Baggott is the son of Edmund McAtee and grandson of Patrick and Rosamond McAtee.  There was a mistake made in the early 1900s that confused Patrick Sr, the son of Patrick and Rosamond with his nephew, Patrick the son of Edmund. This mistake has been passed down to present generations. Extensive research into this dilemma has been conducted by the author, and it can be proven that Edmund’s son Patrick died in 1749, and Patrick Sr married first Sarah Green, and second an Ann (possibly Baggott).

[iv] Trigg Co. Court Order Book “D”, page 381, June 11, 1855, referenced in a profile at


[vi] Robling, J.W. McAtee Family—Maryland to Indiana.1996. p. 59 Refers to a Fayette County, Kentucky deed in 1829 naming “Abednego McAtee of Rush County, Indiana.”

[vii] Besides census records, see 1812 “Petition of Persons Living in the Congressional Reserve…” Ansearchin’ Vol. IX, No. 3, p. 80-83; and 1826 Lawrence County Tax List; Lawrence County (TN) Archives.


[ix] See Kluttz, J.W. Abstracts of Deed Books 15-19 of Rowan County North Carolina 1797-1807.  p. 104: “1766.  p. 177. 25 Oct 1801.  Abednego McAlee to Evan Ellis…Wit: Wm Moore, Thomas Job.” and p.[page not noted]: “2016. p. 403. 25 Oct 1801.  James Beauchamp… to Abednego mcAtee…Wit: Wm Moore, Thomas Job.”

[x] Kluttz. J.W. Abstracts of Deed Books 15-19 of Rowan County North Carolina 1797-18072130.  P. 521. 7 Jul 1802.  Abednego McAlee to George Heath….”

[xi] See Kluttz, J. W. Abstracts of Deed Books 25-29of Rowan County, North Carolina, 1818-1828.

[xii] Kluttz.  Abstracts of Deed Books 15-19 of Rowan County, North Carolina, 1797-1807. Number 292.

[xiii] Tennessee State Petitons No. 33-1-1803.  “Petition from the Citizens of Claibourne County…” 25 Oct, 1803.  Ansearchin’ Vol. 41, No. 4, p. 181.

[xiv] “Abednego McEtee.”

[xv] 1812 “Petition of Persons Living in the Congressional Reserve…” Ansearchin’ Vol. IX, No. 3, p. 80-83

[xvi] 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.

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

[xviii] Donnelly, M.L. Charles County, Maryland: My Colonial Relations Plus Others. 2000.  P. 194.

[xix] Brumbaugh, G. M. Maryland Records Colonial, Revolutionary, County, and Church. Vol. II.  Lancster Press, PA: 1928.

[xx] Charles County Land Record Book S#3, 1770-1775; Page .498. Mortgage. I, Abednego McAtte of CC, planter, owe Penelope Dyer of CC, 30 £ and 48 shillings and 10 pence half penny, being the costs of an action for the recoveryoof the same, brought against me in CC Court by sd Penelope Dyer. . Now I, to better secure to sd Penelope Dyer the payment of 30 £ and costs afd, and for 5 shillings, I have sold to sd Penelope Dyer, a Negro man slave called Sam. If, however, I repay sd Penelope by next Jan 10, then this deed to be void. Signed Dec 8, 1773 – Abednego (1 his mark) McAtee. Wit.- James Craik*. Recorded Dec 8, 1773.

[xxi] Linn. Jo White.  Abstracts of the Minutes of the Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions, Rowan County, North Carolina.  Salisbury: 1977.


[xxiii]   Marshall, Mike.

“Charles County Land Record Book A#2, 1752-1756; Page (427). Instrument of Writing. I, Patrick Macatee {McAtie) Sr of CC, planter, owe Samuel Hanson 7042 lbs of crop tobacco in hhds & interest … Signed Dec 15 1755 –

Patrick (a his mark) McAtie. Wit – John Hawkins y.L, Dan of St. Thos Jenefer, Recorded Dec 21, 1755.”