Abednego McAtee–A Name with a Swing


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

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 Rootsweb.com:

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.  wc.rootsweb.ancestry.com. 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 http://wc.rootsweb.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?op=GET&db=cbogowitz&id=I21119.

[v] https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-8937-LYPD?mode=g&i=14&cc=1804888.

[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.  home.lorettotel.net/~lcarchives/1826tax.htm.

[viii] http://www.nclandgrants.com/grant/?mars=

[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.” http://grainger.tngenealogy.net/1805-tax-list

[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 familysearch.org in Wills 1752-1767, vol. 5, page 60 (image 54/214). “Maryland Register of Wills Records, 1629-1999.” Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2016. Citing Prerogative Court. Hall of Records, Annapolis.

[xvii] Administration of Benjamin Maccatee.  Maryland State Archives.  Accounts 1738-1759, p. 398.  Viewed at familysearch.org, 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.  https://archive.org/stream/marylandrecordsc02brum/marylandrecordsc02brum_djvu.txt

[xx] http://www.colonial-settlers-md-va.us/getperson.php?personID=I013875&tree=Tree1 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.

[xxii] https://www.geni.com/people/Daniel-McCarty-Sr/6000000002131897883

[xxiii]   Marshall, Mike.  http://www.colonial-settlers-md-va.us/getperson.php?personID=I003943&tree=Tree1

“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.”




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