CATHERINE DREW McGEE (1835 - 1913)
Catherine Drew, was born in 1835 in County Westmeath, Ireland, was the third born of John Drew and Rose Reilly

Catherine would have been 12 at the time of the emigration, and  was holding & "responsible" for "the baby" when the family landed in New Orleans in 1847. 

We have no information about her older brother, Thomas, who may have died in childhood.  Her older brother, James, was born in 1833 and was 14 at the time the family came to America. 

The tradition that this family emigrated from Ireland "without a mother" is born out by the fact that not a single document or reference to Rose Reilly has been found in the U.S. 


This photo of Catherine Drew McGee was taken about 1900, at about age 65.
Because of this circumstance, Catherine, as eldest daughter would have had to shoulder a considerable "extra burden" ...and tradition as well as her documented life story and her obituary all indicate that she rose to this challenge and was known as a very responsible, hard working, and respected lady throughout her life.
A well researched website dealing with Catherine's family of origin and her background as a child in Ireland is on line at

Catherine married William McGee Oct. 9, 1854 in Lexington, KY.  [We have both a civil document and bible entry which attest to this.]
The McGee family bible shows her first child, Rosey Ann McGee was born August 13, 1855 ...also in Lexington, KY.

The bible entries then proclaim that the second child, Bernard James McGee was born July 17, 1857 and was baptized (in Lexington) December 3, 1857.  This child died in infancy on October 5, 1858... and it appears that his death occurred in Missouri... but I cannot be certain.

At any rate, in either 1858 or 1859, the entire McGee and Drew (conjoined) families moved to MIssouri, probably in 1858.  The reason(s) for the move were probably economic; and the tradition is that the McGee's received land in a "railroad deal."   At about this same time, (1859 or 1860) Catherine's elder brother, James, left Kentucky and moved to Daviess County, Indiana.

I have heard no tradition that the Drew family ever had land in Missouri; but it is certain that Catherine's father, John accompanied them because the record shows that he died in Pettis county Missouri in 1859.  He may have already been ill and accompanied the McGee's to Missouri because of infirmity. 

It is also probable that Catherine's three younger brothers, Bryan, John Jr., and William Drew accompanied their father and elder married sister  (the McGee's) to Missouri.  The evidence for this is as follows:  First of all, their ages (12, 14, and 19) would have dictated that they remain in the custody of their father.  Secondly, Bryan (the eldest of the "trio") stood as baptismal sponsor for Catherine's next child, John William ("Will") McGee, born January 8, 1859... and that baptism was definitely in Missouri.

Also, court records in Daviess County, Indiana, show that in 1860, Catherine's brother, James was given official custody of their brother "John Drew of the age of approximately 17 years and heir of John Drew, recently deceased of Pettis County, Missouri."

A SUMMARY of the children of William and Catherine Drew McGee is as follows:
Rose Ann McGee [Sullivan] ** b. August 13, 1855 ~~ d. February 25, 1947
Bernard James McGee b. July 17, 1857  ~~ d. October 5, 1858 (in infancy)
John William ("Will") McGee b. January 8, 1859  ~~ d. 1921  [never married]
Teresa McGee b. November 10, 1862  ~~ d. August 31, 1863 (in infancy)
Bryan McGee b. June 29, 1864  ~~  d. 1940  [never married]
Margaret McGee [Sullivan]  b. April 10, 1867  ~~  d. 1947  [no children]
Catherine ("Kate") McGee b. May 8, 1869 ~~  d. 1963  [never married]
Julia McGee b. April 15, 1872  ~~  d. 1944  [never married]
As can be seen, **Rose Ann is the only child of this family that produced any "decendants."
 The decendents of James Drew, however, (brother to Catherine Drew McGee) now number in the triple digits.

The picture at left shows Catherine Drew McGee (the mother) and her husband, William McGee.    The children shown here are Rose Ann, the eldest, at her mother's shoulder; John William ("Will") with hand on his father's shoulder;   Brian, on his father's knee; and Margaret (b. 1867) on her mother's knee.

The picture is from a rare "tin type" photo and its date is estimated to be 1868, based on the ages of the children.

Children born AFTER this photo was taken were Catherine ("Kate") (1869) and Julia, 1872.

The picture is from the McGee family picture collection kept by Catherine's daughter, "Kate."  Following "Kate's" death in 1963, the collection was passed on to the James Family in Phoenix... who are the heirs of Rose Ann (the eldest daughter) pictured at left and below.

The photo at right is Rosa Ann McGee, born 1855.  It is also from an old "tin type."  Compared with the photo above, in which she is about 13, this photo is thought be be about 2 years later... at about age 15 or about 1870. 

This girl's childhood would have been harsh and disciplined.  Her family made a major move from Kentucky to Missouri in 1858 when she was 3.  They then suffered through the death of an infant son [Bernard James]  in 1858, the death of Rosa's grandfather, John Drew, in 1859, and the death of an infant daughter [Teresa] in 1863.   In addition, tradition holds that her two brothers, John William (1859) and Brian (1864) were both handicapped (epilepsy & maybe retardation.)


In spite of these hardships and heartaches, Rosa and her family successfully homesteaded 80 acres... even though tradition has it that the father, William McGee also had duties with the railroad.
Note that in the 1880 Census report (below) Rosa Ann McGee, is not listed.  This is because she was already married (to Patrick Sullivan) and was no longer a member of this household.  She would have been 25 years old at this time.  She married Patrick Sullivan October 5, 1879 in Smithton, Missouri, a town some 8 or 10 miles SE of the McGee homestead in Spring Fork.  Modern maps are deceptive; for according to Pettis County historians, Smithton was a "booming" railroad town and "trail-head" for cattle in those days and was a "bigger place" than Sedalia, (some five miles to the west) which later became much larger and was called the "queen city."  Gertrude's documents show that Rosa Ann bore Gertrude Ellen Sullivan on June 30, 1881.
Name Age Relationship Occupation Birthplace Father's Birthplace Mother's Birthplace
McGee, William 50 Husband Farmer Ireland Ireland Ireland
McGee, Catherine 44 Wife Housekeeper Ireland Ireland Ireland
McGee, John W. 21 son works on farm Missouri Ireland Ireland
McGee, Bryan 15 son works on farm Missouri Ireland Ireland
McGee, Maggie 13 daughter at school Missouri Ireland Ireland
McGee, Kate 11 daughter at school Missouri Ireland Ireland
McGee, Julia 8 daughter at school Missouri Ireland Ireland

The photographer's caption on this photo is most helpful in identifying Catherine "KATIE" McGee at age 20.  Note the school books used as "props" to connect Kate with her chosen profession as a school teacher. 


This photo is Catherine Drew McGee's daughter, "Kate" taken in 1951 at the McGee farm in Missouri.

This handsome dude is Eugene ("Gene") Sullivan... whom I knew well as a child and used to "pal around" with in his old gray 1952 Plymouth.  This 1951 photo is the only picture I have digitized of him... but there are others around my family and I shall get a good one for the record!

Gene married Margaret McGee.  They never had any children.  Margaret was already deceased when my family met this family out in Missouri about 1948.

As we know, Margaret's eldest sister, Rose Ann, also married a Patrick Sullivan... and, as we discussed, Patrick and Eugene could have been brothers... but I never heard (or at least didn't remember) if they were brothers.


Gene was known for miles around as a good judge of cattle and a very accomplished cattle farmer.  He knew how to "pick 'em" and how to fatten them for market.  Also for a few years in the early 1900's, Gene was sheriff of a town called Cole Camp, Missouri ~~ the second biggest town in Pettis County... and just a few miles from the McGee land... and the original Sullivan Land.  As an old man he was proud to "flash" the sheriff's badge which he kept handy to show visitors and friends.
Of the McGee children both Will and Brian (and maybe Julia) were handicapped (epilepsy) and/or chose not to marry... remaining at home with Catherine, who was a shool teacher, NOT handicapped, and able to care for them.  Will died in 1921, Bryan in 1940, and Julia in 1944... and thereafter, or at some time, Gene and Margaret moved in with Kate so she would not be alone... requiring Gene to manage both his own farm and the McGee farm... A BIG TASK!   When Margaret died, (in 1947) the local priest intervened and asked Gene to stay on with Catherine (his sister in law) so neither of them would have to live alone.  That was their "situation" the whole time we knew them (from 1948 to 1954.)
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