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Updated: 01 June 2009

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Descendants of Thomas McKain (Geocities genealogy page)

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Thomas McKain (06 Oct 1820 - 31 July 1897) was born in Ireland or possibly Scotland. Family tradition has it the McKain family came from County Down, Ireland. He married Jane Morrow (10 May 1818 - 28 June 1897) of County Down, Ireland. They both died in Volinia, Cass County, MI and are buried in the Nicholsville Cemetery, Cass County, MI. The Nicholsville Cemetery is located approximately 3 miles west of Marcellus. Go west on Marcellus HWY and then north about 1 mile (SW of Finch Lake)Thomas & Jane came to the USA in 1849 on "a six week packet trip" and Thomas & Jane came to the USA in 1849 -- "a six week packet trip" and 1st settled in Rochester, NY or (Honeoye, Ontario, NY) Honeoye Falls (nearby) in Monroe County before coming to MI, first in Niles (1853) and later (1856) to Porter Township, Van Buren, MI. In the 1860 census they are in Porter Twp. In the 1869 Van Buren County Gazeteer he is listed as a landowner in Section 20 of Van Buren Co. Tom was a cooper and Jane was a member of the Presbyterian church and had a twin sister Esther Forbes.

From a Max McKain letter (June 1984): "An interesting story my Grandmother (Clara Guilfoil McKain?) used to tell, why the Irish McKains weren't Catholic. It seems Ireland was ruled by the Catholic Church in the early 1800's. They had a curfew in different areas and you had to be on your property at a certain time of night. A priest who had it in for (probably Thomas) probably skipping too many masses, engaged him in conversation outside his gate and when curfew sounded laid his hand on him to place him under arrest. Thomas hauled off and decked him, his head hitting the cobblestone. He thought he had killed him and that night the family sailed to America. Needless to say they were Protestant after that. I am sure my great grandmother embellished the story but there might be some truth to it."

The caption on the back of the portrait of Tom & Jane (Morrow) McKain reads:

Thomas McKain

B. May 25, 1817 Ireland

d. Aug 7, 1897 Volinia, Mich.

Jane Morrow McKain

B. Feb. 25, 1816 Ireland County Down Ire

married 1836

came to America 1849

First two children

Allen & David b. in Ireland

Obituary for Thomas McKain who died on 31 July 1897 (unknown newspaper--possibly Marcellus News): "Thomas McKain was born in Ireland in 1818 and died at his home in Volinia Saturday morning July 31st. In 1836 he married Jane Morrow, they came to America in 1849. Mrs. McKain died but a few months ago. Rev. J.H. Hammond preached the funeral sermon and the interment was in the Nicholsville cemetery.
CARD OF THANKS We return our sincere thanks to the kind friends and neighbors who assisted us during the last sickness and burial of our father. HIS CHILDREN"

Obituary of Jane Morrow McKain June 28, 1897 (probably Marcellus News): "Jane Morrow was born in Down county, Ireland, February 25, 1816. She was married to Thomas McKain in 1836, and came to America in the spring of 1849. They lived in the state of New York seven years and then came to Michigan and made their home in Porter, Van Buren county. Eight children were born to them, seven of whom, with her husband, survive her. They were all with her in the last moments, which was a great joy to her as she retained her mind till within a few hours of her passing away. She asked if they would all be with her and when told they would said, "O, I am so, happy, happy, happy." She was prepared and willing to go. The last words one of her sons could catch were, "In my Father's Kingdom, on the first floor." She had been a devoted member of the Presbyterian church in her old home. She was a true wife, a loving mother and a kind neighbor, beloved by young and old. Knowing how bright and good everything seemed to her we truly feel that her last years were her best.
We return our sincere thanks to the kind friends who assisted us during the last sickness and burial of our wife and mother.

Last Will & Testament of Jane McKain

McKain Tombstone

Tombstone inscription:
Thomas McKain
Oct. 6, 1820
July 01, 1897

Jane Morrow
Wife of
Thomas McKain
May 10, 1818
June 28, 1897

Jane McKain portrait

Jane McKain portrait (stained) Please contact Jim Adams (adamsmckain at gmail.com) if you have a better copy of this portrait.

Jane McKain and her family

Thomas & Jane (Morrow) McKain had 8 children:

1. Allen McKain (b. 1839 - 07 Feb 1893) He married, Mary who died 18 May 1928. They both are buried in Fort Hill Cemetery, Auburn, NY.

Obituary for Allen McKain from the Adams-McKain reunion books: ""OBSEQUIES OF ALLEN MCKAIN An Unusually Large Funeral This Afternoon.
Seldom has the death of a private citizen caused more universal regret throughout the whole city than that of Allen McKain, and seldom has the dead been followed to its last resting place by a more imposing cortege of citizens. The entire plant of D.M. Osborne & Co. (farm implement company) was shut down this aftrnoon and crape streamers of mourning waved in the breeze from every entrance.
At 2:30 o'clock this afternoon private services were held at the home of the deceased for the family, conducted by Rev. Willia Searls, D.D. and Rev. William Hubbard, pastor of the First Presbyterian church. The services were very simple, consisting of a brief prayer and the reading of an appropriate psalm.
At 3 o'clock the concluding services were held at the First Presbyterian church. The large auditorium was copletely filled with sorrowing friends, gathered to pay a last tribute of respect for the dead. Over six hundred employees of D.M. Osborne & Co. with whom the deceased had for so many years bee numbered, occupied reserved seats in the body of the church.
The services were very simple, Rev. Mr. Hubbard offered prayer and read suitable passages of Scripture and a brief but feeling eulogy was delivered by Rev. Dr. Searls, a life long friend of the deceased. Mrs. C.M. Elliot sang two solos, "Nearer My God to Thee," the favorite hymn of Mr. McKain, nad "Sometime We'll Understand." The latter was very appropriate and is appended:

Now now, but in the coming years
It may be in the better land
We'll read the meaning of our tears
And there, sometime, we'll understand


Then trust in God through all thy days;
Fear not for He doth hold thy hand;
Though dark the way, still sing and praise
Sometime, sometime, we'll understand

We'll catch the broken threads again
And finish what we here began
Heaen will the mysteries explain
And then, ah then, we'll understand

We'll know why clouds instead of sun
Were over many a cherished plan
Why song has ceased when scarce begun
'Tis there, sometime, we'll understand

Why what we long for most of all
Elludes so oft our eager hand
Why hopes are crushed and castles fall
Up there, sometime we'll understand

God knows the way, He holds the key
He guides me with unerring hand
Sometime with tearless eyes we'll see
(words missing) there, we'll understand

The bearers were G.W. Allen, D.A. Smith, John Underwood, Charles Schellenger, D.J. Cuykendall of this city; Fred White of Scranton, Pa., David Herbert of Philadelphia, Pa.

The floral tributes were handsome and elaborate, among them being: Gates Ajar, J.C. Stout, Dexter A. Smith, D.J. Cuykenall, W.B. Hislop, C.A. Smith, L.W. Stevens, J.E. Storke, Bernard Timmerman, Cyrenus Wheeler, jr., C.D. MacDougall, William Cosgrove, David Herbert, Thomas McCrea; shield, Machine Shop No. 1; broken wheel, Mower room; Rock of Ages, mill employees; A.O.U. W. crescet; triangle, Cayuga Lodge of K. of P.; broken wheel, superintendent and foreman of D.M. Osborne & Co.; massive harp, "at rest" on base, D.M. Osborne & Co.; pillow "faithful", G.W. Allen; cross, George B Parks; wreath, E.D. Metcalf; wreath, Mrs. D.M. Osborne and family; crescent, Dr. and Mrs. Searls and Mrs. E.A. Woodin; crescent, Mr. and Mrs. C.B. Kosters; crescent, H.B. Fay; wreath, W.H. Maynard, pillow, Mr. and Mrs. F.R. White; basket, Mr. and Mrs. T. Peterson and Charles Elger; basket, Mr. and Mrs. Broad.
Interment was in Fort Hill Cemetery"

Fort Hill cemetery 19 Fort Street, Auburn, NY 13021. Located in the city of Auburn
Location of plot: Glen Alpine 44 1
Mary is buried in: Glen Alpine 44
Source: www.rootsweb.com/~nycayuga/cem/cem1_M.htm

2. David McKain (b. 1842 08 April 1908). He was born in County Down, Ireland and married Sarah ("Aunt Sate") Essington (19 Sep 1850 - 07 July 1937) in Odell, IL on 10 Dec 1878. She was born in England and both are buried in New Carisle, IN.

Obituary of David McKain: "David McKain was born in Down county, Ireland in the year 1842 and came to America with his parents when he was seven years old. He lived in the state of New York until he was sixteen, when he came to Niles, Mich., where he worked with his father in the Lambert or Lambeth cooper shop, gaining what schooling he could at the Union High School, going there to Porter, Van Buren county, Mich., where he lived until the war broke out, when he enlisted, being the first man from his town to enter the ranks. Enlisting as a three month's man in the First Michigan Infantry and re-enlisting again in the same regiment when the time expired. He was in both battles of Bull Run and was discharged for wounds received in the second battle. After a year's absence he again enlisted in the 10th Michigan Calvary, where he served until the close of the war. He returned to his old home in Porter, remaining for a short time, when he went to Odell, IL., where he met Miss Sarah Essington whom he married Dec. 10, 1878. They moved to Peabody, Kan., remaining for three years. They also spent some time in Missouri. They came to New Carlisle eighteen years ago (1890) where he has lived until the call came to enter the ranks of commrades gone before. The call was all too promptly answered as his sudden death came as a great shock to his friends and relatives April 8th, 1908.

He was a man that always took an active part in social and political life, never seeking office for himself, but was an able and enthusiastic worker for his friends. Dave McKain was well known in all the communities where he lived, loved by his friends, and feared by his opponents, a good citizen, dearly loving his adopted country, a brave and true soldier and comrade and a loving husband and brother. He leaves a wife, also three sisters and three brothers, all who were able to be at the funeral service. We can only say, "Those who knew him best, loved him most."

The funeral services were conducted at the residence Saturday morning by Rev. D. A. Grime. Interment at the New Carlisle cemetery.

Those in attendance from out of town were: Mr. and Mrs. Will McKain, of Jackson, Mich.; Joseph McKain, of Detroit, Mich.; James McKain, Decatur, Mich.; Mr. and Mrs. Kinney of Ostemo, Mich.; Mrs. Jane Adams, Mrs. Effie Adams, Chester Adams and Mason Adams, of Marcellus, Mich.; Mrs. Copley and daughter, Lena of Chicago; Edward Bunting, of Dwight, Ill.; Mr. and Mrs. Chas. Luce, of Marseilles, Ill.; and Sue R. Essington, of Princeton, Ill. Card of Thanks The wife, brothers and sisters of the late David McKain desire to thank the many kind friends and neighbors for their help and sympathy during their bereavement.

Obituary of Sarah Essington McKain Mrs. Sarah McKain, New Carlisle (word missing)

New Carlisle, Ind. July (word missing)

(Special)- Funeral services for Sarah McKain, 86, who died Wednesday morning at her home here following an illness of two weeks are to be held at 2:30 p.m. Friday at the McKain residence.

The Rev. A. L. Sevenson is (to) officiate and burial is to be in the New Carlisle cemetary. Mrs. McKain was born September, 19 (word missing) in England. She had resided in New Carlisle for the past 40 years.

Mrs. McKain's husband, D (word missing) died 30 years ago. Surviving (word missing) two daughters. The body m(ay) be viewed at the residence un(word missing) hour of the funeral.

3. James McKain (b. 1845, d. 1916). Born in Ireland.

4. Jane Woods McKain (02 Jan 1847 - 22 Feb 1913). She was born in County Down, Ireland and married Uriah Mason Adams in Porter Township, Van Buren County, MI on 19 April 1865. Both are buried in Bly Cemetery, Marcellus, Cass County, MI.

Jane Woods McKain portrait (from Muriel Brown's photo album. Courtesy of Robert Brown)

Jane Woods McKain and her 8 grandchildren (Harry, Hazel, Helen, Hyldred, Clare, Carl, Ruth Sykes)

Obituary of Jane Woods McKain: Jane Woods McKain was born in County Downs, Ireland, Jan. 2, 1847, and died Feb 22, 1913. She came with her parents to Honeyeye Falls, New York. Later when a child, they came to Niles, Mich., and when she had grown to womanhood they came to Porter, Mich., where she was united in marriage to Uriah M. Adams April 19, 1865, and settled on the farm where she died. Six children came to bless this union: Mrs. Effie Adams of Marcellus, Chester and Archie of Porter, Mrs. Mary Sykes of Benton Harbor, Mason of South Bend and Ross of Kalamazoo. After the death of the father, which occurred at the home farm July 5, 1900, she moved to Marcellus, where she lived except when with her children, her death occuring at the old homestead while visiting her son, Chester. This loss will be most keenly felt she being a very devoted mother and a wise counseler to her children. Besides the children there are left eleven grandchildren, two sisters, three brothers and a host of friends who will remember her many acts of kindness. She was always ready to help those who needed her most. Truly her life was one of usefulness, always helping to bear the burdens of others. Although not affiliated with any church, she believed in the teachings of the Bible. She was bourne to her last resting place by her four sons and two sons-in-law.

Mrs. Jane Adams, aged 66, of Marcellus, mother of county physician, Dr. R. U. Adams, died suddenly of apoplexy while on a visit to her farm near Marcellus. She was one of the pioneers of Cass county and owned a number of large farms in both Cass and Van Buren counties. Dr. Adams will be away from the city until the burial.

The death of Mrs. Jane Adams occurred Saturday morning, Feb. 22, 1913, while visiting her son, Chester H. Adams. The out of town relative attending the funeral were Mr. and Mrs. C. P. Sykes and children of Benton Harbor, Mr. and Mrs. M. C. Adams of South Bend, Dr. R. U. Adams of Kalamazoo, Mr. and Mrs. J. McKain of Detroit , Mr. and Mrs. Wm. McKain of Kalamazoo, Mrs. Sarah McKain of New Carlisle, Ind., and Mr. and Mrs. Earl Copley of Decatur.

Jane is 2nd youngest of 4 brothers and 3 sisters and last of her family to die.

In the 1910 census she was living with her daughter, Effa and son-in-law, George (1859-1941) on East Dibble St. in Marcellus (across the street from St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church.

Jane McKain Adams died Sat AM 22 FEB 1913 while visiting her son Chester H. Adams. Out of town relatives attending were: Mr. & Mrs. Claude P. Sykes of Benton Harbor; Mr. & Mrs. M.C. Adams of South Bend, IN; Dr. R.U. Adams
of Kalamazoo, Mr. & Mrs. J. McKain of Detroit, Mr. & Mrs. William McKain of Kalamazoo, Mrs. Sarah McKain of New Carlisle, IN; and Mr. & Mrs. Earl Copley of Decatur. She came with her parents to Honoeye Falls, NY. Later when she was a child they came to Niles, MI and came to Porter in womanhood. Left children, 11 grandchildren, 2 sisters, 3 brothers. Rev. H.A. Decker of Scottville preached the sermon.

Age at death: 66 years, 1 month, 21 days

5. Mary McKain (12 Nov 1847 - 27 Nov 1929) married Nathan S. Kinney (09 March 1844 - 1927) on 04 Feb1869 in Three Rivers, St. Joseph County, MI. She was born in County Antrim, Ireland.

Three McKain Sisters: Mary (Kinney), Esther (Copley), Jane (Adams). (from Muriel Brown's photo album. Courtesy of Robert Brown) The McKain Sisters Photograph -- Daughters of Thomas & Jane Morrow McKain of Ireland
Jane Woods McKain Adams (02 Jan 1847 - 22 Feb 1913), Mary McKain Kinney (12 Nov 1847 - 27 Nov 1929), Esther McKain Copley (1852 - 1927). Jane Woods McKain Adams is the grandmother of Dr. U. M. Adams & great grandmother of James R. Adams. A similar photograph was donated by John K. Adams of Ypsilanti, MI (18 Dec 2004) see below

6. Nathaniel ("Nate") Joseph McKain (08 Nov 1851 - 21 Nov 1940) married Nora Helen Taylor (d. 17 Jan 1919) in 1894. "Uncle Nate" was born in Rochester, NY and died in Detroit, Wayne County, MI. Both are buried in Parma (Mason), MI.

Joe McKain reading the Detroit Free Press

Joe McKain He spent his boyhood in Lawton & Paw Paw. In the 1870 census, he is listed in the Uri and Jane Adams household. Notes from reunion book (Effa Mae Adams): Joe McKain went to work for the MI Central RR in 1873 at the age of 20 and retired at the age of 70 working as a conductor for 50 years.

Obituary of Nathaniel Joseph McKain:

Mr. Joseph McKain, died suddenly at his home in Detroit, Mich., on the morning of November 21, 1940, at the age of 89 years and 12 days. Mr. McKain was born in Rochester, N. Y., November 8, 1851, the son of Jane Morrow and Thomas McKain, the second youngest of three sisters and four brothers, all of whom have preceded him in death. The McKain family came to Niles, Mich., in 1853 and later to Porter township, where Mr. McKain spent his boyhood, attending school in Lawton and Paw Paw. At the age of 20 years, he went to work on the Michigan Central railroad, where he worked as a conductor for 50 years, retiring at the age of 70 years. He was married to Norah Taylor of Parma, Mich., in 1894, who died in 1919. He is survived by a daughter, Mrs. Jane McKain Pomeroy, and 12 nieces and nephews, also a large circle of friends and neighbors, who will greatly miss his cheery greeting and genial personality. Funeral services were held at his home in Detroit, November 23, with burial at Parma, under the auspices of the Masonic lodge. Mr. McKain was the brother of the late Mrs. Uriah Adams of Porter, Mrs. Esther Copley of Decatur, Mary McKain of Oshtemo, and Will McKain, who was also a conductor on the Michigan Central railroad. Mr. and Mrs. A. L. Adams of Porter and Dr. Uriah Adams of Marcellus attended the funeral services at Detroit.

Pictures submitted by Jack Adams of Ypsilanti, MI on 14 April 2005. Can also be found in Reunion Books. Uncle Joe is the Great Grand Uncle of Jack Keith Adams.

7. Esther McKain (b. 1852, d. between 13-23 May 1927) was born in Rochester, NY. She married Edward Edwin Bennett Copley.

8. William McKain (25 Sep 1856 - 14-18 Feb 1923) was born in Niles, Berrien County, MI. He married Clara Guilfoil (April 1867 - 03 Dec 1947) on 19 Oct 1882. They are both buried in Evergreen Cemetery, 901 Greenwood Avenue, Jackson, MI 49203. 517.788.4078

He was employed by the MI Central RR for 44 years, most of it as a passenger conductor (Detroit-Chicago, later Kalamazoo-Chicago). The family lived in Jackson, MI for 30 years and Kalamazoo for 9 years and in Decatur the last two years of his life after his retirement. One source has him interred at Lakeside (?)

Notes from reunion book (Effa Mae Adams): Uncle Will McKain died Feb 14, 1923. Went on RR Feb 15, 1877. Quit on account of sickness in 1919. (MI Central RR, now the NY Central RR)

Obituary of William McKain

William McKain was born at Niles, Mich., September 25, 1856, and passed away at his home in this village February 18, at the age of sixty-six years. For over forty-four years he was employed by the Michigan Central as a trainman, and served part of that time as a passenger conductor, his run being between Detroit and Chicago. The family resided at Jackson over thirty years, at Kalamazoo nine years, and two years ago, when failing health compelled him to give up active work on the road, Mr. and Mrs. McKain came to Decatur to live. He leaves to mourn his passing a wife, one son, a grandson, one brother and two sisters, besides many friends not only in the cities where he has formally resided, but in Decatur. He was a kind, considerate husband and father, a faithful worker and a congenial friend. Funeral services were held at the home Saturday afternoon, Rev. W. E. Calow, officiating. Interment at Lakeside. Those from away who attended the funeral were Mr. and Mrs. E. J. McKain, Joseph McKain, A. J. Guilfoil, of Detroit; E. J. Guilfoil and wife of Wyandotte; M. J. Schaberg and wife, Dr. and Mrs. R. U. Adams, C. H. Curtis, Mrs. E. Rhodes, Mrs. M. Jackson, of Kalamazoo; Mrs. M. J. Guilfoil, Mr. and Mrs. John Manson, Mrs. May Connely, of Jackson; Mr. and Mrs. Claude Sykes, Misses Mildred and Hazel Adams, of Benton Harbor; Mrs. Ray Mitchell of Lawton; Mr. and Mrs. N. S. Kinney of Oshtemo; Mrs. George Adams, Marcellus; Mr and Mrs. Archie Adams, of Schoolcraft; Mr and Mrs. Chester Adams of Vicksburg.


We wish to express our heartfelt thanks to all those who in any way assisted during the long illness of husband and father.

Mrs. Clara McKain

Son, Earl Joseph McKain

Grandson, Max William McKain


William McCain, who up to the time of his retirement about four years ago, was among the oldest conductors in point of service on the Michigan Central railroad, died at his home in Decatur, Wednesday night, from Bright's disease. Mr. McCain was will known to railroad men on the line between Kalamazoo and Chicago, which comprised his run. He leaves his wife and a son, Earl McCain of Detroit. Funeral will be held from the home in Decatur at 3, Saturday afternoon.

Photograph of the McKain Sisters: -- (Courtesy of Jack Adams) I don't know any history on the picture other than what I told you earlier, it obviously originated at the farm, I think I said that Jane bought a house in Marcellus which eventually my grand parents moved into and probably the picture was there and was brought to Detroit when we moved there in 1925, or there-abouts. Another theory I have is---in the early 1930's my grandparents, Hazel, and I, went back to Marcellus to clean out the barn that sat on the back of the lot. I can remember, in the loft there was all kinds of junk, and I'd venture to say that a lot of stuff got thrown away that should have been kept. I took possession of a glass dish with General Grant's inpression in the center which I still have hanging on the wall. I have no idea who owned it originally. So, perhaps the picture was brought to Detroit at that time also. I think you know these houses were on Dibble St. east of the Grand Trunk Depot.

The first house that Effa May and George lived in was half a block east of the depot, they lost that to whoever held the mortgage on it, perhaps about 1910-15. GG Jane died in 1913 but I don't know if they moved in with her before she died or afterwards.
My grandmother held title to it and rented it for a number of years, I remember at one point some people by the name of Streeter lived in it and they paid $9.00 a month rent for it. She finally sold it to Ina Reynolds who lived next door for $900.00, I am guessing but I think it was about 1935.