A Pioneer Tragedy

The first tragedy in Monroe County’s history resulted in the death of John McGee and his daughter. In 1824, Mr. McGee decided to move from Howard to Monroe County. He first came to Jackson township, southeast of Paris, and built a cabin, to which he moved his family.

While returning with the last wagon load, he and his grown daughter, Molly, were caught in a prairie fire at the head of Brush Creek, near the David McKamey farm. The tall, dry prairie grass burned rapidly and the fire moved towards them with such speed that it was impossible to escape. They were driving hogs at the time. Seeing a small ravine at the right of the road, the hogs were driven into it, and then they laid down in the ravine. Mr. McGee removed his coat and attempted to shield his daughter with it. In a few minutes, however, the fire was upon them, and both were so severely burned that they died eight days later. There was not physician near than 40 miles.

Source: Article from the 13 Aug 1931 Monroe County Appeal Centennial Edition. Submitted by Mary Beth Kirtlink.