This past week I have been working on the last family to marry the children of William and Rebecca Oney Corel, the McGhee/McGee family. The father of the three children who married three Corel siblings was James Joseph McGhee, born October 28, 1796 in Treanamullin, Stranorlar, County Donegal, Ireland to Margaret Stewart and Thomas M’Ghee. James Joseph was the oldest of eight children all born in Stranorlar Parish, Ireland. The other children are Robert, Adam, Thomas, William, Nancy “Sarah”, Margaret, and Caldwell S. (possibly Stewart).
Family legend states that three McGhee brothers, James Joseph, Adam, and Thomas, arrived in New York from Ireland about 1819. One descendant of James Joseph recalls hearing stories of James working on the Erie Canal, which was constructed between 1817 and 1825. Another descendant wrote of the three brothers being grading contractors for the Illinois Central Railroad, “and finishing their contract in 1852, they had $8,000 in silver dollars which they concealed in nail kegs and traveled by wagon train to Kansas City from St. Louis, and after a time went to Kansas where they took up land east of Lawrence.”