22 October 2010

Ancestor Biography: Katherine McGee Watt

Katherine McGee, my paternal great grandmother, was the oldest of four children born to Richard McGee and Sarah Jackson.  Katherine was born on 2 September 1862 in Collingwood, Grey, Ontario, Canada.  (Note:  In 1862 Collingwood was part of Grey, it is currently part of Simcoe county)  Other children born to Richard and Sarah were:
  1. Isabella McGee:  Born 1 October 1868, Collingwood, Grey, Ontario, Canada.  She married Richard Simmons in 1896 and eventually moved to Duluth, Minnesota.
  2. William John McGee:  Born 10 July 1871, Collingwood, Grey, Ontario, Canada.  He married Laura Kirby in 1900 in Thornbury, Grey, Ontario, Canada.
  3. James McGee:  Born 25 February 1877 in Ontario, Canada.
The Richard McGee family can be found in the 1871 Canadian Census:

1871, Collingwood, Grey North, Ontario, Canada, district 37 Grey North, subdistrict Township of Collingwood, division 1, p 78, Family Number 282, Richard McGee ; digital images, Ancestry.com, Ancestry (www.ancestry.com : accessed 8 October 2010); Roll C-9953.

Katherine was 14 when her mother, Sarah, died in 1877.  I often wonder if Katherine had to take on the duties of mothering her siblings as they were 9, 6, and 2 months old at the time.  Very little is known of Katherine during her youth and teenage years. 

Between 1877 and 1881, her father, Richard, married Mary May.  Richard was twenty four years older than Mary.  They had six children:
  1. Margaret in 1881
  2. Mabel in 1883
  3. Samuel Zachariah in 1885
  4. Hibernia in 1887, who married William H. Heighes
  5. Laura Myrtle in 1890, who married Arthur W. Reid
  6. Edna May in 1893, who married James Francis Charles Boell

The David and Katherine Watt Family
First Row: (L-R) David, Burton, Katherine, Mary
Back Row: (L-R) Sarah (my grandmother), Jean, John, Eva, Florence
(A son, David, died at the age of 14 months, in 1888.)

Katherine McGee married David Watt on 16 May 1883 in St. Ignace, Mackinac, Michigan.  They settled in Marquette, Marquette, Michigan where they had eight children.
  1. John Richard (23 August 1883-27 October 1959)
  2. Sarah Lilla (23 November 1884-31 March 1965)
  3. Jean Ethel (4 March 1886-1914)
  4. David A (24 August 1887-28 November 1888)
  5. Eva May (June 1889-January 1921)
  6. Florence Isabel (17 December 1890-?)
  7. Burton Lewis (10 December 1892-6 March 1994)
  8. Mary Katherine (27 August 1894-?)

Katherine Watt, with grandchildren Richard and Warren Watt

David and Katherine Watt lived and raised their children in Marquette, Michigan.  They can be found in the 1900, 1910, 1920 and 1930 U.S. Federal Census for Marquette, Marquette, Michigan.  The 1910 Census is below:

Source:  1910 U.S. Census, , population schedule, Ward 4, enumeration district (ED) 191, p 8B, dwelling 174, Head of household-David Watt; digital images, ancestry.com (: accessed 8 October 2010); Original data: United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Thirteenth Census of the United States, 1910. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1910. T624, 1,178 rolls..

Mrs. David Watt Obituary
The Mining Journal, Marquette, Michigan
 23 January 1932 page 2, Column 3

Katherine Watt died on 22 January 1932 in Marquette, Michigan at the home of her son, Burt.  She had been ill for 18 months.  I ordered a copy of her death certificate and with further research discovered a few errors on it.  The following information is in error:
  • Marital status:  Widow  Correction:  Katherine was married at the time of death.
  • Surname before First Married:  Catherine Jackson  Correction:  Surname was McGee; Jackson was her mother's maiden name.
  • Father's Name:  Richard Wallace  Correction:  Father's name was Richard McGee

Park Cemetery (Marquette, Marquette, Michigan, USA) 
Photo by Brenda Leyndyke. Personal Visit. July 2009.

Katherine McGee Watt is buried in Park Cemetery, Marquette, Michigan in the Watt family plot. 


  1. Brenda, another excellent bio from you. Isn't it amazing how many errors can be on a death certificate, at least you knew the facts, imagine trying to locate a Catherine Jackson's parents.

  2. Barbara, I guess I had a senior moment-I thought I had included the death certificate. Yes, trying to find a Catherine Jackson would have been interesting.

  3. Brenda
    The Township of Collingwood is in Grey County and the Town of Collingwood is in Simcoe County. The Township of Collingwood since amalgamation in about 2000 is part of the Town of the Blue Mountains, part of Grey County.

    I enjoyed reading Katherine McGee Watt's profile.

  4. Janet, thanks for the added information on Collingwood.