The McKay House

The McKay House was the home of Mary Ann McKay who married George C. and Catherine Herron's youngest, Elmer Herron. Mary Ann was a child of John McKay and his second wife, Anna Wyman. John was the son of Matthew McKay and Mary Ann Rooney. John had at least one brother, Murdock, who also lived in Wilson Township and three sisters who lived elsewhere.

Another McKay who grew up in this house and who was well known to the Spratt community from the 40s through the 70s was Earl McKay. He was the son of John McKay and his third wife, Emily Lester. He and his wife Rita had three children: Gary, Gay, and Scott. Earl and Rita are buried in the cemetery on the King Settlement Rd. close to George C. and Catherine Link Herron's grave and not far from Elmer Herron's and Hay Cochrane's and Estella Herron Cochrane's graves. The day I first saw their grave I met one of the Udells who was visiting family graves. I got talking with him, and he told me the Earl I knew was the Earl mentioned in the library's McKay House brochure. A generation of Spratt children grew up with these McKay kids and knew their bus stop on Beaver Lake Rd. to the east of M-65. The bus stops are how we kids knew one another.

I remember vividly one incident involving Earl McKay that was quite sad. Earl had an old black pickup, Chevy, I think. He used to drive it at what I suppose I thought of as an old farmer pace, 45, maybe 50 miles an hour. I was sitting on our step and saw Earl drive by at his usual leisurely pace. I looked up to the Spratt corner at the intersection of M-65 and the Werth Rd. It was 1965, and I saw a couple of kids pull out of Bill Liske's hardware store on what was then a new and novel contraption, a Honda 50. That caught my fifteen year old eyes as only a new gadget can. I saw the kid on the back lift his arm to take a swig from a Coke, and the cycle started wobbling. The kid with the soda sort of just stood up, and the cycle just drove on. However, the loss of the rider caused the bike to wobble much worse, straight into the front of Earl's pickup. Nothing Earl could do. He was down to maybe 25 mph but combined with the few miles an hour of the bike, it killed the lad. The only person I've ever watched die. It affected Earl very strongly my dad told me. He never really got over it according to dad.

A view of the McKay House as it appeared in the spring of 2010. Photo couresy the museum staff.

A view a corner table in the exhibit. Photo courtesy of museum staff.

The table in the exhibit. It seems a bit small considering the mob of kids that must have been around. Photo courtesy of museum staff.


A spinning wheel in the exhibit. I'm not sure people used spinning wheels were used much at the turn of the twentieth century. Photo courtesy of museum staff.

Another view of the corner table, included because my wife, Deirdre, likes those rag rugs like the one on the floor. Photo courtesy of museum staff.

Another shot of the table/window area in the house. Photo courtesy of museum staff.

The wood cook stove in the exhibit. My grandmother, Elsie Munns Huston (later James), still used a similar stove into the 1970s. Photos courtesy of museum staff.

The grave of John P. McKay and his third wife, Emily Ann Lester in the King Settlement Cemetery on the King Settlement Rd. between the Werth Rd. and M-32. Photo courtesy of Kathy Melville-Hall and Myra Herron.

The grave of John and Emily's son Earl and his wife Rita in the King Settlement Cemetery. Photo courtesy of Kathy Melville-Hall and Myra Herron.

The grave of Murdock McKay who was apparently John's brother as he was buried next to John and Emily's grave. Photo courtesy of Kathy Melville-Hall and Myra Herron.

Another shot of the exterior of the McKay house. I took this photo in April, 2005.





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