The above photo was taken about 1899 in what was Indian Territory (Chickasaw Nation) but today is Love County, Oklahoma. Isn't that a beautiful family? All girls except for one boy. Joseph married Nancy A. Shurbet in January 1876. Like the McKay family, the Shurbet family lived along the Itawamba-Prentiss county line near Marietta. In fact, Nancy's sister Mattie married a cousin of Joseph McKay's, James Norman McKay, and Nancy's brother Zadeus married another McKay cousin, Julia.
About 1890, the McKays, Shurbets and a host of other families left Mississippi for Texas and Oklahoma. Many of these families wound up in Indian Territory around the present day town of Thackerville. Joseph and Nancy were part of that wagon train.
Joseph was the son of Samuel A. McKay and his wife Permelia Caroline Ables, and his sister Talitha was my husband's great-great grandmother.
Joseph was born November 11, 1850 in Itawamba County. I've found land records for his father Samuel that indicated Samuel received a land patent dated 1851 for land located in extreme northeastern Itawamba County. At some point, probably following their return to Itawamba County from Indiana following the Civil War, the McKays wound up further west in the county in the area around Marietta and Kirkville.
The 1880 census finds Joseph and Nancy in Prentiss County, District 4, probably living just above the Itawamba-Prentiss line. By the 1900 census they were in Indian Territory (Oklahoma), "west of Red River" in present day Love County which borders the state of Texas. Before the year was out, Nancy died in December after giving birth to her daughter Cornelia who died just a few days later. They were buried at Mahota Cemetery near Thackerville in Love County. Joseph moved to New Mexico where we find him living in the 1910 census with his son John and young daughters. He must have gone back to Oklahoma however, because he died at the age of 61 in Walters, Cotton County, Oklahoma on March 25, 1912 from Bright's Disease. He was buried at Elm Grove Cemetery in Walters.
Township 8 South, Range 2 East
West of Red River
Joseph McKay 50 MS SC AL farmer, rents, born Nov 1849, married 25 years
Nancy C. 38 MS NC AL, born Aug 1861, 11 children, 11 living
Caroline W. 23 MS born Oct 1876 (Caroline Winifred)
Viola 21 MS born Oct 1878 (Viola Jane)
Cora E. 18 MS born Mar 1882 (Cora Eunice)
Mary D. 14 MS born Jan 1886 (Mary Demoun)
Martha B. 12 MS born Apr 1888 (Martha Bell)
Margie 10 MS born Mar 1890 (Jimmie Marjorie)
John 8 TX born June 1891 (John Joseph)
Alma T. 6 IND Territory born Jan 1894 (Alma Tiphena)
Fannie M. 4 IND Territory born Mar 1896 (Fannie Mae)
Febbie L. 1 IND Territory born Nov 1898 (Phoebe Lou)
All of the family enumerated above are in the photograph. Another daughter, Della Ann McKay, is not pictured in the photo, probably married at the time.