Transcribed from "An Illustrated History of The Big Bend Country, embracing
Lincoln, Douglas, Adams and Franklin counties, State of Washington",
published by Western Historical Publishing Co., 1904.
WILLIAM McKAY, a land owner and
retired railroad man at Ritzville, was born in Scotland, June 22, 1848,
and the following year was brought by his parents to Pennsylvania, and
thence to Minnesota, where the principal part of his boyhood and young
manhood was spent. Reared on a farm and educated in the graded schools
of Winona, Minnesota, he, at the age of twenty-one, removed to South Dakota,
where he remained ten years engaged in farming on a homestead. In
1878 he came to Walla Walla, remained one year, then came to Adams county
and built a home on the first deeded lot in Ritzville, which lot was presented
to him by General Sprague. He conducted a hotel here for eighteen
months, when his wife died and he sold his business and engaged as section
foreman for the Northern Pacific railroad. He remained in the employ
of this company for twenty years as section foreman and one year engaged
in other work, making in all twenty-one years with one company. During
this time he also dealt heavily in land.
Mr. McKay was married at Canton, South Dakota,
to Sarah E. Martin, a native of Wisconsin, daughter of Isaac N. and Elizabeth
Martin. Mr. Martin was born in Ohio, a pioneer in Wisconsin and Dakota,
and died in 1902.
On July 18, 1893, at Ritzville, Mr. McKay
was married a second time his wife being Patience Tull, born in Indiana.
Her father was a Civil War soldier, and died from wounds received in battle.
William McKay's father, whose Christian name
he bears, also was born in Scotland. He settled in 1849 in Crawford
county, Pennsylvania, removed five years later to Winona county, Minnesota,
and came to Washington in 1879. He filed on land here, and is now
living with his daughter, Mrs. J. G. Bennett, in Ritzville. Our subject's
other parent was in maiden life, Margaret Johnson, born and reared in Scotland,
came to America with her husband and died at Winona, Minnesota. Mr.
McKay has no full brothers living, but has one sister, Christina, widow
of the late James G. Bennett, a Ritzville pioneer, mentioned elsewhere
in this work.
Mr. McKay is a member of the Maccabees, and
is a Republican in politics, though not an active party man. Both
he and Mrs. McKay are members of the Congregational church. Mr. McKay
has the distinction of building the first house in Ritzville, the lumber
for which came from Medical Lake, and the shingles from Coeur d'Alene,
Idaho. In those days most all supplies were hauled by wagon from
Walla Walla and Colfax.