Sunday, September 06, 2015

Thomas McGee Home

Thomas C. McGee was a pioneer resident of Erie County, Ohio. He was born in the state of New York in 1808, and he moved to Ohio with his family in 1818. About 1821 the McGee family settled in Sandusky, Ohio where Thomas was bound out to Cyrus W. Marsh, proprietor of the Steamboat Hotel. As a young man, Thomas C. McGee was a steward on the vessel William Penn. Later he was the ship master of the Louisa Judson, the Platina, and the Sandusky. For four years he was master of the U.S. Government supply ship the Watchful.  Below is a portion of an article he wrote for the Firelands Pioneer in 1888, in which he listed several vessels that entered the harbor of Sandusky in 1822.  (See the Firelands Pioneer of January, 1888, pages 76-77, to read the complete article.)

For a time, Thomas C. McGee served as supervisor of roads in Sandusky. The house pictured above, at 536 East Washington, was home to McGee and his first wife, Rosamond, in the late 1840s and early 1850s. In 1853 Thomas moved to the country on Hayes Avenue. Eventually he moved back to the city of Sandusky, residing on Hancock Street. When Rosamond Ward McGee died in 1877, Thomas wrote a touching tribute to her, which was published in volume four of the Firelands Pioneer. After Rosamond’s death, Thomas married Ellen Ward, a cousin of his first wife. 

Rush R. Sloane wrote in the Firelands Pioneer of July, 1888 that McGee was among the “early and earnest” friends of the Underground Railroad of the Firelands. The name of Thomas C. McGee is listed on a marker at Shoreline Park in downtown Sandusky which honors those who assisted fugitive slaves make their way to freedom aboard Canada-bound vessels on Lake Erie.