Our volunteer restoration team uncovered foot stones and the base for a probable obelisk for the McKenzie children: Josepha McKenzie born on 19 Sep 1872 and her death on 22 Feb 1873, Johnie W McKenzie born on 19 Sep 1874 and his death on 16 Aug 1875, and Charlie McKenzie born on 24 Dec 1875 and his death of 27 Feb 1876. During the cemetery restoration of 2021-2022, the obelisk was not recovered.
We worked on this family in 2021 and could not find the McKenzie’s on the 1870 or 1880 Census or the 1876 State Census. We did not know the given names of the parents, just W.A. and M.E. McKenzie.
However, in 2022, we took a second look at the family and with a hint from Justin Watkins about a McKenzie Hotel in St. Charles and its owner William A. McKenzie and his wife Mary E Oberkoetter Reinschmidt McKenzie, the story of the McKenzie family started to fall into place.While the McKenzie was correct, this wife Mary E was not “our” Mary E.
We found that WA McKenzie married a Mrs. ME Johnson. Mrs meaning married before. Through digging with this new information we found Mary Ellen Murray (b1850 in the area) married Levi B Johnson in 1867 at 17 years old. Unfortunately, Levi died in 1869 leaving Mary with a 2-year-old girl and one on the way – Cora and Mollie. If Levi’s name sounds familiar he is also buried in Black Walnut Cemetery. So when William A McKenzie married Mary Ellen Murray Johnson in 1871, she was a widow with two young children. Unfortunately, Mary’s heartache didn’t stop there as all three of her children she had with William died at a young age and were buried at Black Walnut Cemetery. The two Johnson girls lived to adulthood and we continue to research their descendants. We do not yet know when their mother died or where she is buried, but we know she died after the 1880 census and 1888.
That doesn’t end William A McKenzie’s story. After his wife Mary Ellen died (between 1880-1888) William married Mary E. Oberkoetter Reinshchmidt in 1888. As documented by the St Charles Preservation Journal: “For a short time Mackenzie Hotel owned by Oberkoetter’s son in law, Mackenzie, operated on the second floor. Though Mackenzie had become owner of the building, his rumored ‘dissipating gambling’ and spending all the hotel profits resulted in his sale of the building to local grocer, H.B. Denker, in 1894 for $7,500.”
Base for McKenzie obelisk – photo by Jerry Prouhet 2021
John McKensie Marriage 1871
McKenzie family tree on Ancestry