The McCormicks and the McKelveys

One of the McCormick family homes was located on the corner of what is now Washington Road and Hazel Drive (now the parking lot for Southminster Presbyterian Church. According to the notation on the back of this photo, the people are, from right, Martha, Ida McCormick McKelvy and their parents Nancy (Fife) and Thomas Milton McCormick. Far left is hired man Jake Willer.

Joseph McCormick (1819-1864) was the third son of six children born to James and Jane (Dennis) McCormick. In 1775, Joseph’s grandfather John McCormick came to America from Scotland, settled near Washington County and served in the American Revolution. John and his wife Elizabeth (McMillan) had six children.

After graduating in 1838 (at age 19) from Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia, Joseph, a Republican, began practicing medicine in Upper St. Clair Township. On July 1, 1840, at the home of Mr. James Espey, he married Mary Espy, daughter of St. Clair Township pioneers James Espy and Jane (Fife) Espy and sister of Col. William Espy. Joseph and Mary moved to Mt. Lebanon in 1857 and settled into a home on 30 acres then fronting Washington Road south of Bower Hill Road (now 424 Kenmont Avenue). Joseph must have taken going to church very seriously as in August 1845, he paid $70 for pew # 29 so it would be reserved at all times for his family and heirs. Joseph died in 1864 at age 45 of typhus he contracted while attending a patient.

The house that Mary Espy McCormick grew up in. It was built by her father, James Espy.

In a booklet commemorating the 50th anniversary of Mt. Lebanon, it says: “Galloping horses’ hoof beats and an anxious call for help put Dr. Joseph McCormick onto his horse whatever the hour. The call could mean a fast trip through white moonlight over the hard ground or the struggle of a bewildered hourse through knee-deep mud in a crackling storm. This dedication brought the doctor the love and respect of his fellowman and his untimely death at the age of forty-five.”

The doctor and his wife had nine children-James Espey, see below; Dr. John C.; Joseph D.; Thomas Milton (1851-1896), see below; Jane (1853-1915); Anna Marguerite, who married William Carnahan on May 11, 1893; William Espy, president and superintendent of Mt. Lebanon Cemetery when it reorganized in 1898; Martha Elizabeth(1864-1936), a teacher who never married; and Mary Ida, who in 1890 married attorney Frank McKelvy of Mt. Washington. Mary and Frank’s son Clifton died at age 8.

James Espy married Elizabeth Kiddoo on February 17, 1870. James worked his father’s farm until he died in 1888. James and Elizabeth’s son Joseph H. (1872-1922), married Alberta Y. Smith (1874-1944). It is possible that Anna M. and Alice F. were the daughters of Joseph and Alberta.

On January, 15, 1880, Thomas Milton married Nancy Sutton Fife, (1858-1901), daughter of Dr. John and Rachel (Aiken) Fife of Shadyside. Thomas and Nancy had no children and lived in a large house on five acres of land on the corner of what is now Washington Road and Hazel Drive. Thomas was a school director with William Alderson and H.R. Long. in 1896, Thomas bought the general store on the corner of Washington and Bower Hill roads from Caleb Milholland and hired E.N. Phillips as storekeeper. Thomas died later that year and his wife, Nancy, sold the store to the Algeo family in 1898. In his will, Thomas left his house to his brother William Espy, who had married Nancy’s sister Margaret Adela Fife.

The following pictures were found in a McCormick family Bible that had been donated to The Historical Society of Mount Lebanon. We do not know the identities of these women. If you do, please let us know.


Ollie McCormick’s calling card

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