Every attempt has been made to ensure accuracy; please independently verify all data.
Published on: 02 Sep 2016
Updated: 10 February 2017
Find his descendants and researchers here.
Surname variations: Kye, Keiay, Keays, Mackey
First Generation in the New World
1. JOHN KEY, was born in Scotland about 1633 and died in Maine in 1718. He married, first, in Maine before about 1672, UNKNOWN (_____). He married, second, in Maine about 1679?, Widow UNKNOWN (JENKINS) NASON.
Children of John Key [not in proper order of birth]:
JOHN KEY, JR., born at Kittery, Maine about 1672-76; captive in Quebec with his father 1689-1695; married about 1697, GRIZZEL GRANT, daughter of Peter Grant [a SPOW].
ELIZABETH KEY, born at Kittery in 1673; m. on 03 Jan 1694, WALTER ABBOTT.
ABIGAIL KEY, born at Kittery (on the Roll of English Prisoners in the Hands of the French and Indians at Canada – 1710)
JAMES KEY, born at Kittery in 1685; died 1690, killed by Indians at age 5
SARAH KEY, born at Kittery.
MARY KEY, born at Kittery; married SYLVANUS WENTWORTH.
HANNAH KEY, born at Kittery; married JOHN HAINES.
John Kye Senior, his mark, 1710
After being released from his indenture, John Key relocated to the far north end of the homesteads along the Newichawannock River on the Maine side, above Salmon Falls. He and his first and second wives raised seven children. Being on the edge of the frontier, they were especially vulnerable to the surprise Indian attack that took place on March 17, 1689/90. John’s five-year-old son James was killed. John and two of his other children, John and Abigail, were taken prisoner and sold in Canada. Prisoners in or around Quebec for six years, John and John Jr. were ransomed in 1695 and returned home to Maine. Daughter Abigail was still on the captive roll in 1710, so she may never have returned. John Jr. grew up to marry Grizzel Grant, a daughter of Scot Peter Grant.
John Key, aka Kye, Keiay, Keays, Mackey TIMELINE:
1633 – Approximate date of birth. (about 70 in 1703 deposition) [GDMNH 398]
1650 or 1651 – HTDNH 81 thinks it very likely that he came on the John & Sara.
[Stinson note: There is a “John Mackey” who is #128 on the John & Sara list, but I suspect he is instead the “John Key” who is #44 on “The Dunbar Prisoners” list.]
1657 – taxed at Dover as “John Key” [OKAHF 568]
11 Dec 1662 – grant of land in Kittery [NEHGR 176]; 30 rods on the river, extending 267 rods into the woods [OKAHF 135]
[Note: James Grant [#34 DPL], James Barry, and Micum McIntire [#61 DPL] received similar grants that same day.] [OKAHF 135]
1667 – at Berwick (aka Salmon Falls) [OKAHF 133 map shows shows John Key’s land near the far north end of the Old Berwick settlers.]
1669 – oath of fidelity [OKAHF 568]
1671 – grant of land from Kittery [NEHGR 176]
Name of first wife is unknown.
12 Nov 1679 – “Goodman Keys Land” abuts James Grant [MW 78]
2nd wife is daughter of Reynold Jenkins and widow of Jonathan Nason
17 March 1689-90 – he and his son John and daughter Abigail captured by Indians and taken to Canada. His son James was killed. [detailed real-time account OKAHF 162-165]
1695 – John Key and John Key Jr. were ransomed [NEHGR 176]
1711 – his house was a garrison sheltering 25 people in six families [OKAHF 177]
13 Apr 1710 – will made as “John Kye” [MW 210-212]
[Note: his mark on the will is very cool!]
30 Oct 1718 – will probated [MW 212]
Inventory £202:3:0 [MW 212]
Seven Children [Not in Birth Order]:
JAMES, (killed by Indians 1690, age 5) [GDMNH 398]
JOHN, JR., captive in Quebec with his father 1689-1695; married Grizzel Grant, daughter of Peter Grant, about 1697
ABIGAIL, (on the Roll of English Prisoners in the Hands of the French and Indians at Canada – 1710)
MARY, married Sylvanus Wentworth
HANNAH, married John Haines
ELIZABETH, born in 1673 and married Walter Abbott, January 3, 1694
In a 1701 deposition, John Key stated that James Barry, Niven Agnew, and John Taylor owned in succession a farm in upper Kittery (south Berwick).
[Stinson note: this is Barry’s grant from Kittery. Upon Barry’s death in 1675 Agnew inherited it; when Agnew died in 1687 he willed it to John Taylor.]
HTDNH History of the Town of Durham, New Hampshire, vol. 1, Everett S. Stackpole and Lucien Thompson, 1913, p. 81.
GDMNH Genealogical Dictionary of Maine and New Hampshire, Noyes, Libby, and Davis, Portland, Maine: The Southworth-Anthoensen Press, 1928-1939, p. 398.
OKAHF Old Kittery and Her Families, Everett S. Stackpole, Lewiston, Maine, Press of the Lewiston Journal Company, 1903, pp. 133, 135, 177, 568.
MW Maine Wills 1640-1760, William M. Sargent, Portland: Brown Thurston and Co., 1887, pp. 210-212.
NEHGR The New England Historical and Genealogical Register for the Year 1861, Volume XV, Samuel G. Drake, Boston: Dutton and Son, 1861, p. 176.
Yearbook of the Society of Colonial Wars of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Boston, 1897, p. 125.
Homestead of John Key, 1662
______________________________________________________________On February 02, 2017, Sandra A. Andrews shared:
Just to show how the John Key’s family, was connected with my family.
“First Generation in the New World
1. JOHN KEY, was born in Scotland about 1633 and died in Maine in 1718. He married, first, in Maine before about 1672, UNKNOWN (_____). He married, second, in Maine about 1679?, Widow UNKNOWN (JENKINS) NASON.”
1. Reynold Jenkins b Abt. 1608 England, d Bet. 1661 – 10 Feb 1678, m England Anne Gale, b England. Their children are SARAH, Mary, Joseph, Philadelphia, Stephen & Jabez.
2. SARAH JENKINS m (1) Jonathan Nason, d 1691 [Constable in 1682. Served on Grand Jury, 1674, 1688. Killed by accident in 1691. His brother, Baker accidently hit him in the head with an oar while in a canoe.]
Their children are Alice, Charity, Mary, Sarah, Jonathan, Abigail, Richard. I am 10th generation to Sarah Jenkins.
**SARAH (JENKINS) NASON m (2) Aft. 28 Jun 1703, JOHN KEY, (SPOW).
John Key was my Alice Nasons’ step-father. She married Joseph Abbott, the brother of Walter Abbott, who married Elizabeth Key (John’s daughter). Elizabeth’s sister, Mary, married Sylvanus Wentworth, brother of my Ezekiel Wentworth married to Elizabeth (UNLN).
I find it interesting to look at my Mother’s line….she has 4 SPOW ancestors…..Robert Dunbar, John Munroe, Alexander Gordon, & John Taylor….and then to see how close we are to another SPOW.