Santa Clara County and this section of California is largely indebted to the efforts of George B. McKee for early pioneer development. A veteran not only in point of long residence and his pioneer association with the building of the County, but a path-breaker in the industrial and commercial worlds, he belongs to that highly respected class of California pioneers, ever of interest to the student of what was, what is, and what is to be. He was born at Ottawa, Ill., on July 27, 1838. the son of Lyman McKee, who was married in Watertown, N. Y., to Miss Melinda Butterfield. Grandfather Zacharia Butterfield was a New Englander who came out to New York State and was one of three that took up the land now the site of Watertown, hence was one of the founders of that thriving city; he was also engaged in stock-raising and dairying, in which he was very successful. Soon after their marriage, Lyman McKee and his wife moved to Otta, Ill.,  where he was engaged in farming until his demise, when George Butterfield McKee was but a small lad-leaving a widow and four children.

After the death of Lyman McKee his widow, with her four sons, moved back to Watertown, N. Y .• and there she continued to reside until she decided to come to California. One son. Frank F., had preceded her, having crossed the plains in 1853, com 
ing in the Ward and Moody horse-train from Milwaukee to San Jose. Mr. Moody returned East the same fall and was married to a cousin of Mr. McKee, and with his bride and our subject's mother left for California via Panama in December, 1853.

Mrs. Melinda McKee, on her arrrival, bought a residence at 234 South Second Street where she resided until her death in 1868. She was the mother of four children: Frank F. passed away in Tulare County; Albert and Russell both passed away in San Jose, and George Butterfield, the subject of this review. His people were stock and dairymen and from a youth he assisted them during the summers, obtaining the experience and learning habits of industry and thrift that have been so valuable to him in later  years. He obtained his early education in the public schools of Wtertown, N. Y. At the age of fifteen, in 1853, he carne out to Milwaukee, Wis, and the next spring he joined the MoodyWinchell train destined for the land of gold and sunshine. Leaving Milwaukee in April, 1854, they proceeded westward across the plans after crossing the Mississippi at Rock Island, Ill., and the Missouri at Council Bluffs, Iowa, making their way up the Platte and its north fork through 'Wyoming and Utah,  coming by the Sublette cut-off into California, arriving in San Jose in October, 1854. They left Wilwaukee with ten men, but at Council Bluffs, Iowa, they joined the Streeter and Hendricks train of fortyy men, making them fifty men strong and well armed and thus this formidable army came through without being molested by the Indians.  Mr. McKee found here only a small Spanish town, and the opportunities for obtaining something to do were limited; a few wagons were hauling quicksilver from the New Almaden mines through San Jose to Alviso, and a few ox-teams were hauling lumber from the redwoods in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

George B. soon left for Stockton and entered the employ of the Adams Express Company, as messenger boy, but a month later the company was taken over by the Wells Fargo. He remained with them but a short time, then struck out for the Kern River mines, where he mined at Greenhorn Gulch and Keysville, remaining until the fall of 1856, when he made his way to Nevada County and there engaged in mining at Moore's Flat on the middle fork of the Yuba River, remaining there for about a year. Success had attended his efforts, thus enabling him to invest in a dairy which yielded a good income. In 1861 he was elected county assessor of Nevada County, and he took up his residence in Nevada City. Being re-elected to the office, he served two terms with credit and satisfaction to the citizens. For a short time, with a Mr. Pratt, Mr. McKee operated a store at Zirs Station, on the line of the building of the Central Pacific Railroad, but inside of four months, he found conditions un-satisfactory so he sold out and returned to Grass Valley, where he mined "for a ·year. Then he gave up mining and returned to San Jose in 1868. While building his home he went fo Henning's store for paint, and finding the proprietor very busy, he found what he wanted in the way of paint from time to time, keeping a record of it on Mr. Henning's books, and when he had finished his house and came to settle his bill, Mr. Henning offered to sell him a half-interest in the business, and the firm became known as Henning and McKee, located pn First  Street.

Thus Mr. McKee began his operations in a field in which he has since become so singularly successful and has been so honorably identified. Eighteen months later, he purchased Mr. Henning's interest and was the sole proprietor for about eighteen months, when he took as a partner Alfred De Rockebrune under the firm name of George B. McKee & Company and this partnership continued until the death of Mr. De Rockebrune, when Mr. McKee purchased the interest and since then has been the sole proprietor, the establishment carrying a large and complete stock of paints, oils and wall-paper, as well as building the large plant for the manufacture of mixed paints.

About 1882, he purchased the old court house and jail site on the corner of San Fernando and South Second Streets, and he was the only man in California that owned a court house and jail in his own name. Here he built his permanent brick building in 1892 and later built the paint factory on the jail site. This property is 471/2 x 137 1/2 fronting on South Second Street with 45 feet at the rear of the building fronting on San Fernando Street with a depth of 137 1/2feet. He also owns 58 feet 'on Third near San Fernando Street adjoining the above property, this being the old jail site on which he constructed his paint factory. Finding a considerable demand for ready mixed paints, Mr. McKee experimented and began the manufacture of paints and his Balata Paints are now well known all over the Coast. Thus he has built up the largest business of the kind in Santa Clara County .

 In 1902, Mr. McKee incorporated his business as the Geo. B. McKee Company, of which he is president and owner. Mr. McKee is a stockholder in the San Jose Water Company and is a director and was its president for many years until he resigned when he went on his trip to the Orient. He is also a stockholder and director of many years in the First National Bank of San Jose, and for thirty years he has been president of the Nucleus Building & Loan Association of San Jose.
Mr. McKee has been twice married; his first wife was Miss Mary Hubbard, a native of Wisconsin, and she passed on in 1884, the mother of two children; Hubbard was killed in an automobile accident, leaving three children; Mrs. Georgia Gummer of Stockton has two children. Mr. McKee's second wife was Mrs. Lydia Smith Toland, a native of Decatur, Ill., a daughter of E. O. Smith, a pioneer of San Jose. Mrs. McKee is actively identified in all civic and social affairs and is particular1y interested in benevolent charitable societies. She is a cultured woman and presides graciously over her large and beautiful home, which was erected in 1892 on the site of the old McKee home, thus Mr. McKee has resided on this same location since 1868.

In 1913, Mr. McKee, accompanied by his wife, his niece, Miss Moore, and a Miss Roberts, made a tour of the Orient, visiting Honolulu; thence to Japan, taking in the important cities in that country and on to China, visiting ·Shanghai, Hongkong and other important cities; thence to Singapore and on to Colombo, Ceylon, thence through India from the extreme South to the North and back to Calcutta and on to Rangoon in Burma; thence back to Singapore and on to the Island of Java; thence to Australia and New Zealand, and from there to the Fiji, Tonga and Samoa Islands, after which they returned  via Honolulu to San Francisco after a most de.lightful trip of seven months, the party not having experienced a day's sickness during the trip.

Mr. McKee has been a very active and prominent Mason, having been made a Mason in Nevada Lodge, F. & A. M., of Nevada City, where he also was made a member of the Royal Arch Chapter and knighted in the Commandery. On coming to San Jose, he became a member of Friendship Lodge No. 210, F. & A. M., Howard Chapter, R. A. M., of which he is past high priest and now the only living charter member of San Jose Commandery No. 10, of which he is past eminent commander, as well as being a past grand commander of the Grand Commandery of California, serving in that eminent position in 1901, when he took the Grand Commandery of California to the triennial conclave of Knights Templar, held in Louisville, Ky. He has had the pleasure of also visiting other conclaves, in St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Chicago, Boston, Denver, Los Angeles, and two in San Francisco. Mr. McKee is also a thirty-second degree Scottish Rite Mason, being a charter member of San Jose Consistory, and for many years he has been the treasurer of all the Masonic bodies in San Jose of which he was a member, having been treasurer of the Blue Lodge for thirty-three years. With his wife, he is a member of the O. E. S., of which he is past patron and Mrs McKww is past matron. He is also a life member of Islam Temple, A. A. O. N. M. S., in San Francisco, his membership being No. 922. In 1921 Mr. McKee was made a knight Commander of the Court of Honor.

Mrs. McKee has been president of the Ladies' Benevolent Society in San Jose for twenty-two years, a charitable institution for the care of children, and is doing a noble work in caring for the 'waifs; and is also prominent in civic and club circles. Mr. McKee was the president of the first Board of Trade, and· since then has been' a supporter of the local Chamber of Commerce and Board of Trade, as well as all movements for boosting San Jose, in the growth of which he is very loyal and proud. He has served acceptably as city councilman and mayor of San Jose, and has also been a member of the board of police and fire commissioners. Deeply interested in the cause of education, he has given of his time and served faithfully as a member of the board of school trustees of this growing city. While a Republican in national politics, Mr. McKee supports all local move-ments in a broad, nonpartisan manner. Not only among the oldest residents of San Jose, Mr. McKee has been in business steadily in San Jose longer than any other business man in the city. He has truly been a factor in the development, not only of the city of San Jose and Santa Clara County, but of the commonwealth of California. It is indeed inter-esting to chronicle the life history of such a useful, unselfish and enterprising citizen, who, in his liberal and kind-hearted way, has always given freely of his time and means towards enterprises that have for their aim the improvement of the city and county and to enhance the comfort and raise the social and mora] conditions of its people. It is to men of the type of Mr. McKee that California today owes much of its present greatness and prosperity; men who were not afraid to work, and in their optimism saw the great future awaiting the Golden State in developing its great natural resources.
Transcribed cferoben, from Eugene T. Sawyers' History of Santa Clara County,California,  published by Historic Record Co. , 1922. page 419

A worthy representative of a pioneer family, Hubbard McKee (familiarly called Hubb McKee) was a steady, clean-cut and enterprising business man, who was born in San Jose on February 28, 1873, a son of George B. and Mary McKee, pioneers of Santa Clara County. His father was born at Ottawa, Ill., on July 27, 1838, the son of Lyman McKee, who was married in Watertown, N. Y., to Miss Melinda Butterfield. His maternal great-grandfather, Zacharia Butterfield, was a New Englander, who came out to New York State and was one of three that took up the land now the site of Watertown, hence was one of the founders of that thriving city. He was engaged in stock raising and dairying. George B. McKee was educated in the public schools of Watertown, N. Y., and in 1833 removed to Milwaukee, Wis., and the following spring joined the Moody-Winchel train destined for California, arriving in San Jose in October, 1854; he has always been most prominent in civic and business circles and has aided greatly in the steady development and progress of his locality.

Hubbard McKee was reared in San Jose and educated in the public schools of San Jose and Santa Clara College. After graduation he entered his father's store, beginning at the bottom and working up through the various departments in both the paint factory and. the store. He was greatly interested in the business and in time was able to relieve his father of much of its care and oversight. When his father made a seven months trip to the Orient, he had charge of the business, and it was soon after his father's return that he met with the accident which resulted in his death on July 19, 1914. -A description of the accident which caused his death was printed in the San Jose Mercury of July 22, 1914: "There is ,something ineffably pathetic in the tragic end of the late Hubbard McKee. He was known as a man of unusual tenderness, and his friends were not surprised to learn that he had given his seat to an injured man picked up by the roadside and that he himself had stood behind while the driver rushed with all speed to the hospital. It was at a sudden curve of the road. that the unselfish McKee was thrown from his precarious hold to his death, and that he, in the prosecution of an act noble in the highest degree, should forfeit his own life, distinguishes this' from the average automobile accident. Those who knew the late Hubbard McKee knew a true man; his impulses were generous, his sympathies tender, indeed, since his untimely passing many stories are told showing the genuineness of his manhood, his thoughtfulness for others, his willingness to sacrifice, when that was necessary. To the men in his employ he was a friend rather than master, while in his dealings with the public, he erred only to his own disadvantage. There was nothing petty in the man; indeed it was foreign to his nature, and yet he was a quiet, unobtrusive citizen, devoted to his home, his parents and his city. Hubbard McKee could not be other than brave and generous, for he came of that splendid old pioneer stock which adorned the early history of California and the surviving members of which command such universal respect today. The name of George B. McKee is a synonym for integrity in business, for "aggressiveness on the side of right and for love of state and country. The son was a replica of the father, a quiet citizen immersed in his own affairs, but ever ready to contribute his means and ability to a deserving cause. What a contrast is presented in the heroic act of this man in picking up a stranger by the wayside to the speed-fiend striking down the innocent pedestrian and passing on without even learning his name or the extent of his injuries."

The marriage of Mr. McKee occurred in San Jose on January 31, 1899, and united him with Miss Mary Grimley, a native of Port Jervis, N. Y., a daughter of Robert and Elizabeth (Drennen) Grimley, who brought her to Santa Clara County when she was five years of age and here she attended school at Mayfield, as well as Notre Dame College. Their 'union, a very happy one, was blessed with three children: George Butterfield. second, educated at Washburn School, San Jose, is now secretary of the Geo. B. McKee Co.; Margaret Mary, a graduate of San Jose high school, is also with the Geo. B. McKee Co.; Frank Hubbard is at present a student at the William Warren Military Academy, Menlo Park. Mrs. McKee was a true and loving wife, and since her husband's untimely end has been very zealous in her care of their children, being unselfishly devoted to their comfort and pleasures. Hubbard McKee was liberal, brave and kindhearted, always ready to do a good turn to any deserving person and everyone who knew him loved him, for he was always helping those in need, for he never found a man down, but he would render him timely aid.

Transcribed cferoben, from Eugene T. Sawyers' History of Santa Clara County,California, published by Historic Record Co. , 1922. page 1492