The family history of Captain Turpin Dickson Magee, the commander of Company B of the 46th Mississippi Infantry Regiment, was important to the development and history of Covington County, Mississippi and the adjacent counties. Magee was, of course, the organizer and first Captain of Company B of the 6th Mississippi Infantry Battalion and, later, having been promoted to Major on March 1, 1864, he commanded the 46th Mississippi Infantry Regiment. His ancestral roots are steeped in the history of the United States and the State of Mississippi.
Magee was the grandson of Philip Magee, who is believed to have been born about 1770 in North Carolina (although a Daughters of the American Revolution publication places his birth as early as 1760.) Despite the possible confusion in birth dates, Philip Magee clearly served in the North Caroling Militia during the American Revolution based on the records. He received a small pension for his service.
In 1787 he married Miss Mary Butler. Together they had at least six and possibly as many as seven children. The first four children, Elizabeth (born 1790), John (born 1791), Robert (born 1793) and Solomon (born 1795) were born in North Carolina. A fifth child, Catherine (born 1797) was born in South Carolina. Then, back in North Carolina, child number six, Bersheba (born 1800), was born.
In 1802, now living in the Mississippi territory, a seventh child joined the family. It is not clear in the research whether this last addition to the family is a child of the union of Philip and Mary or a near relative.
It is clear, however, that at least six (and most likely all) or Philip and Mary’s children that were married, were married in Mississippi. Their second son (third child) Robert (called “Robin”), became the patriarch of the Magee family in Mississippi and a well-known, prominent figure in the history of Covington County, Mississippi and surrounding counties.
Robert Magee had been born in North Carolina, on February 14, 1793. On November 11, 1813, he married Miss Margaret (Peggy) Graves in Marion County, Mississippi. Robert Magee was an influential gentleman of considerable wealth and vast land holdings. His properties extended from near (what is now) the small town of Sanatorium, Simpson County, Mississippi (so named because of the Mississippi State Tuberculosis Sanatorium which had been located there in 1918 and was in operation well into the 1950s) about 36 miles southeast of Jackson, Mississippi on US Route 49, south to below the current location of US Route 84, which connects between Collins, Mississippi and Prentiss, Mississippi. His holdings were estimated to be well in excess of 25,000 acres.
The small town of Magee, Simpson County, Mississippi is named for Robert Solomon Magee. Robert Solomon Magee was the son of Solomon Magee, one of Robert Magee’s brothers. Robert Solomon Magee was the first postmaster of Magee, Mississippi. The Magee family, later built a grist mill there, on the Little Goodwater Creek, in 1840. The town was incorporated as a village in 1910 and the historic grist mill is located inside the city limits.
Robert Magee was reported to have owned more than a hundred slaves, which in the cultural/social environment of the time were used to work his vast plantation, cattle and land holding as well as tend to the needs of his family. He was indeed a generous provider for his family, even after they had married and left home. He is said to have presented a gift of a matched set of horses and a young slave boy to each of his married children on each Christmas day. When the family arose on Christmas morning, they would find the boy astride one of the horses, waiting on the front lawn for his new family to awaken.
The children of Robert and Margaret Magee are Mary Ann Magee (1815-1899), Sarah Ann Magee (1816-1901), Elizabeth Caroline Magee (1817-1843), Amanda Eleanor Magee (1820-1897), Turpin Dickson Magee (1824-1879, Commander, Company B, 46th Mississippi Infantry Regiment), Lauren Reuben Magee (1825-1905, Private, Company B, 4th Mississippi Cavalry Regiment), Jehu Graves Magee (1828-1883, Company B, 4th Mississippi Cavalry Regiment), Emanuel Jackson Magee (1830-1889, served in the Confederate Army, unit unknown), Hugh Rufus Magee (1833-1900, Company B, 46th Mississippi Infantry Regiment and Company B, 4th Mississippi Cavalry Regiment), Warren Graves Magee (1836-1864, Captain, 39th Mississippi Infantry Regiment, died as a prisoner of war at Hammond Army Hospital at Point Lookout, Maryland), Margaret Jane Magee (1839-1880), and Martha Louisa Magee (1842-1854).
Initially 12 children were recorded but additional information indicates that there may have been three other children, Susannah Graves Magee (1833-unknown but after 1854), Ann Eliza Magee (1819-unknown but reported to have “died young”), and Leroy G. (Graves?) Magee (1822-unknown also reported to have “died young”.)
As is clear from the information provided above, the family (parents and siblings) were deeply involved in the culture of the old south and dedicated, through their service, to the preservation of their heritage. Not only were the siblings of T. D. Magee committed to the cause but many of the grandchildren of Robert Magee served also.
Turpin Dickson Magee married Matilda Caroline White on January 11, 1944. The couple had five children: Robert J. Magee (1844-1888, Lieutenant, Company B, 4th Mississippi Cavalry Regiment), Josephine White Magee (1847-unknown), Harriet Jane Magee (1848-unknown), Walter William Magee (1851-1913) and Ella Dickson Magee (1854-1920).
In February of 1862, T. D. Magee raised Company B, the Covington Rebels, in and around Williamsburg, Mississippi. He was elected Captain of the company. On the morning of March 25, 1862, he marched the company to the railroad at Brandon, Mississippi where they were embarked for the long trip to Meridian and their initial assignment to the soon to be formed 6th Mississippi Infantry Battalion. For more information of this journey, please see the article The 6th Mississippi Battalion located here: The 6th Mississippi Infantry Battalion.
T. D. Dickson remained Captain when Company B and the other elements of the 6th Mississippi Infantry Battalion were reorganized, along with several other company sized units into the 46th Mississippi Infantry Regiment. He was later, on March 1, 1864, promoted to a Field and Staff (Headquarters Company) position with the rank of Major. He fought with his company at Vicksburg, across Mississippi, in Alabama and in the Georgia Campaign. When Colonel William H. Clark was killed at Atlanta, MAJ Magee was promoted to Command of the Regiment, leading it through the Battle of Franklin. he was wounded there and may have been captured in December of 1864 (however, the research is not clear in this regard.)
In any event, it is certain that he was not killed nor did he die of the wound received as some sources have reported. He passed away March 13, 1879 and is buried in the Old Magee Cemetery on the Jaynesville Road. His wife, Caroline, who died on March 28, 1881, was initially buried on the family property. However, when the highway was widen in 1999, the grave marker and remains were moved and placed beside CPT Magee in the cemetery.
Eventually, between the war years 1861 through 1865, 34 Magees would serve among the various Mississippi Infantry and Cavalry regiments.
Other Magees who served included T. D. Magee’s cousins, George Washington Magee (1838 – 1907), Thomas Jefferson Magee (1839 – 1915), William Ira Magee (1841 – 1919), and Tobias Magee (1834 – 1904). These cousins were sons of the brother of the father of T. D. Magee, or T. D. Magee’s uncle, Tobias Magee. Tobias Magee moved to Mississippi with Philip Magee. He first appears in the 1820 census information.
These Magee cousins, George Washington Magee (G. W. Magee), Thomas Jefferson Magee (T. J. Magee), William Ira Magee (W. I. Magee) and Tobias Magee all served in Company B of the 46th Mississippi Infantry Regiment along with their cousins.
Yet another Magee cousin, Whitting H. Magee, served with Company A of the 22nd Mississippi Infantry Regiment. A valuable document from the past, CPL W. H. Magee’s obituary has been found and is posted here: Whitting H. Magee Obituary.
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