John McKee was a blacksmith. He seized the opportunity to ply his craft when prospectors flooding into Table Rock City (later called Jacksonville) and needed their picks sharpened and tools repaired. John started commuting to the boomtown while other family members cleared and tilled the homestead at Roxy Ann. We don’t know exactly where John set up shop, but do know that he invented a very popular and practical “strap-eye pick”; worn wooden handles were easily replaced, preserving the precious metal pick head.
You will find many early settlers of Upper Applegate Valley buried at the Historic Jacksonville Cemetery, including most members of the Collings family who have roots at the next stop – Kanaka Flat.