New Castle, Delaware
Community History and Archaeology Program 
Mary Borden McKean

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Mary Borden McKean   (1744 -March 12, 1773)

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Address24 The Strand
Date painted
CreditFrick Art Reference Library
MarriedThomas McKean, 1763
ParentsJoseph Borden & Elizabeth Rogers
Children Joseph Borden, 1754; Robert, 1765; Elizabeth, 1767; Letitia, 1769; Mary, 1771, died in childhood; Anne, in 1773. Her mother died not long after.

McKean's first wife Mary Borden was the elder sister of Ann Borden, wife of Francis Hopkinson, also a "Signer". Both women were "famously beautiful", according to a brief biography, "the handsomest in girls in New Jersey". The portrait shown here does not do her justice; too bad she was born too early for the wonderful skills of a Thomas Sully.

She and McKean lived in New Castle during what must have been very interesting times prior to the revolution. She died shortly after the birth of her sixth child. Afterwards, her brother-in-law Francis Hopkinson wrote the following poem of mourning. Her grave is adjacent to the entrance to Immanuel Church. The inscription reads:

In Memory of Mrs. Mary McKean
the wife of Thomas McKean, Esq.
Who departed this life On the 12th of March 1773 aged 28 years.
"Fair was her form, serene her mind
Her heart & hopes were fix'd on high
Her hand beneficient & kind
Oft wip'd the tear from sorrow's eye
The sweets of friendship soften'd care
Love, peace & joy her soul possest
Meekness perfum'd each rising pray'r
And ev'ry rising pray'r was blest In heav'n we trust her sainted spirit sings
Glad hallelujahs to the King of Kings."

Jim Meek
nc-chap.org 2014, 2015