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He, and various members of his immediate and extended family, have also spent a number of years in the Hawaiian Islands, California, Texas, Tennessee, and the United Kingdom.
Michael J. McGhee is a descendent of Sir Robert McGhee, Bt (1580 to 1615) and Lady Nancy McGhee. He is the oldest male heir, in this line of succession, and is therefore the fourteenth Baronet of McGhee. The title of Baronet, which is a hereditary knighthood, was abandoned by Sir Ralph McGhee, Bt and his son Sir David McGhee, Bt between the years of 1776 and 1789 due to the American Revolutionary War. The U.S. Constitution prohibits the use of titles of nobility by U.S. citizens unless they are used in an honorific manner. The baronet title was rehabilitated by the Rev. Sir Nicholas B. McGhee, Bt due to his service in the British Army as a chaplain during the second Boer War. The title has been abandoned since his death in 1927. Michael McGhee holds the title as an honorific title by the right of bloodline and hereditary succession and is Sir Michael McGhee, Bt. but because he is not a British subject the title remains honorary.
McGhee is from one of the south’s most notable families. They immigrated to North Carolina in the 17th century and Tennessee in the mid and late 18th century. The McGhee’s married into the White family of Knoxville and the main city library (Lawson McGhee Library), the international/regional airport (McGhee Tyson Airport), and McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base are named after them. In addition, the family partially funded the construction of the Episcopal Cathedral (Saint John’s) in Knoxville and the cathedral has a special stained glass window dedicated to Charles McGhee Tyson (World War I Naval aviator). The McGhee’s used leftover materials from the cathedral to construct Saint Andrew’s Riverside near their plantation. The Masonic Hall in Knoxville was one of the family’s mansions and was dedicated to the Masonic fraternity after the death of Charles McClung McGhee. The families land holdings were estimated to be over 80,000 acres at one time with the main plantation being located near Vonore/McGhee, Tennessee – this plantation was named Tuskeega. The plantation encompassed part of North Carolina and Tennessee. Two chapters are dedicated to the family in Alberta and Carson Brewer’s 1975 book Valley So Wild. The family also maintained land and commercial holdings in Kentucky and Illinois purchased during the westward expansions. Michael J. McGhee is a descendent of the McGhee/Hall branch of this family.
Michael McGhee’s father was George Louis McGhee (1925-2000). His grandfather James William McGhee and great grandfather (Rev. Nicholas Bois McGhee (1857-1927) were the first members of the family to move to California in 1905.McGhee’s maternal great grandfather Paul Ashley Chase (1878-1946) was one of the founding executives of Warner Brother’s. Chase moved to California in 1923 to acquire land for Warner Brothers Pictures – he purchased the land at 5800 Sunset Blvd. Between North Van Ness and Bronson – the original location of Warner Brothers Pictures in Hollywood.