Daniel McKay, soldier, was born in Augusta, Maine, on October 16, 1814. He moved to Boston as a youth with his parents, but in 1834, upon the death of his mother, he immigrated to Texas by way of New Orleans and settled in Robertson's colony near Nashville in what is now Milam County. His land grant was on Darrs Creek near its confluence with the Little River. On March 24, 1836, McKay enlisted in the Texas army. His name appears on two San Jacinto muster rolls, as D. McKay in Capt. Henry Wax Karnes's cavalry company and as Daniel McKay in Capt. William Warner Hill's Company H of Col. Edward Burleson's First Regiment, Texas Volunteers. McKay was discharged on July 23; he subsequently served for three months as a private in Capt. Washington H. Secrest's Washington Cavalry company before receiving his discharge on October 23, 1836.
On December 22, 1846, McKay married Jane Elizabeth Bryant, a native of Georgia and the daughter of Benjamin F. Bryant; they had six children. After his marriage he moved to Bryant's Station, his father-in-law's fort on the Little River. In March 1847 McKay received a 640-acre bounty donation in Milam County and in February an additional 320 acres in Bell County for his participation in the Texas Revolution, and in 1853 he and his wife moved onto the Bell County grant near Donahoe, where they established themselves as ranchers. McKay is said to have taken an active role in county politics and to have served as a county commissioner. By 1860 he owned $2,234 worth of land and had accumulated $6,790 in personal property, mostly in livestock. During the Civil War he enlisted in the Confederate Army and was stationed at Galveston. McKay died on his farm on October 9, 1889. His wife died on November 22, 1896, and both are buried at the Donahoe Cemetery some seven miles north of Bartlett. McKay was a member of the Church of Christ and was the grandfather of Texas historian Seth Shepard McKay.