The ancestry of McKinley, Part II

From Niles to the White House

Editor’s note: This is part of a weekly series marking the 120th anniversary of Niles native William McKinley’s U.S. presidency.

This is the second of two columns on the McKinley ancestors. This column will focus on the family members of President McKinley, all of whom were born in what is now the United States of America.

David McKinley, the great-grandfather of President McKinley, was the oldest of six children. He was born March 16, 1755, in York County, Pa.

David joined the local militia when he was 11-years-old. He served in the Revolutionary War, defending New Jersey from being invaded by the British. He became known as David “The Patriot” McKinley for his service in the Revolutionary War.

On Dec. 8, 1780, David married Sarah Ann Gray (born 1760) in Lancaster County, Pa. David and Sarah soon moved to Westmoreland County, Pa., where they lived for 15 years. They then moved to Mercer County, Pa.

David and Sarah had 10 children. James Stevenson McKinley, the second oldest, was the grandfather of President McKinley. James was born Sept. 19, 1783, in Westmoreland County, Pa. Sarah died Oct. 6, 1814, in Pine Township, Mercer County, Pa.

David soon moved to Lisbon, where he met the twice-widowed Eleanor Aulche Dorland Mclean. Eleanor, who was born in 1749, married David in 1815 in Lisbon. David farmed and taught school in Lisbon for 20 years.

Eleanor died in 1835. David moved, after Eleanor’s death, with his son, James, to Crawford County. David died there on Aug. 8, 1840.

James Stevenson McKinley married Mary “Polly” Rose McKinley (1788-1847) in 1806 in Mercer County, Pa. James and Mary had 13 children. William McKinley, their second oldest child, is the father of President McKinley. William McKinley was born Nov. 15, 1807, in Pine Creek, Mercer County, Pa.

James served in the United States Army. He saw military action during the Battle of Tippecanoe against Indian forces in 1811. He served during the War of 1812.

James moved with his father to Ohio. He became a wealthy farmer and an iron furnace manager. He managed the Rebecca Iron Furnace in Lisbon.

James and the whole family, with the exception of his son William, moved to Crawford County in 1836. He moved to Crawford County because he had been impressed with the farmland he had seen during his military service.

James and Mary moved to South Bend, Ind., in 1842. James and Mary both died of food poisoning after attending a party in their honor. They died in South Bend on Aug. 20, 1847.

William McKinley moved with his family to Lisbon. At a Methodist church function, William met Nancy Allison, who was born in 1809 in Ohio. William and Nancy were married June 6, 1829, in Lisbon. The McKinleys had nine children. William was the seventh of nine children. He was born in Niles on Jan. 29, 1843.

William McKinley Sr. had been trained by his father from an early age how to manufacture iron. He put the training to good use. William managed iron furnaces throughout his life, in Western Pennsylvania, throughout Ohio, including Niles, and in Michigan. William was said to be a hard worker and an excellent craftsman. He was gone from his family for long periods of time because of his work. The family lived in Niles from 1838 to 1852 and then moved to Poland, Ohio.

William and Nancy moved to Canton in 1869 to be near some of their children. William died Nov. 24, 1892. Nancy died Dec. 12, 1897, one year after her son was elected President.

Patrick Finan of Cortland is the retired former library director of the McKinley Memorial Library in Niles.