An American Family History


The McKinley Family




Tennessee was admitted to the Union on June 1, 1796. It was initially part of North Carolina.

William McKinley was born about 1740 in Maryland.

William married Mary Lockhart about 1756.

William and Mary's children included:

Mary McKinley King (1757, married John King),
Martha McKinley Alison (1759, married Robert Alison),
Samuel McKinley (1763),
William M. McKinley, Jr. (1767, married Sarah Davidson),
Ruth McKinley (1769, married John Davidson),
Isaac McKinley (1769).

The McKinleys were early settlers in Piney Flats (The Fork), Sullivan County, Tennessee. Samuel Massengill wrote that

The McKinleys of the "Fork" section were akin to President McKinley, who contributed to the upkeep of the New Bethel Cemetery of that section.

In 1783, Samuel received a warrant for land in Sullivan County, Tennessee. At that time it was in North Carolina.

On September 8 1785, William bought some land beginning above the Good Gap and crossing Hogan's Branch for 50 pounds from William Scott.

On October 3, 1785, William purchased 75 acres in Sullivan County from Samuel Smith for 30 pounds. The deed was witnessed by John Scott and Samuel McKinley.

In 1796 and 1797, William was on the Sullivan County tax list. He had 375 acres.

In 1812, William was shown on the Sullivan County tax list with 145 acres.

In 1820, Isaac McKinley witnessed Henry Smith's will.

William died about 1824 in Piney Flats.

At New Bethel is a graveyard wherein are buried ancestors of some of the best families of Sullivan County. The remains of William and Isaac McKinley, relatives of President McKinley, lie there. (from Historic Sullivan by Oliver Taylor)

Sullivan County is in far northeast corner of Tennessee between North Carolina and Virginia and was originally part of those states. It was formed in 1779 when it was divided from Washington County.

East Tennessee is part of Appalachia. At the end of the French and Indian War, colonists began drifting into the area. In 1769, they first settled along the Watauga River. During the Revolution, the Overmountain Men defeated British loyalists at the Battle of Kings Mountain. The State of Franklin was formed in the 1780s, but never admitted to the Union.

Samuel McKinley obtained 150 acres at Sullivan County, North Carolina, for 50 shillings per 100 acres on Land Grant No. 175 on 10 October 1783.

In 1796, Samuel was shown on the tax list of Sullivan County, Tennessee. He was shown as a white man with 150 acres. He was shown on the same poll list in 1797.

Samuel sold land in Sullivan County, Tennessee to Isaac McKinley on February 23, 1803.

A tithable was a person for whom a head tax was to be paid. The definition varies over time and place, but generally included members of the potentially productive labor force.
A poll tax is a tax levied on every poll. The definition of a poll also varied, but was generally a man of legal age.


William McKinley, Jr. was born on June 5, 1767 in Carroll County, Maryland.

William married Sarah Davidson about 1795 in Sullivan County, Tennessee.

Sarah McKinley (1800)
William Riley McKinley (1801)
James H. McKinley (1805)
Samuel McKinley (1809)
John McKinley (181)
Amanda Melvina McKinley (1812)
Abner McKinley (1813,)

William moved to Putnam County, Indiana in 1822.


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©Roberta Tuller 2020
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