The McKinley Family

McKinley family crest

(Crest No. 323. Plate 65.)

THE McKinley family is descended from Milesius, King of Spain, through the line of his son Heremon, first King of all Ireland. The founder of the family was Eocha Dubhlein—so called from his having been nursed in Dublin—brother of Fiacha Straivetine, first King of Connaught of the race of Heremon and the one hundred and twentieth monarch of Ireland, A. D. 285. Eocha had three sons, known as the Three Collas.

These, undertaking to restore the succession in their own line, took up arms against their uncle, who perished in the battle of Dubhcomar, after a reign of thirty-seven years. His son, Muredachus Tireach, having fought and defeated Colla Uais after a reign of four years, banished him and his two brothers and three hundred of their principal chiefs into Scotland. Through the interposition of their grandfather and the mediation of the Druids, they were subsequently permitted to return to Ireland. Only twenty-seven of the three hundred who accompanied them to Scotland came back, the others preferring to remain. Having no possessions to support their dignity or gratify their ambition, they availed themselves of a specious pretext to make war on the King of Ulster. Having raised an army of seven thousand men, composed in part of Connaught auxiliaries and malcontents from the neighboring territory, they entered Ulster, defeated the King in the present barony of Farney, in Monaghan, burned his famous palace of Emania, and took possession of that portion of Ulster formerly called Oriel, and now embracing the Counties of Louth, Armagh, Monaghan, and a portion of the Counties of Down and Antrim.

Colla Uais, the eldest of the brothers, was the ancestor of the MacDonnells, MacDugalds, and MacAlisters of Scotland; Colla Mean of several of the Monaghan clans; and Colla da Crioch, the youngest of the Monaghan clan, of the MacMahons, the Maguires, the O’Hanlons, the McCanns, the O’Neylans, the McKinleys, etc.

Many of this name have acquired distinction and honorable position in America. The first Governor of the State of Delaware was John McKinley, born in Ireland in the year 1724. Having studied medicine he came to America and soon rose to eminence in his profession. He was an ardent patriot during the Revolution. He was captured by a party of British soldiers the night after the battle of Brandywine and held prisoner for some months. He died in 1796.

John McKinley, an eminent jurist and descendant of this family, was born in Virginia in 1780. He removed to Alabama, where he served for a time in the State Legislature. He was United States senator from that State from 1826 to 1831 and a member of the House of Representatives from 1833 to 1835. President Van Buren appointed him a justice of the Supreme Court of the United States in 1837, which position he held until his death in 1852.

William McKinley, statesman, was born in Ohio in the year 1844. On the outbreak of the Civil War, in 1861, being then in his seventeenth year, he enlisted as a private in the Twenty-third Volunteer Infantry of his State. He was promoted to the grade of captain, and after serving with his regiment to the close of the war he was mustered out with the rank of brevet major.

Having studied law, he was admitted to the bar and succeeded rapidly in his profession. From 1869 to 1871 he was prosecuting attorney for Stark County, Ohio, and was subsequently elected a member of the Forty-fifth, Forty-sixth, Forty-seventh, Forty-eighth, Forty-ninth, and Fiftieth Congresses. In Congress Mr. McKinley took a special interest in the tariff question and the subject of American industries.

He led the Ohio delegation at the National Republican Convention in 1888, and, at one point, when it seemed that he might secure the nomination, he promptly and emphatically refused to let his name be used as the delegation had been sent in the interest of John Sherman. In 1892 he was one of the most prominent of the candidates for the nomination of his party for the presidency. During President Harrison’s administration Mr. McKinley had charge of the tariff question in Congress, and the measure then passed, to which his name was attached, occasioned much discussion, and gave Mr. McKinley’s name great prominence both here and abroad. In 1891 Mr. McKinley was elected Governor of Ohio and re-elected in 1894.