lunes, 26 de septiembre de 2011

The Mayo McKinleys....

All of this digging around for McKinley fore-bearers has left me with a meaningful gap in the line: in the latter half of the 17th century, ie post-1650 we have documented evidence of McKinley families in Donegal, Londonderry and Tyrone. We also have a McKinley in Sligo, but he didn't seem to have stayed put for long. Then if I work backwards I have my Sligo McKinleys clearly originating from eastern Mayo, with the earliest (or rather the oldest) there having been born less than a hundred years after the McKinleys listed in the various Hearth Money Rolls of the 17th century. Just to add to the problem, we are looking for records in one of the wettest, dampest and least developed of Ireland's counties: Mayo.

To put this gap into perspective, the first McKinleys into America started arriving around 1720 and seemingly from Antrim, but maybe also Tyrone/Fermanagh: so they started to cross the Ocean one generation after the Battle of the Boyne. One of my earliest Mayo McKinley's is one Mary McKinly (note the spelling without the "e") who died in 1804 and is buried at Rosserk in County Mayo at the age of 87, meaning her birth year was 1717. She and her husband (first name unknown) either directly begat or were closely related to three different sets of McKinleys of the next generation that farmed in the Rosserk area: Robert McKinley at Rathnamagh; Thomas at Rosserk and John at Newtownwhite. The Sligo McKinley's come from the Rathnamagh family. As the map below shows, the Mayo McKinleys all lived within a mile or two of each other, again underlining the family ties. Rosserk, Newtownwhite and Ballysakeery are three adjoining townlands.

But in the service of "information for all" I think I might as well document what I have found so far - as it may help someone find and ancestor amongst the names. To set the scene I am going to start from recent times and work back, to show where the origin of the Sligo line lies, and I will then suggest some possible origins of the earliest Mayo McKinley's. Then I will work back up through the various lines and variants, highlighting where I can, those who left Ireland and emigrated: England, Canada, USA, Australia and New Zealand are the destinations found to date.

The starting point is my mother's family: the McKinleys of Leaffony in County Sligo. The 1901 Census shows three McKinley households in the little hamlet of Leaffony (which lies between Easky and Enniscrone, on the eastern shore of Killala Bay. The heads of the three households were brothers: John, aged 74 and William, aged 71 and George, aged 64 (George was my great-grandfather). We know they were brothers from family history. But the census documents highlights a key fact: that John and William were born in Rosserk, County Mayo in 1827 and 1830 respectively, whilst George is listed as having been born in County Sligo in 1836. At the same time a death certificate from Kilglass Church (the CoI parish church for Leaffony) records the death of one Eliza McKinley, widow of Thomas McKinley, who dies in April 1865 with her son William by her side. Hence the couple that had moved with their children from Mayo across to Sligo were these two: Thomas and Eliza McKinley. There is another KcKinley line in Sligo (Ardvolly, a few miles south, close to Ballina), which I will get to shortly; they also came from Mayo, but lightly earlier. So QED we have the Leaffony McKinley's tied directly back into the Rosserk McKinley's, via the birth certificate of William, who was born in Rosserk, County Mayo on 14th January 1829 to Thomas and Elizabeth.

From family lore Thomas and Eliza (or Elizabeth) had four sons and at least two daughters: the fourth son, James, married into land down in Ardvolly, whilst the two sisters Rebecca and Lizzie (Elizabeth) married into local farming families (Lizzie to John Boyd) and Rebecca married a Boland (Bob Boland's mother).

What records there are show one Thomas McKinley baptised in Rosserk in 1824, eldest son of Robert McKinley and Mary Nicholson. What we know of these two is that they had three sons, Thomas, George and John and had married in 1814 at Newtownwhite, a couple of miles west of Rosserk. Quite who this Robert McKinley is, is not clear, but he is either the same Robert McKinley that we have farming in Rathnamagh (townland adjoining Rosserk) or is closely related: in essence he is a likely son of Mary McKinly, who had died in 1804. But where did they come from?

Before getting into the nitty-gritty of the whole family it is important to look at the political context of this area briefly. Cromwell had sent all Catholics to Hell or Connaught, and had decided that no Catholic could live with in three miles of the sea. Killala Bay is one of the key strategic inlets of the province (as proven 150 years later when the French landed there), and furthermore the land is relatively fertile. So the last of Cromwell's troops were settled in the immediate area basically to ensure that the unfortunate Catholics were kept in Connaught and could not get out. Coote's Regiment of Horse ("Coote's Horse") were Cromwell's shock troops and it was they and their officers that were settled on the shores of Killala Bay. The area was always at the forefront of some of the bloodier episodes: the Sligo Massacre of 1641 was one of the earlier horrors of the 1641 rebellion, followed by the Shrule massacre in Mayo. Then in 1798 the French landed there and once they had been stopped and their surrender accepted, the retribution meted out on the locals was pretty horrific - even for those time. So in the thick of it all we have a McKinley named as one of Coote's Horse, and a century later at least one McKinley family living on the land of other officer's of Coote's Horse. Needless to say being good with the sword doesnt mean your any good with the plough-share, and our McKinley's were definitely at the lower end of the Protestant pecking order, being tenant farmers at best.

From what I have managed to compile, the earliest McKinley I can find is this Mary, mentioned above. We know from a death certificate (or rather "entry") that she died and was buried in Rosserk, in the parish of Ballysakeery in 1804, at the ripe age of 87. The next McKinley I can find is John: born in 1746, died 1822. There is also an unnamed McKinley who died aged 70 in 1817: for a variety of reason I suspect that this was in fact his wife. Around the same era we have a Jane McKinley, born 1752 died 1817, again from Ballysakeery. The key issues here are that by the beginning of the 1800's there were at least two McKinley families in the immediate area of Newtownwhite and Rosserk (adjoining townlands). In those days the old Scottish naming pattern was very much in use, where a man called his eldest son by the name of his own father. So know things start to get interesting.

In the following generation two things occur: in the first place the family seems to prosper or maybe it is just that records start to be kept; and secondly the onward emigration starts - certainly to Canada, and seemingly Virginia as well.

Rosserk / Newtownwhite McKinleys
(parish of Ballysakeery, Co Mayo)

Mayo Generation 1.o
Matriarch - Mary McKinley (1717-1804), died Rosserk
Patriarch - probably "John" McKinley

Mayo Generation 2.0
2.1 John McKinley of Newtownwhite (dates unknown)
marries unknown name McKinley (1747-1817) - probably "Eleanor" McKinley

2.2 Thomas McKinley of Rosserk
marries Jane McKinley (1752-1817)

2.3 ? Robert McKinley

2.4 ? George McKinley

Children of 2.1 John McKinley and wife Eleanor (?)

3.1 John McKinley of Newtownwhite (dates unknown)
married 1st to Ann
3.1.1 son John McKinley born 1803 in Newtownwhite (father John, mother Ann). If this fellow is named after his father's father, Scottish style, the QED Patriarch Mayo Gen 1.0 was called John.
married 2nd to Jane
3.1.2 daughter Margaret born 1805 in Newtownwhite (father John, mother Jane).
3.1.3 daughter Elinor born 1808 in Newtownwhite (father John, mother Jane).

3.2 Eleanor McKinley (eldest daughter named after mother)
marries widower George Westgate (b. 1770) of Killala 5 Feb 1805 and emigrates to Canada
stepson Jarvis, then George (1807) born Ireland, Sarah (1810) and Margaret (1816)

3.3 Robert McKinley
marries in 1814 Mary Nicholson of Rathnamagh (12m wsw of Newtownwhite)
3.3.1 daughter Eleanor is born 1815 - named after Robert's mother as per custom
3.3.2 daughter Mary is born 1821 - named after her mother
3.3.3 son John is born 1822 - named after father & grandfather
3.3.4 son Thomas is born 1824

3.4 Samuel McKinley born 1785 died 1805 aged 20.

3.5 Susanna McKinley - born 1792 died 1810 aged 18.

Unplaced of this generation

3.6 Thomas McKinley - dates unknown, marries 1st Jane in Newtownwhite
3.6.1 Elizabeth, born 1831
marries 2nd Esther (d. 24th Aug 1850 aged 52)
3.6.2 Anne, born 1833
3.6.3 Robert, born 1835 - which suggests Thomas's father was a Robert McKinley of Newtownwhite of the second generation (hence 2.3 Robert McKinley)

Children of 2.2 Thomas McKinley and wife (?) Jane (1752-1817)

3.7 Thomas marries in 1823 Elizabeth (Lyster?), both of Rosserk
this is the line that moves across to Sligo in the mid-1830s
3.7.1 Thomas McKinley is born 1824 Rosserk
3.7.2 John McKinley is born 1827 Rosserk
3.7.3 William McKinley is born 1829 Rosserk
3.7.4 James McKinley is born 1831 Rosserk
3.7.5 George McKinley is born 1837 in Leaffony, Sligo
3.7.6 Rebecca McKinley married a Boland of Sligo
3.7.6 Elizabeth (Lizzie) married a Boyd of Sligo


viernes, 11 de febrero de 2011

David the Trooper: Claypool was wrong

On the pages of's GenForum's McKinley Forum there has been some lively discussion centring around some of the instances of early McKinley's in the USA. Yet as more responses and comments come through, they all come to the same roadblock: David the Weaver's link back to James the Trooper and his ancestors in Ireland and Scotland. As those of you who have read this blog know, I am deeply sceptical as to the entire issue of James the Trooper and of his origins, and finally today I have some vindication, backed up by documentary evidence. "The King is dead; Long live the King!".

I had come across a brief mention of one William MacKenly who arrived in the family group of a certain John Weir, into Isle of Wight County Virginia in 1653. Neat - a documented McKinley into the States almost a century before James the Trooper. That got me back on to my favourite rant of trying to disproove Claypool. (For the unitiaiated Edward Claypool was the professional genealogist from Chicago, who wrote up the supposed genealogy of President William McKinley and managed to link him the whole way back to good MacDuff - the bloke that finally killed no less a tyrant that Macbeth). Now Claypool based some of his sources on data from the first meeting of Clan McKinley in the USA in the 1890; so he is not entirely to blame.

The key ancestor in PoTUS' lineage back to MacDuff was the father of David 'the Weaver' McKinley. David is documented as having registered land in Chanceford PA in 1743, if I am not mistaken. The essential claim was that he was the first McKinley into the US - not true, but that is not the point of this discussion. David was said to be the son of James McKinley who hailed from Dervock in North County Antrim near the north east coast of Ireland, close by to Bushmills, where the wonderful whisky comes from. The family legend claimed that James had come over from Scotland and had guided King William's troops at the time of the Battle of the Boyne (when William defeated the last of the Jacobite monarchs, namely James II). The story goes that for his valour James was awarded land by the grateful King William. The only problem with this story is that James was nineteen at the time, freshly into Ireland from Scotland, yet with some magnificent knowledge of the local geography. Basically the story didnt seem to stack up. Furthermore, despite the fact that the Battle of the Boyne was in 1690, there is clear documentary evidence of more than a handful of McKinley's already living in Antrim, and infact on his very farmland, a generation earlier. Hence my rant.

So what has changed? in a word "everything". There I was calmly googling away through various digitised books when I stumbled upon a well-documented account of how one "trooper" McKinley helped King WIlliam with his horse (that had got stuck in the mud on the banks of the Boyne) and had then shown the muddy monarch where the best place to ford the river happened to be. Eureka: perhaps I had actually found the real "James the Trooper". But further googling made two three things abundantly clear: one, I had found our man; two, his name was David; three, he became a local hero of the place he came from, namely Enniskillen in the province of Tyrone.

Private David McKinley of Conyngham's Dragoons performed this service and is still remembered in the name of an Orange Lodge Number 1539, County Fermanagh, the McKinley Orange Lodge.

Now the repurcussions of this are wonderful: it unblocks the logjam and gets us sorting out the bulk of the McKinley lineage back across to the States. How? The McKinley's of the Tyrone and Donegal area are pretty well documented (see other parts of this blog), plus it is not a major leap to tie one David McKinley who bought land in Chanceford in 1743, with a relatively famous and rewarded David McKinley who was a youngish man in Ireland in 1690. So the gist of the story was right: Claypool and the others just got the name and the district wrong: but with that disappears the whole MacDuff stuff too.

So who was David "the trooper"? He was a mounted trooper in Albert Cunningham's Dragoons and this was the troop that William of Orange led across the Boyne just as their own General fell in battle. In the midst of the battle, just across the river from James's French troops, William had frantically tried to find a spot to lead the entire left flank of his army across - the right flank and the centre having been seriously mangled. His horse got stuck in mud and our man David, being as a dragoon well used to handling horses, held the panicked horse as the monarch dismounted; then extracted the horse from the moud and helped the much-obliged monarch back up into his seat. William then turned to the Enniskilleners (as Conyngham's Dragoons came to be called) and asked them if they would save the day: to which apparently our man replied with fervour "Yea!". Nice story and what's more it makes sense that the glorious monarch showed his gratitude to the young soldier. David is also said to have been instumental in earlier helping to lift the Irish confederate seige of Enniskillen in 1687.

On the 1st of July the Enniskilleners were to play a very important part in that famous battle. The centre of William's army on that day was composed of four regiments of foot the Dutch Blue Guards, the Brandenburghers, the Huguenot Regiment and the Enniskilleners. William knew that the brunt of the fighting would be borne by these regiments and that they would not falter in their resolve. The first two because of their love for him and his cause, the latter two because of their devotion to the Reformed Faith.

When William knew that his horse regiments had successfully forded the Boyne upstream, he sent orders to his centre division to cross the river. The four regiments stepped forward to the tune of 'Lilliburlero', which had chased James from England and was now heralding his defeat at the Boyne. The centre regiments gave a good account of themselves and although repeatedly attacked by the Irish horse, held firm their positions. When ordered to advance again they did so in good order, but the Irish rallied and stopped the advance at this point in the battle.

Hamilton's frish Horse attacked and the critical moment in the conflict had arrived. William rode up to the Ermiskilleners, and asked them what they would do for him. Tradition alleges that David McKinley, an Enniskillen trooper, who had pointed out the ford to the King when he and his division were about to cross the river, cried out, "Anything your Majesty pleases".


Where did he come from? Conyngham's dragoons were hand-picked local men from the Cunningham local estates and many of them had fought in the Laggan Army that defended area during the War of the Three Kingdoms just forty years earlier. So it makes sense that David came from one of the fifteen McKinley men at arms that we find in the Donegal, Tyrone, Londonderry area in the 1630's and their morphing into notional farmers in the late 1660's. If indded he was from the Enniskillen area it points to his father either being called John or Robert. Essentially he was second, if not third generation Scots Irish. Were these McKinley's linked back to the great Finlay Mor, royal standard bearer that fell at the Battle of Pinkie: almost ceratinly yes, given that we have no less that two ffyndley's listed in the Muster Rools and Hearth Money Rolls of 1630 and 1665. So maybe we really do get back to MacDuff after all!

More to follow later.