Tyrone McKinleys - response to a query

McKinley’s of Co. Tyrone

These McKinley's seem likely to have been scions of the first McKinley settlers who arrive in Northern Ireland, specifically Donegal, in the 1620's - ie well ahead of Cromwell and company. The earliest mention I have of a Tyrone McKinley relates to the wedding of James McKenley to Ellin Little, which took
place in the church of St Columb's in Londonderry on 8th June 1657.  Both husband and wife are listed as coming from Arguile Kyrach. Over the centuries that place changed it name a few times, initially to Errigal Keerogue, and nowadays is a place called Ballygawley in South Tyrone.
No McKinly is listed in the Muster Rolls extant of Co Tyrone in the 1630s but a number of Little's are, ie James married the daughter of an immigrant man-at-arms in the Tyrone area.

There are three McKinley variants listed in the Hearth Roll Tax of 1659.  One of these seems a credible  McKinley whilst the other two are I suspect either mis-spellings or local Catholics concocting a Protestant name (fairly widespread in those days).  The first of these three is one Edmond McKenly: now Edmond is not a typical McKinley name and as far as I have found out, there have been no other Irish Edmonds over the years.  So rather like the case of Lancelot McKinley listed in the Muster Rolls in Derry, I suspect the local scribe either anglicised a name or simply took it down badly.  But Edmond is registered in the parish of Carnteel and that does start to ring bells, as in the 1700's and 1800's there were still McKinleys in the parish of Carnteel.  Furthermore, as the map below shows, Carnteel parish adjoins Arguile Kyrach aka Errigal Keerogue.  The other two notional "McKinleys" are Brian Makinley of Kildress and one Patrick McKanly of Killedowan.  Given that there is no further trace of McKinleys in these parishes, I am forced to park these to gentlemen to one side until some further evidence appears.

There is no further trace of McKinleys in the area until 1702 with the birth of Owen McKinley in Clougher: he goes on to marry Ann Wilson in 1728 in Clougher. The Wilsons and the McKinley's intermarried a number of times over the following generation, with importantly John McKinley marrying Esther Wilson in 1743: John and Esther then head off to the USA (South Carolina). Also in Clougher at about that time is the marriage of John McKinley to Sarah McCrea in 1719. Assume John and Owen are brothers. I have a Jane McKinley marrying Mathew Wilson in 1743 as well, ie assume brother and sister marry brother and sister?  At the end of the 1700s we have the flax growers' lists naming five McKinley's in the area: Henry, Joseph, Robert, William and Thomas.  A century later in the Griffiths Valuations (1854) there are over a dozen
McKinley farmsteads listed in Tyrone all centred around Carnteel, Aghaloo, Pomeroy, Killeeshill, and Drumglass.

Now Esther McKinley is a rather important name in that she gets confused time and time again with being the wife of David "the Weaver" McKinley, he who was the first American McKinley of the line that eventually produced the President of the United States.  I am greatly endebted to Jack McKinley who forwarded me some research set out in the late-lamented McKinley Newsletter which clarifies the whole issue.  Suffice it to say here that John and Esther ended up in Abbeville, South Carolina and had eight children: James, Sarah, Esther, John, Jane, Susannah, Martha and William.  American records suggest that John was born in Ballyboy, County Monaghan and I have no reason to refute that, but the marriage licence is clearly just a few miles north, in Clougher, County Tyrone.  These same records also suggest his father's name was James - I suspect due to the fact that the eldest son was called James. However,a number of commentators state that William was infact born at sea en route to the New World in 1744 (year after the marriage).  If that is correct and he is indeed the eldest, then John's father is far more likely to have been called William, and not James.  If our John was born in 1720, which is the most common date, his own father (?William) was most likely born in the 1680-90s, suggesting that he was third generation Tyrone, given that there is a full generation back to the earlier records of Edmond and James.

Further proof as to the father's name being William comes from the last will and testament of John McKinley which is quotes in Caroline T Moore "Abstract of Wills of the State of South Carolina 1760-1784"  Cites will of John McKinley, wife Esther and eldest son William.  There is a further nugget which gives further credance to these McKinley's being from the Tyrone stock: the witnesses to the will are William and James McKinley (sons) and one William Wilson - Wilson being the maiden name of Esther.

more to follow...