John F. McKinley
MCKINLEY, FLEMING, CONDON, WATERS, KNEELAND, KNEESKERN, EBERLING, EGGERT, MCNAMARA, LEHRINER, BALTZ, MCNEIL, CASTEN, CHASE, BARNHARD, FAY, SHEENEY, BACKUS, BARCLAY, MOSHIER, MCBRIDE
Posted By: Bill Waters (email)
Date: 4/27/2004 at 19:14:18
Biography of John F. McKinley by William C. Waters April 2003, last amended 4/27/2004
I have spent a lot of time and effort over the last two years trying to find out all I can about my great-grandfather John F. McKinley. As of now I have accumulated quite a lot of information. Therefore, I have decided to document what I know about John F. McKinley, so his other descendants can benefit from my effort.
I thank Maryl McKinley Hook for all the help that she has given me. Maryl has an extensive knowledge of the Grand Meadow McKinleys. For 30 years, Maryl’s great-grandparents John and Ellen McKinley, lived on an adjacent Grand Meadow Township farm to John F. and Ellen McKinley’s farm. Maryl’s great-grandmother was Ellen McNamara. My great-grandmother was Ellen Fleming. Maryl maintains a web page (1) that documents the Rathlin Island McKinleys and their descendants.
A word of caution, I have found that John F. and his family did not always report the same dates for their various births. I will include many documents that others and I have uncovered about John F. and his family and you may notice these discrepancies. Since John F. was surrounded by John McKinleys, I will always write John F. or “Little John” when I am referring to my great-grandfather, I will call all the others “John” and let the context determine which of the many John McKinleys they are.
John F. McKinley was born in County Antrim, Ireland in 1839. (2) Both his parents and one set of his grandparents were named Mary and John McKinley. His great-grandfather Daniel McKinley is buried in St. Thomas’s cemetery (3) on Rathlin Island and both his father John McKinley and grandfather John McKinley were born on Rathlin Island. I believe that John F. was either born in Ballycastle or on Rathlin Island. Rathlin Island is a small island of 5.3 square miles that is about 5 miles due North of Ballycastle County, Antrim, Northern Ireland. My wife Alice and I visited both Ballycastle and Rathlin Island in July of 2002. In 2002 only 100 people lived on Rathlin Island, but in 1839; 1000 people lived on the island, down from 1200 in the 1780s. Rathlin Island is a green hilly and rocky land. It is not suitable for modern farming. Alice and I saw what the natives called the “McKinley homeplace”, It was a few acres of grassland with a few half fallen down stone buildings. The land was suitable for pasture, but not drained well enough for modern farming. Ballycastle is an attractive, well-maintained, small seaport. In 2002 we found a very nice bed and breakfast on the sunny slope of a hill, and an excellent restaurant in the Marine Hotel on the harbor.
Rathlin Island had a population of 200 people per square mile in 1840. That is about 3 acres/person, but those three acres were poorly suited for growing grain or potatoes. Fifty years later John F. had a family of 13 living on 200 acres of fertile Iowa farm land, so he made quite an improvement in his lifetime.
The general living conditions in Ireland in 1840 was very crowded (Ireland’s population was 8 million in 1840 vs. 4 million in 2002), with large landowners growing grain for export. Their labor force cosisting of tenants living in crowded small houses with very small (a fraction of an acre) gardens which they used to grow food for their families. The houses were 2 or 3 rooms for the large family (many with 10 or more children) and a few cows. In the winter the house was heated by supplementing the animals body-heat with peat burned in a fireplace. Cooking was done with peat in a fireplace the year round. During the 1800s as the Irish became more and more crowded they found that they could grow more calories per acre if they concentrated on potatoes. Furthermore they found one variety of potato that was the best producer and eventually they grew only this high yielding variety. As a result in the 1840s the Irish diet was almost 100% potatoes, 3 meals a day, the year round.
During the mid to late 1840s a wind blown fungus caused the potatoes to die before most of the potatoes matured. Those potatoes that did mature rotted during the fall and winter and by spring of 1848, the whole Irish population was starving. In the next two years 1 million Irish died of starvation and 1 million Irish emigrated, mostly to the United States. This Irish emigration to the U. S. and Australia continued for the next 50 years.
The potato famine was not as severe in Northern Ireland as it was in the rest of the country, so during the late 1840s, the McKinleys in the Ballycastle area may have been better off than those that were starving in the majority of Ireland. In any case John F. did not emigrate until 1857. As far as I can tell John F. was the only one of his immediate family (parents and siblings) that left Ireland for the U. S.. John F. was 18 years old when he came to America. It appears that he traveled independently of his cousins. The nature of his ocean voyage and other ventures that he undertook in his early life indicates that he was a very independent adventuresome young man.
Over a 10 year period, starting in 1852, John F.’s first cousins, John, Daniel, James, Alexander, Archibald, Michael, and William emigrated to Meriden, Conn.. Their parents, Ann "Nancy" Morrison and Archibald emigrated to New York in 1862. It appears that when John F. emigrated in 1857, he settled in the same locality as his cousins and for all practical purposes was treated as their brother. In 1998, Alice and I visited James McKinley’s 102-year-old, granddaughter, Hazel Clare (Sister Mary Ambrosina) McKinley. Sister told us that John F. was called “Little John.”
I could locate nothing specific about John F’s voyage. But, since it occurred in 1857, I can make some educated guesses. He or his family probably paid for his passage, so it was not the horrible experience that the Irish suffered on the “fever” ships of 1848 and 1849. However, any trip across the Atlantic in a sailing vessel in 1857 was what we in the 21st century would call “the experience of a lifetime”. I have read an account about Henry Kregel’s (Germany to Guttenberg, Iowa) emigration in 1864. Their Atlantic Crossing took 7 weeks and encountered some severe storms. Their friends ship sank somewhere along the way.
On 25 April, 1861, John F. McKinley enlisted in the Union Army as a private. (4) On 11 May 1861 John F. enlisted in Company E, 3rd Infantry Regiment Connecticut, and served four months. He participated in the battles of Bull Run (the first Battle of Bull Run was fought on July 21, 1861) and in the battle of the Fairfax County Courthouse. John F. mustered out on August 12, 1861 in Hartford, CT. Today it seems strange that John F. was in the Union Army for such a short time, but, during the Civil War some Union soldiers enlisted for 90 days and when their enlistment was up they left the Army and resumed civilian life. John F. apparently took that option, and especially for his descendants, that was probably a wise decision.
John F. went to California in the fall of 1861 and remained on the Pacific coast for seven years. It appears that Little John and several of his cousins operated a gold mine in Grass Valley, California. (5,6) Grass Valley is near the California Nevada border in the vicinity of Lake Tahoe. The location of this gold mine is documented by Rebecca Clark McKinley (wife of Alexander McKinley) in a letter that she wrote in 1905. Here is an abbreviated segment of that letter:
-We took the Narrow Gauge Road for Grass Valley, Alex’s old stamping ground, arriving there some time after noon, had luncheon, and then Alex and I took a walk. We went up to the mine that Alex had worked in when he was there forty-five years ago Alex pointed out the spot where the cabin that he, James, John, and little Johnnie had lived in stood. We then visited the Church that they attended so many years ago. Alex pointed out the places where they used to sit, but he could not remember the number of the pew. It was on the left side of the church as you enter on the side aisle, about the tenth pew from the alter. It is a very nice church.-
In 1857 John F’s cousins James and John had gone to Calif. to mine gold where they participated in the Comstock Lode Irish Gold rush. Their brother Alexander joined them in 1858.
In late 1861 and early 1862 the McKinleys made a lot of moves. John F. moved to California, James came back from California to Connecticut, and married Mary McNamara. James and Mary then moved from Connecticut, to Grand Meadow Township. John moved from California to Grand Meadow Township. James and John purchased 250 acres of land in Grand Meadow Township. Also in 1861, Thomas Fleming, John F’s future brother in-law moved to California. In 1863 James returned to California and Thomas Fleming returned to Grand Meadow Township. James, Alex, and Little John then mined gold for the next several years. In 1868, Little John left California and moved to Grand Meadow Township. I do not know what route John F. took as he went to and from California. The transcontinental railroad was not completed until 1869. In 1858 when Alexander arrived in New York after visiting Ireland, he booked passage to San Francisco via the overland Panama route, and from San Francisco he went to Grass Valley.
On March 5, 1868, John F. McKinley bought 80 acres of Grand Meadow Township farmland from Mary and Abraham Lehriner (7) for $1000. This 80 acres has a ¼ mile common boundary with the southern edge of the 106 acre farm where I grew up. Sometime after Little John moved to Iowa he met his future wife, Ellen Fleming.
Ellen Fleming was born March 11, 1845 in New York. Her parents were Mary Condon and Michael Fleming. The Flemings moved to Chicago in 1848. In 1856 Michael Fleming and their 6 children moved to Grand Meadow Township to what I knew as the Baltz Farm. William Baltz bought this farm from Ellen’s brother Bart in 1909. William’s son Art Baltz continued to operate it until about 1970.
On September 27, 1868, John F. McKinley and Ellen Fleming were married in St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Elkader, Iowa. They apparently lived on the 80 acres that John F. had purchased in March. This 80 acres was later part of the McNeil Farm. Ed McNeil once told his daughter-in-law Corrine, that Mary Ann McKinley was born in a log cabin on their farm.
On June 8, 1869, John F. & Ellen McKinley, mortgaged John F.’s 80 acres. They borrowed $200 from the “School Fund” of Clayton County, to be paid back in 5 years at the rate of 8 %. The mortgage was cosigned by John F.’s cousin, James McKinley and Ellen’s father, Michael Fleming.
On October 19,1869, Ellen and John F. had the first of their 12 children. Their first born was my grandmother Mary Ann McKinley. (8) John F. and Ellen had a family of 6 boys and 6 girls. Their first 5 children were girls. Their first boy was born in 1875. They named him John, but apparently, he died at birth.
In June, 1872, the McKinleys sold Daniel McNeil 160 acres of land,(9) included were John F.’s 80 acres and 80 acres that was apparently owned by James McKinley. Daniel McNeil rented the 160 to the McKinleys for the rest of 1872, so John F., Ellen and their four daughters moved off of their first farm in the winter of 1873. John F. apparently then purchased the 200 acres that John F. , Ellen, and their family (10) farmed for the next 28 years.
The farm that John F. purchased is the farm that I knew as the Lawrence Casten Farm. This farm has ¼ mile of common boundary with the 200 acre farm that his cousin John McKinley operated from 1862 to 1898. James operated a 200 acre farm that also had a ¼ mile boundary with his brother John’s farm. These 600 acres formed a rough “U” shape around Peter Dempsey’s 106 acre farm. The three McKinley couples raised 23 children on their 3 farms. James donated an acre of his land for a school.
The name of this school was Grand Meadow #6. However, for at least 100 years it was called the McKinley School. The McKinley School’s attendance zone was 6 square miles (3840 acres). All 23 of the McKinley children, including my grandmother, Mary Ann, attended Grand Meadow #6. Mary Ann’s 9 children, and 11 of her grand children later attended the McKinley School. Several McKinleys and my Aunt Helen Waters Kneeland taught at Grand Meadow #6.
I attended the McKinley School for 9 years. It consisted of one large teaching room, an entry, and two cloak rooms. It had a full basement. When I attended it had a furnace in the basement near the front of the teaching room. There was a 3x3 foot square heat register flush with the floor, that was used for thawing out our paste and ink in the winter. The front wall was covered with a black board that made a very irritating noise when scratched. The teacher lived with a local farm family and walked to school. She was responsible for getting the furnace going to heat the school in the winter. Every day two students were detailed to walk a ¼ mile to the McNeil Farm (80 acres on which John F. and Ellen lived for the first 3 ½ years of their marriage) for a pail of drinking water. The school had two out-houses that were tipped over every Halloween. After Halloween, it was the responsibility of the school board members to make them useable again. When I attended there were from 13 to 15 students in the 9 grades, kindergarten through 8th. My class had 3 students, some classes had none. If a family had children that were born 1 year apart, they sometimes put them in the same grade.
It was very common in the old country schools to keep the boys home during the fall and spring to help with the farm work. To compensate some boys went to school in the winter until they were 16 or 17 years old. Therefore, it was not unusual for some of the students to be bigger than the teacher. That situation led to discipline problems. Sometimes teachers quit in the middle of the year and a disciplinarian, usually a man, had to be hired. Many of the McKinleys went to high school and college so that reduced the number of older children attending the McKinley School.
I do not know what the maximum attendance was at the McKinley School, but it must’ve been quite high. The three McKinley families had 23 children; At the same time Ellen’s brother, Thomas Fleming, who farmed the land that eventually became my father’s farm had 8 children. And Daniel McNeil, where we went for water had a large family, including a set of very robust twin boys.
Michael L. McKinley, who became the Chief Justice of the Superior Court of Cook County, Illinois, taught at the McKinley School (11) and Ed McNeil (one of the twins) later related stories about how Michael L. kept them under control.
In the late 1800s farmers worked together for some jobs such as making hay and threshing oats. Therefore, I assume that the three McKinley families worked together for a good part of each summer. The 23 children probably were very close. My grandmother Mary Ann was very proud of her siblings and cousins, and all throughout her life she documented their accomplishments in the Postville, Iowa newspaper. Many of them went on to become doctors, dentists, Catholic sisters, teachers, judges, legislators, and lawyers.
James McKinley’s granddaughter, Hazel Clare (Sister Mary Ambrosina) McKinley told me John F. was known as "Little John and was quite a character." Just what Sister meant by “quite a character”, I do not know, but I suspect that one of the things she meant was that he was a heavy drinker. My grandmother, Mary Ann, did not allow a drop of alcohol in her house, because her father and brothers were such heavy drinkers. She related that her father, hired man, and in later years her brothers would go into town for the evening, get too drunk to drive home, their friends would load them into the buggy and the horses would bring them home, my grandmother, her sisters, and her mother would find them out front in the buggy, undress them and put them into bed and take care of the horses. The trip into town would take about an hour with fresh horses and an alert driver. I do not know how long it would take for a tired team and no driver.
I have the following clippings from the Postville paper that relate to John F. and his family:
-July 25, 1896, Postville Review: Miss Rose McKinley went to Dubuque on Wednesday evening to visit her sisters. Note: Rose was John F.’s 3rd oldest daughter, Nellie and Catherine were his 4th and 5th oldest daughters. Nellie and Catherine were both Sisters of Mercy. Dubuque is an 80 mile trip, so Rose would’ve taken the train
-September 12, 1896, Postville Review: John A. McKinley, a son of John (not William) McKinley, went to Decorah to attend Valder’s (12) school last Monday. Notes: John A. was John F.’s oldest son . Decorah is 25 miles away, so a round trip would’ve taken all day or he could’ve taken the train. My grandmother Mary Ann and Rose also earned their teaching certifiates at Valder College.
-July 30, 1897, Postville Review: Mr. and Mrs. J. F. McKinley spent a few days in Dubuque attending the ceremonies by which one of their daughters entered the Catholic Sisterhood. They returned on Wednesday.
-August 6, 1897, Postville Review: We notice the following names enrolled on the Clayton County teachers institute list from Postville: John A. McKinley, Gilbert Chase and Rose McKinley.
-September 13, 1898, Postville Review: The following teachers were elected for the winter term in Grand Meadow at the regular meeting of the board last Monday: District 1, Miss Barnhard; District 2, Wm. McKinley; District 3, Oliver Fay; District 4, Rose McKinley; District 5, Nellie Sheehey; District 6, May McNeil; District 7, Miss Backus. Note: May McNeil, daughter of Daniel McNeil, taught at the McKinley School. May only had to walk ¼ mile to teach, Rose taught at #5. Her school was a little over a mile walk down the road from John F’s farm. William, son of John McKinley, taught at #3. His school was about 2 ½ miles through the fields or 4 ½ miles by road from his home, so he probably rode a horse
-November 11, 1898, Postville Review: Up to last Monday, John F. McKinley had lost 50 hogs with cholera. A good many Grand Meadow farmers have met with heavy losses, which we all regret.
-December 23, 1898, Postville Review: John A. McKinley is at home for a visit from St. Joseph College, Dubuque. Note: St. Joseph College had several names during it’s history. In 1939, on it’s 100th anniversary it was given it’s current name, Loras College.
-August 27, 1907, Postville Review: ( this date appears wrong since John F. and Ellen apparently moved to Springfield Mo. in 1901) J. F. McKinley delivered a small bunch of cattle to Mr. Barclay on Tuesday for which he received the handsome sum of $503.50. We have pulled the smoke from a Havana on the event, and hope friend John may have occasion to market several more bunches of the same. This McKinley prosperity is a grand thing.
According to the 1900 federal census (13) John F. and Ellen still lived in Grand Meadow Township.
In 1901 John F. (age 62) and Ellen (55) moved to Greene County, Missouri (14) with sons James (22), Daniel (18), Louis (14) , and Thomas (12). In August of 2003, my aunt Hazel Kneeskern Waters, Mrs. Ambrose McKinley Waters, then 92 years old, told me that according to family memory, John F. and Ellen made the move, hoping that it would “improve their health.” Since consumption (I’ve read several articles from the Postville Review and in 1901, the disease that we now know as tuberculosis was always called consumption) was prevalent in the Postville area in the late 1890s, it maybe that in 1901, John F. and Ellen both had T. B. Also in 1895, Ellen’s brother Thomas Fleming had two children, Mary and Michael (15), who die of consumption.
John F. and Ellen bought a small farm in Greene County, Missouri. John F. and Ellen both died on that farm, John F. on December 27, 1907, and Ellen 6 weeks later on February 7, 1908. (16) John F.’s report of death states that he died of “debility.” (17) Ellen’s report states that she died of Pneumonia. Since I do not know what “debility” might be, I asked my son Dr. Patrick Waters, a specialist in infectious diseases, what it could be. Pat told me that since both of them had been exposed to T. B. in Iowa and that their son James died of T. B. a few years later, there was a strong possibility that both John F. and Ellen had died as a result of T. B.
When my grandmother Mary Ann McKinley, John F. and Ellen’s oldest child, married Robert Burton Waters, they purchased 160 acres with an ½ mile common boundary with John F.’s farm. As far as I know she is the only one of the 23 McKinley cousins that spent her adult years in Grand Meadow Township. When I was growing up in the 1930s and 1940s the only remnant of the McKinley name was the McKinley School.
Mary Ann McKinley and Robert Waters had a family of 9. Four of their sons operated 1000 acres of land that included their mother and father’s 160 acres. These 4 sons and their wives raised 15 children. By 1980 the cycle had repeated and there was no one with the surname Waters living in Grand Meadow Township.
John F. and Ellen had 11 children that survived birth. The first died in 1911, the last in 1978. Age at death varied from 32 to 90. I have documented descendants from 4 children, 4 others may have had children. I have records on 20 grandchildren, 3 still living, of those that died the first died in 1931, age of death varied from 33 to 100. I have records on 28 great-grandchildren, 70 2nd great-grandchildren, 77 3rd great-grandchildren, and 7 4th great-grandchildren.
1. Note: as of Sept. 10, 2010 this website no longer exists (posted by administrator)
2. “John F. McKinley was born in Ireland in 1839, and came to America in 1857. He was living at Meriden, Conn., when the [Civil]war broke out and he enlisted in Company E, Third Connecticut Infantry, and served three months, participating in the battles of Bull Run and Fairfax Court-House. He went to California in the fall of 1861 and remained on the Pacific coast seven years. He came to Clayton County in 1868. He owns a finely cultivated farm of 200 acres in section 21, Grand Meadow Township. He was married Oct. 11, 1869, to Ellen Fleming, who was born in New York, March 14, 1845. They have had nine children--Mary Ann, born Oct. 19, 1870; Lizzie, Nov. 9, 1871; Rosa, June 29, 1872; Nellie, Aug. 16, 1873; Katie, June 16, 1874; John, Nov. 26, 1875, and died the same day; John A., Nov 17, 1877; James, Jan. 18, 1879, and Emily, May 13, 1881. Mr. McKinley is a member of the Catholic church. He votes the Democratic ticket”. History of Clayton County, Iowa published 1882 p. 830.
3.The following inscriptions were copied from the crumbling headstones at St. Thomas Catholic Church, Rathlin Island in 1967 and probably belong to McKinley ancestors, although their relationship has not been formally documented. "Daniel McKinley's burying place of Cregmacagan (note: Cregmacagan was a settlement on Rathlin Island). Here lieth his son Patrick who died 2 August 1792 aged 18, Also the said Daniel who died 1811(?)".
4. John McKinley, Residence: Hartford, Connecticut, Service Record: Enlisted as a Private on 25 April 1861, Enlisted in Company E, 3rd Infantry Regiment Connecticut on 11 May 1861, Mustered out on 12 August 1861 in Hartford, CT
Sources: Connecticut: Record of Service of Men during War of Rebellion.
(CTRoster) Published in 1889 by Case, Lockwood & Brainard
5. After struggling over the High Sierras with near starving animals, early emigrants welcomed the abundance of green grass and water, for which Grass Valley earned its name. The first white men arrived in the region in 1846. Soon others were searching for gold along the numerous streams and ravines. As cabins were built and settlers moved in, the area was known as Boston Ravine. The discovery of a major strike on Gold Hill signaled the beginning of quartz mining in California. Between 1850-1857 production at the Gold Hill Mine alone exceeded $4,000,000. Other veins were developed leading to operations at the Eureka, North Star, the Idaho-Maryland and the Empire Mines. Copied from the Grass Lake California web-site on 6/26/2003
6. In an article published 6/4/2003, The San Francisco Chronicle reported that the Idaho-Maryland mine produced about 2.4 million ounces of gold from 1862 to 1956. They also reported that a Canadian company is currently thinking about reopening the Idaho-Maryland mine.
7. On June 15, 1853, President Pierce awarded the SW ¼ of section 27 Grand Meadow Township 160 acres to Lorenz Moshier by Warrant for his service in the US Military. The 1866 Grand Meadow Township plat map shows B. E. McBride, owning the west ½ of the above partial with no owner indicated for the east ½. On March 5, 1868, Mary and Abraham Lehriner sold the east ½ , 80 acres, to John McKinley for $1000 ($12.50/acre).
8. 1870 Iowa Census Clayton County roll 383, page 277, Enumerated on 8/16/1870.
John McKinley 29 M W Farmer Real Estate Value $4800 Personal Estate Value $1050 Ireland
Ellen McKinley 25 F W Keeping House New York
Mary McKinley 8/12 F W At Home Iowa
9. In June, 1872, Daniel McNeil bought 160 acres, including John’s 80 acres, from James, Mary, John, and Ellen McKinley for the sum of $3000 ($18.75/acre). Daniel McNeil paid the “McKinleys” $1000 cash and signed a land contract with John McKinley for $2000, to be paid in 4 equal installments over a 4 year period. Note: There were two John and Ellen McKinleys living as neighbors and cousins in Grand Meadow Township. Therefore, it is difficult to tell which of the four were executing the 1872 documents. In fact it seems that both families were represented on the various June, 1872 documents.
10. 1885 Iowa State Census shows: (Maryl added some notes, i.e. re Infant John & Bert)
John F McKinley b: 1839 in Ireland
.. +Ellen Fleming b: 14 March 1845 in New York m:11 Oct 1869
......... 2 Mary Ann McKinley b: 19 October 1870
............. +Robert B. (Bert) Waters b: Abt. 1870
......... 2 Lizzie McKinley b: 09 November 1871
......... 2 Rosa McKinley b: 29 June 1872
......... 2 Nellie McKinley b: 16 August 1873
......... 2 Katie McKinley b: 16 June 1874
......... 2 Inf._ John McKinley b: 26 November 1875 d: 26 November 1875
......... 2 John A. McKinley b: 17 November 1877
......... 2 James McKinley b: 18 January 1879
......... 2 Emily McKinley b: 13 May 1881
......... 2 Daniel McKinley b: 1883
11. Excerpt from a 1940 article in the Postville Herald.
Ed McNeil and his brothers and sisters attended the McKinley School, located just across the road to the west of the farm. "One of our teachers in those early days was Michael L. McKinley," Mr. Ed McNeil stated. "He is judge of the supreme court in Chicago, Ill., today, so you can easily imagine he was an able educator. In addition to being a good teacher, he believed in discipline and many a time I received a good licking."
12. VALDER COLLEGE; Another private school--one that is still in existence and whose vigor increases each year--is Valder College, established in 1888 by Prof. Charles H. Valder. When in his early manhood Mr. Valder determined to make education his life's work, he chose first to perfect himself as a penman. His success brought him to Decorah where, for a number of years, be was in charge of the department of penmanship in the Decorah public schools. He, too, had a vision, but it was along the lines of business education, and he first established a school of shorthand, typewriting, and penmanship. While the attendance was small during the first three or four years, it was a notable fact that Valder graduates were in demand on account of their thorough preparation. As the success of his business school became more assured Mr. Valder ventured into realms of normal work, aiming particularly at the preparation of teachers, and broadening the commercial school work. Himself an excellent teacher, he was not satisfied to employ as his faculty any who could not measure up to a high standard, and thus he has built up a school that enrolls from four hundred to five hundred students annually, and whose graduates are scattered all over the Northwest, occupying positions of great responsibility in every walk, but more particularly as bankers, accountants, stenographers and teachers. During the past year Valder College has been incorporated and Prof. Charles A. Whalen, who has been a member of the faculty for several years, has become associated financially in the institution. Past and Present of Winneshiek County, Published 1913, Page 130
13. 1900 Federal Iowa Census, Clayton Co, Grand Meadow Township, Supvsr.
District 77, E.D. 52, Sheet 4, p. 123A, 53, 54, shows:
John F McKinley b: March, 1839 in Ireland, emig. 1852, married 31 years, farmer, all in family can read and write
...+Ellen (Fleming) McKinley b: 14 March 1845 in New York m:11 Oct 1869, 12 children, 11 living
......... 2 Rose McKinley b: 29 June 1872, age 27, school teacher for 4 years
......... 2 James McKinley b: 18 January 1879, age 21, farm laborer
......... 2 Emily McKinley b: 13 May 1881, age 19, servant, attended school for 2 years
......... 2 Daniel McKinley b: Sept, 1883, age 16, farm laborer, attended school for 4 years
......... 2 Lewis McKinley b. April, 1886, age 14, farm laborer, attended school for 6 years
......... 2 Thomas McKinley b. July, 1888, age 11, farm laborer, attended school for 6 years
14. On May 22, 2003, I received the following information in an e-mail from Lewis McKinley, son of Louis McKinley. “I would imagine my grandfather's farm was probably in the 120-160 acre range. That is considered to be a good-sized farm for this part of the country. It was out beyond where the airport is now, but as far as I know it was still in Greene County but had a Springfield address. There are a few little communities out there by the names of Bois D'Arc and Elwood, but I don't ever remember my dad mentioning those as where he lived. And yes, I think the grandparents farmed the land with my dad, Tom and James.”
15. Died: Fleming. At the residence of his father, Thos. Fleming, in Grand Meadow Township, Feb. 20th , 1895, of consumption, M. J. Fleming, in the 25th year of his age. The deceased had been in poor health for the past five years. A sister of the deceased is very low with the same dread decease. The family is entitled to great sympathy. Eggert:-- At the residence of her mother. Mrs. Henry Eggert, south of Postville, after a short illness, of quick consumption, Feb 18th, 1895, Bertha Eggert, about 16 years of age. Postville Review: February 23, 1895 Note: Bertha Eggert was the sister my grandfather Fred Eberling’s first wife Sophia. Sophia died of T. B. November 25, 1895. Fred and Sophia’s daughter Ester died of T. B. November 9, 1901.
16. Mrs. J.F. McKinley died at her home eight miles west of the city at 10 o’clock Friday night, after a brief illness from pneumonia. Just six weeks ago Friday and at nearly the same hour, Mr. McKinley passed away. Mrs. McKinley was sixty-four years old and is survived by 10 children. From early childhood, Mrs. McKinley has been a devoted member of the Catholic church. The McKinley family removed [sic] from Iowa to Greene County six years ago and is well known and held in high esteem. The funeral services will be held from Sacred Heart Church at 10 o’clock this morning. The remains will be interned beside those of her husband in St. Mary’s cemetery. Springfield Daily Republican, Sunday, February 9, 1908
17. On August 26, 2003, Lewis McKinley sent me the following e-mail “I had to go downtown this morning, so stopped by Hermann Lohmeyer Funeral Home. The man who is manager is also in charge of the Catholic cemeteries in Springfield. I wanted to know if their records indicated the cause of death. You had asked me once before if I knew the cause of death for my grandparents. I don't remember my dad every mentioning it, so asked my two sisters. They did not either.. Found out the following: John McKinley's cause of death shows it to be "debility." I have know idea what that is, other than a worn out body, too tired to continue living. Ellen McKinley: Pneumonia James (my uncle, who was 28 when he died) tuberculosis. I don't think I ever knew this before. I do remember my mother/father telling us it was something else but I never heard of it being tuberculosis before.”
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