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McKinley family Armagh to Delaware 1720's
Posted by: Robert Maxwell (ID *****8533) Date: December 17, 2010 at 07:28:46
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for far more data see irishmckinleys.blogspot.com

Armagh branch: Moses, John, Benjamin, Robert McKinley 1720-1750
Following on from my discovery of Moses McKinley and his marriage in 1722 to Elizabeth Greenwater in New Castle DE in 1722 I have been trying to work though his origins and his descendants. This lead to working out which other McKinley's were in the immediate area during the first half of the 18th century. Land certificate records have one John McKinley getting 100 acres certified in Cecil County DE in 1748: this has proved to be the start of a rich vein of information. Cecil County borders New Castle and southern Pennsylvania. The certificate was set out with two other individuals: Benjamin McKinley and James Cathey.

Searching in Google Books for John McKinley references I happened across an edition of the Stewart Family records which mentioned a land transaction of 1771. In this transaction "William Stewart of New Castle, Delaware, entered into agreement with Benjamin McKinley of Frederick County, to purchase part of a tract of land...which belonged to the estate of John McKinley, deceased..." One of those "eureka!" moments. Next question was to ascertain relationship of John to Benjamin: father or brother?. Another search and other document cites one Ebenezer McKinley as being administrator to the estate of Benjamin McKinley on Dec 30th 1782. Of Ebenezer we have more substantial records: that he married one Elizabeth Good and that they had four sons: the eldest being Benjamin. Thus assuming the usual Scotch naming system, this seems to confirm that Ebenezer was son of Benjamin who in turn seems more likely to have been son of John, rather than brother.

John McKinley, in that initial land cert of 1748, named his tract of land "Drum Greena". This suggests he had come from a townland in Ireland of a similar name, most probably Drumgreenagh of Drumcreenagh. Google Maps obliged, throwing up two Drumgreenagh's both of which are in Country Armagh. A quick search in RootsWeb also revealed a John Cathey from Co Armagh as having been in the US by 1739 and as having come from County Monaghan (which adjoins Armagh). Still on my search of McKinleys in the Delaware area, I made a quick search for Moses McKinley "Armagh": bingo! two Moses McKinleys appear in Tythe records a century later in the Armagh area, along with five other McKinley families.

So do we have a McKinley family group that came over from Armagh in the 1730's and settle in the southern Pennsylvania / New Castle / Cecil County area. It seems likely: we have John McKinley from Drumgreenagh (7 miles S/W of Armagh Town); we have Moses McKinley getting married in 1722 in New Castle and the highly unusual name of Moses recurring still a century later in the adjoining townlands of Ballygorman and Ballydogherty in County Armagh some 12 miles S/E of Armagh and 15m east of Drumgreenagh.

Adding to the reason for supposing these two McKinleys (brothers or father and son?) to have come from Armagh, is the migration of a famous family of Presbyterian preachers from Armagh to Chester Co PA in 1734 with a group of other families: I am talking of the Finley family who were to have three preacher sons of considerable fame: Samuel, James and Andrew. The parents, Michael Finley and Anne O'Neill arrived into Chester County in late September 1734 from the parish of Mullaghbrack, Co Armagh. Mullaghbrack being 14 miles from Drumgreenagh.

In the State of Delaware a Scotch-Irish area kown as New Munster had been carved out early on by the Alexander family from Armagh. In 1746 members of this family and other Presbyterian Scotch-Irish from New Munster headed of into the wilds of North Carolina to settle in Mecklenburg County. Here in Mecklenburg we have the family of Robert McKinley (c1708-1775) appearing. This makes it very likely that Robert was of the same family grouping as Moses, John and Benjamin: a supposition made more weighty by the fact we have a Moses McKinley being born in North Carolina in 1798 (died Fayette Co TN 1879).

So far so good: But now let us see if we can make ties with two other eminent McKinley's of those times: Jane McKinley who married David Logan (of Lurgan Co Armagh) and Governor John McKinly of Delaware. Logan/McKinley family lore holds that Jane was sister of John: so if we leave that particular issue to one side for a moment, let's see if Jane can link in to our Armagh branch of the family.

Most commentators suggest that David and Jane were married in Ireland; some suggest David as being a brother of Penn's secretary James Logan (not the case); also they assert that Benjamin Logan (the famous frontiersman and General in the revolutionary war) had been named after his maternal grandfather. Let us sort out David Logan first. He came from Lurgan, County Armagh and he was likely related in some way to Penn's wealthy stalwart secretary James Logan. But we know from English records that James had but one brother, William. there is clear evidence that David Logan had a family and a wife before he married Jane McKinley. His children by his first wife (Martha Dudgeon) were William and Mary, who had been born in Ireland. the naming of the first son William, suggests to me that David was therefore nephew of James. Clearly Martha dies and next we have James Logan and wife Jane testifying to proof of importation in the Orange County Court House on 22nd May 1740. They were self-imported, which means either they had sufficient funds to pay for their own voyage or someone else had (a wealthy uncle in the form of James Logan, perhaps). A daughter Margaret is born in 1741 and then Benjamin McKinley Logan in May 1743. Given that David already has or had an elder son called after his own father, then it is logical that the next son is called after the maternal grandfather. LDS records state that the eldest son William died some time prior to 1749. Whether Jane and David married in Ireland or in Pennsylvania prior to the move across the state line to Delaware is not known; but my bet is they met in Pennsylvania. What we do know is that both Jane McKinley and John McKinley were born in the north of Ireland.

If young Benjamin was Jane's first-born is suggests that she was born around 1720 and we know that Govr John McKinley was born in 1721. However is also means that it is impossible that Benjamin McKinley of Cecil County, Delaware was her father, but also suggests that it is very possible that they were first cousins. To summarise: in Armagh there were three brothers born in the late 1600's called Moses, John and Benjamin. Moses we know was in Delaware by 1721 because he married in New Castle in 1722. He was a well-respected senior member of the Presbyterian community because by 1732 he is an Elder. Benjamin may or may not have come with him; if he did come he certainly perished early on (a very natural hazard in those days). John, the father of "Delaware" Benjamin, dies sometime around 1770. So certainly Moses and John are of the same generation. "Irish" Benjamin has two children: Jane, later wife of David Logan, and her brother John McKinly, both born in the early 1720's and would have been direct first cousin contempories of Benjamin McKinley of Delaware. Robert McKinley is also of this generation and likely origin via either Moses or John


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