Thomas McKinney, oldest son of Joseph (ca. 1712-1785) and Grizelda MacKenzie (ca. 1717-before 1785), was born near Newburg, Hopewell township, Cumberland county, Pennsylvania, and died in the autumn of the year 1787, at his home on his farm, containing 110 acres, adjoining that on which his father lived and died.
With the Kittatinny mountains less than two miles to the north, and the Conodoguinet creek threading its way far to the south, the hills that marked the site of Newburg outlining the east, and the undulating stretches of the valley to the west, Thomas McKinney first saw the light, lived out his day, and was laid with his kindred in Hanna's graveyard, where his wife too was buried. His education was received under adverse circumstances. As the eldest son much of the labor of the farm depended upon him, and even when a child his duties required his attention during the day and only the evening could be devoted to study. The single evidence we have of his ability is his penmanship, which in his signature is clear and legible, with well formed symmetrical letters, which are still distinct after the lapse of one hundred and eighteen years. With his brothers and sisters he sat beside a tallow dip and read, studied and planned his future.
At an early age he married Jane Bigham and lived on one of the farms of his father, which adjoined the homestead on the east and comprised a tract of level, valuable land which descended in time to his son David.
From childhood he aided in the protection of his home from the attacks of the Indians, and with the Quigley and Brady boys trailed the redskins far and near. When the Indian troubles subsided, the Revolution brought consternation to the settlements in the valley, as elsewhere, and Thomas McKinney instilled the sentiments of patriotism in the hearts of his children, teaching them not only the art of fighting, but the wisdom of bravery. Not inclined to warfare, however, the MacKenzies in America preferred the more quiet walks of life and chose to live at peace with all men, rather than at enmity, to conquer with kindness rather than the sword. Within a few miles of each other lived the families of Wills, Quigley, Sharpe, McCune and two branches of the McKinney, descendants of whom intermarried, and three of Thomas McKinney's children married into the Quigley family.
His family was large and prosperous and their inter marriages with members of clans of Scotch-Irish descent added not only to the race in point of parentage, but brought lands and increased financial benefits to the house of MacKenzie. Season after season ground which seemed fit for nothing but the primeval trees and forest growth, was cleared and yielded abundant harvest. Mills were established along the streams of water and it was probably to the one at Quigley's bridge, that Thomas McKinney sent his wheat and corn to be prepared for use.
With his family he attended the Middle Spring Presbyterian church, five miles across the valley to the south, and would naturally have made his burials at that place had Hanna's graveyard not been more conveniently situated, and only three miles distant. It was originally a private plot of ground, but after the county became more thickly populated it was opened for public use It is now enclosed in the center of a field, but there was evidently a road leading directly to the spot in the early days when it was used by the settlers in that vicinity. Much historical data regarding the McKinney family would be secured if the records of births, marriages and deaths of members of the Middle Spring church had been preserved, but the loss by fire of all congregational manuscripts prior to 1800 deprives us of much information.
Posterity teaches us that Thomas and Jane Bigham McKinney were of reverent piety, feared and loved God, honored the truth, and by example and precept brought before men the noblest type of life, filling their respective spheres with dignity and ability.
Jane Bigham McKinney*
Jean McKinney Wills (____ - 1823)*
David McKinney (1767 - 1835)*
Joseph McKinney (1773 - ____)*
Created by: Cenantua
Record added: Feb 06, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 47664309
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