|Birth: ||Sep. 25, 1814|
|Death: ||Jan. 20, 1894|
William was one of the prominent pioneers of Shelby County, Iowa, having been identified with its history since 1856. He was a native of Kentucky, born in Campbell County, September 25, 1814. William's parents, William and Mary (Mitcheltree) McGinness had five sons and five daughters, William being the youngest. He was reared to farming pursuits and resided with his parents in Hancock County, Indiana until their death, He inherited the home place and lived there until 1837, with the exception of one year spent on the Ohio River. In March, 1838, he started west, coming up the Mississippi River and landing at Pine Creek. He settled in the Blackhawk purchase, then Wisconsin Territory, which was organized into Iowa Territory the following Fourth of July. Afterward he took up a claim in what is now Linn County, and broke and improved fifty acres, which he sold in 1839. William was married on May 2, 1840 to Miss Mary Donahoo, a native of Clayborn County, Virginia, and a daughter of John and Keziah (Yeary) Donahoo. Her parents had moved to Iowa in the year 1839. After their marriage, William engaged in the saw-mill business, and in 1844 he removed to Wapello County, Iowa where he took a claim, improved and then sold. He again entered 200 acres of wild land in Adams Township. Here he built the third cabin in the township, and improved the place, residing upon it until 1852. He then started west, going to Kainsville, now Council Bluffs, with four yoke of oxen, which were stolen from him. He there bought a claim and sold it, and rented land and earned the money with which he bought a farm in Shelby County. The farm contained 140 acres and cost $6.60 per acre. In the fall of 1856, he moved into the cabin on his place, which already sheltered one family. Thirteen people lived one winter in this cabin which was 12x14 feet in size. He improved the place and made it a comfortable home. In 1858, he was licensed to preach in the Methodist Episcopal church, which he joined in 1833. He was one of the pioneer preachers, and held services in 35 school houses, in the old court house, and the new court house as well as in the churches. He has organized 3 classes. He has been present at the celebration of our national independence, July 4th, since 1838; at that time there were only three people to celebrate. In 1861 he went to Central City, Colorado and returned the following fall. Mr. and Mrs McGinness were the parents of 10 children, two sons and eight daughters; Mary, Emily, Sarah, Henry M., John A., Nancy J., Ellen, Hattie, a child who died in infancy and another whose name is unknown. Mr. McGinness has served in local offices of trust and responsibility. Politically, he affiliated with the Republican party. He was formerly an old-line Whig, and cast his first presidential vote for Scott.
(most of the above and the following information was provided by - Biographical history of Shelby and Audobon Counties, Iowa; W.S.Dunbar & Co., Chicago, 1889, pgs. 342-343)
The grand-father of Rev. William McGinness was Samuel McGinness, who came to this country with eleven brothers and cousins and settled in Philadelphia. Here, he followed the trade of a baker until the beginning of the revolutionary war, when he enlisted in defense of his adopted country; he served five years and six months under General Washington. William's father was born and reared in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, where he married Mary Mitcheltree, a daughter of George Mitcheltree who came from County Tyrone, Ireland when Mary was a young lady. Rev. Williams parents resided in Pennsylvania until after the birth of two children, when they emigrated to Nicholas County, and thence to Campbell County, Kentucky, in 1811, where they resided until 1817. They then removed to Switzerland County, Indiana and afterward to Hancock County, Indiana, where his mother died in 1831 and father in 1833.
Mary Donahoo McGinness (1818 - 1901)*
Mary Tresse McGinness Burroughs/Manuel (1841 - 1918)*
Maintained by: Lloyd Donahoo
Originally Created by: Patty C
Record added: Jan 06, 2008
Find A Grave Memorial# 23801121