Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens
Lawrence County Pennsylvania 1897
[p. 313] a veteran railroad conductor, now employed on a passenger run of the Pennsylvania line, was born in New Castle, Aug. 21, 1850. Dating from the time when he was ten years of age until he had attained his majority his life was cast among strangers, and whatever he has now has been acquired by his own unaided efforts and after much up-hill work. The first ten years of his life were spent in New Castle, and the succeeding decade in New Wilmington, and his educution was obtained in the schools of these two places, his attendance at school extending till his eighteenth year, and being of a very desultory and much-interrupted character, for it was not always possible for him to attend school when other boys of his age did. He lost his mother at the age of five, and five years later his father broke up housekeeping, and from the age of ten years he has successfully battled with life's problems. He began railroad life on the lowest round, working on the section gang for the P. & F. W., but be was not fated to remain stationary in such a position, but soon rose to a place on the work train, and from there was advanced to the position of brakeman on a freight, and in less than two years was placed in charge of a freight train as conductor, which position he filled some six years. It was during this period that a serious and almost fatal accident befell Mr. McKinley; he was thrown from the top of the train, and in falling his left arm was thrown under the wheels, which crushed the bones from the elbow to the shoulder; it was deemed so serious that the surgeons determined that amputation must be resorted to in order to save his life. But his endurance was wonderful, and by pure grit he pulled through without any such operation, and has so far recovered the use of his arm, that its mangled condition would never be remarked by one unacquainted with the accident. The succeeding seven years Mr. McKinley was conductor of a local mixed train, running from Youngstown, Ohio; in June, 1886, he was given a passenger run, and moved to Alliance, Ohio. In April, 1896, he returned to his birthplace, and now alternates with his brother Willis J. McKinley on two runs over the Pennsylvania R. R.
James McKinley, the grandfather of George H., married a Miss Steele, and they moved from the eastern part of the State to the western part at an early day; the entire family, consisting of some eight or ten, at that time took up residences in this part of the State and in Eastern Ohio, notably Stark County. Their son, Alexander, was born near Mt. Jackson, Pa., and married Elizabteh Morehead, who was born on the same farm where the birth of her children occurred, in what is now a part of the city of New Castle. Elizabeth Morehead was a daughter of James Morehead. Alexander McKinley was a shoe-maker by trade, and followed that trade in early life and in the later years of his life. During middle life he was employed in various capacities on the railroads. In 1886, he suffered a stroke of paralysis, from which he never recovered, and died at the residence of his son, Willis J., June 14, 1896, at the age of seventy-four years. He was a veteran of the late war, and served through a nine months term of enlistment. Of this first marriage, three children were born: George E.; Willis J., whose personal history appears elsewhere in this Book of Biographies; and Elizabeth. He married as his second wife, Elizabeth Houston, and this union resulted in three more children, namely: John C. of New Brighton, Pa.; Hugh of Ashtabula Harbor, Ohio; and Margaret, the wife of C. C. Kelso of Turtle Creek, Pa. He was married a third time but no children followed.
George H. McKinley entered into the married state Sept. 17, 1874, at Mt. Jackson, Pa., his nuptials at that date being consummated with Elizabeth Howard, a native of Old Enon, Pa., and a daughter of Edward L. and Sarah (Lane) Howard, the former a son of Prosper Howard, a native of England. Edward L. Howard is a veteran of the late war, having enlisted three times in the Union armies. At the first call for troops in 1861, be enlisted, and was discharged at the expiration of one year's service because of illness contracted in the army. On his recovery he re-enlisted under the nine months call, and again in 1864 became a volunteer soldier, serving till the close of the war. It was during this last scrvice that he received a severe wound in the head at the battle of Kenesaw Mountain, on June 6, 1864, from the effects of which he is still a sufferer. To him and his wife were given six children, as follows: Elizabeth, the wife of Mr. McKinley; William, deceased; Ella, deceased; Alosia (Stoner), who lives in Butler County; Harry, a resident of Mahoningtown, this county; and Robert of Lowellsville, Ohio. The home of Mr. McKinley has been blessed with the birth of one daughter, Sadie May, who was married Dec. 23, 1895, to Howard Taylor, a minister of the M. E. Church, now a student of the Massachusetts Theological Seminary of Boston, from which point he fills the pulpits of churches in the surrounding towns, while pursuing his studies for higher proficiency in his chosen calling. Our subject and his wife are members of the First M. E. Church of New Castle on Jefferson Street. In politics, Mr. McKinley is an old-line Democrat, and cannot countenance with his support the alliance of Jeffersonian principles with visionary populistic doctrines. He is a member of the Order of Railway Conductors, Division No. 177, of Alliance, Ohio. He has built for his home a commodious residence at 353 West Washington Street, where he has surrounded himself with all the comforts and luxuries of an ideal American home. His genial, sunny nature, like a magnetic lodestone has attracted to him a wide circle of friends, much after his own nature, and the person who enjoys their hospitality and cheer will ever remember it as one of the delightful moments of their life. His friends will view with interest his portrait, which appears on a page in proximity to this. A man of his standing in the community and in railroad circles is entitled to the utmost consideration and respect.
Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens Lawrence County Pennsylvania
Biographical Publishing Company, Buffalo, N.Y., 1897
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Updated: 24 May 2001