Jerry McKinley was a Good Man

Jeremiah McKinley was the youngest of a family of seven children born to George & Polly McKinley. He was born in 1852 and had been a life long resident of Morgan Co. The parents, brothers & sisters preceded him in death.

Jan. 4, 1879, he was married to Priscilla Stafford. Six children came to gladden their home. His companion of fifty-five yrs., two sons, Oscar & Fred McKinley, his daughter Ozella Konig, and four grandchildren, all residents of Brooklyn, survive him.

It is with mingled feelings we hear the news of the passing of the few remaining pioneers of our Community.

jerrymckinley1926

Jeremiah McKinley 1926

We who knew Jerry best, with the family feel our loss.

Why? Because this tribute could be written in these words, “He was a faithful friend.” He didn’t go away from his home or Community to find a large place to fill, but he used the untold riches that were hidden in the depths of his heart.

He took what God gave. Some have been given more. Many have been given less. But he took what he had and made for his Soul a house of happiness & rendered a service near home.

Jerry made friends easily. His cleverness & humor gave us a tonic thought.

The goodness of his character attracted for him friends & the genuineness of his character kept them.

He was honestly & sincerely interested in his neighbors and this expressed itself in an open and understandable type of neighborliness & he and his family have created responsive neighborliness among us.

The many friends who have called at the home & those who are attending this service testify to the constructive influence of his happy friendly live.

Did you ever find the happiness flower? It isn’t so hard to find. It opens wide at the morning hour, In the meadows of Cheerful Mind.

–Eulogy for Jeremiah McKinley, 1934

A copy of this handwritten message is in my collection. There is no indication of who wrote it. However, I assume it was probably written by the pastor who presided at Jerry’s funeral. As mentioned below, that was the Rev. O.C. Haas.

On Thursday, January 18, 1934, there was the following notice on page 1 of The Mooresville Times: “McKINLEY RITES SATURDAY. Funeral services for Jeremiah McKinley, 81 yr old retired farmer will be held Saturday morning at the Brooklyn M.E. Church with the Rev. O.C. Haas in charge. Burial will be in Centerton. Mr. McKinley lived in Morgan Co. all his life. He was the son of George & Polly McKinley.”

So who was Jeremiah “Jerry” McKinley? For one thing, he was my GG Grandfather. As the eulogy says, he was born in 1852. His death certificate lists his birthday as May 28. He died January 18, 1934. He lived on South Main Street of Brooklyn, IN. He was a farmer in Morgan County, IN. His parents were George McKinley (b. ~1802) and Polly (Mary) Packwood (b. ~1807).

He married Priscilla Staffojerrypriscillamckinleyrd (1859-1941) January 4, 1879 in Morgan County, IN. The picture shown was given to me by my Grandfather & is actually a very small tintype with the oval opening in the frame approx 3/4 of an inch long. I do not have 100% proof that this is a picture of Jerry and Priscilla, but the features seem to match later pictures of them. They had the following children:

Oscar (1887-1969), Fred (1890-1972), Unnamed son (lived 4 days in April 1892), Perley (1893-1894), Ozella (1895-1980) and George (1900-1902).

 

I received the McKinley family Bible from my Uncle and the children are listed on the “Births” and “Deaths” pages.

mckinleybiblebirths

McKinley Bible Births

mckinleybibledeaths

McKinley Bible Deaths

The Agricultural Census Schedule for 1880 has Jeremiah listed in Clay Township, Morgan County, line 5. At that time he was renting his farm “for shares of product.” The farm consisted of 21 acres of improved land and 19 acres of “woodland & forest.” The value of the farm was $400 for the farm land, fences & buildings; $200 for farming implements & machinery; and $250 for livestock. The estimated value of all farm productions, (sold, consumed or on hand) in 1879 was $400. He had 1 horse, 1 milch cow and produced 100lbs of butter. There was 1 swine on the farm. Jerry had 36 barn-yard chickens, producing 200 eggs in 1879. He had 9 acres of oats, producing 200 bushels. The rest of the farm was orchard, 6 acres in apples (400 trees) producing 300 bushels & 5 acres in peaches (400 trees) with no listed production. The total value of orchard products was $150. He cut 30 cords of wood at a value of $100.

By 1920, Jerry and Priscilla had moved to town. They show up in the US Census in Brooklyn, IN with their son, Fred. Their other son, Oscar and his family are listed just above them on the census.

By the way, the eulogy mentions 4 grandchildren who were living when Jerry died. They were Oscar’s sons, Myron and Loran (my Grandfather) and Ozella’s son and daughter. Ozella had another daughter later in the year.

So there it is, information on the life of Jerry McKinley. If it weren’t for the eulogy, there would just be a selection of facts, but that added a little more insight to the kind of man he was, besides a farmer, Jerry McKinley was a good man.

© MJM 2017

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