William T. McKinney, a dry-goods merchant and one of the leading business
men of the town of Earlville, Illinois, has been identified with the
interests of this place for the past thirty-three years. He is a native of
the Keystone state, born in Mifflin county, Pennsylvania, April 28, 1833, a
son of William and Anna (McKitt) McKinney, who were born, lived and died in
that county. The father was twice married and by his first wife had eleven
children, of whom the subject of our sketch is one; by his second marriage
there were four children. In his native county, near the town of Lewistown,
William T. was reared, and in the common schools of the neighborhood he
received his early education. This was supplemented by three years and a
half in a newspaper office, where he served an apprenticeship, which was
equal to a schooling to him. Afterward he went to Philadelphia, where for
over twelve years he was a compositor on a newspaper. He remained in
Philadelphia until 1866, that year coming west and taking up his abode in
In the meantime, about 1853, a brother of our subject, H. T. McKinney, familiarly known as Hank McKinney, had come to Illinois and obtained a clerkship at Earlville. Not long afterward he engaged in the general merchandise business on his own account, and for several years, until the fall of 1872, he conducted a successful business here. Since that date he has been a resident of Albuquerque, New Mexico.
When William T. McKinney came to Earlville, March 4, 1866, it was to accept a position as a bookkeeper and clerk in his brother's store. Afterward he clerked for A. B. Breese, and after the death of Mr. Breese, in the spring of 1892, Mr. McKinney became a partner in the business with Mrs. Breese, widow of his former employer, and since April 25th of that year has had charge of the store.
Mr. McKinney is a man of many estimable traits of character and during his long residence in Earlville has gained the confidence and esteem of all who have in any way been associated with him.
Extracted 18 Aug 2017 by Norma Hass from Biographical and Genealogical Record of LaSalle County, Illinois, published in 1900, volume 2, pages 515-516.