Rev. William McKinley, 1834-1918. His obituary dated January 13, 1918 [newspaper not identified], reads: "Early Methodist Divine Dies at Home in Winona. Rev. William McKinley, dean of Minnesota Methodism, active as a lecturer, author and divine in various parts of the state since 1854, died late yesterday at his home in Winona, where he has lived since his retirement from active ministry ten years ago. Dr. McKinley was 84 years old and was known prominently throughout the Northwest as an author and preacher. In the Civil War he gained his early experience as a chaplain among the Union soldiers. His first pastorate was at Hastings, where he lived as boy on a farm. Subsequently he was pastor of Hamline Methodist Episcopal church of this city, Central Park church and of First Methodist Episcopal church of Minneapolis, besides serving as district superintendent of the St. Paul district. He was an intimate friend of Edward Eggleston, the famed minister-author, in whose church in New York city he served for a year. A native of Scotland, Rev. Mr. McKinley came to the United Sates in 1841 at the age of 7 years. The veteran Minnesota divine became well known as the able chronicler of Minnesota Methodism. In 1911 he published 'A Story of Minnesota Methodism.' Dr. Eggleston, in commenting on the work at the time of its publication, said: 'Dr. McKinley has succeeded in giving to the public an exceedingly vivid and interesting description of the early days of Minnesota, the social conditions and the leading personages in the settlements of that state.'
The book was the witnessing of one who knew and who saw the panorama of the days gone by in the Northwest.
This is what Dr. McKinley said about his landing in the state:
'When navigation opened on the Mississippi I took the first steamboat up the river and landed in Minnesota, April 13, 1855. The ice was not out of Lake Pepin so we left the boat at Read’s Landing. There was another boat at Red Wing to take the passengers to St. Paul and there were wagons to carry the women to the head of the lake. But with the 700 passengers, mostly men, there were not enough wagons to carry them and they had to walk. Rather than do this another young man and I decided to start overland to Faribault. We tramped all day across the prairie without anything to eat. Neither of us ever had done a day’s walking and before night we were used up, but stern necessity compelled us to trudge on. We saw no house nor signs of human habitation all day.'
In graphic descriptions Rev. Mr. McKinley wrote one of the most authentic accounts of early Minnesota, a book consulted frequently by historians and chroniclers.
The funeral services for the aged clergyman will be held at Winona on Tuesday."
Minnesota Annual Conference United Methodist Church