Pennsylvania AHGP
  Athens Township, Bradford County ~ Biographies

Joseph McKinney

Joseph McKinney, fifth son of Henry McKinney, was born in Sheshequin, September 17, 1802. His father emigrated from Ireland to Cecil County, Maryland; was married there to Rebecca Hynman. He was a weaver by trade, and followed that vocation until his death. In the spring of 1792 he moved up the Susquehanna, his wife riding on horseback, carrying her young babe, stopping first to make a location at the Daniel Moore ferry, now the S. W. Park farm, in Athens Township (then Tioga). Lived in Sheshequin for a time, then settled in Athens on the river bank, now the John Thompson farm, where he lived until 1806, when he was drowned in the Susquehanna.

Seven children were born to them, Samuel, born in Maryland, January, 1792; died in Litchfield, Pennsylvania, 1853. John, born 1794; returned to Maryland in 1813; died there in May, 1870. Margaret, born in 1796; died in Litchfield, 1820. Henry, born October 10, 1797; settled in Litchfield, and still lives there. David, born August 1, 1800; settled in Litchfield township, and lives there now. Joseph, born September 17, 1802; still living; has always lived in Athens Township. Cynthia, born October 11, 1804; was married to Amos Franklin, moved to Michigan, and died there the 6th of March, 1871. The last six children were born in Bradford County. Joseph lived with his mother for several years after his father's death, or until 1816, when he went to live with Colonel John Franklin; remained there working at farm work until after his marriage; was married to Mary Bidlack on the 18th day of December, 1828; moved to his present home the 7th of January, 1830, which he has converted from a wilderness into the present green pastures and waving fields of grain, well stocked with cattle, sheep, etc. His first residence was a log house, which he occupied until 1844, when he built and moved into his present one.

He followed the river as pilot with rafts and arks from the age of twenty-one until the year 1859, and many incidents and hairbreadth escapes he has passed through. He is a good farmer, and what he has is owing to his strict adherence to habits of industry and economy. Commencing with his hands only, he has accumulated what he has, which, of this world's goods, is more than enough for the enjoyment of every comfort in his old age. Socially he is respected by all his friends (who are many), and by all with whom he has had business transactions, and his zeal for honesty is unsurpassed. He is a stockholder, and was for several years a director, of the First National bank of Athens. Politically he is a Republican unswervingly; was formerly an old-line Whig; but he has little to do with politics. He has always been a great reader, acquiring most of his education since arriving at manhood; belongs to no church, but contributes mostly to the Methodist.

The result of his marriage was six children: Eliza, born March 21, 1830, married C. S. Wheaton, and lives in Athens. Horace, born February 5, 1832; lived on the farm with his father until his death, January 19, 1877. Clarissa, born September 14, 1834; married T. W. Brink, and lives in Litchfield. Joseph, Jr., born February 11, 1838; was married to Emily Vangorder, and lives on part of his father's farm. Alfred, born June 14, 1842; died December 3, 1843. Anna, born June 9, 1845; lived with her parents until her death, June 15, 1875. The deceased children are buried in the family cemetery on the farm, including Rebecca, his mother, who lived with him from 1834 (when she broke up housekeeping), until her death, March 23, 1855. Good monuments mark their last resting-place.

Mary Bidlack, his wife, was born in Sheshequin, January 20, 1806; was a daughter of James Bidlack and Esther Moore, who were married in 1803. James Bidlack was son of Captain James Bidlack, who was killed at the Wyoming massacre. His widow, a few years afterwards, married Colonel John Franklin.

Her girlhood was passed at home until the year 1819, when she came to live with her grandmother, Mrs. Franklin, and remained there until her marriage, and thereafter until January 7, 1830, when she began housekeeping on the old homestead, where she still lives.

 She has led an extremely busy life, and has been a true helpmate to her husband. The buzz of the spinning wheel, and the grate of the cards, in manufacturing their own homespun, have shown economy and industry of which but few can boast. A bountiful supply of woolen and linen, homemade, for table, bed, and clothing, was always on hand, and cotton carefully laid away for an emergency. She is a good Christian woman, although belonging to no particular church. None in want ever left her door without some gift or token of remembrance. Sociable and friendly with all her guests, her table was ever spread for charity.

Athens Township

Bradford County Biographies

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Created May 2014 by Judy White