McKinley, William Brown, 1856-1926

Alternative names

Hide Profile

William Brown McKinley, businessman and congressman, was born in Petersburg, Illinois, September 5, 1856, the son of George and Hannah (Finley) McKinley. After attending local public schools, he enrolled at the University of Illinois, Urbana, for two years. In 1881 he married Kate Frisbee of Chicago.

McKinley began a business career in the family firm of J.B. & W.B. McKinley. The company originally specialized in private banking and mortgages, then expanded into public finance and the construction of municipal utilities. In the city of his residence, Champaign, Illinois, McKinley built and controlled the trolley car lines and water, gas and electric utilities. He continued to acquire urban utilities and interurban lines across the state, eventually becoming president of both the Western Railways & Light System and the Illinois Traction Company.

After the turn of the century, McKinley served three years as a trustee of the University of Illinois, then, almost fifty, he embarked on a twenty-year career in politics. As a Republican, he was elected representative of the 19th Illinois district in the 59th, 60th, 61st, and 62nd Congresses (19051913). His unsuccessful candidacy in 1912, the year he directed President William Howard Taft's renomination campaign, was followed by three more terms in the House of Representatives (1915-1921).

McKinley left the House of Representatives for the Senate in 1920. He died on December 7, 1926, months short of completing his first term in the Senate and weeks after the disappointment of losing a renomination for a second term.

From the guide to the William Brown McKinley Papers, 1906-1920, (Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Libraries)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Cannon, Joseph Gurney, 1836-1936. Papers, 1879-1940 [1906-1910]. Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library
referencedIn Republican campaign collection, 1902-1926. Library of Congress
referencedIn Republican Campaign Collection, 1902-1926 Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
creatorOf William Brown McKinley Papers, 1906-1920 Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Libraries
referencedIn Fairbanks mss., 1819-1939 Lilly Library (Indiana University, Bloomington)
referencedIn Republican campaign collection, 1902-1926. Library of Congress
referencedIn Correspondence and compositions collected by The Carl H. Pforzheimer Library, 1878-1923. Theodore Roosevelt Collection, Houghton Library, Harvard College Library, Harvard University
referencedIn James, Edmund J. (Edmund Janes), 1855-1925. Personal letter books, 1904-1906. University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign
referencedIn Small, Len, 1862-1936. Papers, January 17, 1921-March 30, 1928. Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Direct Relationships
Relation Name
associatedWith Cannon, Joseph Gurney, 1836-1936. person
associatedWith Fairbanks, Charles W. (Charles Warren), 1852-1918 person
correspondedWith James, Edmund J. (Edmund Janes), 1855-1925. person
associatedWith Roosevelt, Theodore, 1858-1919 person
associatedWith Small, Len, 1862-1936. person
associatedWith Taft, William H. (William Howard), 1857-1930 person
Place Name Admin Code Country
United States
Campaign management
Politicians--United States
Politics, government and public administration
Presidents--United States--Election--1912
Republican Party (U.S. : 1854- )
Political campaigns--United States
Republican National Committee (U.S.)
Legislators--United States


Birth 1856-09-05

Death 1926-12-07



Ark ID: w6d79sd8

SNAC ID: 9455841