Cornelius McKinley and Elizabeth Torrens

Carol (McVitty) Fleetwood daughter of David and Doris (Thompson) McVitty and granddaughter of William and Mary Ellen (McKinley) Thompson is the author of this page.


Cornelius McKinley’s mother, Elizabeth Ramsey is the earliest direct ancestor that we confidently identify – his father is unknown at this time. This story is what we know of his life take from various pieces of family ‘scribblings’ !

Cornelius McKinley was born c. 1752 died 1829 and thought to be the youngest son of ? McKinley and Elizabeth Ramsey. In the absence of evidence to the contrary we have to assume he was born in the ‘old house’ at Dromoske, Drumholm Parish, Ballintra, Co. Donegal, Ireland.* There is a possibility that Cornelius had a sister (or an aunt) Margaret who married Robert Campbell – there is a Robert and Margaret Campbell buried in the McKinley grave. This information comes from the ‘old’ headstone in Drumholm Graveyard which used to lie in front of the ‘new’. It had the Campbell coat of arms on it.

He married Elizabeth Torrens (d. Feb. 16th 1812).

According to Sarah Ann (Sadie’s) writings Cornelius and Elizabeth had 6 sons – the only one I know about is Andrew. (See Andrew’s story)

Andrew b1790 – d. April 24th 1878.

Cornelius almost certainly was a farmer of sorts but he was the tithe collector for, and rang the bell, of the old Drumholm Parish Church at Mullinacross, the end wall of which can still be seen in what is now Drumholm Graveyard. According to Thomas Kearney’s ‘History of Drumholm’ the old Church was a single story building with a thatched roof and a gallery. There is a story that the Church roof was regularly subject to storm damage – Mullinacross is on the coast and would be liable to storms off the sea – there is no reason to doubt that Cornelius would have been involved in the panic to save the roof. When the new parish Church was built in Ballintra, Cornelius was given the old Bible from Mullinacross which used to be chained to the lectern, a family heirloom now long gone!

I think Cornelius and Elizabeths’ deaths were recorded on the old headstone, so no trace now exists. But there is no doubt that Cornelius is buried in Drumholm Graveyard, just a stone’s throw from the old church where he used to call the faithful to worship.

*There was a McKinley who made a will in Co. Tyrone in the early 1700’s, witnessed by Ramsey. Given the name associations, further research needs to be done and possibly establish a link.

One thought on “Cornelius McKinley and Elizabeth Torrens

  1. Hello carol it’s your second cousin Connie here…Bertha’s daughter ….this is very interesting…. Dromoske has been fixed up and renovated as it was getting very damp and dilapidated. Looking good now… I feel Johnny Mckinley would be happy about it…. In the future we will maybe do the little old house by the river where it all began….
    How are you and Hilda?

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