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Horace McKinney was born near Franklin, PA, 3 Oct 1869, to Thomas M. and Frances A. McKinney. He attended Franklin public schools and, in 1888, entered the preparatory school of Allegheny College, where he later received a Bachelor of Arts degree. While in college he supplied the pulpit at Mt. Pleasant and Guys Mills Methodist churches.
He was licensed to preach in 1897 and entered Boston University School of Theology at the same time. He graduated with the degree of Bachelor of Divinity, in 1899, and later a Master of Arts degree.
Horace McKinney pastored at Methodist churches in Cooperstown, 1900-1901; Conneaut Lake, 1902; Westfield, 1903-1905; Sharon, First Church, 1906-1909; and Punxsutawney, First Church, 1910-1911.
His untimely death 31 Dec 1911, after a ten week illness, shocked the Erie Conference of the Methodist Church. He was only 42, and left behind his wife, Halcyon Mellen McKinney, who he married 1 Jan 1895, and two children, Clarence E. and Dorothy McKinney, his parents and seven siblings. One of his brothers was also a minister, Rev. Thompson W. McKinney, of Philadelphia.