History of McKinney

The First settlers came to Collin County from Kentucky, Tennessee, and Arkansas around 1841. The County seat and the County were both named for Collin McKinney, Land surveyor, patriot, legislator, one of the 60 signers of the Texas Declaration of Independence, and author of the law creating counties in the northern part of the state. The first election was held in Collin County on July 13, 1846. The population of Collin County in 1850 was 1,950 which grew to 50,087 in 1900 and has now grown to over 300,000.

McKinney is located an equal distance from Dallas, Denton, Sherman, and Greenville which are the surrounding county seats. In 1883 the first city hall was contracted to be built on South Kentucky street at a cost of a whopping $1,350.00. It was occupied in 1883 by the City Council consisting of the Mayor and Six aldermen. In 1909, the citizens voted a $10,000 bond issue for the erection of the second city hall, and also voted in the commission form of government to replace the old aldermanic form.

Collin McKinney, after whom the county seat and county were named, was of Scottish descent; born in New Jersey; one of ten children. In 1818 Collin was engaged by Senator George Washington Campbell to manage his vast estate in Tennessee while he served as Minister to Russia. After Campbell’s return from Russia, Collin owned and operated a trading post in Elkton. In 1823 Collin moved, along with several families, to near Texarkana. In 1831 they moved farther west and settled on Hickman’s Prairie on the Red River. Prior to 1846 he moved his family to a point near the line of Collin and Grayson counties where he was engaged in agricultural pursuits the remainder of his life. He is buried in a marked grave in the cemetery at Van Alstyne, Texas. When the new county was formed from Fannin County in 1846, it was named Collin in his honor. When the county seat was moved from Buckner to the geographical center of the county in 1848, he was further honored through the naming of the county seat…McKinney.

Written by Randy Williams (former president of McKinney chamber of commerce), reprinted with permission.