Montgomery Mckinley (1901 - 1944)

My great grandfather, Montgomery Mckinley was born December 10, 1901 in Saint Francisville, Louisiana and died of a massive heart attack on March 21, 1944 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Montgomery was the second of nine children born to Stewart Mckinley and Alice Moore. In several census and death records, the family surname is also recorded as “McKinzie,” or “McKinsie, According to his daughter, the late Ruby S. (Mckinley) Jenkins, Montgomery worked for Standard Oil and played baseball in the negro leagues.

Montgomery’s siblings were:

  1. Suzette Mckinley (1898 – 1937)
  2. Louisiana Mckinley (1902 – 1961)
  3. Mary Alice Mckinley (1904 – 1925)
  4. Henry Mckinley (1908 – ????)
  5. Jessie Lee Mckinley (1916 – 1970)
  6. Leslie “Shorty” Mckinley ( – 1918)
  7. Rosalie Mckinley (1920 – 1979)
  8. Gerly Mckinley (???? – 1945)

Montgomery married Perly Williams Johnson some time before 1920. To this union two children were born:

  1. Montgomery McKinzie, (1919 – 1919)
  2. Henry Johnson (1920 – 1996)

Montgomery married Essie Beatrice Taylor in the mid 1920’s in Saint Francisville, Louisiana. To this union two children were born:

  1. Montgomery Mckinley, Jr., (1926 – 1926)
  2. Ruby Steen Mckinley (1927 – 2006)

Ruby stated she was initially unaware that her father had any other children. Upon his death when Ruby was 17, her mother disclosed to her that she had an older brother named Henry. Henry’s birth mother was known as “Perly.” Oral histories indicate that Perly died from labor complications and her mother, Nancy Johnson, always blamed Montgomery for her daughter’s death. As a result, Nancy refused to allow him to be apart of Henry’s life. Montgomery died at the age of 43 and never got the chance to know his son. 

Louisiana death records identified the first child, “Montgomery McKinzie” born to Perly, and the 3rd child, “Montgomery McKinley,” born to Essie. Ruby’s son, Sanders Willis, Jr., confirmed the latter’s birth as told to him by his grandmother, Essie. Death records also indicate that Perly died at 17 years old. Her marital status is listed as “married” to “Mon McKenzie” (Essie often referred to her deceased husband as “Mon” as well). Perly’s cause of death is listed as “Puerperal sepsis.” Her parents are listed as “Henry Williams” and “Nancy Burks.” The informant is listed as “Henry Johnson.” It is presumed he was Perly’s step father.


  1. Information obtained from several interviews with Essie Mckinley in 1990, Ruby (Mckinley) Jenkins between 2002-2004 and Sanders Willis, Jr. from 2005 to present day.
  2. Henry Johnson’s funeral program obituary: 13 Apr 1996
  3. Montgomery Mckinley, Sr.’s death certificate acquired from the Louisiana State Archives: 16 Jul 2013.
  4. Montgomery Mckinley, Jr.’s death certificate acquired from the Louisiana State Archives:  16 Jul 2013.
  5. Montgomery Mckinzie’s death certificate acquired from the Louisiana State Archives: 27 Mar 2009
  6. Perly Mckinzie’s death certificate acquired from the Louisiana State Archives: 27 Mar 2009
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