McKinley is name familiar to virtually everyone who lives in south Lake County.
While he arrived in Lake County later than the Cobbs, Springstons, and Sterlings in this area, and a bevy of families farther north, the senior George McKinley might be considered the true founder of Middletown. He started working a homestead abutting Rancho Callayomi, only three miles from the center of town once it started, at least 13 years before the first parcel was sold in 1870.
A native of New Brunswick, he had come to Iowa with his parents when five years old and across the Rockies at 15. In 1856, aged 19, George tarried in Plumas and Napa counties a bit. He settlied in Loconoma Valley in the summer of 1857 on a 320-acre half section of valuable hay, grain, grazing and timber lands which have been known ever since as the McKinley place.
William and Nancy (Todd) Springston, Mrs. McKinley's parents, were natives of Ohio and Pennsylvania, respectively, and married in the latter state. Her grandfather Springston, who fought in the Revolution, was drowned soon after the close of the war. After living for a time in Michigan, near Hillsdale, the Springstons moved to Lyons, Iowa, where William Springston was employed on the railroad. In 1854 he brought his family as far west as Utah, where they remained over winter, in the spring continuing their journey to California, where they arrived in 1855. Eventually, during the fifties, they settled in Cobb valley, in Lake county, stopping on the Smith place, and their first home there was a log house. Mr. Springston was a man of character and force, and he became an influential citizen of the Middletown precinct, where he was the first justice of the peace. He lived to be sixty-two years old, the mother to the age of sixty-nine.