On March 24, 1849, William Davis, who owned 3,000 acres where McKinney now stands, donated 120 acres for the town site. Ten years later McKinney was incorporated, and in 1913 the town adopted the commission form of government.
For the first 125 years of its history, McKinney served as the principal commercial center for the county. The county seat provided farmers with flour, corn and cotton mills; cotton gins; a cotton compress and a cottonseed oil mill, as well as banks, churches, schools, newspapers and, from the 1880s, an opera house.
Business & Population Growth
Businesses also came, including a textile mill, an ice company, a large dairy and a garment-manufacturing company. The population grew from 35 in 1848 to 4,714 in 1912. By 1953, McKinney had a population of more than 10,000 people and 355 businesses. The town continued to serve as an agribusiness center for the county until the late 1960s.
Both the city and the county were named for Collin McKinney, signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence and a congressman for the Red River District of the Republic of Texas. He was the author of a bill establishing counties in the northern part of the state.