Born: July 22, 1886, Heflin, Louisiana.
Died: September 7, 1952, Bryson City, North Carolina, in an auto accident.
Buried: Woodlawn Memorial Park, Nashville, Tennessee.
Baylus was the son of James Calvin McKinney and Martha Annis Heflin.
He attended Mount Lebanon Academy, Louisiana; Louisiana College, Pineville, Louisiana; Southwestern Baptist Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas; Siegel-Myers Correspondence School of Music, Chicago, Illinois (BM 1922); and the Bush Conservatory of Music, Chicago. Oklahoma Baptist University awarded him an honorary Doctor of Music degree in 1942.
McKinney served as music editor at the Robert H. Coleman company in Dallas, Texas (1918–35). In 1919, after several months in the army, McKinney returned to Fort Worth, where Isham E. Reynolds asked him to join the faculty of the School of Sacred Music at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
He taught at the seminary until 1932, then pastored in at the Travis Avenue Baptist Church in Fort Worth (1931–35). In 1935, McKinney became music editor for the Baptist Sunday School Board in Nashville, Tennessee.
McKinney wrote words and music for about 150 songs, and music for 115 more.