Ida Saxton McKinley

Ida McKinley (née Saxton; June 8, 1847 – May 26, 1907) was the First Lady of the United States from 1897 until 1901.

Ida McKinley
First Lady of the United States
In role
March 4, 1897 – September 14, 1901
PresidentWilliam McKinley
Preceded byFrances Cleveland
Succeeded byEdith Roosevelt
First Lady of Ohio
In office
January 11, 1892 – January 13, 1896
GovernorWilliam McKinley
Personal details
Ida Saxton

June 8, 1847
Canton, Ohio, U.S.
DiedMay 26, 1907 (aged 59)
Canton, Ohio, U.S.
Cause of deathEpilepsy complicated by barbiturates induced by laudanum and others
Resting placeMcKinley National Memorial
William McKinley
(m. 1871; died 1901)
EducationBrook Hall Seminary
Ida Saxton McKinley's signature

Early life and marriage

Ida Saxton McKinley, 1895
Ida Saxton McKinley

Ida was born in Canton, Ohio, the elder daughter of James Saxton, prominent Canton banker, and Katherine DeWalt. Her grandfather, John Saxton, in 1815 founded The Repository, the city's first and now its only newspaper. A graduate of Brook Hall Seminary, a finishing school in Media, Pennsylvania, Ida was refined, charming, and strikingly attractive when she met William "Bill" McKinley at a picnic in 1867. They did not begin courting until after she returned from a Grand Tour of Europe in 1869.[1] While single, she worked for a time as a cashier in her father's bank, a position then usually reserved for men.

William McKinley, aged 27, married Ida Saxton, aged 23, on January 25, 1871, at the First Presbyterian Church in Canton, then still under construction. Following the wedding, performed by the Reverend E. Buckingham and the Reverend Dr. Endsley, the couple attended a reception at the home of the bride's parents and left on an eastern wedding trip.


Possessed of a fragile, nervous temperament, Mrs. McKinley broke down under the loss of her mother and two young daughters within a short span of time. She developed epilepsy and became totally dependent on her husband. Her seizures at times occurred in public; she had one at McKinley's inaugural ball as Governor of Ohio. Although an invalid the rest of her life, she kept busy with her hobby, crocheting slippers, making gifts of literally thousands of pairs to friends, acquaintances and charities, which would auction pairs for large sums.

She often took barbiturates, laudanum, and other sedatives for her condition.[2]


The McKinleys had two daughters. Both died in childhood. They were Katherine "Katie" McKinley (1871–1875) and Ida McKinley (April 1873–August 1873).

Katherine McKinley

Katherine McKinley
The portrait of Katie that hung on the wall of the McKinley house.

Katie was born on Christmas Day 1871, while her father was still a Canton, Ohio lawyer. She was adored by her parents, being the center of their universe[3] and the apple of William's eye. In return, she adored him.[4] She was smothered with love by Ida until a second daughter was born in the spring of 1873. Due to the fact that Ida's mother died some two weeks before the birth, the infant, also named Ida, was born following a very difficult delivery and she died four months later.[3][4]

Ida was grief-stricken and she believed that God punished her by killing her daughter.[3][5] She demanded that William and Katie shower her with displays of love and affection. She was deeply affected by this and developed phlebitis and epilepsy and desperately feared the loss of her first-born child, Katie.[5] Ida spent hours a day in a darkened room with Katie in her arms, kissing her and weeping. William's brother, Abner, once found Katie swinging on a gate of the garden of her house and invited her to go for a walk with him. The child replied that "if [she] would go out of the yard, God would punish [her] mama some more".[3]

In June 1875, Katie became ill with typhoid fever and died within days. She was initially interred in Canton's West Lawn Cemetery, but, on October 10, 1907, both Katie and her younger sister Ida were exhumed and re-interred in the north wall of the McKinley National Memorial. On the same day, the bodies of Ida and William were re-interred in the same place.[6]

Ida was effectively shattered when Katie died. The relationship between her and William seriously worsened. Nevertheless, McKinley responded to his wife's maladies with devotion and love. For the rest of her life, Ida kept a picture of Katie on the wall of her bedroom.

First Lady of the United States

Ida McKinley in an official photograph as First Lady

President McKinley took great care to accommodate her condition. In a break with tradition, he insisted that his wife be seated next to him at state dinners rather than at the other end of the table. At receiving lines, she alone remained seated. Many of the social chores normally assumed by the First Lady fell to Mrs. Jennie Tuttle Hobart, wife of Vice President Garret Hobart. Guests noted that whenever Mrs. McKinley was about to undergo a seizure, the President would gently place a napkin or handkerchief over her face to conceal her contorted features. When it passed, he would remove it and resume whatever he was doing as if nothing had happened.[2]

The President's patient devotion and loving attention was the talk of the capital. "President McKinley has made it pretty hard for the rest of us husbands here in Washington," remarked Senator Mark Hanna.

Ida Saxton McKinley, official White House portrait

The First Lady often traveled with the President. Mrs. McKinley traveled to California with the President in May 1901, but became so ill in San Francisco[7] that the planned tour of the Northwest was cancelled.[8] She was also with him on the trip to Buffalo, New York in September of that year when he was assassinated, but was not present at the shooting.

With the assassination of her husband by Leon Czolgosz in Buffalo, New York in September 1901, Mrs. McKinley lost much of her will to live. Although she bore up well in the days between the shooting and the president's death, she could not bring herself to attend his funeral. Her health eroded as she withdrew to the safety of her home and memories in Canton. She was cared for by her younger sister. The President was interred at the Werts Receiving Vault at West Lawn Cemetery until his memorial was built. Ida visited daily until her own death.[9] She survived the president by less than six years, dying on May 26, 1907. She was buried next to him and their two daughters in Canton's McKinley Memorial Mausoleum.

Murder of brother George Saxton

Three years before the assassination of her husband, Ida's only brother, well-known bachelor playboy George DeWalt Saxton (1850–1898), was murdered; Ida wept at his graveside. Dressmaker Mrs. Anna "Annie" E. Ehrhart George was accused, then tried 2–24 April 1899. Following nine years of wooing George, and six more indulging in their scandalous affair; Saxton had then requested and financed his lover's divorce from her husband, Sample C. George—who had, in 1892, sued Saxton in the Supreme Court for alienation of affections, settling for $1,850. plus legal costs (after quietly remarrying Lucy Graham)[10]—but he later spurned his conquest. Failing to successfully sue Saxton for breach of promise; the former Mrs. George was accused of fatally shooting him as he approached the home of another woman—an act she had repeatedly threatened. Neither the Saxtons nor the McKinley family attended the trial, media championed her case, George claimed self-defense, and was acquitted of first degree murder by a jury. No one else was ever charged with the crime.[11][12] Ehrhart later married Dr. Arthur Cornelius Ridout (1861–1906), reputedly a drunk and a gambler, whose death by hanging from a chandelier was ruled a suicide.[13][14]


First Ladies National Historic Site - Saxton House
The Saxton House, former home of Ida Saxton McKinley, now part of the First Ladies National Historic Site.

Ida's childhood home, the Saxton House, has been preserved on Market Avenue in Canton. In addition to growing up in the house, she and her husband also lived there from 1878–1891, the period during which the future President McKinley served as one of Ohio's Congressional Representatives. The house was restored to its Victorian splendor and became part of the First Ladies National Historic Site at its dedication in 1998.


  1. ^ Belden, Henry S. (1985). Grand Tour of Ida Saxton McKinley and Sister Mary Saxton Barber 1869. Canton, Ohio: Henry S. Belden III.
  2. ^ a b Cook, Blanche Wiesen (1999). Eleanor Roosevelt, Vol. 2: 1933–1938. Viking. p. 17. ISBN 067080486X. Retrieved 26 November 2012.
  3. ^ a b c d Edge 2007, p. 33.
  4. ^ a b Quinn-Musgrove & Kanter 1995, p. 147.
  5. ^ a b Quinn-Musgrove & Kanter 1995, p. 148.
  6. ^ BLJns75 (December 17, 2009). "History of the temporary burial site of Katherine McKinley". Find a Grave. Retrieved January 30, 2012.
  7. ^ "McKinley's Personal Secretary Thanks Mayor of San Francisco for Care First Lady and President Received". SMF Primary Source Documents. Shapell Manuscript Foundation.
  8. ^ "Mrs. McKinley in a Critical Condition". The New York Times. May 16, 1901. Retrieved 19 January 2010.
  9. ^ Kenney, Kimberly A. (2004). Canton's West Lawn Cemetery. Charleston, S.C.: Arcadia Publishing. p. 98. ISBN 978-0-7385-3309-4.
  10. ^ Turzillo, Jane Ann (2011). Wicked Women of Northeast Ohio. Arcadia Publishing. p. 65. ISBN 1609490266. Retrieved 16 July 2018.
  11. ^ Traxel, David (1998). 1898: The birth of the American Century. New York: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. p. 251. ISBN 0-679-77671-0. Retrieved 16 July 2018.
  12. ^ Shaffer, Dale E. (27 December 1994). "Playboy's Murder Stuns Ohioans" (PDF). Yesteryears; The Salem News (insert). 4 (15). Retrieved 16 July 2018.
  13. ^ "People". The National Tribune. Library of congress. 26 July 1906. Retrieved 18 July 2018.
  14. ^ "Husband of Mrs. George Takes Life" (morning edition). Canton Morning News. 23 January 1906. Retrieved 18 July 2018.


External links

Honorary titles
Preceded by
Frances Cleveland
First Lady of the United States
Succeeded by
Edith Roosevelt


was a common year starting on Friday of the Gregorian calendar and a common year starting on Wednesday of the Julian calendar, the 1847th year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 847th year of the 2nd millennium, the 47th year of the 19th century, and the 8th year of the 1840s decade. As of the start of 1847, the Gregorian calendar was

12 days ahead of the Julian calendar, which remained in localized use until 1923.

1847 in the United States

Events from the year 1847 in the United States.


1907 (MCMVII)

was a common year starting on Tuesday of the Gregorian calendar and a common year starting on Monday of the Julian calendar, the 1907th year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 907th year of the 2nd millennium, the 7th year of the 20th century, and the 8th year of the 1900s decade. As of the start of 1907, the Gregorian calendar was

13 days ahead of the Julian calendar, which remained in localized use until 1923.

1907 in the United States

Events from the year 1907 in the United States.

Belle Hagner

Isabella Louisa Hagner James (July 23, 1875 – November 1, 1943) was the first White House Social Secretary. She served in the administrations of President Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and Woodrow Wilson.

Canton, Ohio

Canton () is a city in and the county seat of Stark County, Ohio, United States. Canton is located approximately 60 miles (97 km) south of Cleveland and 20 miles (32 km) south of Akron in Northeast Ohio. The city lies on the edge of Ohio's extensive Amish country, particularly in Holmes and Wayne counties to the city's west and southwest. Canton is the largest municipality in the Canton-Massillon, OH Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of Stark and Carroll counties. As of the 2010 Census, the population was 73,007, making Canton eighth among Ohio cities in population.

Founded in 1805 alongside the Middle and West Branches of Nimishillen Creek, Canton became a heavy manufacturing center because of its numerous railroad lines. However, its status in that regard began to decline during the late 20th century, as shifts in the manufacturing industry led to the relocation or downsizing of many factories and workers. After this decline, the city's industry diversified into the service economy, including retailing, education, finance and healthcare.

Canton is chiefly notable for being the home of the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the birthplace of the National Football League. 25th U.S. President William McKinley conducted the famed front porch campaign, which won him the presidency of the United States in the 1896 election, from his home in Canton. The McKinley National Memorial and the William McKinley Presidential Library and Museum commemorate his life and presidency. Canton was also chosen as the site of the First Ladies National Historic Site largely in honor of his wife, Ida Saxton McKinley.

Canton is currently experiencing an urban renaissance, anchored by its growing and thriving arts district centrally located in the downtown area. Several historic buildings have been rehabilitated and converted into upscale lofts, attracting thousands of new downtown residents into the city. Furthering this downtown development, in June 2016, Canton became one of the first cities in Ohio to allow the open consumption of alcoholic beverages in a "designated outdoor refreshment area" pursuant to a state law enacted in 2015 (Sub. H.B. No. 47).

First Ladies National Historic Site

First Ladies National Historic Site is a United States National Historic Site located in Canton, Ohio. During her residency in Washington, D.C.. Mary Regula, wife of Ohio congressman Ralph Regula, spoke regularly about the nation's First Ladies. Recognizing the paucity of research materials available she created a board to raise funds and for a historian to assemble a comprehensive bibliography on American First Ladies. From these inspirations came a National First Ladies’ Library, established in 1996, and the First Ladies National

Historic Site.

The site was established in 2000 to commemorate all the United States First Ladies and comprises two buildings: the Ida Saxton McKinley Historic Home and the Education & Research Center.

Tours start at the Education & Research Center, located one block north of the Saxton McKinley house on Market Avenue. The 1895 building, formerly the City National Bank Building, was given to the National First Ladies’ Library in 1997.

The first floor features a theater, a large exhibit and meeting space and a small library room with a collection of books that replicates First Lady Abigail Fillmore's collection for the first White House Library. The center's second floor is home to the main National First Ladies' Library. Other floors contain conference rooms, storage and office space.

The Ida Saxton McKinley Historic Home preserves the home of Ida McKinley, the wife of U.S. President William McKinley. The brick Victorian house, built in 1841 and modified in 1865, is furnished in the style of the Victorian era. Costumed docents provide tours, and exhibits focus on President and Mrs. McKinley, photos of First Ladies, and Victorian decorations.

Admission to the First Ladies National Historic Site includes both the exhibits in the Education & Research Center and a guided tour of the Ida Saxton McKinley Historic Home. Reservations for the house tour are recommended due to limits on tour size. Reservations are required for groups of 6 or more.

The site is operated by the National First Ladies' Library in a partnership agreement with the National Park Service and managed by Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

Grand Tour

The "Grand Tour" was the 17th- and 18th-century custom of a traditional trip of Europe undertaken by upper-class young European men of sufficient means and rank (typically accompanied by a chaperone, such as a family member) when they had come of age (about 21 years old). Young women of equally sufficient means ("debutantes"), or those of either gender of a more humble origin who could find a sponsor, could also partake. The custom—which flourished from about 1660 until the advent of large-scale rail transport in the 1840s and was associated with a standard itinerary—served as an educational rite of passage. Though the Grand Tour was primarily associated with the British nobility and wealthy landed gentry, similar trips were made by wealthy young men of other Protestantism Northern European nations, and, from the second half of the 18th century, by some South and North Americans. By the mid 18th century, the Grand Tour had become a regular feature of aristocratic education in Central Europe, as well, although it was restricted to the higher nobility. The tradition declined as enthusiasm for neo-classical culture waned, and with the advent of accessible rail and steamship travel—an era in which Thomas Cook made the "Cook's Tour" of early mass tourism a byword.

The New York Times in 2008 described the Grand Tour in this way:

Three hundred years ago, wealthy young Englishmen began taking a post-Oxbridge trek through France and Italy in search of art, culture and the roots of Western civilization. With nearly unlimited funds, aristocratic connections and months (or years) to roam, they commissioned paintings, perfected their language skills and mingled with the upper crust of the Continent.

The primary value of the Grand Tour lay in its exposure to the cultural legacy of classical antiquity and the Renaissance, and to the aristocratic and fashionably polite society of the European continent. In addition, it provided the only opportunity to view specific works of art, and possibly the only chance to hear certain music. A Grand Tour could last anywhere from several months to several years. It was commonly undertaken in the company of a Cicerone, a knowledgeable guide or tutor. The Grand Tour had more than superficial cultural importance; as E. P. Thompson stated, "ruling-class control in the 18th century was located primarily in a cultural hegemony, and only secondarily in an expression of economic or physical (military) power." The legacy of the Grand Tour lives on to the modern day and is still evident in works of travel and literature. From its aristocratic origins and the permutations of sentimental and romantic travel to the age of tourism and globalization, the Grand Tour still influences the destinations tourists choose and shapes the ideas of culture and sophistication that surround the act of travel.In essence, the Grand Tour was neither a scholarly pilgrimage nor a religious one, though a pleasurable stay in Venice and a residence in Rome were essential. Catholic Grand Tourists followed the same routes as Protestant Whigs. Since the 17th century, a tour to such places was also considered essential for budding artists to understand proper painting and sculpture techniques, though the trappings of the Grand Tour—valets and coachmen, perhaps a cook, certainly a "bear-leader" or scholarly guide—were beyond their reach. The advent of popular guides, such as the book An Account of Some of the Statues, Bas-Reliefs, Drawings, and Pictures in Italy published in 1722 by Jonathan Richardson and his son Jonathan Richardson the Younger, did much to popularise such trips, and following the artists themselves, the elite considered travel to such centres as necessary rites of passage. For gentlemen, some works of art were essential to demonstrate the breadth and polish they had received from their tour. In Rome, antiquaries like Thomas Jenkins were also dealers and were able to sell and advise on the purchase of marbles; their price would rise if it were known that the Tourists were interested. Coins and medals, which formed more portable souvenirs and a respected gentleman's guide to ancient history were also popular. Pompeo Batoni made a career of painting the English milordi posed with graceful ease among Roman antiquities. Many continued on to Naples, where they also viewed Herculaneum and Pompeii, but few ventured far into Southern Italy, and fewer still to Greece, then still under Turkish rule.

Jennie Tuttle Hobart

Esther Jane "Jennie" Tuttle Hobart (April 30, 1849 – January 8, 1941) was the wife of Vice President Garret Hobart and a philanthropist and community activist in New Jersey.

List of American films of the 1890s

A list of the earliest American films released in the 1890s.

List of people from Canton, Ohio

This list organizes and collects the names of notable people who are known for their birth, residency or other association with Canton, Ohio.

List of people with epilepsy

This is a list of notable people who have, or had, the medical condition epilepsy. Following from that, there is a short list of people who have received a speculative, retrospective diagnosis of epilepsy. Finally there is a substantial list of people who are often wrongly believed to have had epilepsy.

McKinley National Memorial

The McKinley National Memorial in Canton, Ohio, United States, is the final resting place of William McKinley, who served as the 25th President of the United States from 1897 to his assassination in 1901. Canton was a significant place in McKinley's life; he lived there, practiced as an attorney, and conducted his political campaigns from the town.

McKinley at Home, Canton, Ohio

McKinley at Home, Canton, Ohio aka William McKinley at Canton, Ohio is a silent film reenactment of William McKinley receiving the Republican nomination for President of the United States in September 1896. The actual nomination had been several weeks earlier. McKinley is shown emerging from his house to receive the news from his secretary George Cortelyou. His wife Ida can be seen in a rocking chair on the porch. McKinley is seen removing his hat and wiping his forehead with a handkerchief after receiving the news. It was filmed by a two man crew for American Mutoscope and Biograph Company on 68 mm film, 60.02 m in length. McKinley's brother Abner and former US president Benjamin Harrison were stockholders in the film company.

Media, Pennsylvania

Media is a borough in and the county seat of Delaware County, Pennsylvania, United States, about 13 miles (21 km) west of Philadelphia. Media was incorporated in 1850 at the same time that it was named the county seat. The population was 5,327 at the 2010 census, down from 5,533 at the 2000 census. Its school district is the Rose Tree Media School District with Penncrest High School and Springton Lake Middle School. In June 2006, it became the first fair trade town in America. Media promotes itself by its motto: "Everybody's Hometown".

The Repository

The Repository is an American daily local newspaper serving the greater Canton, Stark County, Ohio, area. It is currently owned by GateHouse Media.

William McKinley

William McKinley Jr. (January 29, 1843 – September 14, 1901) was the 25th president of the United States, serving from March 4, 1897, until his assassination six months into his second term. During his presidency, McKinley led the nation to victory in the Spanish–American War, raised protective tariffs to promote American industry and kept the nation on the gold standard in a rejection of free silver (effectively, expansionary monetary policy).

McKinley was the last president to have served in the American Civil War and the only one to have started the war as an enlisted soldier, beginning as a private in the Union Army and ending as a brevet major. After the war, he settled in Canton, Ohio, where he practiced law and married Ida Saxton. In 1876, he was elected to Congress, where he became the Republican Party's expert on the protective tariff, which he promised would bring prosperity. His 1890 McKinley Tariff was highly controversial, which together with a Democratic redistricting aimed at gerrymandering him out of office led to his defeat in the Democratic landslide of 1890. He was elected governor of Ohio in 1891 and 1893, steering a moderate course between capital and labor interests. With the aid of his close adviser Mark Hanna, he secured the Republican nomination for president in 1896 amid a deep economic depression. He defeated his Democratic rival William Jennings Bryan after a front porch campaign in which he advocated "sound money" (the gold standard unless altered by international agreement) and promised that high tariffs would restore prosperity.

Rapid economic growth marked McKinley's presidency. He promoted the 1897 Dingley Tariff to protect manufacturers and factory workers from foreign competition and in 1900 secured the passage of the Gold Standard Act. McKinley hoped to persuade Spain to grant independence to rebellious Cuba without conflict, but when negotiation failed he led the nation into the Spanish-American War of 1898. The United States victory was quick and decisive. As part of the peace settlement, Spain turned over to the United States its main overseas colonies of Puerto Rico, Guam and the Philippines while Cuba was promised independence, but at that time remained under the control of the United States Army. The United States annexed the independent Republic of Hawaii in 1898 and it became a United States territory.

Historians regard McKinley's 1896 victory as a realigning election in which the political stalemate of the post-Civil War era gave way to the Republican-dominated Fourth Party System, which began with the Progressive Era. McKinley defeated Bryan again in the 1900 presidential election in a campaign focused on imperialism, protectionism and free silver. His legacy was suddenly cut short when he was shot on September 6, 1901 by Leon Czolgosz, a second-generation Polish-American with anarchist leanings. McKinley died eight days later and was succeeded by his Vice President Theodore Roosevelt. As an innovator of American interventionism and pro-business sentiment, McKinley's presidency is generally considered above average, though his highly positive public perception was soon overshadowed by Roosevelt.

Women's History Sites (National Park Service)

The National Park System preserves and interprets the history of women in American society. Many national parks, monuments and historic sites represent America's women's history as a primary theme, while numerous others address American women's history somewhere in their programs and preservation activities. The lists of sites below is not exhaustive, but includes sites closely related to themes in U.S. Women's History. Click here for an article on Women in the National Park Service.

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