Ida Saxton McKinley



Ida Saxton McKinley



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

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 who was fighting for the  Miss Ida Saxton, was pursuing her studies, and devoting some of her leisure time to scraping lint and making bandages to be sent to the front for wounded soldiers, as thousands of other young ladies did in those days of anxiety and dread.

In her youth, Isa was seriously threatened with ill health, and her ambition often carried her further than her physical strength warranted. Though with prospects of inheriting a fortune, her father believed in giving his daughter the advantages of a practical business training, and to this end she was taken into the employ of the bank with which he was connected, and for three years held the position of assistant to him.  

After her father's death in 1868, she spent a season of travel abroad in a Grand tour of Europe  On  her return home in 1870, William McKinley, who had just been elected prosecuting attorney of Stark county, courted and won her hand.  They were married January 25, 1871 at the First Presbyterian Church in Canton, Ohio. The wedding was performed by the Reverend E. Buckingham and the Reverend Dr. Endsley, with a reception at the Saxton's family home.   



Autograph Note Signed "W.Mc.K" as President in pencil at the bottom of a letter sent to him the Linden Hall Seminary in Lititz, Pa., 1p. 4to., Dec. 4, 1900 in Very good. condition. The principal of the seminary notes that a Katharine Dewalt has attended the school in 1830, and that she was indeed the mother of the First Lady. At bottom, McKinley pencils his note to an in-law: "Ida [McKinley] thought you would enjoy this letter. Did you know your mother was at that school. W. McK. K". 

After boarding for a time, they began housekeeping in Canton in a modest and pretty home, where, in 1871, their first child, a daughter, was born. She lived to be onlv three years of age. A second child, also a daughter, died in infancy. Just before the birth of the second child, Mrs. McKinley experienced the great sorrow of her life in the death of her beloved mother. Mrs. McESnley's actual invalidism dates from this period, when, within a few months, she lost her two children and her mother.

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.

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 Mark Hanna.

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 that the planned tour of the Northwest was cancelled.[2] She was also with him on the fateful trip to Buffalo, NY 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 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.[3] 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.



By: Stanley Yavneh Klos

  • First United American Republic: United Colonies of North America: 13 British Colonies United in Congress was founded by 12 colonies on September 5th, 1774 (Georgia joined in 1775)  and governed through a British Colonial Continental Congress.  Peyton Randolph and George Washington served, respectively, as the Republic's first President and Commander-in-Chief;
  • Second United American Republic: The United States of America: 13 Independent States United in Congress was founded by 12 states on July 2nd, 1776 (New York abstained until July 8th), and governed through the United States Continental CongressJohn Hancock and George Washington served, respectively, as the Republic's first President and Commander-in-Chief; 
  • Third United American Republic: The United States of America: A Perpetual Union was founded by 13 States on March 1st, 1781, with the enactment of the first U.S. Constitution, the Articles of Confederation, and governed through the United States in Congress Assembled.  Samuel Huntington and George Washington served, respectively, as the Republic's first President and Commander-in-Chief; 
  • Fourth United American Republic: The United States of America: We the People  was formed by 11 states on March 4th, 1789 (North Carolina and Rhode Island joined in November 1789 and May 1790, respectively), with the enactment of the U.S. Constitution of 1787. The fourth and current United States Republic governs through  the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate in Congress Assembled, the U.S. President and Commander-in-Chief, and the U.S. Supreme Court.  George Washington served as the Republic's first President and Commander-in-Chief.


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