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Ida McKinley

Ida McKinleyAKA Ida Saxton

Born: 8-Jun-1847
Birthplace: Canton, OH
Died: 26-May-1907
Location of death: Canton, OH
Cause of death: Cancer - Brain
Remains: Buried, McKinley Memorial, Canton, OH

Gender: Female
Religion: Methodist
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: First Lady

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Wife of US President William McKinley

Ida Saxton's father was a successful banker, and her grandfather was the founder of a local newspaper, the Canton Repository. She was sent to an exclusive private school, then to finishing school. She worked as a teller at her father's bank, even managing the business when he was out of town. She met William McKinley, a young lawyer who had just moved to Canton, at a church picnic, and she was 23 when they married. As a wedding present, her father gave the newlyweds a new house in Canton.

Her early years may have been easy, but her later years were more difficult. She had her first child within their first year of marriage, a girl who died of typhoid at the age of four years. A second daughter died at just four months. By the time Mrs McKinley was 26 years old, she was suffering from epileptic seizures and phlebitis, and for the remaining decades of her life she usually spent her waking hours in their bedroom, crocheting in a favored rocking chair.

When her husband became President of the United States, she wore fine gowns but remained seated at White House events, often holding a bouquet of flowers to discourage guests from trying to shake her often-trembling hand. She attended dignitaries' dinners with her husband, and when she was occasionally overtaken with seizures -- which were discreetly called "fainting spells" -- he would gently cover her face with a handkerchief. Her seizures ranged from mild to severe to life-threatening, but despite her ill health, visitors described the First Lady as a warm hostess, very aware of current events, possessing a sense of humor and offering a sound analysis of political events.

President McKinley was shot on September 6, 1901, and lingered more than a week. He was holding his wife's had when he finally died. Mrs McKinley soon returned to Canton, where she lived with her sister, visiting her husband's grave almost daily until she died in 1907, and was buried beside him.

Mrs McKinley's brother, George Saxton, was something of a scoundrel who never married but rather, as one biographer phrased it, "enjoyed other men's wives". In one of Ohio's most infamous 19th-Century murders, he was shot four times on October 7, 1898 by Mrs. Annie George, one of his married ladyfriends, when she discovered she was not his only married ladyfriend. Despite admitting her guilt, Mrs George was acquitted.

Father: James Asbury Saxton (banker-real estate dealer, b. 1-May-1816, d. 16-Mar-1887)
Mother: Katherine Dewalt Saxton (b. 18-Aug-1827, m. 31-Aug-1846, d. 14-Mar-1873)
Mother: Hettie B. Medill (stepmother, m. James Saxton)
Sister: Mary Belinda Saxton Barber ("Pina", b. 15-Dec-1848, d. 1917)
Brother: George Dewalt Saxton (b. 31-Oct-1850, d. 7-Oct-1898 murder)
Husband: William McKinley (US President, b. 1843, m. 25-Jan-1871, d. 1901)
Daughter: Katherine McKinley ("Katie", b. 25-Dec-1871, d. 25-Jun-1875 typhoid fever)
Daughter: Ida McKinley (b. 1-Apr-1873, d. 22-Aug-1873)

    High School: Miss Sanford's School
    University: Brook Hall Seminary, Media, PA (1869)

    English Ancestry Paternal
    German Ancestry Maternal
    Scottish Ancestry Paternal

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