Presidents: William McKinley

posted in: Presidents | 0

William McKinley was our third President to be assassinated. The 25th President was also the last president to serve in the American Civil War.

William McKinley

William McKinley, Jr. was born on January 29, 1843 in Niles, Ohio. He was the seventh child of William and Nancy Allison McKinley.

In June 1861, McKinley and a cousin enlisted as privates in the Ohio infantry. McKinley quickly took to the soldier’s life and wrote a series of letters to his hometown newspaper extolling the army and the Union cause. During this time he began a friendship with his mentor Major Rutherford B. Hayes that would remain until Hayes death.

After the war ended, McKinley began to study law and studied at Albany Law School in New York. He later returned to Canton, Ohio to set up his own practice. In 1867, he made his first foray into politics as he made speeches for his friend, Rutherford B. Hayes.

In 1869, he ran for prosecuting attorney of Stark County, Ohio and won. He was defeated in 1871 when he ran for re-election.

On January 25, 1871, he married Ida Saxton, daughter of a prominent Canton family. Their first child was born on Christmas day that year. A second daughter followed in 1873, but she died four months later. Two years later, their oldest daughter died of typhoid fever. Ida McKinley never recovered and her health declined and was often impeded with epileptic seizures.

In the mid 1870s he argued a case for the miners that raised his name recognition.

In October 1877, he took his first congressional seat in the House. In 1880, he joined the House Ways and Means Committee. He began to rise in the Republican Convention over the coming years.
However, he failed to win election for Speaker of the House in 1889.

William McKinley

In 1892, he became Governor of Ohio. The Panic of 1893, almost destroyed the McKinley’s. William McKinley had signed promissory notes without reading them and the crash ruined the businessman who had tricked him. Governor McKinley owed over $100,000 and suggested resigning to return to his law practice to pay his debts. However, his supporters set up a trustee fund and raised money to pay the notes off. His popularity grew and with it came re-election.

In 1896, he received the Republican nomination for President. He won and was sworn in as president on March 4, 1897 and his vice President was Garret A. Hobart.

President McKinley dealt with the war for Cuban independence, the Spanish-American War, the Philippine-American War and the expanding influence of the United States overseas.

In late 1899, Vice President Hobart died. When President McKinley ran for re-election he needed a new running mate and chose Theodore Roosevelt. He won re-election.

William McKinley

On March 4, 1901 his second inauguration was held. He and his wife then took a six-week tour of the nation.

On September 6, 1901, President McKinley was entering the Temple of Music on the Exposition grounds to meet the public. Leon Czolgosz waited through the line with a concealed gun and shot the president twice in the abdomen. Upon being shot he urged his aides to gently break the news to his wife.

President McKinley was taken to Milburn House and appeared to improve, however gangrene began to spread. He died at 2:15 a.m. on September 14, 1901.

The funeral train returned his body to Canton, Ohio. A large marble monument was built for the president and his family and dedicated on September 30, 1907. Ida McKinley had died only a four months before the dedication.

According to McKinley’s biographer Wayne Morgan, President McKinley died “the most beloved president in history”. But with the passage of time, President McKinley and his influence have faded away.


25th President of the United States
(March 4, 1897 to September 14, 1901)

Nickname: “Idol of Ohio”

Born: January 29, 1843, in Niles, Ohio
Died: September 14, 1901, in Buffalo, New York

Father: William McKinley
Mother: Nancy Campbell Allison McKinley
Married: Ida Saxton (1847-1907), on January 25, 1871
Children: Katherine McKinley (1871-75); Ida McKinley (1873)

Religion: Methodist
Education: Attended Allegheny College
Occupation: Lawyer
Political Party: Republican

  • Member of U.S. House of Representatives, 1877-91
  • Governor of Ohio, 1892-96

Presidential Salary: $50,000/year

William McKinley Timeline: Presidential Timeline of Important Events
1897 His inauguration as 25th President of the United States
1897 The Dingley Tariff Law, which raised custom duties by an average of 57%
1897 Grant’s tomb monument was dedicated on April 27, 1897
1897 The Radio: Nikola Tesla invented the induction coil or Tesla coil, a device essential to sending and receiving radio waves and applied for his first patents in radio work in the United States.
1898 The Spanish-American War: Spain declares war on the US on April 23, 1898. The Spanish-American War was caused by US intervention in the Cuban War of Independence. The war ended Spain’s colonial empire in America
1898 April: The Volunteer Army Act, authorizing the organization of the First Volunteer Cavalry, or Rough Riders, under the command of Lt. Colonel Theodore Roosevelt
1898 October: The War Revenue Act generated $150 dollars from taxes on popular ‘luxury’ goods
1898 The Battle of Sugar Point involving the US army and Chippewa Indians in Minnesota
1898 Edwin Prescott patented the first roller coaster.
1898 The Erdman Act prohibited discrimination against railroad workers because of union membership and provided for mediation of railway labor disputes
1898 The Annexation of Hawaii was started by US planters staging an uprising to overthrow Queen. The Annexation of Hawaii was an Act of Congress to annex the Republic of Hawaii and create the Territory of Hawaii. It failed and Hawaii was annexed by means of joint resolution, called the Newlands Resolution
1898 The 1898 Treaty of Paris: The US and Spain sign the treaty on December 10, 1898
1899 The Boxer Rebellion (1899-1901) was a ferocious anti-foreigner movement against Christian missionaries and colonizers that took place in China between 1899 and 1901.
1899 John Thurman patents the motor-driven vacuum cleaner
1900 The Gold Standard Act established gold as the only standard for redeeming paper money. It stopped silver being exchanged for gold in the U.S. monetary system.
1900 The Zeppelin airship was invented by Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin
1900 The Galveston hurricane: The Galveston hurricane was the deadliest in United States history. The hurricane occured on September 8, 1900, in the city of Galveston, Texas
1900 September: The President was shot twice and fatally wounded on September 6, 1901 at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York. His wounds became gangrenous and he died on September 14, 1901, aged 58. He was murdered by Leon Czolgosz.
1901 His presidency and term in office ended with his assassination. Leon Czolgosz was later put to death in the electric chair. The next US President was Theodore Roosevelt


1843 William McKinley was born on January 29, 1843 in Niles, Ohio

1859 Oregon admission to the US
Harper’s Ferry Raid

1860 Pony Express begins

1861 The American Civil War, also called the War between the States, was waged from April 1861 until April 1865. The 4 year war was between the federal government of the United States and 11 Southern states that asserted their right to secede (withdraw) from the Union. Abraham Lincoln was the central figure of the American Civil War.

1863 Battle of Gettysburg

1864 Sand Creek Massacre

1865 Abraham Lincoln assassinated
United States Civil War ends

1866 Civil Rights Act of 1866
Ku Klux Klan founded

1867 Alaska Purchase from Russia

1871 William McKinley was married to Ida Saxton McKinley on January 25, 1871. They had 2 Children

1877-91 Member of U.S. House of Representatives, 1877-91

1892-96 Governor of Ohio, 1892-96

1896 Gold discovered in the Yukon’s Klondike

1897 1897 William McKinley became the President of the United States of America

1898 Spanish-American War (1898)
Annexation of Hawaii (1898)

1899-1900 Open Door Policy/Boxer Rebellion (1899-1900)

1900 Gold Standard Act (1900)

1901 William McKinley was assassinated on September 14, 1901 in Buffalo, New York. He was shot twice by an anarchist named Leon Czolgosz.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.