McKinley was born January 29, 1843, in a small house in
Niles, Ohio. His father was William McKinley Sr. (1809-1897). A native Mercer
County, Pennsylvania. His mother was Nancy Allison McKinley from Lisbon, Ohio.
He was the seventh of eight children. William had four sisters and three
brothers-David A. McKinley, Anna McKinley,
James McKinley, Mrs. Mary May, Helen McKinley, Mrs. Sarah E. Duncan and Abner
McKinley learned the fundamentals of his education at a
Niles, Ohio, public school. In 1852 he enrolled at the Methodist Poland seminary
where he studied under Mrs.E.M. Blakeless. His favorite subject was speech. At
the age of 17 he entered Alleghency College at Meadville, Pennsylvania but he
was forced to drop by illness (apparently exhaustion from studying too hard)
within a year. His family finances suffered during this period and he had to go
to work. After the war he studied Law at the Youngstown office of Judge Charles
E. Glidden. During 1866-1867 he attended Albany (New York) Law school but
dropped out before graduation. He was admitted to the Ohio bar in March 1867.
William McKinley married Ida Saxon when he was 27 and she
was 23 years of age on January 21, 1871, at the first Presbyterian Church in
Canton, Ohio. They had two daughters-Katherine “Katie” McKinley and Ida
McKinley, both of whom died in infancy. Thus, no direct descendant of McKinley
During the Civil War McKinley served with the Twenty-third
Ohio Volunteer Infantry from June 1861 to July 1865. rising from private to
brevet major. He also served in public elected positions as U.S. Representative,
1877-1883, 1885-1891 and as Governor of the state of Ohio, 1892-1896.
He got elected for the Presidential Nomination when the
republicans convened in St. Louis in June 1896 when he was clear front-runner.
He won the presidency having as his vice-president Garret Augustus Hobart
(1844-1899) who served from 1897 to 1899 and was succeeded by Theodore Roosevelt
after Hobart death. McKinley was reelected as president in 1900 and was also
succeeded by Roosevelt after his Assassination.
On September 6, 1901, 4:07 pm, William McKinley was standing in line at the temple of music on the Exposition grounds when Leon F. Czolgosz, 28, a Detroit Native of Polish heritage and unemployed wire mill worker, queued with others to shake the president’s hand. His right hand was wrapped with a bandage, which concealed a .32 Iver Johnson revolver. McKinley stretched to greet him when Czolgosz fired two shots at point-blank range. The first shot struck a button near the breastbone and failed to penetrate the skin and the second one went to his abdomen between the naval and the left nipple. The president died a few days latter on September 14, 1901, 2:15am.
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