Presidential First Lady. She was born Ida Saxton in Canton, Ohio the daughter of a prosperous banker. She received the usual education given to daughters of the wealthy, a series of finishing schools and upon completion a tour of Europe. Ida worked at her father's bank as a teller and even managed it at times. A bank customer, the future president then Major William McKinley met the future First Lady and they were soon wed. Her first child lived to the age of three and the second died in infancy and the complications from her illness with epilepsy and the pregnancy left her an invalid suffering epileptic seizures for the rest of her life. Her husband's law firm was flourishing and he was rising politically, first as a Congressman and then as governor of Ohio. Ida spent most of her waking hours sitting in a small rocking chair crocheting bedroom slippers. Upon assuming the Presidency, the McKinleys ignored her limitations and handicaps and she became the First Lady performing all her social duties. She always sat to her husband's immediate right so he could aid her while suffering a seizure. As First Lady she crocheted an estimated 1,000 pairs of slippers which she gave to guests and friends. In spite of bad health, Ida accompanied her husband on his trips. Her condition was kept secret. Upon the assassination of McKinley during his second term in office, his body first lay in state in the Buffalo City Hall, then transferred to Washington for services and finally was returned to Canton and interred in Westlawn Cemetery near his two small children. Eight years later, a massive mausoleum was dedicated after construction outside Westlawn Cemetery. The President including the children were exhumed and reinterred inside. The children are entombed within the rear wall. Upon the death of Ida, she joined her husband and children with her placement in the structure known today as the McKinley Memorial. A presidential library is located in Niles, William McKinley's birthplace, also his preserved birthhouse. Sadly the three memorials are in different locations. The McKinley's had planned for their retirement with the repurchase of the house where they lived when first married in Canton. It was here that Ida lived the rest of her life in seclusion cared for by her younger sister. She visited her husbands grave almost daily.
Bio by: Donald Greyfield