Mrs. M’Kinley Dies in Canton Cottage
Widow of the Assassinated President Passed Away
Peacefully Yesterday Afternoon.
AN INVALID MANY YEARS
After the Death of Two Daughters Her Health Was Shattered—Devoted
to Her Husband.
CANTON, Ohio, May 26.—Mrs. Ida McKinley,
widow of President William McKinley, died at 1:05 o’clock this afternoon
at the famous McKinley cottage here. The transition from life to
death was so peaceful and gradual that it was with difficulty that
the physicians and attendants noted when dissolution came. Mrs.
McKinley did not know of the efforts made for days to prolong her
Mrs. McKinley’s last words before
she became unconscious showed that death would not be unwelcome.
An attendant said to-night:
“Mrs. McKinley would say: ‘Why should
I linger? Please God, if it is Thy will, why defer it?’ She would
also say: ‘He is gone, and life is dark to me now.’ Other kindred
expressions would fall from her lips.”
At the house when death came were
Secretary of the Treasury Cortelyou, Mr. and Mrs. M. C. Barber,
Mrs. Sarah Duncan, Mrs. Luther Day, Justice and Mrs. William R.
Day, Drs. Portmann and Rixey, and the nurses.
“Mrs. McKinley lasted hours longer
than we expected,” said the Secretary.
“Her vitality was wonderful,” said
It was by Secretary Cortelyou that
the announcement of death was given to the public. At this moment
William McKinley Post and George D. Harter Post, G. A. R., were
forming in line to march to the First Methodist Episcopal Church
to listen to the annual memorial address, which was given by Dr.
Buxton, Mrs. McKinley’s pastor.
Dr. Buxton will have charge of the
funeral services, which are to be simple. They will be held at the
McKinley home at 2 o’clock Wednesday afternoon. Secretary Cortelyou
is directing the arrangements, and will remain here till after the
funeral. It was announced to-night that President Roosevelt and
Secretary Loeb would arrive in Canton Wednesday morning to attend
the services. Vice President Fairbanks, who was often a house guest
of the McKinleys, is expected also to be here.
The body of Mrs. McKinley will be
placed in the vault in Westlawn Cemetery which holds the body of
her husband until the completion of the National mausoleum on Monument
From numerous friends Mrs. Barber
this evening received telegrams of condolence on the death of her
sister. Among them were messages from President Roosevelt and Mr.
Life of Mrs. McKinley.
Mrs. McKinley’s life of almost 60
years has been made familiar to the Nation. For twenty-five years
she shared with her husband the strain of a political life in spite
of a physical weakness which would have daunted any but a woman
of the strongest character. To grow old together with no lessening
of affection was the ideal which William and Ida McKinley set before
themselves on the day of their marriage, and until the President
was struck down by the assassin it was carried out.
Mrs. McKinley was born in 1847, the
daughter of James A. Saxton, a banker of Canton, Ohio. She was reared
in a home of comfort and ease. After attending Canton school she
was a pupil at a private school at Delhi, N. Y. Later she went to
a Cleveland academy, and finished her education at Brook Hill Seminary,
Media, Penn., where she spent three years.
She was the belle of her native town,
but her father, believing that all girls should be taught to work,
found her a place in the Stark County Bank, which he owned. There
for some time she acted as cashier, and at times she had charge
of that institution.
While she was so employed she fell
in love with Major McKinley, a rising young lawyer. He was Superintendent
of the Methodist Sunday school and she taught in the Presbyterian
Sunday school. It is said that one day as they came to the point
when they must separate to go to their classes, he said:
“I don’t like these partings. I think
we ought not to part after this.”
“So do I,” she replied.
They were married in 1870, and on
Christmas Day, 1871, a daughter, Katie, was born to them. Thirteen
months later a second child, Ida, was born, but in a few weeks she
fell ill and died. Katie only survived six months longer, and from
the double loss Mrs. McKinley never recovered. Her health was shattered,
and although the doctors could not name her illness, she was never
again a strong woman. She never again walked without assistance.
Shared Her Husband’s Career.
Yet when her husband was drawn toward
political life, she never stood in his way. She shared all his ambitions
and believed in his future, helped to entertain all his friends,
and did much by her social charm to smooth his way for him. Only
she insisted that they must never be parted for long. For this she
gave up her home life and contentedly lived for years in hotels
and traveled thousands of miles in sleeping cars to be near the
husband whom she loved.
After President McKinley’s assassination
she returned to Canton. At first she expressed a desire to join
her husband, and prayed daily that she might die. Later she frequently
told friends she desired to live until the completion of the McKinley
mausoleum, the gift of the nation, which is to be dedicated on Monument
Hill, September 30 next. For several years she enjoyed better health
than usual. Her final decline began a few months ago.
Mrs. McKinley was fond of the drama.
She and her husband numbered as one of their most intimate friends
the late Joseph Jefferson.
Among her diversions was the crocheting
of slippers, which she bestowed as keepsakes to friends, handed
to needy, or gave to bazaars. More than 3,500 pairs of slippers
were knitted by her and given away. She was fond of flowers, the
rose being her favorite, until the President’s carnation took first
place in her admiration.
The estate which was left by the President
was appraised at $215,000 when the inventory was made. It has increased
in value since that time. By the terms of the will of Mr. McKinley
the estate at the death of his widow was to be divided equally among
his brother, Abner McKinley, now deceased, and sisters, Mrs. Duncan
and Miss Helen McKinley of Cleveland. Mrs. Hermanus Baer, formerly
Mabel McKinley, is the daughter and heir of Abner McKinley.
WASHINGTON, May 26.—The news of the
death of Mrs. McKinley caused sorrow in the National capital, where
she so long made her home while her husband was a member of Congress,
and later President.
President Roosevelt learned of her
death shortly after 2 o’clock, when he received a telegram from
Secretary Cortelyou. He immediately announced that he would leave
for Canton Tuesday night to attend the funeral. He will be accompanied
by Secretaries Root, Garfield, and Wilson, Admiral Rixey, and Secretary