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President William McKinley
William McKinley


William McKinley
(January 29, 1843 – September 14, 1901) was the 25th President of the United States. He was elected twice, in 1896 and 1900 but was assassinated in 1901 at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York. He fought the Spanish-American War to gain control of Cuba, and afterwards annexed the Philippines and Puerto Rico, as well as Hawaii. He promoted high tariffs as a formula for prosperity, helped rebuild the Republican party in 1896 by introducing new campaign techniques, and presided over a return to prosperity after the Panic of 1893. He was succeeded by his Vice President, Theodore Roosevelt.

Born in Niles, Ohio on Sunday January 29, 1843, William McKinley was the seventh of nine children. His parents, William and Nancy (Allison) McKinley were of Scots-Irish ancestry. He graduated from Poland Academy and briefly attended Allegheny College.

In June 1861, at the start of the American Civil War, he enlisted in the Union Army, as a private in the Twenty-third Regiment, Ohio Volunteer Infantry. The regiment was sent to western Virginia where it spent a year fighting small Confederate units. His superior officer, another future U.S. President, Rutherford B. Hayes, promoted McKinley to commissary sergeant for his bravery in battle. For driving a mule team delivering rations under enemy fire at Antietam, he was promoted to second lieutenant by Hayes. This pattern repeated several times during the war, and McKinley eventually mustered out as Captain and brevet Major of the same regiment in September 1865.

Following the war, McKinley attended Albany Law School in Albany, New York and was admitted to the bar in 1867. He practiced law in Canton, Ohio, and became the prosecuting attorney of Stark County, Ohio, from 1869 to 1871

McKinley was elected as a Republican to the United States House of Representatives and served from 1877 to 1883 and again from March 4, 1885 to March 3, 1891.

McKinley was elected governor of Ohio in 1891, and re-elected in 1893, serving until January 13, 1896.
[Information from the free encylopedia]

Obituary of Ida Saxton McKinley


Significant events during McKinley's presidency
Dingley Tariff (1897)
Maximum Freight Case (1897)
Annexation of Hawaii (1898)
Spanish-American War (1898)
Philippine-American War (1899-1913)
Boxer Rebellion (1900)
Gold Standard Act (1900)


McKinley was shot twice by anarchist Leon Czolgosz at 4:07 p.m. on September 6, 1901, at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York.

President McKinley Assassination
McKinley assassination
Czolgosz shoots President McKinley with a concealed revolver, at Pan-American Exposition reception, Sept. 6th, 1901.
[Source: American Memory]

The newly-developed X-ray machine was displayed at the fair, but no one thought to use it on McKinley to search for the bullet, which may have saved his life. Also, ironically, the operating room at the exposition's emergency hospital did not have any electric lighting, even though the exteriors of many of the buildings at the extravagant exposition were covered with thousands of light bulbs. Doctors used a pan to reflect sunlight onto the operating table as they treated McKinley's wounds.   McKinley's doctors believed he would recover, and the President convalesced for more than a week at the home of the expositon's director.
But McKinley eventually went into shock. He died from his wounds at 2:15 a.m. on September 14, 1901, in Buffalo.

He was buried in Canton, Ohio.
residence where McKinley died

Milburn Residence where Pres. McKinley Died
Buffalo, NY
[Source: American Memory]


Details of the Autopsy
Special Dispatch to the Inter Ocean

[Contributed by Sara Hemp who says: These newspaper clippings were found in a scrapbook in Roswell, New Mexico by Nancy Harvey while going though her mother's things after her death. "The scrapbook is one which my great grandmother, Amanda Bryan Wetzel, or perhaps my grandmother, Nettie Wetzel Dean, pasted lots of obituaries of family and friends."]

Buffalo, N. Y., Sept 15 - The discussion of the autopsy on the body of President McKinley continues. It has developed that however much harmony there may have been between the surgeons who attended the President while their patient was still alive there has developed considerable bitterness of feeling since his death. The question as to whether the bullet with which Czolgosz shot the President was poisoned is one of the points on which the surgeons are at issue. The question ought to be solved, in the opinion of most critics, by an analysis of the remaining bullets which were taken from the revolver. Superintendent Bull has these bullets in his possession and has not as yet thought necessary to have them examined. The importance of the proof that the bullets were poisoned, if it should prove true that they were, is regarded as very great, bearing on the possible attempt to prove Czolgosz insane.

Dr. Matthew D. Mann has been interviewed at some length on the autopsy. Dr. Mann said that no further attempt to find the bullet which killed the President would be made. Dr. Mann said that when the report spoke of the failure of nature to restore any of the diseased tissues by the process of repair it meant that this was due, not to weakness of the President due to disease, but to the general unhealthy state of his system.

Mann Reticent About Bullet
When asked whether he thought that there was any reason to believe that the bullet which killed the President was poisoned, Dr. Mann said:

"The authorities and the physicians have received a number of telegrams and letters alleging that the bullet was poisoned."

"I don't know whether it was or not. A chemical or a bacteriological examination of the remaining bullets in the pistol will be necessary to determine that, perhaps both. This conclusion would be very difficult to reach for many reasons. All the tissues through which the bullet passed were dead. This is very remarkable, indeed. The area of the dead flesh in the stomach was perhaps as great as a silver dollar in circumference. Dr. Wasdin, the marine hospital expert, was strongly inclined to the opinion that ???????? poisoned."

[Newspaper Story - contributed by Sara Hemp]

BUFFALO, N.Y. - SEPT. 16. -- The coroner of Erie county today issued the following certificate of death of the late President:

"City of Buffalo, Bureau of Vital Statistics, county of Erie, state of New York.
Certificate and record of death of William McKinley.

"I hereby certify that he died on the 14th day of September, 1901, about 2:15 o'clock a.m. and that to the best of my knowledge and belief the cause of death was as here underwritten:

"Cause, gangrene of both walls of stomach and pancreas following gunshot wound.

"Witness my hand this 14th day of September, 1901.
"H.R. Gaylor, M.D.
"H.Z. Matzinger, M.D.
"James F. Wilson, Coroner

"Date of death, Sept. 14, 1901
Age 58 years, 7 months, 15 days
Occupation, President of the United States
Birthplace, Niles, Ohio
Father's Name, William McKinley
Father's birthplace, Pennsylvania, United States
Mother's name, Nancy McKinley
Mother's birthplace, Ohio, United States
Place of death, No. 1168 Delaware ave.
? previous residency, Washington

Execution of Leon Czolgosz --1873?-1901
Auburn Prison

Execution pictures

click for larger size

[Source: American Memory of the Library of Congress]


Monuments and Memorials to William McKinley
[source: the free Encylopedia]

Wm. McKinley statue

Statue of President McKinley in Walden, New York.

Statue of President McKinley at the Lucas County Courthouse in Toledo, Ohio.

The statue of McKinley in Muskegon, Michigan, is believed to be the first raised in his honor in the country, put in place on May 23, 1902. It was sculpted by Charles Henry Niehaus.

McKinley Presidential Library & Museum, Canton, Ohio

McKinley Memorial Mausoleum, Canton, Ohio, his final resting place

McKinley Memorial, Niles, Ohio, commemorates McKinley's birthplace

McKinley Monument, Buffalo, New York

McKinley Statue, Adams, Massachusetts

McKinley County, New Mexico is named in his honor.

Mount McKinley, Alaska is named after him.

McKinley Statue, Arcata, California

McKinleyville, California

McKinley Statue, Walden, New York

McKinley Monument, Antietam Battlefield, Maryland

McKinley Statue, Lucas County Courthouse Toledo, Ohio

McKinley Monument, Columbus, Ohio on the grounds of the Statehouse worked in as Ohio's Governor.

Trivia and Facts About Wm. McKinley

Nickname: "Idol of Ohio"

  • He was named after his father.
  • As a boy, McKinley almost drowned in Mosquito Creek in Niles, Ohio.
  • McKinley was supposedly the inspiration for the Wizard of Oz in The Wizard of Oz.
  • McKinley's portrait appeared on the U.S. $500 bill from 1928 to 1946.
  • McKinley had a pet parrot named "Washington Post".
  • At his inauguration, the only item of jewelry McKinley wore was his Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity badge.
  • McKinley was the first President to use the telephone for campaign purposes
  • McKinley's favorite plays were those by Shakespeare, and Rip Van Winkle.

Further Reading:

Assassination of William McKinley -

"Official" Biography at the White House website:

American President:

McKinley Memorial Library:




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