Ida Saxton McKinley
Born: Canton, OH
Married: William McKinley, 1871
Children: Katie, Ida
First Lady: 1897-1901

Few contemporaries knew that Ida McKinley suffered from epilepsy (a fact never acknowledged by her loving husband, William.) For McKinley was devoted to his wife, the daughter of a Canton, Ohio banker. The former Major McKinley had settled in Canton following the Civil War. By all accounts, he was smitten with Ida upon their first meeting. Although the marriage started out with promise, it was soon crippled by sorrow when the McKinleys' two young daughters died in short succession. The tragedy drew the couple closer. Even so, Ida became a virtual invalid. To his credit, the ambitious McKinley never neglected the wife who was clearly no political asset. During his service in Congress and as Governor of Ohio, he took great care of her. As President, he made special arrangements so that Ida could participate on State occasions. When the President was shot on September 7, 1901, his last words were for Ida: "be you tell her---oh, be careful."