Katherine McKinley

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Katherine McKinley
Katherine McKinley.jpg
The portrait of Katie that hung on the wall of the McKinley house.
Born (1871-12-25)December 25, 1871
Canton, Ohio, U.S.
Died June 25, 1875(1875-06-25) (aged 3)
Canton, Ohio
Nationality American
Relatives Ida (younger sister)

Katherine "Katie" McKinley (December 25, 1871 – June 25, 1875) was the first daughter of the 25th President of the United States, William McKinley and his wife, Ida Saxton McKinley. Both she and her sister, Ida, died in childhood.


Katie was born on Christmas Day 1871, while her father was still a Canton, Ohio lawyer. She was adored by her parents, being the center of their universe[1] and the apple of William's eye. In return, she adored him.[2] She was smothered with love by Ida until a second daughter was born in the spring of 1873. Due to the fact that Ida's mother died some two weeks before the birth, the infant, also named Ida, was born following a very difficult delivery and she died four months later.[1][2]

Ida was grief-stricken and she believed that God punished her by killing her daughter.[1][3] She demanded that William and Katie shower her with displays of love and affection. She was deeply affected by this and developed phlebitis and epilepsy and desperately feared the loss of her first-born child, Katie.[3] Ida spent hours a day in a darkened room with Katie in her arms, kissing her and weeping. William's brother, Abner, once found Katie swinging on a gate of the garden of her house and invited her to go for a walk with him. The child replied that "if [she] would go out of the yard, God would punish [her] mama some more".[1]

In June 1875, Katie became ill with typhoid fever and died within days. She was initially interred in Canton's West Lawn Cemetery, but, on October 10, 1907, both Katie and her younger sister Ida were exhumed and re-interred in the north wall of the McKinley National Memorial. On the same day, the bodies of Ida and William were re-interred in the same place.[4]

Ida was effectively shattered when Katie died. The relationship between her and William seriously worsened.[citation needed] Nevertheless, McKinley responded to his wife's maladies with devotion and love. When Ida suffered one of her epileptic seizures, the President would gently place a napkin or handkerchief over her face to conceal her contorted features. When it passed, he would remove it and resume whatever he was doing as if nothing had happened.[5] For the rest of her life, Ida kept a picture of Katie on the wall of her bedroom.[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b c d Edge 2007, p. 33.
  2. ^ a b Quinn-Musgrove & Kanter 1995, p. 147.
  3. ^ a b Quinn-Musgrove & Kanter 1995, p. 148.
  4. ^ BLJns75 (December 17, 2009). "History of the temporary burial site of Katherine McKinley". Find a Grave. findagrave.com. Retrieved January 30, 2012. 
  5. ^ Leech 1986, p. [page needed].


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