Key Dates

1892 McKinley becomes governor of Ohio.

1896 McKinley is elected President.

1898 Spanish-American war begins.

1901 McKinley is shot and killed. Vice President Theodore Roosevelt becomes President.

William McKinley
1897 - 1901
25th President

William McKinley was born in Niles, Ohio on January 29, 1845.

McKinley was a Methodist.

He was the first man in his hometown to volunteer when the Civil War broke out. He worked in a regiment commanded by another future president, Rutherford B. Hayes.

William McKinley lost both children: Ida 4 months old and Katherine, 4 years old, in the 1870's. His wife was so devastated that she became an invalid for the rest of her life.

Whenever his wife suffered an epileptic seizure in public, there was always one thing McKinley would do: throw a napkin over her face. He ignored protocol at official dinners by seating his wife at his right so he could help her if necessary. Captain Leonard Wood, assisting attending surgeon in Washington, D.C., treated Mrs. McKinley with skill and compassion and became close to the president.

He refused to be photographed unless impeccably groomed.

McKinley was the first to campaign by telephone.

William McKinley was the first president to ride in an automobile.

He refused to leave his invalid wife for long campaign tours, so his campaign manager arranged to have thousands of visitors travel to Canton. McKinley stood on his front porch and gave brief, well-rehearsed talks keyed to the interests of the delegations.

He liked to wear a white vest and a lucky red carnation in his buttonhole.

William McKinley was President during the Spanish-American War, 1898; Boxer Rebellion, 1899-1900

Theodore Roosevelt, Assistant Secretary of the Navy, called him a "white-livered cur" when he delayed for weeks deciding whether to commit the U.S. to the Spanish-American War. He also said that McKinley had "no more backbone than an chocolate eclair."

He said later in life: "I have never been in doubt since I was old enough to think intelligently that I would sometime be made President."

When President McKinley was shot, he begged that the man who shot him not be hurt and that his secretary be careful in how Mrs. McKinley was told. He died 8 days later. His wife never returned to the White House and did not attend his burial rites.

William McKinley was assassinated by Leon F. Czolgosz during the Pan American Exposition in Buffalo, New York. He was the third president that was assassinated.

William McKinley had two Vice Presidents.

Garret Hobart (1897-1901)
Theodore Roosevelt (1901)
Theodore Roosevelt became President after the assassination of William McKinley.

William McKinley died in Buffalo, New York on September 14, 1901. He was 58 years and 228 days old. He is buried adjacent to Westlawn Cemetery, Canton, Ohio.



Quick Facts

15th President

Born: Niles, Ohio, Jan. 29, 1843

Party: Republican

Died: Buffalo, NY, Sept. 14, 1901 age 58



  • The Presidents of the United States. 22 September 2004
  • Davis, Gibbs and Ilus. David A. Johnson. Wackiest White House Pets. New York: Scholastic Press, October 2004
  • James, Barber and Amy Pastan. Smithsonian Presidents and First Ladies. New York: DK Publishing, 2002
  • Harnsberger, Caroline Thomas. Treasury of Presidential Quotations. Chicago: Follett Publishing Company, 1964
  • Kane, Joseph Natan. Facts about the Presidents from Washington to Johnson. New York: H.W. Wilson Company, 1964.
  • National Park Service Web Site on Presidential Trivia:

Additional Sources:


If you have comments or corrections, please send them to






This page was last modified: January 31, 2012