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175th birthday party planned on Jan. 29

January 25, 2018
J.T. Whitehouse , The Town Crier

For those who have never attended a 175th birthday party, the doors are open this coming Monday (Jan. 29). The Poland Historical Society will celebrate the birthdate of U.S. President William McKinley, who was a Poland Village resident.

"The historical society acknowledged McKinley's 170th birthday with a resolution, but this is the first time we've done a birthday party," said society Vice President Laurie Fox.

According to the society's information, McKinley was born January 29, 1843, to William and Nancy Allison McKinley in Niles, Ohio. The McKinley family moved to Poland, in 1852 when William was nine years old because of Poland's reputation for excellent schools.

Article Photos

Portrait of William McKinley that was said to be his wife Ida’s favorite.

William attended the Poland Academy, later called Poland Seminary, and graduated in 1859 on the site of the current Poland Middle School. In 1861, he volunteered for the Civil War at the age 18 and served with the 23rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry. He was honorably discharged as a Brevetted Major in 1865.

He moved to Canton in 1867 and was elected Governor of Ohio in 1892. McKinley was elected the 25th President of the United States in 1896 and re-elected in 1900. On Sept. 6, 1901, William McKinley was shot by Leon Czolgosz on the grounds of the Pan-American Exposition at the Temple of Music in Buffalo, New York. He died from infection from the gunshot wounds on Sept. 14, 1901.

As for his boyhood Poland Village South Main Street home, it was demolished in the early 1960s. In June of 2013, the Poland Historical Society dedicated an Ohio Historical marker at this location.

One of the interesting events in William's life was when 300 Poland residents traveled 60 miles to William's home in Canton to hear him give a speech while running for the office of U.S. President.

"Depending on the route taken, the distance from Poland to Canton is about 60 miles which is about 1 1/2 hour drive in today's world," said Poland Historical Society President

To walk the distance, it would take nearly 20 hours. I'm sure that horse and buggy would have to be a bit faster than walking and a train would be even faster, depending on where the train stations were located in 1896."

"I'm guessing that in 1896, to travel 60 miles would be an all day trip," said Poland historian Dave Smith.

He said they could have taken a train, but the exact mode of transportation has not been discovered as yet, just the fact 300 Poland residents showed up for the speech.

To pay tribute to Poland's U.S. President, the historical society will host the 175th birthday at 11 a.m. on Jan. 29 at the Poland Village Town Hall, 308 South Main St. The event is open to all Poland residents.

After a brief ceremony, birthday cake and hot chocolate will be served. Paul McQueen will portray Republican candidate William McKinley and will read a portion of McKinley's speech which he gave while campaigning for President in 1896.



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