Museum exhibit tells love story between President McKinley and F - 21 News Now, More Local News for Youngstown, Ohio -

Museum exhibit tells love story between President McKinley and First Lady

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CANTON, Ohio -

The McKinley Presidential Library and Museum in Canton tells the story about the nation's 25th first family. It's about the loving bond that was built after the Niles native, McKinley moved to Canton after the Civil War and married Ida Saxton.

Curator, Kim Kenney explains, " Shortly after they got married, they had a baby and then two years later, they had another baby and both of them passed away in childhood so all they had was each other. And so we have some letters from him to her and you can see the kind of tenderness that he took when he was communicating with her."

Ida had epilepsy and other ailments that often left her home-bound, which is why McKinley had a "front porch campaign."

"He didn't want to take her on the road and he didn't want to leave her either. So he campaigned right here from Canton and she was with him the whole time."

So because there were no direct descendents of President McKinley and the first lady, their possessions were scattered among each other's relatives. Many of them made their way to the museum. Among them, one of many pairs of slippers Ida crocheted and donated to the needy and her yarn bag, had a picture of William inside.

There are all kinds of campaign items and gifts the McKinleys' received from foreign leaders.

But there is one thing that is not in the collection, Ida's tiara. A simple band with diamond wings that can be moved.

Kenney was shocked to see that the tiara, which had been passed down through many generations of Ida's sister's family, made its way to the famous Gold & Silver Pawn Shop in Las Vegas on a recent episode of the History Channel show, " Pawn Stars."

"We had seen it before. We had borrowed it twice for special events. So we had.. I had it in my hand."

Kenney wrote a letter to the shop's owner Rick Harrison. He agreed to give the museum until June 24th to buy the tiara for $43,000.00, which is what he paid for it.

The museum has raised almost half of that from generous donors who have given everything from as little as a dollar to $5,000.00.

"It is a matter of community pride, but it's also something very rare. There aren't that many pieces of Ida McKinley's jewelry out there. They've been gone for over 100 years. so it's not often that you find this."

And it would bring another item "home" to the first family's final resting place. William, Ida and their daughters, Kate and Ida are entombed in the mausoleum located next to the museum.

Information on how to donate can be found by following this link.

Click on the "donate" button.

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