Poland Historical Society honors former president from Niles

POLAND, Ohio (WYTV) – Eight presidents of the United States can trace their roots to Ohio.

That group includes William McKinley, who was born in Niles.

His birthday was January 29, 1843 — 175 years ago.

McKinley moved to Poland when he was 9, and he graduated from the Poland Academy.

Monday, the Poland Historical Society remembered President McKinley’s birthday and recognized his accomplishments, which included becoming governor of Ohio, the 25th president of the United States and the first president of the 20th century.

McKinley’s first campaign for president included supporting gold over silver to back U.S currency.

“There’s a book that came out recently by Carl Rove talking about the 1896 campaign as such an important event and a campaign that made a difference in politics. I think it’s just the fact that he grew up here, had these values and spoke well of Poland after he left here, even,” said Dave Smith, of the Poland Historical Society.

Monday’s birthday celebration included a recreation of McKinley’s speech to 300 Poland citizens who visited him in Canton while he was campaigning for president.

McKinley’s life also included time as a teacher in Boardman, where he walked three miles every day to the one-room schoolhouse.