The Niles Times
The Niles Historical Society will replace the headstone of President William McKinley's maternal grandmother, Anne Campbell, during a ceremony at 1:30 p.m. Friday at Niles City Cemetery.
Judge W. Wyatt McKay of the Common Pleas Court, Trumbull County will play the bagpipes and Mary Ann Creator of the Lisbon Historical Society will conduct the service.
According to research from the Niles Historical Society, Anne Campbell was born in 1774 and at the age of 15 married Abner Allison. Traveling from Pennsylvania by horseback in 1809, the Allisons rode as pioneers over the great Indian trail, now known as Columbiana County.
Campbell and her husband raised eight children in a primitive log cabin approximately eight miles from what is now Lisbon. Abner served his country in the War of 1812 and later died in 1827 at the age of 58. He is buried at Jordanville cemetery south of Lisbon.
It was around 1838 when Anne traveled to Niles with the rest of her family. While still in Lisbon, Anne's daughter, Nancy, was married to William McKinley Sr. and they also moved with the family to Niles. Nancy and William had several children, one of which was their son William, who became the 29th President of the United States.
McKinley's sister, Abigail, who was born in 1845, was still an infant when she died in 1846 and was buried in Niles Cemetery. Anne Campbell Allison also died later that year at the age of 72 and was buried next to Abigail.
According to an article in the Tribune Chronicle, dated Nov. 26, 1926,. Abigail McKinley's headstone was discovered by J. N. Baldwin, who wondered if she was in fact the President's sister. It was documented by Ida Slone, librarian for many years at the McKinley Memorial Library, that the little girl was born in 1845 and was buried in the Niles cemetery. The article noted the worn condition of her headstone. Abigail's headstone was replaced sometime in the early 1900s with a handcut stone of unknown origins.
Likewise, the condition of Anne Campbell Allison's stone was buried in the sod and not visible, however, a Nov. 6, 2002 issue of The Niles Times reported that Trumbull County historian Wendell Lauth, after stumbling upon a reference to the gravesite in historical journals, unveiled the stone along with current McKinley Memorial Library director Patrick Finan, during a public cemetery walk.
According to the article, the stone had been toppled and was laying face down in a thicket of grass when Lauth found it. Through the concern of a member of the Niles Historical Society, funding from a private source was secured and Anne Campbell Allison's stone will be replaced Friday at the cemetery located at the corner of Niles Vienna Road and Vienna Avenue.
The ceremony will take place in the old section of the cemetery near the Niles Vienna Road entrance.
For more information, call the Niles Historical Society office at 330-544-2143.