All of Ida McKinley's maternal great-grandparents were German immigrants, the two great-grandfathers being Philip DeWalt and Michael Harter . One pair of Ida McKinley's paternal great-grandparents Jacob Laird and his wife Jane Johnston were immigrants from Scotland. One paternal ancestor James Harlan was born in England in 1625 and immigrated to Delaware. The origin of the Saxton line is unknown.
Ida Saxton was born in Canton in 1847. Her father was a wealthy banker and community leader. The large house where the family lived is still in excellent condition over a century later and is part of the National First Ladies’ Library complex in Canton.