PARDONED FOR A KILLING -- The only known cousin in our family allegedly to have been pardoned for manslaughter by a future President of the United States, Simon Henry Miner of near Alger, Ohio stands with his presumed second wife Ida Dole who was half his age. In November 1895, in a fight over a "50-cent stove," Simon fatally beat his neighbor William Rumbaugh over the head with a board. Simon's mother, brother and sister also were involved, and he escaped and was at large for several weeks. Law enforcement authorities finally captured him in Dupont, Ohio.
The case went to trial in February 1896. A jury convicted Simon and his mother of manslaughter and sentenced to 10 years of hard labor in the state penitentiary in Ohio. The mother quickly appealed her case, claiming that the entire incident had been in self-defense. In April 1896 her conviction was reduced to assault and battery, with her sentence reduced to three months in jail.
Simon's case made its way to then-Ohio Governor William McKinley. In a remarkable turn of fate, Simon told law enforcement officials that McKinley had issued a pardon before his election in November 1896 as President of the United States. Simon was paroled in Columbus on Feb. 2, 1898, after having served two years of his sentence. But actual evidence in the Ohio State Archives is contradictory. More >>>