MCKISSON, ROBERT ERASTUS (30 Jan. 1863-14 Oct. 1915), mayor of Cleveland (1895-99), was born in Northfield, Ohio, to Martin Van Buren and Finette Adeline Eldridge McKisson. He came with his family to Cleveland in the early 1870s, and moved to LaGrange, Ohio in 1879. He enrolled in Oberlin Preparatory School in 1885 and came to Cleveland in 1887 to study law in the offices of THEODORE E. BURTON†. Admitted to the bar in 1889, he practiced law with John Webster and Elgin Angell in 1891.
McKisson was elected to Cleveland City Council in 1894 and became an active critic of the Democratic administration of Mayor ROBT. BLEE†, succeeding Blee as mayor in 1895. During his 2 terms, construction was begun on a new city water and sewer system, the CUYAHOGA RIVER was widened and straightened to facilitate steamer traffic, and 5 new bridges were built across the river. McKisson built a local political machine loyal to him and challenged MARCUS A. HANNA† for control of the Republican party. In 1898, he and Hanna were rival candidates for the U.S. Senate, and McKisson came very close to defeating Hanna. McKisson was defeated for reelection as mayor in 1899, after which he retired from politics, returned to law practice, and became a partner in the firm of McKisson & Minshall in 1905. He married Celia Launette Watring in 1891; they were divorced in 1900. He married Mamie Marie Langenau in 1901; they were divorced in 1912. He married Pauline E. Reed of Buffalo 3 weeks before his death in Cleveland. McKisson had no children from any of these marriages. He died in Cleveland and was buried in LAKE VIEW CEMETERY.
Last Modified: 18 Jul 1997 04:14:54 PM
Campbell, Thomas F. "Background for Progressivism" (Master's thesis, Dept. of History, WRU, 1960).
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