“The first independent American voyage to the Orient came in 1784, when the Massachusetts brig Empress of China sailed to Canton. This began a commerce that would flower through the 1840s and leave a dozen U.S. cities, including [President William] McKinley’s in Ohio, named for the great Chinese entry port….”
— From “William McKinley: The American Presidents Series” by Kevin Phillips (2003)
So Canton, North Carolina, is one of those namesake cities? Not directly, according to the Gazetteer. The Haywood County town took its current name in 1893 in recognition of the source of the steel with which it was bridging the Pigeon River: Canton, Ohio.