Source: The Authentic Life of William McKinley
Source type: book
Document type: book chapter
Document title: “Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th President” [chapter 31]
Author(s): McClure, Alexander K.; Morris, Charles
Edition: Memorial Edition
Publisher: none given
Place of publication: none given
Year of publication: 1901
Pagination: 466-91 (excerpt below includes only pages 489-91)
|McClure, Alexander K., and Charles Morris. “Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th President” [chapter 31]. The Authentic Life of William McKinley. Memorial ed. [n.p.]: [n.p.], 1901: pp. 466-91.|
|excerpt of chapter|
|Theodore Roosevelt (at Adirondacks); Theodore Roosevelt (journey: Adirondacks to Buffalo, NY: 13-14 Sept. 1901).|
|William Loeb; William McKinley; Theodore Roosevelt; Ansley Wilcox.|
This chapter includes photographs of Theodore Roosevelt (p. 472) and his wife Edith (p. 471).
From title page: The Authentic Life of William McKinley, Our Third Martyr President: Together with a Life Sketch of Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th President of the United States; Also Memorial Tributes by Statesmen, Ministers, Orators and Rulers of All Countries; Profusely Illustrated with Reproductions from Original Photographs, Original Drawings and Special Pictures of the Family by Express Permission from the Owners.
From title page: Introduction and Biography by Alexander K. McClure, Author of the “Life and Times of Abraham Lincoln.”
From title page: The Life and Public Career by Charles Morris, LL.D., Author of the “Life of Queen Victoria.”
Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th President [excerpt]
ROOSEVELT’S SWIFT RIDE FROM THE ADIRONDACKS
Now we come to the moment when
he was summoned to the deathbed of his friend and chief. Immediately upon the
first news of the assassination of President McKinley, he had hastened to Buffalo.
After three days it seemed that the President would recover, and Mr. Roosevelt
left for the mountains to be with his family.
When Mr. Roosevelt and his guides left the Tahawus Club, in the Adirondacks, where his family was staying, early Friday morning September 13th, for a tramp in the mountains, the then Vice-President fully believed that President McKinley was entirely out of danger and on the rapid road to recovery. That this was so was made manifest by his private secretary, William Loeb, while the special train which bore him to Buffalo was on its record-breaking rush to the scene of the nation’s tragedy. During the brief stop of the train at Rochester Secretary Loeb said:
“The President wishes it understood that when he left the Tahawus Club house yesterday morning to go on his tramping into the mountains he had just received a dispatch from Buffalo stating that President McKinley was in splendid condition and was not in the slightest danger.”
The Roosevelt tramping party moved in the direction of Mount Marcy, the highest peak in the Adirondack region. They had not been gone over three hours when a mounted courier rode rapidly into Tahawus Club with messages to the Vice-President stating that President McKinley was in a critical condition. The messages had been telegraphed to North Creek, and from there telephoned to a point ten miles south of Tahawus Club. Extra guides and runners were at once deployed from the club in the direction of Mount Marcy with instructions to sound a general alarm in order to find the Vice-President as soon as possible. 
The far-reaching megaphone code and the rifle-cracking signals of the mountain-climbing guides, as hour after hour passed away, marked the progress of the searching mountaineers as they climbed the slope of Mount Marcy. Just as the afternoon began to merge with the shades of early evening and as the searchers were nearing the summit of the lofty mountain, the responsive echoes of distant signals were heard and answered, and gradually the scouts and the Roosevelt party came within hailing distance of each other.
THRILLING RIDE THROUGH STORM
When Colonel Roosevelt was reached
and informed of the critical condition of the President, he could scarcely believe
the burden of the messages personally delivered to him. Startled at the serious
nature of the news, the Vice-President, at 5.45 o’clock, immediately started
back for the Tahawus Club. In the meantime the Adirondack Stage Line placed
at his disposal relays of horses covering the thirty-five miles to North Creek.
A deluging thunderstorm had rendered the roads unusually heavy.
All through the long, dreary night the stage coach with the distinguished passenger boomed along through the woods, the thick foliage of the trees furnishing a sombre canopy which somewhat protected the party from the downpour of rain. Hours passed with the Vice-President torn by conflicting emotions, in which grief at the unexpected tidings was uppermost. The gray of the morning had not yet begun to light the heavens when Alden’s Lane was reached at 3.15, and, although he was then within the reach of telephone communication, he was not apprised of the death of President McKinley. The stop at Alden’s Lane was only of sufficient duration to allow a change of horses, and again the stage coach dashed forward. From the latter place to North Point, where the special lay waiting with all steam on, the road was through heavy forest timber and the journey was attended with actual peril. The driveways are very narrow in many places, with deep ravines on either side. A slight deviation would have meant a broken  carriage or more serious trouble. But the expert guides piloted the Vice-President safely to his objective point, and Colonel Roosevelt, looking careworn but expressing no fatigue, alighted and dashed up to the special train at North Creek.
That was 5.22 o’clock that morning, and for the first time the traveler of the night learned that President McKinley had passed away at Buffalo at 2.15 o’clock. Mr. Loeb, his secretary, was the first to break the news to him. The new President was visibly affected by the intelligence, and expressed a desire to reach Buffalo as soon as possible.
The trip was a record-breaker in point of speed, in many places exceeding a mile a minute. There was a brief stop at Ballston to permit the Vice-President to send some telegrams. It was 7 o’clock, and a crowd at the little station received the new President in sympathetic silence.
A three-minute stop was made at Rochester, the train leaving that city for Buffalo at 12.18 P.M., and at 1.40 the special came rushing into that city, the President going at once to the home of Ansley Wilcox, where he arrived five minutes later.