Source: The History of the City of Fredericksburg, Virginia
Source type: book
Document type: book chapter
Document title: “Chapter XVIII”
Author(s): Quinn, S. J.
Publisher: Hermitage Press, Inc.
Place of publication: Richmond, Virginia
Year of publication: 1908
Pagination: 263-79 (excerpt below includes only pages 278-79)
|Quinn, S. J. “Chapter XVIII.” The History of the City of Fredericksburg, Virginia. Richmond: Hermitage Press, 1908: pp. 263-79.|
|excerpt of chapter|
|McKinley assassination (government response); William McKinley (death: government response); resolutions (Common Council, Fredericksburg, VA).|
|Thomas S. Dunaway; Ida McKinley; William McKinley.|
From title page: Prepared and printed by authority of the Common Council thereof, under the direction of its Committee on Publication, consisting of the following Councilmen: H. B. Lane, Wm. E. Bradley and S. W. Somerville.
From title page: S. J. Quinn, Historian.
Chapter XVIII [excerpt]
Visiting Fredericksburg in May,
to attend the meeting of the Society of the Army of the Potomac, and take part
in laying the corner-stone of the Butterfield monument, where he received the
most marked demonstrations of the love and loyalty of his people, without regard
to party politics, President McKinley returned to our beautiful capital with
a grateful heart and a determination to show himself President of the entire
country, dispensing justice to all alike. He was proud of his country and rejoiced
in its unparalleled prosperity. In September, 1901, he visited the exposition
at Buffalo, N. Y., where, while holding a reception on the 6th of September,
he was assassinated in the midst of the thousands who surrounded him. The sad
news was flashed by wire throughout our land and the civilized world, and was
received everywhere with unaffected sorrow.
Our City Council was assembled upon the sorrowful intelligence, and the following preamble and resolutions were adopted, and telegraphed Mrs. McKinley, which were the first adopted and received by her from any quarter:
“Whereas, we have heard, with great sorrow and indignation, of an attempt to assassinate his excellency, Wm. McKinley, President of the United States, at Buffalo, N. Y., this afternoon; and, whereas, we rejoice to learn by the latest telegram that his physicians express the firm belief he will survive the wounds inflicted, therefore—
Resolved, by the Mayor and Common Council of the city of Fredericksburg, Virginia, that we condemn, in the strongest language we can command, this dastardly and wicked act, and call upon the authorities to punish the would-be assassin to the full extent of the law.
2nd, That we tender our profoundest sympathy to Mrs. McKinley in her great affliction and earnestly pray that a kind and all-wise Heavenly Father may restore her devoted husband and our much loved Chief Magistrate to perfect health, to her and this united and happy country. 
3rd, That our worthy Mayor be requested to communicate by wire this action of the Council to Mrs. McKinley.”
Notwithstanding the best medical
skill was employed to remain with the stricken President day and night, who
endeavored to locate and extract the pistol ball, and the prayers of the nation,
he calmly passed away on the 14th of September, eight days after the assassin’s
deadly work. The monster murderer was an anarchist from Ohio, who was condemned
before the courts for his wicked act and paid the extreme penalty of the law.
As the news of the President’s death was sent to the world with electric speed, and announced in Fredericksburg, the City Council was immediately assembled again and the following action taken:
“The Mayor and Common Council of the city of Fredericksburg desire to unite with all the world in paying tribute to the memory of President McKinley, as a patriot American, a pure citizen, a fearless Executive and a Christian gentleman.
It is with pride and pleasure that we recall his recent visit to our city and his expressions of gratification at being with us, and this tribute to his memory is to testify and further emphasize our sincere sorrow at his death. It is therefore—
Resolved, That the public buildings of this city be draped in mourning for thirty days; that during the hour of the funeral service that the bells of the city be tolled, and that a committee of three members of the Council be appointed by the Mayor to confer with the ministers of our churches in order to arrange a memorial meeting of our citizens, and that these resolutions be spread upon the records of this council.
Resolved, That a copy of these resolutions, with our expressions of sympathy in this hour of her great bereavement, be forwarded to Mrs. McKinley, widow of our distinguished President, signed by the Mayor, and attested by the clerk, under the seal of this city.”
This action of the Council was one of the few that Mrs. McKinley personally responded to. To it she promptly replied, evincing her grateful appreciation, with the tenderest expressions, for the sympathy tendered to her in her great sorrow. The memorial services were held in St. George’s church, the day of the funeral, conducted by the city pastors, Dr. T. S. Dunaway, delivering the address.