Publication information
view printer-friendly version
Source: The Life of William McKinley, Twenty-Fifth President of the United States
Source type: book
Document type: book chapter
Document title: “A Nation’s Loss” [chapter 14]
Author(s): Snow, Jane Elliott
Publisher: Imperial Press
Place of publication: Cleveland, Ohio
Year of publication: 1908
Pagination: 69-72

Snow, Jane Elliott. “A Nation’s Loss” [chapter 14]. The Life of William McKinley, Twenty-Fifth President of the United States. Cleveland: Imperial Press, 1908: pp. 69-72.
full text of chapter; excerpt of book
McKinley assassination; William McKinley (death); Theodore Roosevelt (assumption of presidency).
Named persons
George B. Cortelyou; William McKinley; John G. Milburn; Theodore Roosevelt.
From title page: By Jane Elliott Snow, Author of “Women of Tennyson” and “Coates Family History.”


A Nation’s Loss

     On the afternoon of the following day, September 6, the President held a public reception in the Temple of Music. While receiving he stood on the platform in front of the great organ, on the east side of the building.
     President Milburn, of the Exposition, was at his right and was introducing the people. Secretary Cortelyou was at his left, and all about him were secret service officers, who were there for the purpose of preventing any disaster, but who little dreamed that an assassin was to approach in the guise of a friend.
     The building was crowded, and outside were hundreds of people waiting to take the hand of their beloved President.
     In the midst of all this joy and gladness a pistol shot was distinctly heard above the hum of voices which filled the room. There was a moment of silence, and then it was [69][70] discovered that it was President McKinley at whom the shot was fired.
     Immediately there was great commotion, and had it not been for the agonized plea, “Let no one hurt him!” the assassin might have met a violent death then and there.
     The stricken President was at once taken to the Exposition hospital and his wound examined. It was thought to be dangerous, yet there was hope. Thence a few hours later he was removed to the Milburn home, where he had been a guest of honor since coming to the city. Here sorrowing friends hastily gathered from all parts of the country, and here the stricken one, beloved by an entire nation, honored by the intelligent and good all over the world, lingered until the morning of the 14th, when he passed peacefully away. His last words were, “It is God’s way. His will be done.”
     During those days of watchfulness and anxiety everything that love could prompt and skill devise was done with the hope that the exalted sufferer might be restored to health. [70][71]
     So great were the hopes of the Nation that at every favorable turn of the patient’s symptoms there was rejoicing throughout the country.
     So encouraging were the physicians’ reports on Thursday, the 12th, that special services of praise and thanksgiving were held in many places.
     But the love of friends, the skill of physicians, and the prayers of an entire nation, were not sufficient to prolong the life of William McKinley. His work was finished. He entered upon his final rest.
     Among the mourners, who during those sad days gathered at the Milburn home, none were more sincere than Vice-President Roosevelt. And when the burden of government fell upon him he gave his word that, as far as lay within his power, he would fulfill the wishes of him whose voice was now silenced forever.
     President Roosevelt kept his promise and, in so doing, caused the Nation’s hopes to be realized. All the people had reason to be [71][72] thankful that so good a man occupied the place made vacant by the tragical death of William McKinley.



top of page