Personal Reminiscences of President’s Day
PRESIDENT’S DAY, September 5, 1901, will long be remembered as
one of the brightest and happiest days of the summer’s long list
of Pan-American Exposition State or special days.
No one could foresee the sad ending
of the day that was to follow; there was a certain animation, a
hush of expectancy, a something, I know not what, in the very air,
that morning, and as the crowd began to gather within the grounds
of the Exposition, it seemed that the world and all its family were
out for a holiday, on pleasure bent, to give welcome to our honored
The warmth and brightness of the summer,
with its flowers and cloudless skies, combined with the haze of
early autumn, made an indescribably beautiful setting for the wealth
of decoration in flags of all nations and varicolored bunting, the
red, white and yellow, the colors of the Pan-American Exposition,
sharing the honor with our own national red, white and blue. With
the added attractions of a military display in honor of our President,
one could not imagine a more perfect or more beautiful “fête day.”
Carriages containing the members of
the Diplomatic Corps, arriving early at the Grand Esplanade, were
wel-  comed by the Chairman and
members of the Entertainment Committee, and places in the Tribunes
were assigned them. Here we awaited the coming of the presidential
Leaving the home of Mr. Milburn, President
of the Pan-American Exposition, in the morning at eleven o’clock,
the President was escorted by a body of mounted troops to the Lincoln
Parkway Gate. There the party was met by the entire military contingent
of the Government on the grounds, the two local regiments of the
National Guard, and the Marine Band of Washington. The parade then
formed and marched through the Triumphal Causeway to the Tribunes
erected on the West Esplanade.
When the President arrived with Mrs.
McKinley, he with tenderness assisted her faltering footsteps from
the carriage to her place next his own on the platform, from where
he delivered the formal address of the day.
President Milburn made the introduction
in a most impressive manner. He stood waiting until the applause
had all died away, and the audience had become quiet, then merely
mentioned the words, “The President.”
With close attention Mrs. McKinley
followed every word uttered by the President, whose oration upon
that day will be of historical interest throughout the years to
At the close of the President’s address,
Mrs. McKinley, whose feeble health prevented her taking further
part in the exercises, was escorted to a carriage by Dr. Rixey and
driven back to Mr. Milburn’s house; at the same 
time the President entered his carriage and, with his escort, was
driven to the Stadium, where the military review was held.
Upon arrival there, the sound of the
martial music and the plaudits of the crowd seemed to inspire the
President with enthusiasm. Marching with the general in command,
he entered into the spirit of the affair, and with long, sweeping
strides, and the springing step of a boy, made the entire tour of
the great arena of the Stadium.
Having been invited to join the ladies
of the President’s party, I was with them in the Reviewing Stand,
and when the President joined us there, he said that this reminded
him of his old army days when he was “The Major,” by which title
Mrs. McKinley always loved to address him.
President McKinley had a remarkable
memory for names and faces, which greatly added to his popularity.
When I was presented to him, he spoke of having met me the previous
winter in Washington, when I was there as the official representative
of the Pan-American Exposition and of “The Buffalo Chapter,” to
present an invitation to the National Society, “Daughters of the
American Revolution,” and to its honored head, the President of
the United States, to be present and unite in celebrating “Flag-Day”
as D. A. R. Day at the Exposition; June 14, 1901, was the day selected,
and the event was celebrated with great success. I was also Vice-Regent
of Buffalo Chapter and delegate to the National Continental Con-
 gress, Daughters of the American
Revolution, then in session in Washington. With a pleasant word
of greeting, the President said, “Is it well with the Buffalo Chapter,
Mrs. Horton?” I was glad to be able to reply, “It is well with the
Buffalo Chapter, Mr. President.”
At the close of the review, President
McKinley was driven to the New York State Building, where a luncheon
was given in his honor by the New York State Commissioners.
At the same hour, the ladies of the
President’s party were the guests of the Board of Women Managers
at the Woman’s Building, Exposition Grounds, at a luncheon given
in honor of Mrs. McKinley.
Following these luncheons, the President
and entire party were driven to the Government Building. Here a
private reception was given in honor of the President.
As Chairman of the Committee on Entertainments
and Ceremonies, I was invited by the Government officials, by whom
this reception was arranged, to represent the Board of Women Managers,
and, in company with the ladies of the Diplomatic Corps, was present
at this reception.
I had the honor of standing next to
the President and could not but be impressed by the courteous and
affable manner, the pleasant smile, the friendly hand-clasp, showing
the innate gentleness of spirit and Christian love for humanity
that was a part of the being of this noble man. These very traits
in the President’s character made it pos- 
sible for the assassin to accomplish his cruel design. He attempted
to enter the building at this private reception, but was prevented
from doing so, as admission could only be obtained by card.
President McKinley requested that
a public reception should be held, so that he might have an opportunity
of meeting the people, the general public, to whom he belonged;
thus was given an occasion for the assassin, under the pretense
of showing respectful homage to a high official, to strike down
the idol of the American people.
The day after came the trip to Niagara
Falls. The presidential party and a few friends were the guests
of the officials of the Exposition. In the early morning hours we
enjoyed a drive through the park to the railway station at the Exposition
grounds, where we awaited the coming of the presidential party.
We were not long kept waiting, for the President soon arrived with
Mrs. McKinley, walking from the carriage to the drawing-room car
in readiness for them. The President greeted all those present with
the dignified and gracious manner which was characteristic of him.
On that trip from Buffalo to the Falls
at every station en route were crowds to greet the President. Men
stood with uncovered heads, and women and little children showed
happy greetings in their faces for the man they delighted to honor,
the man they held in loving reverence.
Arriving at the Falls, we drove in
carriages to the center of the great bridge, where the law which
prevents the  President of
the United States from leaving this country while in office interfered
with the trip to the Canadian side for a view of the Falls from
that point. The carriages then turned and drove around Goat Island,
the President greatly enjoying the beautiful views of the great
Niagara that opened up through the wooded vistas of the island.
After luncheon at the Falls, we returned
to the train, and, on arrival at the Exposition Grounds, the President
was driven from the railway station to the Temple of Music, stopping
for a few moments at the Spanish Mission Chapel. At the Temple of
Music the public reception was held.
An incident connected with the reception
will illustrate the kind thoughtfulness of the President. At the
luncheon given in honor of Mrs. McKinley by the Board of Women Managers,
Pan-American Exposition, a young woman having a very beautiful voice
sang several selections most acceptably. The young ladies of the
President’s family expressed themselves to me as being very much
pleased. I said to them, “Remember that this young girl is in need
of recognition of her ability as an artist, and is just beginning
the life which she is hopeful will lead to success and renown in
her profession. Any kind word or help you may be able to give her
will be appreciated.” Upon hearing this, the President asked to
have her sing at the reception in the Temple of Music. She was standing
ready to begin her selection, and the violinist stood with 
uplifted bow, to begin the obligato with which he was to accompany
her, when the sad ending came to the scene at the Temple of Music,
and to that long-to-be-remembered time, in the terrible tragedy
that robbed the Nation of its President.
As “Daughters of the American Revolution,”
we aim to instill into the hearts of all that spirit of true Americanism
which was bequeathed to us by our forefathers; and had such spirit
been universal among the people, the tragedy that occurred within
the borders of the Queen City of the Empire State would never have
occupied a page in the history of this commonwealth. The echo of
sweetest music, or eloquent, patriotic oratory would alone have
reverberated through the ornate arches of our beautiful Temple of
Music. And thus it would have been impossible for a pistol ball,
by the hand of an assassin, to have been aimed at the beloved, revered,
and honored foremost citizen of this Republic, the late President