Welcome to MAIWelcome to MAI


"Hello, I'm William McKinley."
partial cover image from "American Boys' Life of William McKinley"                                              
About MAI
Disclaimer
Help MAI


Who I Am
Contact Me



 


Publication information
view printer-friendly version
Source: Round-About New York
Source type: book
Document type: essay
Document title: “Story of the Tragedy of the Death of President McKinley”
Author(s): anonymous [essay]; anonymous [book]
Publisher: Bloomingdale Brothers
Place of publication: New York, New York
Year of publication: 1902
Pagination: 244-46

 
Citation
“Story of the Tragedy of the Death of President McKinley.” Round-About New York. New York: Bloomingdale Brothers, 1902: pp. 244-46.
 
Transcription
full text of essay; excerpt of book
 
Keywords
McKinley assassination; Ida McKinley; William McKinley (death); Theodore Roosevelt (at Adirondacks); William McKinley (lying in state); McKinley funeral services (Washington, DC); McKinley funeral train (procession from Washington, DC, to Canton, OH); William McKinley (death: public response); McKinley funeral services (Canton, OH); Leon Czolgosz.
 
Named persons
Edward G. Andrews; John Rutter Brooke; Grover Cleveland; George B. Cortelyou; Leon Czolgosz; William R. Day; Edward VII; Robley D. Evans; James A. Garfield; John J. Geary; Walter Q. Gresham; Isaac W. Joyce; Abraham Lincoln; Gerard Lowther [first name incorrect below]; Ida McKinley; William McKinley; John G. Milburn; Nelson A. Miles; Henry R. Naylor; Elwell S. Otis; Presley M. Rixey; Theodore Roosevelt; John M. Wilson.
 
Notes
A photograph of McKinley appears in the book on page 243.

Alternate book title: Round-About New York, 1902.
 
Document

 

Story of the Tragedy of the Death of President McKinley

     On Friday, September 6, 1901, the country was startled by the awful news that President William McKinley had been assassinated at the Temple of Music in the Exposition grounds at Buffalo.
     President John G. Milburn of the Exposition had introduced the President to the great crowd in the temple, and men, women and children came forward for a personal greeting.
     In the line was Leon Czolgosz, whose right hand was wrapped in a handkerchief. Folded in the handkerchief was a thirty-two calibre self-acting revolver holding five bullets. As he stepped up to greet the President, he fired through the bandage without removing the handkerchief. The first bullet entered too high for the purpose of the assassin, who fired again as soon as his finger could move the trigger.
     As the President staggered, Secret Service Detective Geary caught him in his arms and President Milburn helped to support him. In a moment all was confusion. The assassin was beset by a hundred hands and would undoubtedly have been killed had not the President requested that no harm be done to him. The President was immediately removed to the Milburn mansion, where an operation was performed.
     As the first bullet had struck a button, it had deflected somewhat, and had not penetrated far. The second bullet, however, had passed the anterior and posterior walls of the stomach, going completely through that organ.
     Dr. P. M. Rixey, the President’s family physician, was a constant watcher at the bedside, and, with Secretary Cortelyou, issued official bulletins, which were primarily most encouraging.
     Mrs. McKinley was permitted to see her husband daily, but only for a few minutes at a time. She evinced true bravery, and was most earnest in her endeavor to sustain the President in his great battle for life, as he had sustained her but a few weeks previously when she had herself lain critically ill in San Francisco.
     In less than a week, however, a new and serious complication, heart failure, appeared, and on Saturday, September 14, 1901, six and a half days after the shot of the anarchist assassin, President McKinley passed away.
     In the latter hours of suspense word was flashed to Vice-President Roosevelt, who was gunning in the heart of the Adirondack woods, and as soon as the summons reached him he started on one of the wildest night rides in history, over dark, well-nigh impassable roads, hoping against hope to reach the dying President before the end. Death, however, had claimed the Chief Executive before his successor was more than half way on his journey to the bedside of the dying man.
     The funeral services of William McKinley, the man, took place at the Milburn house in Buffalo, Sunday, September 15th. The funeral of William McKinley, the President, commenced the next afternoon in the official building of the city where he died. For one day the body lay in state in [244][245] the city hall, and from there it was taken to Washington, just two weeks from the day when the President had gone forth to lend his measure of encouragement to that great enterprise, the Pan-American Exposition at Buffalo.
     Upon arriving at Washington, the remains lay in the East Room of the White House for one night, that spacious apartment where the President had been so often the central figure of notable gatherings, and where before him had rested the remains of Lincoln, Garfield, Secretary of State Gresham and other distinguished public servants, before their final interment.
     At nine o’clock on Tuesday morning, September 17, 1901, the funeral cortege of William McKinley, twenty-fifth President of the United States, and third incumbent of the office to fall by an assassin’s hand, started from the White House toward the Capitol.
     President Roosevelt, accompanied by his wife and sister, arrived half an hour earlier at the executive mansion and were given seats in the Red Room. Precisely at the hour appointed, the pall-bearers, enlisted men from the army and navy, lifted the black casket of him who had been named “Our well-beloved” and carried it for the last time through the doors and down to the waiting hearse.
     President Roosevelt, with his wife and sister, occupied the first carriage. Next in order came the carriage of ex-President Grover Cleveland, who was accompanied by General John M. Wilson and Admiral Robley D. Evans. Following directly came the justices of the Supreme Court in their robes of office, and army and navy men in full uniform continued the slow-moving procession. Representatives of foreign governments in all their trappings of state followed in order. One carriage bore the Hon. Gerald Lowther, of the British legation, assigned by a cabled order to personally represent King Edward VII of England.
     Rev. Dr. Naylor, presiding elder of the Washington district, and the venerable Bishop Andrews, of whose church President McKinley had been a life-long member, conducted the services, after which the guards took their places about the casket and the big bronze doors of the Capitol were thrown open and the crowds admitted to gaze for the last time on the face of the nation’s lamented chief. So great was the crush that twice the doors had to be closed, to prevent a panic, which at times seemed almost unavoidable.
     The funeral train bearing the remains of President McKinley crossed the western border of Pennsylvania and entered his home state and his home congressional district at ten o’clock A. M. on Wednesday, September 18.
     From the state line to Canton the line of mourners was almost continuous, company on company of state militia presented arms while peal upon peal of the death knell came from the church and court house bells.
     The funeral train proper, bearing the body of President McKinley, arrived at twelve o’clock; it was met by Judge Day, at the head of the local reception committee, while assembled about the station was the entire militia of the state. [245][246]
     While the funeral services were being held over the remains of President McKinley on the Sunday after his death, every church edifice in the nation was the scene of a similar service. Without regard to creed, without regard to location, far and near, high and low, in cathedral and in chapel, preacher and people united in sorrowful and sympathetic funeral services and in worship of the God whom William McKinley had worshiped. At Canton, when word was given for the last public farewell, President Roosevelt, followed by his cabinet, stepped into the hall; after these came General Miles, General Otis and General Brooke, with other officers of the army and navy. From the court house the body was taken for the last time and laid in the little front parlor of the home from which the nation had called its chosen chief five years before.
     For six days and through hundreds of miles a sorrowing nation had followed his bier. After the brief and impressive services in his home church the funeral cortege wended its way to Westlawn cemetery. From the hill top the President’s salute of twenty-one guns, fired at intervals of one minute, announced its coming.
     After the arrival of the casket there was a moment’s pause, then Bishop Joyce read the burial service of the Methodist Church. Instantly from the eight buglers rang out the soldier’s last call, “taps.” The vault gates closed with a hollow clang, and the soldiers took up their sad round of sentry duty in the lonely cemetery.
     During the services the entire nation suspended business, and even London became a city of sorrow. In far away Manila, in the tiniest hamlet heads were bowed in grief, and the sorrows of the cities bathed all the land in tears.
     Under this shadow the new Executive took up the duties which had been so suddenly thrust upon him. The nation resumed its work after a pause at the brink of the grave of a man honored and beloved by thousands, ruthlessly cut down in his vigor by an assassin’s hand. He left behind him a record of spotless citizenship, superb ability, and beautiful simplicity and loyalty in his private life.
     Leon Czolgosz, the assassin, was brought to trial Monday, September 23, at Buffalo, and on Tuesday, September 24, was adjudged guilty. On Thursday, September 26, he was brought to court to receive the sentence of death. On Tuesday morning, October 29, he paid the penalty of his crime in the electric chair in the prison at Auburn, N. Y.

 

 


top of page