Publication information
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Source: Reminiscences
Source type: book
Document type: essay
Document title: “Czolgosz, the Assassin”
Author(s): Hodge, O. J.
Volume number: 2
Publisher: Brooks Company
Place of publication: Cleveland, Ohio
Year of publication: 1910
Pagination: 128-30

Hodge, O. J. “Czolgosz, the Assassin.” Reminiscences. Vol. 2. Cleveland: Brooks, 1910: pp. 128-30.
full text of essay; excerpt of book
Paul Czolgosz; Czolgosz family; Leon Czolgosz; McKinley assassination; O. J. Hodge.
Named persons
Leon Czolgosz; Paul Czolgosz; Emma Goldman; O. J. Hodge; William McKinley.
In the table of contents the essay title is given as “Czolgosz—The Assassin.”


Czolgosz, the Assassin

     In 1872, there was living in Inowrazlaw, Prussia, formerly a part of Poland, now on the border of Russia, a family by the name of Czolgosz. There were a number of children, one of them named Paul, born in January, 1843. The young man read in newspapers and heard people talk much about America, and he finally came to the conclusion to emigrate there would be a good thing, so with a newly wedded wife, in the fall of 1872, he left for the United States, landing in New York City. From there he went to Detroit, where he resided some years. Here a number of children were born to him, among the sons, Leon, born in 1872, soon after [128][129] the parents reached Detroit. The family finally came to Ohio, and in Orange township, Cuyahoga county, bought fifty-five acres of land. Three boys, grown to manhood assisted the father in purchasing and working the farm. Country life, however, did not suit them, and, about 1880, the farm was sold, $2,100 being realized for the equity in it. Of this sum the father took $1,000, and divided the balance equally among the three boys. The family now moved to Cleveland. Leon, who had received a limited education in the public schools took to reading anarchistic newspapers and books. His associates were largely anarchists and socialists. One evening he attended a lecture delivered by Emma Goldman, who in her talk declared that all governmental rulers should be exterminated. “This lecture,” said Leon, “set me on fire with anarchistic ideas; I could but think,” said he, “I ought to do something heroic.”
     Soon he read in the papers how President McKinley was in Buffalo attending the great Pan-American exhibition. He went to Buffalo, watched his opportunity, and fired the shot, [129][130] “heard round the world.” Yes, he shot and killed one of the best-loved rulers this, or any other country ever had. Such is the brief story connecting two continents with the death of President William McKinley. It was my fortune at the time of the assassination to be in Buffalo attending the exposition, and visiting relatives. A short time before being shot the president passed along the street in an open carriage, and as he went by smiling bowed to me. I had known him well for many years. I copy the following from a Buffalo newspaper—“Col. O. J. Hodge was one of the Clevelanders who stood in close proximity to the president when the assassination took place. He was probably twenty or thirty feet away. He is slightly deaf, but heard the shots. Said he to a bystander, ‘What does that mean?’ Instantly there was great commotion.” In June 1910, I visited Paul Czolgosz, the father of Leon, the assassin, at his residence on Kenyon avenue, Cleveland and found him to be a very pleasant old gentleman, quiet and unassuming who gave me the story of his family.



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