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  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,
 “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.