Source: Vermont: The Green Mountain State
Source type: book
Document type: book chapter
Document title: “The Beginning of a New Century” [chapter 37]
Author(s): Crockett, Walter Hill
Volume number: 4
Publisher: Century History Company, Inc.
Place of publication: New York, New York
Year of publication: 1921
Pagination: 303-450 (excerpt below includes only pages 349-52)
|Crockett, Walter Hill. “The Beginning of a New Century” [chapter 37]. Vermont: The Green Mountain State. Vol. 4. New York: Century History, 1921: pp. 303-450.|
|excerpt of chapter|
|Theodore Roosevelt (at Isle La Motte, VT); Theodore Roosevelt (informed about assassination); Redfield Proctor (public statements); Theodore Roosevelt (public statements).|
|J. K. Butler; Winston Churchill; Charles Clement; Robert Clement; Jeremiah Curtin; Nelson W. Fisk; D. J. Foster; William McKinley; Fletcher D. Proctor; Redfield Proctor; Theodore Roosevelt; Henry G. Smith; John W. Stewart; Philip Battell Stewart; John W. Titcomb; W. Seward Webb.|
|From title page: By Walter Hill Crockett, Author of Vermont—Its Resources and Opportunities, History of Lake Champlain, George Franklin Edmunds.|
The Beginning of a New Century [excerpt]
The annual summer outings of the
Vermont Fish and Game League, for several years were notable gatherings 
not only because men of national reputation were secured as speakers, but also
for the reason that on such occasions many of the prominent men from all parts
of the State assembled and exchanged opinions on matters of State interest,
political and non-political. The Vice President had been secured as the principal
speaker for the 1901 meeting, which was held on Friday, September 6, on the
grounds of former Lieut. Gov. Nelson W. Fisk, at Isle La Motte. More than one
thousand persons were in attendance. Vice President Roosevelt and other speakers
and guests were taken from Burlington to Isle La Motte on Col. W. Seward Webb’s
Dinner was served in a great tent on the spacious lawn of the Fisk homestead. President John W. Titcomb of the League presided and introduced Congressman D. J. Foster as toastmaster. Among the speakers were Jeremiah Curtin, translator of “Quo Vadis,” and Winston Churchill, the well known novelist. Colonel Roosevelt was happy in his remarks and was in a particularly joyous mood. He referred to a favorite hunting companion, “Phil” Stewart, son of Ex-Gov. John W. Stewart, with whom he had gone on big game expeditions. He paid a high tribute to Senator Proctor, saying, “He has been a better soldier, a better business man, a better statesman, because he has had the spirit of a first class hunter.”
The Vice President retired to the home of Mr. Fisk for a brief rest before holding a reception, but was called soon on the telephone by the wife of Supt. J. K. Butler of the telephone company, who informed him that a rumor was current that President McKinley had been  shot at Buffalo. With a cry of anguish he dropped the receiver and flung his hands to his head, exclaiming, “My God!” Superintendent Butler kept the wire open for the use of Colonel Roosevelt, who sent a message to Buffalo asking for further particulars. The news received verified the earlier reports, and after consultation Senator Proctor went out to the waiting throng, who wondered at the unexplained delay in the holding of the reception. His face showed the deep sorrow that he felt, and in a voice broken with emotion he said: “Friends, a cloud has fallen over this happy event. It is my sad duty to inform you that President McKinley, while in the Temple of Music at Buffalo, was this afternoon shot twice by an anarchist, two bullets having taken effect. His condition is said to be serious, but we hope that later intelligence may prove the statement to be exaggerated.” At this startling announcement a moan went up from the waiting throng, and women and not a few men wept. This sad event made the old stone house on Lake Champlain, the ancestral homestead of the Fisk family, an historic building.
Vice President Roosevelt determined to start at once for Buffalo and the Elfrida carried him to Burlington, where he arrived at 8:15 p. m. When asked by a reporter for a statement he said: “I am so inexpressibly grieved, shocked and horrified that I can say nothing.” A special train hurried him to Proctor, where he had left his baggage. He was accompanied by Senator Proctor, Col. Fletcher D. Proctor, President Clement of the Rutland Railroad, his son, Robert, Ex-Gov. John W. Stewart and H. G. Smith, a Rutland official. At Proctor  the baggage was taken on, the party left the train and the special returned northward.
President Clement, who accompanied the Vice President, had made arrangements that the telegraph wires should be kept open all night and as the train speeded onward every operator at every station was directed to deliver to Colonel Roosevelt the latest reports from President McKinley. The Vice President scanned the bulletins. “Oh, I hope it is not serious,” he said as the news came that the stricken President was resting quietly. “Colonel Roosevelt,” said President Clement, “this is the most eventful night of your career. I am afraid you will be called upon to assume the responsibilities of the President’s office in a short time.” “Oh, I hope not,” replied the Vice President, “not that I fail to appreciate its importance, but I don’t want it to come that way.” Never at any time, whatever the nature of the news which flashed over the wires, did the future President show anything but the deepest sorrow concerning the tragedy.