Publication information
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Source: Independent
Source type: magazine
Document type: article
Document title: “President McKinley Shot”
Author(s): anonymous
Date of publication: 12 September 1901
Volume number: 53
Issue number: 2754
Pagination: 2139-40

“President McKinley Shot.” Independent 12 Sept. 1901 v53n2754: pp. 2139-40.
full text
McKinley assassination; William McKinley (surgery); William McKinley (medical condition).
Named persons
John Wilkes Booth; George B. Cortelyou; Edward VII; James A. Garfield; James Gibbons; Charles J. Guiteau; Samuel R. Ireland; Abraham Lincoln; Matthew D. Mann; Ida McKinley; William McKinley; John G. Milburn; James B. Parker [identified as John Harper below]; Theodore Roosevelt.


President McKinley Shot

Once more an attempt, possibly successful, has been made by an assassin of the life of a President of the United States. Lincoln was killed by Booth, maddened by the overthrow of the Southern Confederacy; Garfield by Guiteau, a disappointed office-seeker; and now McKinley has been shot by a man who calls himself an anarchist. The President had accepted an invitation to visit the Buffalo Exposition. He was the guest of Mr. Milburn, President of the Exposition. He had spent one day visiting the buildings and making a notable address. The second day he visited Niagara Falls with Mrs. McKinley. On their return from Niagara Mrs. McKinley, being wearied, went directly to the house of Mr. Milburn, while the President went back to the Exposition, where he was to receive those who wished to shake hands with him. For this purpose he went to the Temple of Music, where from a door a line of citizens passed by him. Several detectives watched the line, and near him was his private secretary, Mr. Cortelyou, and at his right stood Mr. Milburn to introduce the citizens. An unknown man, short and dark, looking like an Italian, suspected to be an accomplice, passed just before the assassin, and held the President’s hand longer than he should, so that he was shoved along by the Secret Service officers. They watched him carefully, but paid no special attention to the boyish and innocent-looking man behind, whose right hand was tied up in a handkerchief, as if injured, and who extended his left to the President. The President smiled and reached his hand, when the man lifted his right hand and shot the President twice through the handkerchief. One ball struck the breastbone and lodged there; the other passed through both walls of the stomach and lodged in the muscles of the back. The President lifted his hand to his chest and drew it away stained with blood. Secretary Cortelyou caught him as he staggered, and he was speedily taken to the hospital of the Exposition. Immediately behind the assassin, in the line, followed a stout negro, named John Harper, who instantly threw his arm around the assassin’s neck, with a strangling hold, and with the other hand seized his pistol, while Mr. S. R. Ireland, a Secret Service man, cast himself upon him, and threw him to the floor. Cries of “Lynch him” arose, but the officers speedily removed him from the crowd and carried him to a police station. Accounts agree that the President’s first word was that the news must be gently told to Mrs. McKinley, and it is said that he then told the officers not to hurt the assassin, and told Mr. Milburn his regret that this affair would be an injury to the Exposition. The shooting took place at 4 P. M. on last Friday. Instantly the attempt was made to bring the best surgeons in the city. Fifteen minutes after the shooting the President was laid in an ambulance and taken to the Emergency Hospital, the crowd making way as it went at full speed to the hospital. There six doctors were in attendance, with skilled nurses. The wound in the chest was superficial, and the bullet was easily extracted. The other bullet was seen to have perforated the stomach. The walls of the abdomen were opened, and a small perforation found in the front of the stomach and a larger one in the rear. The stomach was turned around, and this wound first sewed up and then the an- [2139][2140] terior wound sewed, and the cavity properly washed with disinfectants, and the incision closed, with the proper drainage tube. The bullet was not found, as its course could not be immediately traced, but it had probably lodged in the muscles of the back, and had not passed through any other vital organ. It will not be necessary to seek its location with the X-rays unless inflammation shows itself, when it will be located and removed. The operation was courageously undertaken by Dr. Matthew D. Mann, aided by several other physicians, and completed within an hour after the injury. This is a phenomenally short time, and of great importance as favoring recovery. As the President desired to be taken to Mr. Milburn’s house this was done. Meanwhile Mrs. McKinley had been informed that the President had fallen and had suffered some injury, but was not allowed to know that an attempt had been made to murder him. Her health is such that the physicians did not dare to let her know the truth. Mr. Milburn’s house is picketed with soldiers, and the streets near it closed to traffic. The physicians have given out frequent bulletins, and at the time we go to press the condition of the patient is as favorable as could be expected. At the same time at his age the wound is a very dangerous one, with the chances now favoring for recovery. The members of the Cabinet immediately hurried to Buffalo, as did also Vice-President Roosevelt, who, under the Constitution, would become Acting President in case of the disability of the President. The grief of the Vice-President and the people, as also of the representatives of foreign nations, has been most sympathetically expressed. The Empress of Germany and her husband have sent a special message to Mrs. McKinley. King Edward and other rulers have cabled. Prayers for the President were offered in all the churches last Sunday, Cardinal Gibbons having given direction that this be done in Catholic Churches.



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