The President’s Last Hours
room in the
Milburn house at Buffalo in which the President lay sick until his
death looks out upon beautiful lawns with their ornamentation of
shrubbery and trees, and during the forenoon of his last Friday,
when one of the nurses had started to adjust the pillows so as to
shut out the light of the window, the President gently protested,
and remarked, “No; I want to see the trees. They are so beautiful.”
Delaware Avenue at this point has an air of peacefulness and repose.
During the President’s illness this was especially noticeable, and
with the exception of the subdued activity necessitated by those
on guard or watching near by to convey intelligence of the President’s
condition to the public, everything was quiet. No street-cars pass
this vicinity, and even the locomotive whistles seemed to have been
The scenes about the Milburn residence
and in the streets near by during the President’s closing hours
will be historic, and those participating in them will never forget
the impressions made. Every one felt the suppressed air of excitement
and suspense. Every one talked in subdued tones. People would almost
hold their breath as some noted personage came from the home where
the  President lay, and almost
in a whisper announced an opinion or bulletin from the sick-bed.
To the north, about one-eighth of
a mile away from the corner of Delaware Avenue and Ferry Street,
the crowds could be seen pressing against the ropes which were passed
across Delaware Avenue at this point, and which were rigidly guarded.
Ferry Street and Delaware Avenue at three other points were thus
roped off, and the activity in the immediate vicinity of the Milburn
residence was caused only by those who had business there—the soldiers,
or police officers, or newspaper men, the telegraph operators, and
the members of the President’s official family, or citizens of Buffalo
immediately concerned in the care of the President or the entertainment
of his particular friends.
The telegraph instruments clicked
busily in the telegraph tent; the correspondents from all the centres
of population of the United States moved anxiously to and from the
press tent and the ropes across Delaware Avenue, which kept them
at a distance of about 250 feet from the Milburn residence. It took
but a few seconds for those vigilant men of the press to reach the
ropes as soon as any one of prominence emerged from the doorway
of the famous residence. Secretary Root came out, and before he
had reached the guards he was the centre of a crowd of anxious listeners.
Senator Hanna always seemed to be the most hopeful of any of the
visitors, and his faith that the President would rally helped to
maintain the spirits of the anxious watchers.
As the last night approached, the
sadness in the hearts of all seemed to increase with the gathering
gloom of nature. Messengers scurried away, carrying the discouraging
news, and soon extras were on the streets of Buffalo telling the
people it was feared the President was dying. Then came the end
of the tragedy that left a nation in the deepest sorrow.