Source: Masonic Voice-Review
Source type: magazine
Document type: article
Document title: “Memorial Tribute to Sir Knight William McKinley, Late President of the United States”
Author(s): Smith, John Corson
Date of publication: October 1901
Volume number: 3
Issue number: 10
|Smith, John Corson. “Memorial Tribute to Sir Knight William McKinley, Late President of the United States.” Masonic Voice-Review Oct. 1901 v3n10: pp. 379-81.|
|William McKinley; William McKinley (personal history); William McKinley (as Freemason); resolutions (Masonic Veteran Association of Illinois); McKinley assassination (public response).|
|Arthur B. Foster; Ida McKinley; William McKinley; J. B. T. Reed.|
By John Corson Smith, Chicago.
From page 381: John Corson Smith, Venerable Chief.
Memorial Tribute to Sir Knight William McKinley, Late President of the United States
It is not our intention to write the biography
of our lamented President, whose life has been an open book, resplendent with
heroic achievements, love of country, love of his fellow man and affection for
an invalid wife. A book in which there are no blots, no erasures and which requires
no interlineations. His was the life of a true American, builded upon the civilization
and christianity of the nineteenth century and one the guardian angel of mankind
may look upon without a blush for any dereliction. He was a manly man, who,
knowing his duty, dared to do it, whether upon the field of battle, in the halls
of Congress or executive chair of state or nation. For that he died, being stricken
down by a vile assassin who knew him not but as the ruler, the selected ruler
of eighty million of the most enlightened and freedom loving people of this
earth. A people whose very just and humane laws shielded and protected this
vampire even when he deserved to be crushed and blotted from existence. Could
a grander tribute be paid the majesty of the law than that which we have beheld
in the treatment of this unpardonable assassin?
It is of our loved President’s connection with the time honored and honorable order of Freemasons, of which, under peculiar circumstances, he became a member while battling under the flag of his country we would speak, that flag, which under his guidance has spread its folds over additional millions to whom the great boon of freedom had never before been known.
The close of the war for the Union found Major William McKinley on duty in the city of Winchester, Virginia, where was located a confederate hospital. In making his rounds one afternoon as officer of the day, Major McKinley noticed a federal surgeon on very friendly terms with several of the confederate prisoners and asked the reason for this special interest. The surgeon informed him that they were brother Masons. He mentioned this fact at the mess table and said that he would like to become a member of a fraternity on which neither rank nor prison had the slightest effect. The wish of Major McKinley was at once made known to the officers of Hiram Lodge No. 21, of Winchester, a petition was given him which was made  out, presented and accepted. On the night of May 1, 1865, at 7:30 o’clock, Major McKinley presented himself at the lodge for initiation. A confederate chaplain, J. B. T. Reed, was the W. M. of the lodge who conferred the Entered Apprentice degree upon him. On the following evening he was passed to the degree of Fellow Craft and at 3 o’clock on the afternoon of May 3, 1865, Brother McKinley was raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason, all in the same lodge.
The war closed, Major McKinley returned to his home in Canton, Ohio, where on August 21, 1867, he affiliated with Canton Lodge No. 60, from which he dimitted to become one of the founders of Eagle Lodge No. 431, located at Canton. December 27, 1883, he received the degree of Mark, Past and Most Excellent Master in Canton Chapter No. 64, R. A. M., and the following evening he was exalted to the sublime degree of the Holy Royal Arch in the same chapter.
December 18, 1884, while a member of Congress, Companion McKinley received the Order of the Red Cross, and five nights later the Orders of the Temple and Knight of Malta in Canton Commandery, No. 38.
The bodies of which President McKinley became a member are located in the city of Canton, Ohio, and our valiant Sir Knight maintained as active a membership in each as his public duties permitted.
At our President’s funeral in Canton, Ohio, the guard of honor which marched in front of his honored bier was the Grand Commandery of Ohio, under command of Sir Knight A. B. Foster, R. E., Grand Commander, escorted by 2,500 Templars of that grand jurisdiction.
As a fitting conclusion to the foregoing we give the resolutions of the Masonic Veteran Association of Illinois, of which President McKinley was an honorary member.
These resolutions have been tastefully engrossed on the finest vellum and bound in black seal skin, lined with white satin, the whole bound in album form on the front cover of which is a neat gold plate with the name Mrs. William McKinley neatly inlaid in dark enamel.
These resolutions have been duly forwarded to Mrs. McKinley.
Whereas, The nation weeps and the world mourns the death of our martyr,
PW M K ,
who fell at his post of duty. We, his brethren, members of the Masonic Veteran Association of Illinois, bowing with meek humility before the Throne of Grace, desire to place on record our appreciation of the manly and Christian virtues of
PW M K ,
an honorary member of this association, and our condemnation of the act of
the vile miscreant who dastardly murdered so amiable a character as the chief
magistrate of this great republic. Therefore be it, Resolved: That in the shot
which took the life of Brother McKinley, the happiness and welfare of eighty
millions of people were imperiled and the life of the nation assaulted.
And while the English language is not sufficiently strong to properly express our detestation of so vile an act  as that which deprived us of so just and humane a President, we do not seek for vengeance against the murderer, but we do hope that this loss will secure to us a code of laws, the execution of which will serve to repress all tendency towards anarchism and exterminate all such vile and inhuman wretches from the face of the earth.
To the sorrowing and heart broken wife he loved so well, we pray our Heavenly Father that His blessing rest upon, abide with and give her strength to bear this great affliction.
With a consciousness that “the nation still lives,” we humbly bow and ask that “God’s will, not ours, be done.”
Chicago, Sept. 14, 1901.