President McKinley Dead
President McKinley died at the home
of John G. Milburn in Buffalo, at 2:15 Saturday morning, September
14. All day Friday he failed, and late in the afternoon oxygen was
given to stimulate the heart action. Hope and fear alternated during
the day, but with the coming of night it was evident that the end
would soon come.
Mrs. McKinley was summoned to the
bedside of her husband at 10 o’clock. He roused himself sufficiently
to recognize her and made a feeble movement as if to clasp her hand.
Then his lips moved.
“Good-by, all; good-by; it is God’s
way. His will be done; not ours,” and then he said, speaking to
no one apparently, “Nearer, my God, to thee, e’en though it be a
The end came in absolute peace at
For several hours evidences of life
had been so slight that the closest attention was necessary in order
that the exact hour of death might be recorded.
Secretary Cortelyou made the first
announcement that President McKinley was dead.
The following is the report of the
autopsy made by the attending physician:
The bullet which struck over the breast
bone did not pass through the skin, and did little harm. The other
bullet passed through both walls of the stomach near its lower border.
Both holes were found to be perfectly closed by the stitches, but
the tissue around each hole had become gangrenous. After passing
through the stomach the bullet passed into the back walls of the
abdomen, hitting and tearing the upper end of the kidney. This portion
of the bullet track was also gangrenous, the gangrene involving
the pancreas. The bullet has not yet been found. There was no sign
of peritonitis or disease of other organs. The heart walls were
very thin. There was no evidence of any attempt at repair on the
part of nature, and death resulted from the gangrene which affected
the stomach around the bullet wounds, as well as the tissues around
the further course of the bullet. Death was unavoidable by any surgical
or medical treatment, and was the direct result of the bullet wound.
When the “Timely Topics” was issued last week physicians and all
closely connected with the President believed every symptom favorable
for complete recovery. The native strength and great will power
of the patient had thrown everybody off his guard, and the collapse
was a sudden and complete surprise.
The body of the President lay in the
room wherein he died until Sunday morning when short, simple services
were conducted by Rev. Charles Locke, pastor of the Delaware Methodist
Episcopal church, in the Milburn parlors. Only the immediate family
and the personal and official friends of the President were present.
The remains were then carried to the
city hall where they lay in state until taken to Washington. In
spite of the wind and rain the entire distance was thronged with
people who stood with bowed heads. Nearly 100,000 people viewed
the remains in Buffalo.
The funeral train consisting of seven
cars left Buffalo at 8:30 Monday morning over the Pennsylvania Railroad.
All the way the train was preceded
about fifteen minutes by a pilot engine sent ahead to test the bridges
and switches and prevent the possibility of accident to the precious
burden it carried. The train had the right of way over everything.
Not a wheel moved on the railroad system thirty minutes before the
pilot engine was due, or for the same length of time after the train
Only the engine was draped. In the
rear the body of the dead President was carried in the observation
car Pacific, the casket resting on a bed that held it rigid. American
flags and flowers almost concealed it.
Mrs. McKinley and immediate relatives
occupied the Olympia, which had been Mr. McKinley’s private car
since he became President. In that he and Mrs. McKinley were taken
through the Northwest two years ago, were carried to the Pacific
coast and back last summer, when it was feared she might not live
to rise again, and in that they went to Buffalo two weeks ago. In
the Olympia with Mrs. McKinley were Mrs. Garret A. Hobart, Garret
A. Hobart, Jr., Mrs. and Miss Barber, Miss Helen McKinley and Mr.
and Mrs. Abner McKinley.
In the compartment car Hungary were
President Roosevelt and Secretary George Cortelyou, Dr. Rixey and
Secretaries Root, Long, Wilson, Hitchcock, Attorney General Knox
and Postmaster General Smith.
The whole country seemed to have drained
its population at the sides of the track over which the funeral
train passed. The thin lines through the mountains and the sparsely-settled
districts thickened at the little hamlets, covered acres in towns
suddenly grown to the proportions of respectable cities and were
congested into vast multitudes in the larger cities. Work was suspended
in field and mine and city. The schools were dismissed. And everywhere
appeared the trappings and tokens of woe. A million flags at half-mast
dotted hillside and valley, and formed a thicket of color over the
cities. The railway stations were heavy with the black symbols of
mourning. At all the larger towns and cities after the train got
into Pennsyl-  vania militiamen
drawn up at present arms kept back the enormous crowds.
At many cities and towns school children
and young women had strewn flowers on the track, hiding the rails,
and the engine wheels cut their way through the fragrant masses
of blooms spread out to show the love felt for the dead President.
Taken altogether the journey home
was the most remarkable demonstration of universal personal sorrow
since Lincoln was borne to his grave. Every one of those who came
to pay their last tribute to the dead had an opportunity to catch
a glimpse of the flag-covered bier elevated to view in the observation
car at the rear of the train.
The 450 miles between Buffalo and
Washington was traversed in twelve hours.
Those in charge of the procession
at Washington avoided all possible display, and there was no attempt
to play upon the feelings of the people, who were already wrought
up to a dangerous point.
The official train drew into the Pennsylvania
depot at 8:38 o’clock, and the body was carried from there to the
late President’s old home at the White House, escorted by a troop
or two of cavalry and by the members of the Cabinet and the distinguished
officials who had acted as the guard of honor from Buffalo to Washington.
No President had ever been more popular with the people of Washington
than Mr. McKinley. Neither Grant nor Lincoln was an exception to
this, because both ruled during the trying times of and just after
the war, and there was much partisan feeling aroused. Mr. McKinley,
however, had the abiding love of all the citizens of Washington,
and they were prepared to go into hysterics over his arrival.
As it was, the official procession
from the station to the White House was exceedingly quiet, and,
in spite of its extreme simplicity, deeply touching. The most notable
feature of it was the entire absence of noise. There was not a band
nor drum in the whole procession, and save for the bugle note of
the cavalry martial music was abandoned entirely.
The body of the late President was
brought into the depot where President Garfield was shot, and thus
was completed the parallel between the last two Ohio Presidents,
both of whom have been unexpected martyrs to their positions.
There was no display whatever at the
White House. Mrs. McKinley’s feelings were consulted in preference
to anything else. The gates to the grounds adjoining the Executive
Mansion were closed early in the afternoon and were only opened
to admit Mrs. McKinley and the members of her official and personal
The casket was placed in the great
east room, which has been the scene of so many notable receptions
held by President McKinley and others of his predecessors.
Simple funeral services for the late
President were held in the capitol at Washington. Bishop Andrews
preached the sermon.
The following is perhaps one of his
most eloquent passages:
“If there is a personal immortality
before him, let us also rejoice that there is an immortality and
memory in the hearts of a large and ever-growing people who, through
the ages to come, the generations that are yet to be, will look
back upon this life, upon its nobility and purity and service to
humanity, and thank God for it. The years draw on when his name
shall be counted among the illustrious of the earth. William of
Orange is not dead. Cromwell is not dead. Washington lives in the
hearts and lives of his countrymen. Lincoln, with his infinite sorrow,
lives to teach us and lead us on. And McKinley shall summon all
statesmen and all his countrymen to purer living, nobler aims, sweeter
and immortal blessedness.”
The procession from the White House
to the capitol included 10,000 government troops and sailors, civic
and patriotic organizations, members of Congress, President Roosevelt,
the diplomatic corps, Justices of the Supreme Court, army and navy
officers, and Governors of States.
President Roosevelt’s carriage, guarded
by detectives, followed that of ex-President Cleveland in the procession
from the White House to the Capitol. Mrs. Roosevelt and Commander
Cowles accompanied the President.
Hundreds of persons injured in a panic
at the Capitol building while McKinley’s body was lying in state.
The special train carrying the remains
of the late President McKinley left Washington for Canton, O., at
7 o’clock Tuesday evening. It was accompanied by the relatives,
President Roosevelt, and other government officials.
Body of the late President will arrive
at Canton at 11 a. m., Sept. 18, and will lie in state in the courthouse
until evening, when it will be removed to the family residence.
Mrs. McKinley was so overcome that
she was unable to attend the ceremonies in the capitol. Mrs. Roosevelt
spent part of the day with her in the White House.
The McKinley funeral train was divided
in three sections, which were run ten minutes apart. The remains
of the President were carried in the middle section.
Thus closes the career of a typical
American—the noble product of our public schools and healthy home
surroundings. No President equaled Mr. McKinley in molding legislation;
none influenced Congress with so little friction. He was a born
diplomat and managed affairs international with great skill and
success, and that, too, in a very critical period. Few, if any of
our Presidents have been so approachable, so common, and so generally
beloved and respected.
But ’tis Mr. McKinley’s true Christian
character that is most admired. He was no bigot nor hypocrite. He
carried his religion into daily life. His pure, true life and his
tender devotion to an invalid wife are a precious heritage to our
We are maddened, grieved and disgusted
all at once when we think of the manner of his taking off. That
such a man should be stricken down in so cowardly and dastardly
a manner by a weak, worthless, insignificant whelp, who was born
under Old Glory and had the privileges of its priceless freedom
and opportunities, tends to make us believe that our country is
too free and lenient in certain directions. But the President teaches
us the lesson in his dying words. We console ourselves with the
thought that though our rulers are always easily accessible, but
three in more than 100 years have been assassinated. The many millions
are true blue. Let us go on with faith, educating the masses to
appreciate our inheritance, and making them worthy of the glorious
blessings of life and liberty under our flag.