Source: Bolivar Breeze
Source type: newspaper
Document type: article
Document title: “Sights and Scenes in Buffalo”
Author(s): Herrick, John P.
City of publication: Bolivar, New York
Date of publication: 12 September 1901
Volume number: 11
Issue number: 2
|Herrick, John P. “Sights and Scenes in Buffalo.” Bolivar Breeze 12 Sept. 1901 v11n2: p. 1.|
|Buffalo, NY (impact of assassination); William McKinley (personal character); McKinley assassination; William McKinley (at Pan-American Exposition); John P. Herrick; McKinley assassination (persons present on exposition grounds); McKinley assassination (personal response); McKinley assassination (public response: Buffalo, NY); McKinley assassination (news coverage); Milburn residence (outdoors: setup, conditions, activity, etc.); Milburn residence (visitors); Pan-American Exposition (impact of assassination); Temple of Music.|
|C. F. Moberly Bell; George B. Cortelyou; James Creelman; George Crook; William R. Day; Marcus Hanna; Julian Hawthorne; John P. Herrick; John Lund; William McKinley; John G. Milburn; Theodore Roosevelt; John N. Scatcherd [misspelled below]; Howard Thompson.|
|The identity of John Yeager (below) cannot be confirmed.|
Sights and Scenes in Buffalo
THE ATTEMPT TO ASSASSINATE PRESIDENT M’KINLEY WAS
AS DRAM[ATIC AS IT WAS DASTARDLY?]. MIDWAY WAS
HUSHED. HOW THE NEWS WAS FLASHED TO A WAITING WORLD.
B, Sept. 10.—Ever since last Friday Buffalo has been the capitol of the United States and the news center of the world. The vice president, members of the cabinet, senators, congressmen, governors, and in fact about all the big men in the country have been in town, attracted here by the news of the dastardy [sic] attempt to assassinate President McKinley. And through it all our beloved president has been the coolest and nerviest man of them all. Even when he reeled from the effect of the assassin’s bullets, his self control was masterly; his first thought was for his wife and the next pity for the misguided devil who had attempted to kill him.
Friday was a lovely day, cool and clear with a blue sky on which sailed fleecy clouds. A few minutes to four o’clock the entrance to the Temple of Music was thronged with people waiting to catch a glimpse of the President and later to enter the Temple and grasp his hand. All eyes we [sic] turned toward the railroad gate through which it was announced that he was to pass. There must have been twenty thousand people about the Temple and scattered along the line down to the railroad gate. Through the throng the policemen had opened a line for the carriage. At five minutes to four a voice rang out, “Here he comes, here he comes, the popcorn man, you can’t see the President unless you buy a sack of popcorn,” and everybody laughed at the clever hit of the popcorn man. Then there was crowding to get vantage points.
A low cheer drifted up the line from the railroad gate and gathered in volume as it neared the Temple, where it became a mighty roar. It was the signal that the President was coming. The policeman straightened up the wavering lines and made way for the nation’s ruler, whose carriage was preceded by mounted police. Mr. McKinley sat in the carriage smiling ing [sic] and bowing to the people as they cheered. He looked to be in perfect health and very happy. His carriage entered the roped lane and the party alighted and entered the Temple while the crowd cheered and strained their necks. The crush against the doors was something terrific, for the American people when they make up their minds to see something, as a rule, have very little regard for the comfort of those about them.
It was, perhaps, three minutes after the President entered before the doors were unlocked and the crowd began to pour in. The guards were unable to throw open the folding doors so strong was the pressure from the outside and it looked as though somebody would have to be clubbed. John N. Scacherd stood inside the main entrance and asked the people to be careful of the women and children who were caught in the crush and to take their time. I was in the jam and couldn’t stop crowding because the throng back of me wouldn’t let up. Finally I was jammed through the open door.
Once inside the crowd was formed in line by twos, and marched down a narrow aisle, on the side of which and near the center of the building stood the President and his party, with soldiers and secret service men as guards. As the line neared the President the aisle narrowed and the crowd was forced into single file. The President stood on the right of the line under a little bower of palms and flags. As the people came he extended his hand and said: “I am glad to meet you.” Little girls he patted on the head, and to the old men and women with silver hair who said “God bless our President,” as they invariably did, he smiled and said “Thank you.” The few who wanted to have a chat with him and keep the procession waiting were gently urged along by the secret service men and the line was thus kept in constant motion. The shuffle of many feet and the notes of the pipe organ were the only sounds heard.
It was in the midst of this pleasant scene that the Red Devil appeared in the guise of a man suffering from a wounded hand. The President noticed that the man’s hand was wounded and pitied him. It was all over in a second. The Red Devil extended his left hand to the President and pushed his right against the President’s body. Two quick reports, a thin veil of smoke and the tragedy was enacted, the President stricken and the assassin trampled on the floor by those about him. It all happened so quickly that none of those present seem to be able to recall just what did happen. Even the secret service men who kept close watch on every person who approached the President did not suspect that the smooth faced young man with the bandaged hand was a fiend. Those in the room all ran toward the President. The alarm was given to the guards outside by a young girl who ran out of the building screaming “The President’s shot.” The doors were snapped shut, the crowd forced back from the building, an ambulance called and reinforcements sent for by the police.
I had left the building and was on my way to the Midway when I was overtaken by an acquaintance who said, “Herrick, the President’s shot.” “Nonsense,” I answered, “give me the key to the joke so that I can spring it on some one [sic] else.” Just then a newspaper correspondent with blanched face came up, “It’s so,” he said, answering my look of doubt. Then we both hustled for the telegraph office. There I found a stack of telegrams a foot deep and a room full of cxcited [sic] people. “Don’t know when I can get your message to Bolivar,” the operator said, [“]but I’ll do the best I can. We’re swamped.”
By the time I left the telegraph office the President had been conveyed to the Exposition hospital and a great crowd had gathered about the building. Men were swearing in a low voice, women were crying and there was an undercurrent that said, “let’s hang that devil Anarchist.” A guard was quickly thrown about the hospital, automobiles dashed up to the entrance and the great doctors and surgeons alighted and hurried into the room where the President lay[.] When it was announced that one bullet had been removed and that there was a chance for the President to live the great crowd uttered a prayer of thankfulness. Within half an hour the newsboys were crying “Extra, all about the President being shot,” and charging a nickle [sic] for a one cent paper. All that the first editions contained was the bare statement in big type that the President had been shot. Later editions printed more and more detail until on Saturday morning the full story appeared.
In the meantime, the crowd around the Temple of music [sic] wanted to hang the Anarchist and it was with great difficulty that he was removed to the city and lodged in a cell. Who he was or where he came from was not known and many wild stories were afloat. The police quickly put him under pressure and the information desired was extracted from him. It was believed from the first that he was merely picked out by the gang to do the deed and the telegraph wires have been humming ever since in quest of information that will serve to weave a net around the conspirators. Down in in [sic] the city that night great crowds gathered and at one time it was feared that the prison would be mobbed so violent was the feeling of the people.
Scarcely had the President been moved to the Milburn home on Deleware avenue [sic] before the telegraph companies had tents erected on a lot across the street, wires strung and instruments clicking. A direct wire from Washington was secured and the government messages in cipher were coming and going every minute. All of the great newspapers of the country ordered their star reporters to Buffalo. Within 30 minutes after the President was shot a special train left New York with 25 reporters on board, and made a record run to this city. Among the noted men here are James Creelman of the New York Journal, a famous war correspondent; Julian Hawthorne, of the Philadelphia North American, novelist and war correspondent; John Yeager of the Boston Globe, writer and artist who was with General Crook in his famous Indian campaigns; Col. Moberly Bell of the London Times, a famous war correspondent; Howard Thompson of the Associated Press and a host of others who have achieved distinction.
Night and day the newspaper men keep up a ceaseless vigil about the entrance to the Milburn house which is closely guarded by soldiers, policemen and secret service men. Every prominent man who enters the house is surrounded when he comes out and “held up” for information. Every conceivable question pertinent to the subject is put to him and some of the cross examinations are very funny. Then the camera men are always busy and take a shot at every group of prominent men that gathers. Senator Hanna, Col. Roosevelt, John G. Milburn, Secretary Cortelyou and the doctors are especially popular for they do all in their power to assist the newspaper men to get interesting stories for their papers. As soon as an interview is over the newspaper men rush across the street to the tents and write out their stories and hang them on the copy hook in the telegraph tents. The bulletins are brought from the house by a messenger and duplicate copies are distributed among the newspaper men so that no favoritism is shown. Today the news has been so encouraging that the newspaper men are beginning to wonder how soon they will be ordered home. The doctors are very optimistic. Senator Hanna and Judge Day went home this afternoon and Col. Roosevelt goes tonight. If nothing unforseen [sic] occurs the belief is general among the newspaper men that the President will be able to leave Buffalo within three weeks.
The effect of the attempted assassination on the Exposition, in the event the President recovers, as seems most likely now, will not be damaging, at least that seems to be the opinion of those best informed. The change after the shooting was almost magical, and was especially noticeable on the Midway. As the news sped down the Lane of Laughter the bands ceased playing, the shows closed one by one, the people hurried out to learn the details, and signs appeared above the entrances bearing this statement: “This show is closed out of respect to President McKinley.” The Lane of Laughter became the Lane of Sorrow. The only places where crowds collected on Friday night were about the bulletin boards in front of the newspaper offices. The Rainbow City was practically a Deserted City. As the news of the President has grown more cheerful the attendance at the Exposition has increased and is normal once more. The spot where the President was shot in the Temple of Music is visited daily by thousands of people. Sunday evening thousands of people in their eagerness to look at the spot where the President stood, entered the building and left it without realizing that Lund’s great orchestra was giving one of its famous concerts.