Source: Bisbee Daily Review
Source type: newspaper
Document type: article
Document title: “Mrs. M’Kinley’s Great Heroism”
City of publication: Bisbee, Arizona Territory
Date of publication: 5 June 1907
Volume number: 10
Issue number: 136
|“Mrs. M’Kinley’s Great Heroism.” Bisbee Daily Review 5 June 1907 v10n136: p. 2.|
|Susan Boyer Williams; William I. Buchanan; Ida McKinley; Susan Boyer Williams (public statements); Ida McKinley (informed about assassination); William McKinley (protection); McKinley assassination.|
|Lulu Williams Buchanan; William I. Buchanan; George B. Cortelyou; Leon Czolgosz; Ida McKinley; William McKinley; John G. Milburn; Presley M. Rixey; D. K. B. Sellers; Susan Boyer Williams.|
Mrs. M’Kinley’s Great Heroism
ALBUQUERQUE, N. M., June 4.—Mrs.
Charles Insco Williams, sister-in-law of William I. Buchanan, chairman of the
United States delegation to The Hague Peace conference, is in the city the guest
of her nephew, Col. D. K. B. Sellers. Mrs. Williams, who is secretary of the
Ohio Federation of Women’s clubs, and who for several years past has been delegate
from Ohio to the national meeting of Women’s clubs, was an intim[a]te friend
of Mrs. William McKinley, wife of the assassinated president, and who passed
away at her home in Canton recently, mourned by all the country. Mrs. Williams
was at Buffalo when the president was shot, and was with Mrs. McKinley at the
home of President Milburn of the Pan-American exposition when the news of the
occurrence was brought to her.
Mrs. Williams’ brother-in-law, W[il]liam I. Buchanan was at that time director general of the Pan-American exposition. He has acted as United States minister to Brazil and Argentine [sic], was in charge for a few months at Panama and is one of the best known diplomats in America. It is quite likely that upon the return of Mr. and Mrs. Buchanan from The Hague they will come to Albuquerque for a short stay.
Mrs. Williams’ narrative of the scenes at the exposition when the president was shot is most interesting.
When the president was invited to attend the exposition, Mrs. Williams was invited with Mrs. Buchanan to accompany Mrs. McKinley and niece with the presidential party. At the beginning of the presidential reception in the exposition grounds, the ladies were driven to the home of President Milburn of the fair to rest while the handshaking was in progress. Mrs. McKinley being an invalid, it was suggested that she retire. She was asleep and the other ladies were at the house when the telephone message came that the president had been shot.
“Mr. Buchanan was at the telephone,” said Mrs. Williams yesterday, “and immediately gave orders that the telephone be taken out of the house and placed in an outbuilding to prevent Mrs. McKinley learning of the trouble until the news could be broken to her personally. Mrs. McKinley awoke and expressed surprise that the president had not returned. ‘Isn’t he through with the reception yet?’ she asked. In a few minutes, she said again, in wonderment, although not anxiety, ‘It’s a wonder the president does not come back.’ You can imagine the tension of the other inmates of that house who were aware of the disaster and were obliged to look as if nothing had happened.
“Presently, Mr. Buchanan and Surgeon General Rixey came in and went into a room alone with the president’s wife. ‘We have something to tell you,’ said Mr. Buchanan, ‘and you must not let it make you ill.’ Mrs. McKinley appeared collected and Mr. Buchanan went on to say, ‘The president has met with an accident. He is still alive, however, and will be brought here soon.’
“Everyone believed that in her delicate health the shock would in all probability kill Mrs. McKinley. She exhibited wonderful nerve [an]d fortitude, however, and when the martyred president was brought in, went at once and kissed him, asking if he was badly hurt. She [did] not cry or show the slightest trace of hysteria and her bravery was the cause of the greatest surprise.”
Mrs. Williams’ story of the extreme precautions Mr. Buchanan took to see that the president was safeguarded during his visit, is an absorbing one. The party consisted on the president, wife and niece, Mr. Cortelyou, his secretary; Mr. Buchanan and wife, Surgeon General Rixey, President Milburn of the exposition and Mrs. Williams. Seven secret service men attired as men of distinction in conventional dress clothes and top hats, were constantly with the party. There were a number of detectives and one bulky individual who acted as the president’s especial body guard [sic]. Mr. Buchanan who is a large, powerful man, kept close to Presidenet [sic] McKinley and was constantly on the alert. There was also an escort of sixteen United States soldiers.
“When we visited Niagara Falls,” said Mrs. Williams, “the train did not stop until it has reached a point three miles beyond, where we disembarked and entered carriages. We were then driven back to the International hotel and went in by the employes’ [sic] entrance. After dining there, the president, closely guarded, was escorted out to his car in the special and the escort then returned for the rest of the party. The next stop was made in the private station erected for the president in the exposition grounds.”
The extreme precautions of Mr. Buchanan, in reality only too much needed, were a source of merriment to the ladies of the party.
According to Mrs. Williams, Mr. Buchanan and Mr. Cortelyou were very nervous and strongly urged the president to abandon his plan of shaking hands with the thousands of people pressing around the building. They even implored him not to do it, but he insisted and finally by Mr. Buchanan’s orders Mr. McKinley took his stand with President Milburn and his body guard [sic] close behind him, with Mr. Buchanan directly opposite, the line of people passing single fine [sic] between. Strung out on either side were the secret service men who closely inspected every man in the line as he passed. The public [i]s familiar with the rest of the tragedy. One man hit upon the expedient of covering his hand with a handkerchief out of regard for the president and the others quickly followed his example.
The people had been doing this for ten minutes before Czolgosz, the assassin, a small and insignificant looking man, came along and extended a hand in which, covered by the handkerchief, was the murderer’s weapon. The confusion that followed was frightful, amid which the president was rushed to the emergency hospital and a surgeon who was at the moment busy performing an operation on a woman, finished the operation, which was at a critical stage, and was at the president’s side in twenty-five minutes to give what aid was possible. The days of agonizing suspens[e] that followed are fresh in the public memory.
Mrs. Williams tells many interesting personal anecdotes of Mrs. McKinley, especially of her hobby for knitting slippers out of only red and gray and presenting them to her friends. She sent Mrs. Buchanan and Mrs. Williams each a pair of these knitted slippers. By permission of Mrs. McKinley, the pair given Mrs. Williams were sold at a charity ball at Dayton for $30.
Mrs. McKinley also presented a pair of these famous slippers to the daughter of Mr. Buchanan when the latter was to be married.
Mrs. Williams [pays?] a strong tribute to the strength of character and attraactveness [sic] of Mrs. McKinley and was much mpressed [sic] during the president’s lifetime with his unfailing and absolute devotion to his wife.
Mrs. Williams will remain in this city for some weeks a guest at the home of Colonel Sellers and wife.