Coroner Wilson Says He Is Sorry He Gave News
EXPLANATION OF HOW THE NEWSPAPERS WERE MISINFORMED
CONCERNING THE PRESIDENT’S DEATH—WAS NOTIFIED.
Coroner Wilson said
to a News reporter this morning that he was extremely sorry to have
been an agent in misinforming the public concerning the death of
President McKinley last night at an hour earlier than it actually
He said: “I was notified by District
Attorney Penney that President McKinley was dead and was told to
go to the house and do my duty. When I said that he was dead I certainly
believed it. I did not go to the house in an automobile but in a
carriage. The horses were driven slowly and there was no attempt
at all to hurry them.
“I was greatly surprised, and pleased,
when I got to the house and found that the President still lived.
I withdrew at once and am very sorry that such an incident should
have occurred. I am also very sorry that what I said should have
been the cause of the News getting out an extra announcing the President’s
death before it actually occurred.”
At 12:20 Edwin Fleming, secretary
of the Exposition Company, and two of the Exposition directors,
John N. Scatcherd and Harry Hamlin, arrived[.]
Five minutes later Coroner Wilson
drove up in a carriage.
“Is the President dead?” he was asked.
“Yes,” he replied, “I was notified
at 12:10. District Attorney Penney called me up from the Buffalo
Club at 12:10 and told me that the President was dead.”
The Coroner went at once into the
Milburn home and was met in the hall by Representative William H.
“What are you doing here?” asked the
astonished Mr. Ryan.
“I came to take charge of the body,”
answered the Coroner.
Then Mr. Ryan told him that the President
was not dead and advised him at once to go out and correct his report
to the newspaper men. The Coroner left the house and was driven
away before he could be questioned.
The above statement, printed in the
Express this morning, gives the exact facts as to the authority
on which the premature announcements of President McKinley’s death
was made by the extra editions of the evening papers soon after
midnight last night.
Coroner Wilson made his statement
to the newspaper men and the information was sent to the waiting
offices, not only of Buffalo, but all over the country. Coroner
Wilson quoted District Attorney Penney as his informant and the
public has now the right to ask Mr. Penney for an explanation of
his share in the mistake. The News, within 20 minutes after the
edition announcing the President’s death was on the street, issued
another setting the matter straight.
The above fully explains why the News,
Commercial and THE TIMES published papers announcing the President’s
death before it occurred. Coroner Wilson is not to be blamed, otherwise
than in his failure to enter the Milburn house, and ascertain whether
or not the President was dead before he made the announcement.