Home of Czolgosz Is In Cleveland
THE FAMILY LIVE ON FLEET STREET—AN INTERVIEW WITH
MISCREANT’S RELATIVES, WHO KNEW NOTHING OF ATTEMPTED
ASSASSINATION—THE STORY OF THE ANARCHIST’S LIFE.
Amid a waste of sand
and mud at No. 306 Fleet street stands the home of the man who made
the murderous attack upon President McKinley. The house is not unlike
the other houses in the neighborhood except that a large bed of
cannas and other foliage plants is in one corner of the sandy yard,
and there is an air of cleanliness about the place.
Two families occupy the home. The
Czolgoszes live in the rear. The family were eating when visited
by a Leader reporter. A little pine table was covered by a red cloth.
On it was a long narrow loaf of bread, cheese, and a pitcher of
water. Mr. and Mrs. Czolgosz sat away from the table munching their
bread, and talking excitedly in Polish to a neighbor, and their
younger son John, who looks very much like his brother, was seated
at the table.
The family have been living on Fleet
street for about a week. The father and sons are farmers, and only
a week ago they sold their farm on the Chagrin Falls electric railroad,
and came to Cleveland. The father is a laborer in the city employ.
He can speak no English, and talks in an excited manner. His wife
is the stepmother of Leon, who tried to murder the President.
“I don’t know why Leon tried to kill
any one. He was a good boy, but was sick. He was sick here,” and
Czolgosz rubbed his hands over his chest. “Leon must be crazy. He
was a good boy, but he wasn’t strong.”
John Czolgosz, the brother living
with his parents, is a bright young man, and can speak English fluently.
“I don’t know what the matter is with Leon,” he said. “He must be
crazy. He was never well. We spent piles of money for doctors, but
they couldn’t do him any good. We would say, ‘Leon, are you sick?’
and he would answer ‘None of your business.’ For days he would speak
to none of us. He came to the house to sleep, but would cook fish
EAT THEM IN THE WOODS,
not coming near the house in the day time.
“He said that he was too sick to work.
Four years ago he worked in the fence department of the American
Steel and Wire Company. The work was too hard, and he came back
to the farm. He wouldn’t work there, either. He was sick, and we
didn’t insist on it, and he spent his time in the woods fishing.
He would take an ear of corn or several potatoes, and cook it with
the fish he caught, and that is the way he lived.
“He left home in June. He said he
was going to work for a rich farmer in Indiana. I have not heard
from him since, and I supposed that he was there. He never before
left home. Leon was not an Anarchist. He is crazy if he says he
is. He never read Emma Goldman’s books. He was too lazy to read.
“He is about twenty-eight years old,
and was born in Detroit. He only went to school a short time. He
was a coward, and I don’t see where he got the nerve to shoot any
one. I think I will go to Washington if the fare is not too high.
I pity my brother, and my father is sorry that he shot Mr. McKinley.”
In 1898 the Czolgosz family came to
Cleveland from Detroit. They bought a good farm in the southwestern
corner of Orange township. Owing to the way in which the farm was
run there was little money for the family, and they became dissatisfied
with their lot. They tried to sell, and finally succeeded in getting
a purchaser last week, John Smith, formerly of this city. Waldeck,
another brother of the would-be assassin, decided to stay on the
farm and help Mr. Smith. The rest of the family came to Cleveland.
A Leader reporter visited Waldeck
yesterday. He was working in the fields. A plow stood in the furrow.
It had been there since the spring plowing, and a corn cutter lay
rusted in a field. Waldeck did not know that President McKinley
had been shot, and he up to yesterday afternoon had heard nothing
of the deed that had thrown the nation into a fever of excitement.
He said that Leon had trouble with the family, and there had been
“Leon made several trips to Buffalo
this year,” said Waldeck, before he learned of the attempted assassination.
“I asked him what he was doing in Buffalo, and he told me it was
NONE OF MY BUSINESS.
Last June he went to Fort Wayne, Ind., and several
days later I got a letter from him. He did not say why he had left
home, or what he was doing, but wrote that we might never see him
“Say, what is the matter with Leon[,]
does he owe money at Chagrin Falls?” asked the brother, with some
concern. When told no, his brow cleared.
“Was Leon an Anarchist?”
“No, he was a Socialist.”
“Did he ever read Emma Goldman’s works?”
“No, but he read socialistic papers.”
“Are you a Socialist?”
“Yes, the whole family is.”
“None of the family is an Anarchist?”
“No, I should say not.”
The family on Fleet street do not
believe that Leon had an accomplice. They knew nothing about his
trips to Buffalo this summer and they do not know why he went to
The walls of the house on Fleet street
are covered with cheap colored pictures of virgins and biblical
scenes, contrasting awfully with the deed of the young Anarchist.
The home is in no way similar to the saloon, grocery, and hall operated
by the Anarchist’s father some two years ago.
The saloon and hall are now run by
Joseph Karwacki. It is termed the “White Eagle.” The saloon is at
the corned of Tod street and Third avenue.
In the hall on the second floor of
the saloon building an eagle is painted on the wall, wings outstretched,
beak open, and claws spread. Here Anarchists met when Paul Czolgosz
owned the place. Leon drank in the sentiments of blood, listened
to tales of the Haymarket riots, and sang the praises of Emma Goldman,
the most bloody teacher of the “Reds.” It was in the little frame
building where the seed was sown and fostered which changed a boy
to a brute.
Leon took away the pamphlets which
taught murder, riot, and ruin, and brooded over them. He became
melancholy and irritable. Although naturally a coward, he had a
fierce temper, and soon became fitted for his awful crime. He carried
Anarchistic thoughts to the farm. He brooded in the woods, and became
a hater of women. He did not speak to members of his family, spending
his time tramping the woods, fishing, and becoming each day stronger
to make the fiendish attempt on the life of the President.
The germ of anarchy was hatched in
his feeble frame in the meeting hall of the “White Eagle.” The “Reds”
no longer meet there, but the hall has played its part in the history
of the nation.
The brothers of Leon are Waldeck,
the farmer; John, of No. 306 Fleet street; Jacob, of Marcelline
avenue; Mike, whose whereabouts is unknown; Joseph and Frank, of
Alpena, Mich. He has two half-sisters, Celia and Clara, of No. 306
WHAT CHIEF CORNER SAYS.
The Cleveland police
are working hard to gain some information regarding the family and
associates of Leon Czolgosz, who shot President McKinley.
The police have interrogated the secretary
of the Knights of the Golden Eagle, but will not divulge what information
“It is my opinion,” said Chief Corner
Saturday morning, “that the shooting of the Chief Executive is not
the result of a plot. I believe that Czolgosz went to Buffalo on
a different errand, and while there decided to shoot the President.
There was no plot hatched in this city to kill McKinley, to my way
of thinking. Czolgosz, as we have learned, is about twenty-six years
old. He was a member of a beneficial association known as the Knights
of the Golden Eagle. For the last two or three years Czolgosz resided
outside the city limits. He was sickly. At one time he worked in
the mills at Newburg, and he was below the average as far as intelligence
is concerned. When arrested a card or letter was found on him written
by the secretary of the order to which he belonged. It was in the
nature of a transfer card enabling him to be recognized by other
lodges of the order in other cities. We are working hard on the
case, and if he had any accomplices they will be brought to justice.”
A RABID ANARCHIST.
Rev. Benedict Rosinski,
pastor of St. Stanislas’ Church, stated that he knew the man. He
said that Czolgosz has admitted to him that he was an Anarchist.
“About four years ago,” said Rev. Rosinski, “I asked Czolgosz for
a contribution for the church. He surprised me very much by refusing
to give it. I asked him why he wouldn’t contribute, and he said
that he was an Anarchist. I always supposed that he was a Catholic,
and that was why I had approached him on the subject of contributions.
He told me that he had no religion, and that he didn’t wish to help
churches. He said that anarchy was his religion. I tried to argue
with him and drive the anarchistic principles out of his head, but
it was to no purpose. I believe that he was mentally unbalanced,
because he acted and talked so strangely to me.”
It has been learned that Czolgosz
belonged to an organization known as the Sila Socialist Club. Three
years ago the club disbanded, and he left it, but joined another.
“Czolgosz made no secret of the fact
that he was an Anarchist,” said Anton Zwolinksi, of No. 3102 Broadway,
Saturday. “He was always talking about it, and trying to force Anarchist
principles on everyone whom he talked with. He was a great coward,
however, and I am surprised that he had the nerve to do as he did.
It would not surprise me to learn that he is merely the tool of
some other persons. When the Sila club broke up Czolgosz joined
another one, the name of which I have forgotten.”
FORMERLY A SALOONKEEPER.
Paul Czolgosz, the father
of Leon, is said to have formerly kept a saloon at the corner of
Third avenue and Tod street, this city. Leon was employed in one
of the mills of the American Steel and Wire Company.
Several years ago Czolgosz was employed
in a Newburg mill. Among his fellow workmen there he was known as
Fred Nieman. He is a member of Forest City Castle Lodge, No. 22,
of the Golden Eagle. His former associates in the mill describe
him as a man of about twenty-six years of age, five feet seven inches
in height, with light complexion and brown hair. They say that he
was a quiet-acting man, but was known to have a most violent temper.
It is said that the would-be assassin is a strong infidel and a
red-hot Socialist. He was last seen around Newburg during the spring.
At that time he was living on a farm with his father near Warrensville,
John Ginder, an employe [sic]
of the Newburg wire mill where Czolgosz formerly worked, and who
is also a member of the Golden Eagle Lodge, received a letter from
the would-be assassin in July last, dated West Seneca, N. Y. He
sent money for lodge dues. He said that he was working there, and
would probably remain in the place for some time.
THE RED-INK LETTER.
A reporter Saturday
afternoon succeeded in getting possession of the letter written
by Czolgosz to John Ginder, secretary of the Golden Eagle lodge
in this city. The communication was obtained from Ginder. It is
written in red ink and reads as follows:
“West Seneca, N. Y.
“July 30, ’01.
“John Ginder, Dear Sir and Brother:
Inclosed you will find $1 to pay my lodge dues. I paid $1 to
Brother George Coorish to pay the assessment sent out on account
of the death of Brother David Jones. Brother Ginder, please
send my book to me at my cost and also send password if you
can do so. I left Cleveland Thursday, July 11. I am working
here and will stay sometime.
“The fare from here to Buffalo
is $5.15. Hoping this finds you as well as it leaves me, I remain,
The above letter was turned over
to the Cleveland police Saturday afternoon.
Prominent members of the Golden Eagle
organization declare that it is purely an insurance institution
and that its members in general have no sympathy with Anarchists
or their principles. The officers of the lodge were closeted with
the police authorities today and at the conclusion of the interview
the police said they did not believe that the members of the organization
were in any way connected with the attempt on President McKinley’s
An Associate Press dispatch from Alpena,
“Leon Czolgosz was born in Alpena
about 1881. The family left here nine years ago, and it is supposed
they went to Cleveland. His brother Frank now lives at Metz, Presque
Isle county, twenty-five miles from here, and his uncle and brother
John are located at Posen, Mich. There are eight sons and one daughter
in the family. The elder Czolgosz was born in Providence, Posen
county, Brumburg, and came to Alpena from there about thirty years
ago. The father and elder sons were quiet, peaceable citizens, with
no known anarchistic tendencies, and were well thought of by the
Polish people here. Leon was a small boy when he left here, and
at that time was apparently no different from other boys of his
age. One of the sons married a woman by the name of Nieman.”