Source: Cleveland Leader
Source type: newspaper
Document type: article
Document title: “Home of Czolgosz Is In Cleveland”
City of publication: Cleveland, Ohio
Date of publication: 8 September 1901
Volume number: 54
Issue number: 251
|“Home of Czolgosz Is In Cleveland.” Cleveland Leader 8 Sept. 1901 v54n251: p. 2.|
|Czolgosz residence; Czolgosz family; Paul Czolgosz (public statements); John Czolgosz (public statements); Leon Czolgosz; Waldeck Czolgosz (public statements); Leon Czolgosz (as anarchist); McKinley assassination (investigation: Cleveland, OH); Knights of the Golden Eagle; George E. Corner (public statements); Leon Czolgosz (friends, acquaintances, coworkers, etc.); Benedict Rosinski (public statements); Anton Zwolinski (public statements); Leon Czolgosz (correspondence).|
|Celia Czolgosz Bandowski; George Coonish [misspelled below]; George E. Corner; Frank Czolgosz; Jacob Czolgosz; John Czolgosz; Joseph Czolgosz; Katherine Metzfaltr Czolgosz; Leon Czolgosz; Michael Czolgosz (brother); Paul Czolgosz; Waldeck Czolgosz; John Ginder; Emma Goldman; David Jones; Joseph Karwacki; William McKinley; Benedict Rosinski; John Smid [misspelled below]; Anton Zwolinski.|
The identity of Clara (below) cannot be determined. There is no known Czolgosz sibling with this name.
The identity of the Nieman woman (below) cannot be determined. Possibly it is an erroneous reference to the assassin’s mother.
Home of Czolgosz Is In Cleveland
THE FAMILY LIVE ON FLEET STREET—AN INTERVIEW WITH THE
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 and
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 many disputes.
“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 again.”
“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 Indiana.
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 Fleet street.
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 they gained.
“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, O.
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,
Yours, FRED C. NIEMAN.”
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 life.
An Associate Press dispatch from Alpena, Mich., says:
“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.”