Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer
Source type: newspaper
Document type: article
Document title: “Throws Light on Czolgasz”
City of publication: Cleveland, Ohio
Date of publication: 13 September 1901
Volume number: 60
Issue number: 256
|“Throws Light on Czolgasz.” Cleveland Plain Dealer 13 Sept. 1901 v60n256: p. 12.|
|Paul Czolgosz (interrogation); Paul Czolgosz (public statements); Paul Czolgosz; Leon Czolgosz; Czolgosz family.|
|Grover Cleveland; Jacob Czolgosz; Leon Czolgosz; Paul Czolgosz; John Dunn; James A. Garfield; Emma Goldman; Joseph Klima; William McKinley; Jacob Mintz; Talmar J. Ross; Charles P. Salen; W. J. Springborn.|
|The identity of Kohler and Piotrowsky (below) cannot be determined.|
Throws Light on Czolgasz
Father of Would-Be Assassin Examined by City Officials.
Says Son Acted Queer but He Didn’t Think Him Insane.
Yesterday morning Director of Public Works Salen
sent for Paul Czolgosz, father of Leon Czolgosz, who was working in the trenches
with one of the construction gangs of the waterworks department. The old man
answered all inquiries without hesitation. His family name is Czolgasz, not
Czolgosz, as it has been sometimes spelled in the newspapers. The general conclusion
reached after the inquiry was that the plot to assassinate the president did
not originate in Cleveland, but must have been concocted in either Chicago or
some other western city in which Czolgasz was stopping. The statement of the
old man, taken in the presence of Police Director Dunn, Assistant County Prosecutor
Ross and Detective Mintz, was as follows:
“I came with my first wife to this country twenty-nine years ago, having been born and raised in Innowraclaw, County of Posen, in western Prussia. I lived in Detroit and Alpena, Mich., for a number of years, and came to Cleveland ten years ago. In 1882 I bought a house and lot at the corner of Tod street and Third avenue and started a saloon, running it for eight months. I lost considerable money in this transaction, and after that worked as a laborer for a year and then traded the place on Third avenue for a farm in Orange township, Councilman Springborn negotiating the trade.
“I had the farm for about a year and sold it to part of my children, but stayed there for four and a half years, after which I came back to Cleveland and resumed work as a laborer. Leon was born in Detroit twenty-eight years ago. When we came to Cleveland he got work in the Newburg mills and remained there for a year after we had moved to the farm. Then he came to the farm and stayed there until July 1 of this year. Early in the summer he several times tried to borrow money from his brothers, and on July 1 my son Jake loaned him $70, which Leon claimed he wanted in order to pay his expenses to go out west. The day after that Jake went on the farm to milk the cows and when he came back Leon was gone and none of us have seen him since. He had not said he was going away and we were at a loss to account for his disappearance. I do not know whether he received any letter or telegram asking him to leave.
“A neighbor, Joseph Klima, received a postal card a few days afterwards from Leon, in which he stated he was on his way to the west. Two of my sons received similar postal cards. I do not remember where they were postmarked. I never heard from him. After the receipt of the postals none of us received any further word, and Mr. Klima and the rest of us concluded that he was dead.
“The first intimation that I received of the attempted assassination was last Saturday morning about 9 o’clock. I had been out looking for work and heard that the city needed some laborers, and at the water works office received an order to go to work Monday morning. When I came home that morning the police and newspaper men had informed my family of what had taken place. No member of the family went to Buffalo to see Leon.
“We did not for a moment entertain the idea of trying to get him out of his trouble, as we considered his crime an inexcusable one, and we do not propose to interfere with the government inflicting proper punishment. In fact, none of us had a great liking for Leon. From the time that he came to the farm, about three years ago, he would not work and was entirely worthless. He continually claimed that he was sick and took some kind of a herb tea as a treatment. He thought that he had caught a bad cold by drinking a glass of beer when he was perspiring. He was treated by Dr. Kohler, a physician on Broadway near Magnet street.
“I have been married twice. My second wife is living, and Leon hated her to such an extent that he would not look at or speak to her. This feeling originated from her ordering him to work and catechising him for refusing to do so. He was morose and kept by himself all the time. He would frequently take his revolver and go into the woods to shoot birds. While his actions were queer, there was nothing to indicate that his mind was unbalanced. He never had anything to do with women and acted as though he was afraid of them.
“When I kept the saloon on Third avenue, an organization called the Social Labor party held meetings in the hall above. I attended several meetings but nothing extraordinary ever happened. The speakers confined themselves to the subject of Socialism. Leon belonged to the organization, but never delivered any speeches because he was not capable of doing so. I never heard Leon speak against the government or the president, nor did I ever hear him mention Emma Goldman or any other Anarchist. I never saw any Anarchist literature in his possession. His reading was confined to the Cleveland newspapers. He did not attend many meetings. He was at home nearly all the time, and apparently had no companions. He is able to read and write pretty well. He attended a Polish school in Alpena for three years, and after that attended the public schools for two years. I never heard of Leon passing under the name of Nieman, nor did I know anybody by that name.
“The revolver with which he evidently did the shooting he bought four years ago from a photographer named Piotrowsky, who is now is an insane asylum. The revolver had a single barrel and five chambers. He must have taken it with him, as we never saw it afterwards.
“During the last presidential campaign somebody gave Leon a free ticket to go on one of the campaign excursions to Canton. Some politician invited him to go on the trip. When he returned he did not say anything against President McKinley. In fact, I never heard him make any remarks against the president. I have been a citizen of this country since the last Grant campaign, when I took out my naturalization papers. I voted for Garfield in 1880, and for Cleveland in 1892 and for McKinley in 1896. Last year I did not vote at all. Leon belonged to the Socialist party and I suppose voted for that ticket.
“I had nine children by my first wife and two by my second. Nine of them are living, although I have not heard from two, who are in Michigan, for a long time.
“Leon’s deed is giving us terrible worry and we feel that he is deserving of any punishment that may be inflicted. I was born a Catholic and went to St. Stanislaus’ church until I moved to the farm. Leon at first attended and then dropped off and refused to go to church any longer.”