Heard News with Tears and Cries
Czolgasz’s Parents Frantic When Told of President’s
“Why Did He Do It?” Muttered Agonized Father.
The parents of Leon Czolgasz, the
assassin of President McKinley, received the news of the death of
the nation’s chief executive at their home in Newburg early yesterday
morning. The father, John Czolgasz, and his wife both broke down
as a Plain Dealer reporter delivered the sad message.
“My God! can it be true? My boy has
killed him!” exclaimed the frantic father. He paced the floor like
an insane man, ran his hands through his hair and muttered one thing
“Why did he do it? Why did he do it?”
he kept saying over and over again, wringing his hands and continuing
to pace up and down the floor of the narrow living room. Czolgasz
felt too badly to talk on the matter at all. His wife threw herself
upon a couch in the corner and wept bitterly.
The reporter returned in the afternoon
and found a son, John, brother to the assassin, at the home, No.
306 Fleet street.
“My father and mother have suffered
untold pain since the president has died,” he remarked. The mother
was seated upon the door step pealing potatoes for the evening meal.
She could not speak English and the son related to the newspaper
man the effect it had upon the parents.
“We all feel terribly over it,” he
continued, “but it can’t be helped. We are sorry that it has happened.
It has cast a bad reflection upon the Polish people of this country.”
“You claim to be Polish people, do
you?” asked the reporter.
“Oh, yes,” he replied, “we are of
Polish descent, although some people are endeavoring to make out
that we are Russians.”
“Have you heard from your brother,
“No. We have written him, but he has
Just then a letter carrier appeared
at the door with a letter for the grief stricken mother.
“A letter from Leon, I’ll bet,” exclaimed
John as the two nervously broke the seal.
But it wasn’t. It was an unsigned
letter from Milwaukee. It extended sympathy to the mother and said
that the poor boy couldn’t help committing the deed. A clipping
from a Milwaukee newspaper containing an account of the terrible
shooting and pictures of both the assassin and the president were
“Will either of your parents visit
your brother at Buffalo?”continued the reporter.
“Probably not,” replied John. “They
both feel terribly sad over the affair, but they believe that they
can be of no service to him. He has committed the crime with no
provocation and he must suffer. If they should go it would only
make them feel all the worse and they won’t go.”
The father, Paul Czolgosz, continued
his work on the streets yesterday.