Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer
Source type: newspaper
Document type: article
Document title: “To Buffalo under Watchful Eyes”
City of publication: Cleveland, Ohio
Date of publication: 24 September 1901
Volume number: 60
Issue number: 267
Pagination: 1, 3
|“To Buffalo under Watchful Eyes.” Cleveland Plain Dealer 24 Sept. 1901 v60n267: pp. 1, 3.|
|Paul Czolgosz; Czolgosz family; Leon Czolgosz (incarceration: Buffalo, NY: visitations); McKinley assassination (investigation of conspiracy: Cleveland, OH); George E. Corner (public statements); Jacob J. Lohrer (public statements).|
|George E. Corner; Leon Czolgosz [variant spelling below in all but one instance]; Paul Czolgosz [variant spelling below]; Waldeck Czolgosz [variant spelling below]; Jacob J. Lohrer; Jacob Mintz; Thomas Penney; John D. Rockefeller.|
To Buffalo under Watchful Eyes
Czolgasz’s Family Leave Cleveland This Morning.
Father Hopes to Learn Much from His Son.
Paul Czolgasz, the father of the assassin, with
his wife, a son, and possibly his daughter, will leave over the Lake Shore at
8 o’clock this morning for Buffalo. The party will be accompanied by Detective
Jake Mintz, who arranged the trip.
Some time ago Paul Czolgasz called at Mintz’s office and requested that Mintz accompany him when he went to Buffalo, as he feared that his life would be in danger. The old man expressed his contempt for the act of his son. He said that his son should receive the punishment that is his due, and claimed that he was ready and willing to help the government in every way. Any testimony that he can give to clear up the mystery, if any there be, he will give voluntarily, he said. His wife will also appear for the state if necessary, and also the brother and sister, if called. As far as is known the evidence will not be material, but there may be some light thrown on the past life of the culprit that may lead to the exposition of a conspiracy. The father is extremely anxious to do everything in his power to relieve himself of odium, and it may be that his presence will break the prisoner’s silence.
He will try to get his son to tell what led him to commit the terrible act, as he believes that someone instigated the crime. It may be that when the father implores the son to tell all, before they part forever, that the stolid indifference of the assassin will change. The father is paying all of the expenses of the trip and goes voluntarily as a witness for the prosecution. He is fearful, however, that he will be attacked by a mob, and for that reason takes along Detective Mintz for a bodyguard. Mintz himself thinks that the job will be a ticklish one, but will use every effort to protect his clients. Upon the arrival in Buffalo a carriage will be taken and they will drive directly to the office of Prosecutor Penney and further plans will then be decided on. The elder Czolgasz told Mintz of a certain meeting that was held down at the farm in Orange at which there were thirty or forty people present. This outing was in July and Leon was present. Many of these people were strangers to the others of the family, and it is thought there may be something in their presence. The father is firmly convinced that someone induced the son to commit the act and will make every endeavor to discover the identity of the conspirators.
The family will be closely watched while in Buffalo by secret service men.
The Cleveland police finished yesterday the investigation of the latest clew that seemed to connect the assassination of the president at Buffalo with a plot hatched in Cleveland. They are now more than ever convinced that if a plot was behind Leon F. Czolgasz when he committed his terrible crime it was not organized in Cleveland and that neither the members of the murderer’s family or any of the Cleveland Anarchists had anything to do with it.
It was brought to the attention of the detectives Sunday that Waldeck Czolgasz, a brother of Leon, had sent him money at West Seneca, where the assassin then was, a short time before his attack on the president. All the members of the Czolgasz family have stoutly maintained ever since the murder that they had had no communications with Leon since he left Cleveland months ago. The discovery that one of them had responded to Leon’s call for aid seemed to open possibilities of their having been in constant touch with him while he was preparing for his crime. It suggested that the brother who sent the funds might have been acting as agent for Cleveland “Reds” who were behind Leon.
A detective was sent Sunday to interview Waldeck Czolgasz and to make an investigation in Orange township where the family had lived before one member of it went forth on his terrible mission.
After a little questioning Waldeck Czolgasz admitted sending $10 to his brother at West Seneca. The money was sent to Frank Snider. Waldeck said that he received a letter from Leon, asking him to send that amount to Frank Snider and that he supposed that the man was not Leon himself, but someone to whom the latter owed a board bill. He also admit-  ted having received a letter from Leon from Ft. Wayne, Ind.
Leon Czolgasz left Cleveland with the purpose, ostensibly at least, of going west for a change of climate that would better agree with his health than the air in the lake region. The letter from Ft. Wayne reiterated this intention and stated that he was about to go on to Kansas.
Waldeck Czolgasz insists that he had no other letter from his brother until the one asking for the money at West Seneca. No reason was assigned in this letter, he says, for Leon’s change of plan and his presence in the east after he had started for the west. He says that he destroyed the letter from West Seneca, but that he still has somewhere the letter from Ft. Wayne.
Another circumstance apparently startling when at first discovered by the detective, was that some neighbors of the Czolgasz family when they lived in Orange township said that one of the two brothers remarked two years ago that the president would never live out his term; that he would be shot, and in conclusion said, “I would like to serve John D. Rockefeller the same way.” It was also claimed that the two boys were always insisting in conservation with the townspeople on their “socialistic” doctrines. The last fact elicited by the examination was that between the people who made the charges and the Czolgasz family there had been a bitter quarrel.
To probe this matter to the bottom Waldeck Czolgasz was summoned yesterday to the central station and subjected to a session in the sweatbox, lasting nearly all the afternoon. Throughout this trying ordeal he never flinched under the rain of questions and clung to the end to one story that never varied. He told the same story in regard to the letters that he had told to the detective and he denied that he had ever made the remark attributed to him and insisted that his brother had never made such a remark in his hearing. He also explained the bitterness of the row between the family from whom the accusations came and the brothers.
At the close of the examination, which was conducted by Supt. Corner and Capt. Lohrer of the detective department, neither felt that the facts justified the holding in custody of Waldeck and both were more skeptical than before that either he nor any Cleveland Anarchists had a hand in the plotting, if plot there was, of the death of the president.
“Waldeck Czolgasz told a straight story and stuck to it,” said Chief Corner at the close of the examination. “He said that he had no sympathy for Leon, and that his brother should be executed for his crime. He says that he had no communication with his except the two letters after he left Cleveland, and that he believed him to be on his way to Kansas for his health until he received the second letter, and that he sent the money then because he believed Leon to be in serious need of money. He denies that he or his brother ever made the remark attributed to him about the president not living out his term, or that he or Leon would like to shoot Rockefeller. He says that he never heard Leon make such a remark. We can do nothing but accept what he says as the truth, for we have nothing in the way of proof to the contray [sic]. We certainly have no reason for holding the man in custody.”
“Do you still hold your first opinion that the president was not the victim of a plot?” was asked.
“I am as positive as before that he was not the victim of a plot hatched in Cleveland,” was the response. “It looks now as though Czolgasz started west with the intention of going to Kansas for his health as he declared. He must have met with someone out there whose influence was strong enough to turn him back and send him to Buffalo on the errand that ended in the murder of the president. This person or these persons might have met him in Chicago or in some other part of the west.
“There is no denying that we have some pretty bad citizens in Cleveland, but as far as any investigation has gone it has failed to bring to their doors the plot, if there was a plot, of which Czolgasz may have been the tool. No evidence produced yet justifies such a theory.”
Capt. Lohrer was of the same opinion as the chief.
“Waldeck Czolgasz told a straight story and we have to accept it until we can prove something to the contrary,” he said. “I do not think any plot was hatched in Cleveland to murder the president, whatever might have been done somewhere else.”
In the complaint made to the police emphasis was laid on crowds of supposed Anarchists who were alleged to have been weekly visitors at the farm in Orange township while the Czolgasz family lived there. The police say these meetings were peaceful picnics planned by foreign friends of the family who took advantage of the farm to escape from the heated city for a summer holiday.
While the investigation up to this point has failed in the opinion of the police to establish the fact of a plot started in Cleveland yet as a matter of precaution the people who have been under suspicion will undoubtedly be kept under surveillance as long as the crime of Leon Czolgasz and the question of the existence of a plot remains something of a mystery.
One fact that tends to discredit the story told of the Czolgasz boys by their former neighbors in Orange township is in the statement of these people that the brothers preached “Socialistic” doctrines. Leon F. Czolgosz is not a Socialist but an Anarchist and the difference between the two bodies is so wide that they could not be easily confused. Neither of the men would have talked “Socialism,” the police say, if they were Anarchists.