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Source: Chicago Sunday Tribune
Source type: newspaper
Document type: article
Document title: “Czolgosz Says He Had No Aid”
Author(s): anonymous
City of publication: Chicago, Illinois
Date of publication: 8 September 1901
Volume number: 60
Issue number: 251
Part/Section: 1
Pagination: 1, 4

“Czolgosz Says He Had No Aid.” Chicago Sunday Tribune 8 Sept. 1901 v60n251: part 1, pp. 1, 4.
full text
McKinley assassination (investigation: secrecy); Leon Czolgosz (incarceration: Buffalo, NY); Leon Czolgosz; Walter Nowak; Walter Nowak (public statements); Leon Czolgosz (friends, acquaintances, coworkers, etc.); Leon Czolgosz (confession); McKinley assassination (Czolgosz account); Czolgosz family; Katherine Metzfaltr Czolgosz (public statements); Leon Czolgosz (connection with anarchists); Anton Zwolinski (public statements); Leon Czolgosz (correspondence); McKinley assassination (investigation of conspiracy); Knights of the Golden Eagle; Benedict Rosinski (public statements); Frank Halser (public statements); Leon Czolgosz (family background); Andrew Czolgosz; Jacob Czolgosz.
Named persons
Edwin B. Babbitt; William I. Buchanan; George Coonish; Andrew Czolgosz; Jacob Czolgosz; John Czolgosz; Katherine Metzfaltr Czolgosz; Leon Czolgosz; Michael Czolgosz (brother); Paul Czolgosz; George F. Foster; James A. Garfield; John Ginder; Emma Goldman; Frank Halser; David Jones; William McKinley; Valentine Misgalski; John Nowak; Walter Nowak; Thomas Penney [misspelled below]; Elihu Root; Benedict Rosinski; Anton Zwolinski.
The identity of Vladiolan (below) cannot be determined. Possibly it is an erroneous reference to Waldeck Czolgosz.

The article, on page 1, is accompanied by an editorial cartoon and an illustration. The former is titled “The Red Peril: Its Remedy.” The latter is titled “Czolgosz, Who Shot the President” and is credited as being “from a sketch by a Buffalo artist.”

At the head of the article on page 4, the article’s title is reprinted in full, along with the following subheads, which vary somewhat from those found at the beginning of the article on page 1:

Anarchist, Proud of His Deed, Declares No One Helped Him Plan It.
Those Who Knew Man State He Must Have Been Tool of Some Organization.


Czolgosz Says He Had No Aid


Anarchist, Proud of Shooting President, Declares He Alone Planned the Deed.
Those Who Knew Man Think Some Organization Made Him the Tool to Carry Out Well Laid Plans.

     Buffalo, N. Y., Sept. 7.—[Special.]—Under the instructions of Secretary Root both the District Attorney and the Chief of Police have adopted a policy of excluding from the public as far as possible all information concerning the creature down in the dungeon of police headquarters who is the cause of all this great affliction.
     In taking this course Secretary Root seems intuitively to have grasped the character of the assassin and to have hit upon the one thing that would cause him the most chagrin.
     Czolgosz is proud of his deed. He claims it as his own. Today he admitted he had frequently talked of killing a ruler to his friends, but he declares there was no plot to kill President McKinley, and that he alone planned and executed the deed.
     So far as can be ascertained Czolgosz is of a piece with all the Anarchist type of murderers. His one overmastering trait is vanity. He is just the kind of vermin the Anarchist master spirits use as tools for their crimes. Like all of them, he is a coward at heart.
     When he had fired his two treacherous shots, when the deed his crazy egotism had nerved him up to do was over, and, for the moment, his own life seemed in danger, her was white with terror and trembling like so much gelatine.

Czolgosz Poses as Hero.

     How the Anarchists who were back of him—for there are few who believe his story that the inspiration was his own—must have worked upon such a craven to get him up to the murdering point only they who did it can know. But their leverage was in the same inordinate vanity which, now that the danger of being lynched is over, is enabling him to pose in the rôle of a hero and a martyr.
     He was hardly well within the prison walls and there safe from mob violence before his conceit began to bring back his nerve. He was quite himself, although rather badly battered from the hands of those who first fell upon him. When he went to bed the two policemen, who watched over him all night to see that he made no attempt to kill himself, report that he slept fairly well until daylight this morning. The new day brought with it to him the conviction that he was one of the great ones of the earth. He had endless satisfaction in his thought that all the world was talking of him. It pleased him greatly when he was summoned to have his photograph taken for the rogues’ gallery. He posed for the camera in heroic attitude, with his head thrown back and his eyes turned upward in the approved style of the martyr. Two pictures of him were taken, one in profile and the other a full face.

Description of the Man.

     The utmost precautions were taken to prevent anybody from getting a glimpse of him on his way from his cell in the basement of police headquarters to the photograph gallery on the top floor. The halls were cleared and policemen were lined up on each side of them and through this lane of bluecoats Czolgosz was marched. He walked with a firm step and seemed calm and composed. He is a Pole of the whey-faced, rather wall-eyed type, with a narrow forehead and thick hair, light brown in color, and rather wavy.
     Czolgosz is evidently quite proud of his hair and has it trained to stand upright from his low brow in a semi-pompadour style. He is rather small in person and slight, but is not badly built. The only bodily traces he bore of yesterday’s rough handling were a cut and swollen lip and scratched nose, where the detective’s heavy fist fell upon him, driven home with all the vigor of the officer’s first furious transport of rage, when the miserable little wretch was dragged to his feet before him.
     Besides this all traces of the collar and necktie the assassin had worn were gone and his shirt was torn open at the collar. In this way he was photographed, and no doubt it would be a source of anguish to him that Secretary Root had requested that none of the photographs be made public, a request, however, which probably came too late.
     The publication of their pictures throughout the world is most of the Anarchist murderers’ chief source of delight.
     Not long after being photographed Czolgosz was taken to the Chief of Police’s private room, where he was again closely questioned. Mr. Buchanan, the director in chief of the exposition, Officer Foster, the Chief of Police, and District Attorney Penny were there.

Identified by Former Friend.

     One Walter Nowak, a Pole who lives in Cleveland, came to headquarters while this examination was in progress. He felt sure he knew the assassin as soon as he read about him and about his crime in this morning’s paper. He called to see if his guess as to the man’s identity was correct. He was ushered into the Chief’s private office and there he and Czolgosz at once recognized each other. Czolgosz reached out his hand, but Nowak declined to take it.

Says Plan Was His Own.

     Nowak accused the assassin of being the agent of other persons. This Czolgosz always has denied, and to Nowak he denied it again. After coming out of the room Nowak, who is a frank, intelligent fellow, speaking good English, freely told all he knew about the man.
     “I first met him in Cleveland,” he said. “He has a father and seven brothers living there. He and I belonged to the same society. It was purely a social organization at first, but it soon developed into a rankly radical socialistic affair. Czolgosz and all his family were of this kind, and Czolgosz in particular, although he said little.
     “There were twenty-two in all, and they met around in each other’s houses and talked anarchy. I left the concern on account of its extreme views, and they were angry at me because I would not print their incendiary tirade in the Polish newspaper with which I was connected.”
     “I am sure that Czolgosz had associates in his crime. He does not know enough to go ahead and plan it all himself.”

Gives Names of Other Anarchists.

     Nowak gave the police the names of other members of the Anarchist society to which Czolgosz belonged in Cleveland.
     District Attorney Penny said after the examination of the assassination that not one word of what had taken place would be made public, nor would the full signed confession of the prisoner be given out. Then the District Attorney repeated the request of Secretary Root that the affair be treated in as conservative a manner as possible, and particularly that the assassin be not permitted to get before the public in the attitude of the heroic martyr that he was evidently trying to assume.
     The prisoner will not be arraigned until there is more definite knowledge as to the probable outcome of the President’s injuries, and that probably will not be for several days. In the meantime the prisoner will be kept down in the basement cell of police headquarters. He will be carefully guarded to prevent his attempting to do himself an injury, and nobody save officials will be permitted to see him.

Czolgosz Tells of Career.

     Czolgosz says his parents came from Russian Poland, and that he was born in Detroit twenty-six years ago. He received some education in the common schools of that city, but left school and went to work when a boy as a blacksmith’s apprentice. Later he went to work at Cleveland and then went to Chicago.

Became Anarchist in Chicago.

     While in Chicago he became interested in the Socialist movement. When he went back to Cleveland his interest in the movement increased. He read all the Socialist literature he could lay his hands on, and finally began to take part in Socialistic matters. In time he became fairly well known in Chicago, Cleveland, and Detroit, not only as a Socialist, but as an Anarchist of the most bitter type.
     After returning to Cleveland from Chicago he went to work in the wire mills in Newburg, a suburb of Cleveland. He says he was working there up to the day he started for Buffalo, eight days ago, thus contradicting letters written by him from points in New York.
     About two weeks ago Czolgosz attended a meeting of Socialists in Cleveland, at which a lecture was given by Emma Goldman, the woman whose anarchistic doctrines have made her notorious all over the country. The extermination of rulers of people is part of her creed.
     It was this lecture by a woman, given in the City of Cleveland, the metropolis of the State in which is the President’s home, that instilled in the heart of the Pole the poison of assassination. He went back to his lodging from the lecture with fever in his brain. His mind was filled with the preaching of this woman. The doctrine that rulers had no right to live was burned into his soul. He awoke in the morning with the lecture of Emma Goldman running through his mind.

Prepares to Go to Buffalo.

     A few days afterward he read in a Chicago paper that President McKinley was to visit the Pan-American Exposition and to remain in Buffalo for several days. The lecture of Emma Goldman and the projected visit of the President to Buffalo were linked in his every thought.
     Eight days ago he packed a small telescope valise with a few of his belongings and took an early train for Buffalo. At that time there was no well formed purpose in his mind. The plot to murder had not crystallized, but the thought that in Buffalo he would be able, perhaps, to reach the President’s side was what led him to start for the East, and with it was the dim conviction that his mission was one of blood.

Asks as to President’s Visit.

     Upon arriving in Buffalo he went at once to John Nowak’s hotel at 1078 Broadway. He went there because he knew Nowak was a Pole. He told Nowak he had come to see the exposition, and that his stay would be indefinite. He inquired of Nowak about the visit of the President, when he would arrive, how long he would be in the city, what he was to do here, and whether the people would be able to see much of him. Nowak told him what the plans were.
     The next day Czolgosz went to the exposition. He went there on the following day, and the day following. The idea that he might kill the President when he came was in his mind, but the purpose was but half formed. At that time it might have been possible to have diverted his mind from the thought of such a mission. But he was alone in the city. He had no friends here. There was nothing to check the fever burning deeper and deeper into his mind.

Determines to Kill President.

     On Wednesday morning, the day of the President’s arrival, Czolgosz had his mind made up. His mission to Buffalo was clear to him then. He determined to shoot the President. The first thing he did was to buy a revolver. With the consciousness that his work would have to be done quickly and must be effective, he secured a revolver of the self-acting type. It occurred to him that he might have to shoot the President more than once, and he knew that there could be no delay. He loaded his revolver, placed it in the side pocket of his sack coat, where he could reach it quickly and without attracting attention, and went to the exposition.
     He arrived on the grounds shortly before noon. He knew the President would not arrive before the early evening. He had read the papers carefully and knew every detail of the plans. But he was anxious to be on the scene where the assassination was to be committed. He remained at the exposition all day.

Waits for His Victim.

     In the afternoon he took up his position close to the railroad gate. He knew the President would enter the grounds that way. After a time other people began to assemble there until there was a crowd that hedged him in on all sides. He came to the conclusion that the place for him to be was outside of the railroad station, close to the tracks.
     He feared that inside the grounds the crush might be so great that he would be brushed aside and prevented from reaching the President. He tried to pass through the gate to the station but he was too late. Guards had just closed the exit. The President was to arrive soon, and the police did not desire to have the station crowded, so they pushed Czolgosz back into the crowd.
     He was in the forefront of the throng when the President came through the gate. The exhibition of tenderness and affection for his wife which the President unconsciously gave her as he led her through the entrance thrilled every one in the throng but Czolgosz. He alone felt no pity for the pale, sweet-faced, suffering woman. He pressed forward with the rest of the crowd as the President approached the carriage. He was gripping the weapon in his pocket in his right hand. [1][4]
     Several times, as the figure of the Chief Executive came into full view as the guards drew aside, the impulse to rush forward and shoot took possession of him, but each time he changed his mind. He feared that he would be discovered before he could reach the President. He was afraid that the glint of the revolver, if he drew it from his pocket, might attract the attention of a detective or a soldier or a citizen before he could put his plan into execution and in that event the assassin knew that all hope of killing the President would be over. He saw the President enter the carriage and drive away. He followed, but the crowd closed in front of him and held him back.

Returns to Do Deed.

     The next morning he was at the exposition early. He took up his position close to the stand beneath the Pylon of Liberty, where the President was to speak. When the time came for the President to arrive the guards pushed him back. He saw the President arrive and mount to the stand. He stood there in the front row of the hurrahing people, mute, with a single thought in his mind.
     He heard Mr. McKinley speak. He reckoned up the chances in his mind of stealing closer and shooting down the President where he stood. Once he fully determined to make the attempt, but just then a stalwart guard appeared in front of him. He concluded to wait a better opportunity. After the address he was among those who attempted to crowd up to the President’s carriage. One of the detectives caught him by the shoulder and shoved him back into the crowd.
     He saw the President drive away and followed. He tried to pass through the entrance after the President, but the guards halted him and sent him away. He entered the stadium by another entrance, but was not permitted to get within reach of the President.

Third Day of Waiting.

     Yesterday morning he was at the exposition again and was in the crowd at the railroad gate when the President arrived at that point after crossing the grounds from the Lincoln Park entrance. But with the rest of the crowd he was driven back when the President’s carriage arrived. He saw the President pass through the gate to the special train which was to take him to the falls.
     Czolgosz waited for the President’s return. In the afternoon he went to the Temple of Music and was one of the first of the throng to enter. He crowded well forward, as close to the stage as possible. He was there when the President entered through the side door. He was one of the first to hurry forward when the President took his position and prepared to shake hands with the people.

Is Successful at Last.

     Czolgosz had his revolver gripped in his right hand, and about both the hand and the revolver was wrapped a handkerchief. He held the weapon to his breast, so that any one who noticed him might suppose that the hand was injured.
     He reached the President finally. He did not look into the President’s face. He extended his left hand, pressed the revolver against the President’s breast with his right hand, and fired. He fired twice and would have fired again and again but for the terrific blow that drove him back.
     That was all there was to his story.
     “Did you mean to kill the President?” asked the District Attorney.
     “I did,” was the reply.

Question of Jurisdiction.

     There was a brief argument today between Secretary Root and District Attorney Penny as to the jurisdiction over the criminal. Secretary Root was of the impression that after the Garfield assassination an act was passed giving the United States government jurisdiction in similar cases. District Attorney Penny, while expressing his entire willingness to make any concession desirable to the federal government, was yet of the impression that no such provisions of the law existed, and an examination of the books revealed that he was right. As the case now stands the assassin is simply locked up, with no formal charge appearing against him.

Family Found in Cleveland.

     Cleveland, O., Sept., 7.—[Special.]—Czolgosz, the would-be assassin, is the son of Paul Czolgosz, who now lives at 306 Fleet street, this city, having moved here from Warrensburg, O., in search of work. Other members of the family are John, who lives at home with his father and stepmother; Mike, a soldier now serving in the Philippines; Vladiolan, who is on his father’s farm, located on the Chagrin Falls Suburban line; and Jacob, of Marcelline avenue. There are two uncles living on Hosmer street.
     The family is Polish and are evidently poor.

Stepmother Talks of Man.

     The stepmother cannot speak English, but gave out the following interview through the medium of an interpreter. She said:
     “Leon left home sixty days ago. We heard from him a few weeks ago. He was then in Indiana and wrote to us that he was going away, stating that in all probability we would not see him again.”
     The family had not heard from him since. The stepmother denies Leon was a disciple of Emma Goldman or in any way interested in her doctrines. She said he was not interested in such matters and scarcely intelligent enough to understand them. They had always considered the boy partly demented. Up to three years ago he had worked at the Cleveland rolling mill, but had to quit on account of poor health. Since that time he has been idle. While living on the farm near Warrensville his father had not asked Leon to work, having always considered him too weak for manual labor.

Says Boy Was Coward.

     Regarding the shooting of the President, Mrs. Czolgosz said:
     “I can’t believe Leon is the one. He was such a timid boy, so afraid of everything. Why, he was the biggest coward you ever saw in your life.”
     The father did not appear to be deeply concerned over the enormity of his son’s crime, and was calmly stropping a razor with which he had just shaved himself.

Seek Evidences of Plot.

     The police are working on the theory now adopted by the Buffalo police as true, that the plot to kill President McKinley was hatched in Cleveland. Friends and associates of Czolgosz have been brought in by detectives all day and rigidly examined, yet the police declare that, as yet, no plot has been uncovered.
     The investigation disclosed the fact there has been a society of Socialists that has held regular meetings and has denounced the existing form of government.
     An order has been issued for the arrest of Anton Zwolinski, an upholsterer. This man has been quoted as saying Leon Czolgosz was an Anarchist and that his connection with a Cleveland ring of Anarchists was no secret.

Belonged to Anarchist Clubs.

     It has been learned that without a doubt Czolgosz was an Anarchist and was a member of an Anarchist club named “Sila,” which means “force.” The club met at the corner of Tod street and Third avenue, over a saloon which, it is said, Czolgosz once owned. 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 Zwolinski, 2102 Broadway, today. “He was always talking about it and trying to force Anarchists’ principles on every one whom he talked with. He was a great coward, however, and I am surprised 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.”

Employed in Newburg Mill.

     Several years ago Czolgosz was employed in a Newburg mill, where he was known as Fred Nieman. He is a member of Forest City Castle Lodge No. 22 of the Golden Eagles. His former associates say he was a queer 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 last spring, when he was living on a farm with his father near Warrensville, O.

Refers to Buffalo in Letter.

     John Ginder, an employé [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 Czolgosz in July, dated West Seneca, N. Y.
     The letter, which was taken by the police tonight, was written in red ink and contains a strange reference to the fare to Buffalo. It reads as follows:
     “West Seneca, N. Y., July 30, 1901.—John Ginder—Dear Sir and Brother: Inclosed you will find $1 to pay my lodge dues. I paid $1 to Brother George Coonish 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 for some time. THE FARE FROM HERE TO BUFFALO IS $5.15.
     “Hoping this finds you well, as it leaves me, I remain


Lodge Officers See Police.

     Members of the Golden Eagle organization declare that it is purely an insurance institution and that its members in general have no sympathy with the Anarchists or their principles. The officials of the lodge were closeted with the police authorities today, and at the conclusion of the interview the police said they do not believe the members of the organization were in any way connected with the attempt on the life of President McKinley.

Talked Anarchy to Minister.

     The Rev. Benedict Rosinski, pastor of St. Stanislaus’ Church, stated he knew the man. He said Czolgosz had admitted to him that he was an Anarchist. “Four years ago,” said the Rev. Mr. Rosinski, “I asked Czolgosz for a contribution for the church. He surprised me by refusing to give it. I asked him why he would not contribute, and he said 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 he had no religion and that he did [sic] wish to help churches. He said 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.”

Foreman Remembers the Man.

     Foreman Frank Halser of the American Steel and Wire company said today:
     “I know Leon Czolgosz well. Leon at one time was employed as a blacksmith in the Consolidated mill. Later he kept a saloon at the corner of Third avenue and Tod street. Still later he sold out the saloon and lived on the farm with his father. I know Leon was an Anarchist. He attended socialist and Anarchist meetings frequently. He is a man of rather small stature, about 26 years of age. The last time I saw him he had a light brown mustache.”

Once Lived at Alpena.

     Alpena, Mich., Sept. 7.—[Special.]—Leon Czolgosz was born in this county and spent his early life in this city. Although the family was well known and is well remembered, but little is known of Czolgosz, he being only 13 years of age when the family moved to land [sic], nine years ago.
     The family is Polish and was strict in religious observances, but the record does not show that Leon Czolgosz was baptised either here or at Posen, where the family lived a short time before moving to Alpena.
     Czolgosz, the father, was born in the Province of Posen, Krais Schubin, County of Bromberg, Village of Haido, near Barin, and came directly to Alpena County from Germany about thirty years ago. He worked on the docks and was regarded as a peaceful, inoffensive, ignorant, foreigner. The father of Leon Czolgosz raised ten children, of which the would-be assassin is one of the youngest.

Friend Tells of the Family.

     Since leaving Alpena the family has only been heard of a few times, and that indirectly, but they were known to be in Cleveland, where several of the children were living with them. Valentine Misgalski, a prominent and intelligent Pole, and former friend of the Czolgosz family, said tonight that he never saw any evidences of viciousness in the family. He remembers Leon and said there was nothing unusual about him as a boy. He attended the parochial school, was devoted to his church, and remembers him as in every way an ordinary boy.
     Andrew Czolgosz, uncle of the assassin, lives in Metz Township, thirty miles from here, the most of which distance has to made [sic] overland. He was seen this evening. He is unable to talk English and conversation had to be carried on through his sons. This family lives in a thickly populated Polish settlement, where the people are ignorant and not always to be trusted, and inquiries had to be made with great care. These people quarrel and fight among themselves, but at a signal that any one of their members is in danger from any one from the outside, as they call it, a man’s life would be in great danger.
     It was in this settlement that Paul Czolgosz lived for a short time after coming to this country before settling in Alpena. Leon Czolgosz was born either in this settlement or in Alpena in 1880 or 1881.

Asks If Leon Shot President.

     During the conversation with Andrew Czolgosz a significant remark was made by one of the sons. Inquiry was made as to where Paul Czolgosz could be found, and also his son Leon, without giving a reason for the inquiry. The old man said his brother was in Cleveland, that he had heard from him occasionally, but he did not know what had become of Leon. He had kept track of some of the boys, but he denied any knowledge of where Leon was.
     When the interviewer started to return he asked the boys, who talk English well, if they had heard President McKinley was shot. One of them spoke up quickly, “Did Leon shoot him?” He was told there was a report current to that effect, to which the boy made no reply. An effort was made to resume the conversation, but they would answer no questions, nor would they ask any more questions of their father.
     Leon Czolgosz has an aunt living in this city, but she will answer no questions. Czolgosz also has a brother living in the Polish settlement.

Kinsman Draws a Pension.

     Washington, D. C., Sept. 7.—[Special.]—On the rolls of the Pension office appears the name of Jacob F. Czolgosz. A pension of $80 a month is paid to Jacob because of a wound in the right hand and forearm. The wound was received through the explosion of a shell at Sandy Hook in 1899. Czolgosz enlisted from Cleveland, O. (giving his address as 199 Hosmer street), first in Battery M, Sixth Artillery, on Sept. 15, 1898. He was afterward discharged on Jan. 22, 1899, and then re-enlisted in the ordnance branch, in Captain Babbitt’s company, and was serving there when wounded.
     He was born at Alpena, Mich., and was 22 years and 10 months old when he first enlisted. His description is: Height, 5 feet 8½ inches; complexion, fair; light blue eyes; hair, light brown. His present postoffice [sic] address is given at Warrensville, Cuyahoga County, O.



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