Czolgosz Says He Had No Aid
Anarchist, Proud of Shooting President, Declares
He Alone Planned the Deed.
POLICE SEEK FOR PLOT.
Those Who Knew Man Think Some Organization Made Him the Tool to
Carry Out Well Laid Plans.
WAITED LONG TO FIRE SHOT.
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
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
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
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
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
Gives Names of Other Anarchists.
Nowak gave the police the names of
other members of the Anarchist society to which Czolgosz belonged
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
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. 
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
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
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
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
Stepmother Talks of Man.
The stepmother cannot speak English,
but gave out the following interview through the medium of an interpreter.
“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
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
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,
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
C. N .”
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
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
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.