Forced by Mob to Disown Joy
Old Soldier Made to Retract Expression of Pleasure
over Death of President McKinley.
Surrounded by a crowd of indignant
citizens, some of whom carried ropes and threatened lynching, Aaron
Elliott, an old union soldier and a pensioner, was dragged from
his home to the band stand in Courthouse square at Oregon, Ill.,
last night, and made to apologize for expressions of pleasure over
the death of President McKinley.
Elliott’s age alone probably saved
him from more severe treatment at the hands of the mob. A place
had been selected from which originally it had been intended to
hang him. Advice of some of the leaders prevailed, however, and
the man was taken to the stand where, on bended knees and in the
presence of 1,000 people, he publicly asked forgiveness for his
When the news of the President’s death
was received it is said that Elliott declared:
“I am glad of it, for it will end
the liquor traffic.”
His language was reported to others,
and, as it spread among the citizens of the town, indignation increased.
The climax was reached when a body of young men went to Elliott’s
house, took him from the building, and carried him to the crowd
which was waiting near by. The old man was frightened, and pleaded
so earnestly with his captors the change in method of punishment
Begs to Be Forgiven.
When Elliott reached the band stand
and saw the ropes which some of the men displayed it is reported
he almost collapsed from fear. After it had been made clear to him
that nothing further than an apology was demanded, he quickly dropped
to his knees.
“O, Father above,” he cried, with
uplifted hands, and voice trembling from fright, “forgive me for
what I said. Forgive these people for bringing me here. I did not
mean to say the words, and did not mean to have them taken as my
sentiments. I am sorry.”
This satisfied the crowd, and the
man was told to go home and be warned by his experience.
Elliott has lived at Oregon nearly
twenty-five years. He has a wife and two grown daughters, one of
the latter married and a resident of the town. He is a member of
the local Grand Army post. He is known among the residents of the
town as a “prohibition crank,” and his zeal in that cause is believed
to have prompted his inconsiderate remarks.
Big Pension Allowance.
What irritated his neighbors more
was the fact that Elliott a few years ago received about $2,000
in back pension from the government. With this he is said to have
acquired the property he owns. Further, he receives a monthly pension
of $24. That the beneficiary of such generosity on the part of the
government should seem to rejoice over the assassination of the
nation’s Executive was too much for the Oregon populace, and its
resentment was shown in the work of last night.