Source: Chicago Sunday Tribune
Source type: newspaper
Document type: article
Document title: “Forced by Mob to Disown Joy”
City of publication: Chicago, Illinois
Date of publication: 15 September 1901
Volume number: 60
Issue number: 258
|“Forced by Mob to Disown Joy.” Chicago Sunday Tribune 15 Sept. 1901 v60n258: part 1, p. 3.|
|Aaron Elliott; William McKinley (death: personal response); McKinley assassination (personal response: prohibitionists, temperance advocates, etc.); McKinley assassination (sympathizers); lawlessness (mob rule: Oregon, IL).|
|Aaron Elliott; William McKinley.|
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 utterances.
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 was advised.
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.