Off to Washington
President’s Remains Leave Buffalo on a Special Train.
MYRIADS DISPLAY RESPECT.
Departure Marked by Exercises Both Appropriate and Impressive.
SOLEMN SERVICES HELD SUNDAY.
Milburn Home the Scene of Unutterable Woe and Beautiful Religious
Ceremony—Body in State at the City Hall—Interesting Incidents of
Buffalo, Sept. 16.—The remains of
the late president of the United States were placed on a special
funeral train at 8:30 a. m., and the journey to Washington begun.
The exercises incident to the departure were appropriate and impressive.
Myriads reverently displayed their respect to the memory of the
martyred chief executive this morning and all day Sunday. The features
of the Sabbath were the funeral services at the Milburn home and
later the viewing of the remains by the populace, the body during
the afternoon lying in state at the city hall.
Long before the time set for the funeral
services the vicinity of the Milburn house was astir with preparations.
Long platoons of police officers, mounted and on foot, arrived at
the grounds, and were posted in details along the streets approaching
the house. Major General John R. Brooke, department commander of
the east, who was personally in command of all the forces participating
in the escort, arrived at 10 o’clock.
At 10:30 o’clock the military and
naval detachments took temporary station on West Ferry street, immediately
around the corner from the Milburn house. The naval contingent was
fittingly represented in all branches. Meantime members of the cabinet,
officials high in the government service and near friends of the
martyred president began to fill the walks leading up to the entrance
of the Milburn residence, and with bowed heads they entered the
house. It was just eight minutes after the opening of the service
when a covered barouche drove up to the house bringing President
Roosevelt and Mr. and Mrs. Wilcox, at whose home he is a guest.
The president looked grave as he alighted and turned to assist Mrs.
Wilcox from the carriage. His face did not relax into a smile to
the salutations of those nearest the carriages, but he acknowledged
the greetings silently and with an inclination of the head. Word
passed up the well filled walk that the president had arrived, and
those waiting to gain entrance fell back, making a narrow lane through
which Mr. Roosevelt passed along to the house.
As the president passed within the
house and the services were about to begin the long line of soldiers
and sailors swung in columns of fours into Delaware avenue and formed
in battalion front along the beautiful thoroughfare opposite the
house and immediately facing it. On the extreme left were the regulars,
on the right the sailors and marines, in the center the national
guardsmen. They stood at parade rest, with colors lowered, each
flag wound about its staff and bound with crepe. The front of the
house and the lawns had been cleared by this time and the sweep
of the avenue was now deserted save for the rigid, motionless ranks
across from the house.
The service had already begun when
there was a clatter of hoofs down the avenue, and four high-stepping
black horses came into view drawing the hearse which was to bear
the casket of the dead president. It was a heavy vehicle, without
plumes or any trappings to relieve the dead black. The hearse halted
at the corner to await the conclusion of the services.
With the Dead.
Outside the house there was a half
hour of silence and waiting. Within the house of death was woe unspeakable.
In the drawing room to the right of the hall, as President Roosevelt
entered, the dead chieftain was stretched upon his bier. His head
was to the rising sun. On his face was written the story of the
Christian forbearance with which he had met his martyrdom. Only
the thinness of his face bore mute testimony to the patient suffering
he had endured. He was dressed as he always was in life. The black
frock coat was buttoned across the breast where the first bullet
of the assassin had struck. The black string tie below the standing
collar showed the triangle of white shirt front. The right hand
lay at his side. The left was across his body. He looked as millions
of his countrymen have seen him, save for one thing. The little
badge of the loyal legion, the only decoration he ever wore, was
missing. And those who remarked it spoke of it, and after the body
was taken to the city hall the little badge which he prized through
life was placed again where it had always been.
The body lay in a black casket on
a black bearskin rug. Over the lower limbs was flung the starry
banner he had loved so well. The flowers were few as befitted the
simple nature of the man. Two sentries, one from the sea and one
from the land guarded the remains. The family had taken leave of
their loved one before the others arrived. Mrs. McKinley, the poor,
grief-crushed widow, had been led into the chamber by her physician,
Dr. Rixey, and had sat a while alone with him who had supported
and comforted her through all their years of wedded life. But though
her support was gone she had not broken down. Dry-eyed she gazed
upon him and fondled his face. She did not seem to realize that
he was dead. Then she was led away by Dr. Rixey, and took up her
position at the head of the stairs where she could hear the services.
The relatives, friends and public
associates of the dead president all had opportunity to view the
remains before the service began. The members of the cabinet had
taken their leave before the others arrived. They remained seated
beside their dead chief while the sad procession viewed the body.
Senator Hanna, who had fairly worshipped
his dead friend for years, entered the room at this time, but did
not approach the casket. His face was set like an iron willed man
who would not let down the barriers of his grief. The senator spoke
to no one. His eyes were vacant. He passed through the throng and
seated himself behind Governor Odell, sinking far down into his
chair and resting his head upon his hand. During all the service
that followed he did not stir.
Just before 11 o’clock President
Roosevelt entered, coming into the room from the rear through the
library. After passing into the hall he had made his way around
through the sitting room behind into the library. There was an instantaneous
movement in the room as the president appeared. Every one rose and
all eyes were turned toward the president. He moved forward again
with the tide of the procession to his place at the head of the
line of cabinet officers. When he reached the head of the line of
cabinet officers he faced the casket. Long he gazed, standing immovable
save for a twitching of the muscles of the chin as he labored, with
heavy breath, to repress his emotion.
Before Rev. Charles Edward Locke,
of the Delaware avenue Methodist Episcopal church, began the service,
the signal was given and there welled out from the hall the beautiful
words of “Lead, Kindly Light,” sung by a quartet. It was President
McKinley’s favorite hymn. When the singing ended the clergyman read
from the word of the 15th chapter of the First Corinthians. All
had risen as he began and remained standing throughout the remainder
of the service. Again the voices rose with the words of “Nearer,
My God, to Thee,” the very words President McKinley had repeated
at intervals of consciousness during the day of agony before he
died. As the music died away the pastor spoke again. “Let us pray,”
he said, and every head fell upon its breast. He began his invocation
with a stanza from a hymn sung in the Methodist church. His prayer
was a fervent one.
All present joined in the Lord’s prayer
as the minister repeated it, President’s [sic] Roosevelt’s
voice being audible at the back of the room. The service concluded
with a simple benediction. The funeral director was about to step
forward to place the cover on the casket when suddenly there was
a movement behind Governor Odell. Senator Hanna, who had risen,
saw that the last opportunity to look into the countenance of his
dead friend had come. Pressing forward, in an instant he was at
the side of the casket and bending over and looking down into it.
Almost two minutes passed and then he turned away and the coffin
Colonel Bingham signalled the body
bearers. Four sailors, two infantry sergeants and two artillery
sergeants bore the casket aloft and out of the house. The president,
cabinet and others followed it. Mrs. McKinley and the members of
the family remained. The widow had passed through the ordeal bravely
and without breaking down. It was within a minute or two of 11:30
o’clock when three rolls of a muffled drum told those outside the
house the funeral cortege was about to appear. At the moment the
casket appeared, “Nearer, My God, to Thee,” ascended in subdued
strains from one of the military bands. Tenderly the bearers lowered
the casket from their shoulders and placed it in the hearse. The
notes of Chopin’s funeral dirge succeeded the strains of the hymn.
The soldiers and sailors swung into long columns and took up the
march southward toward the city hall.
At the City Hall.
The casket was lifted from the hearse
to the shoulders of the sailors and marines and was borne into Buffalo’s
official home. Outside there was not a man, so far as could be seen,
who did not stand defying the elements, with hat removed, respecting
his dead president. Guarding the body were a sergeant of artillery
at the head, a marine at the foot; to one side was a sergeant of
infantry, to the other another marine. The casket was immediately
opened its full length. An American flag was thrown across the foot
of the casket, and resting against it were wreaths of roses.
At 12:25 o’clock exactly the police
were notified that the body could be viewed by the people. A minute
later and the first of the large line came through the doors. Solemn
visaged, in silence they moved past the bier to view the face of
the president. Old men and weak women and strong men, children,
leaders of men and laborers, all these classes were represented
in the throng that filed past. All day and evening the people came,
7,000 persons per hour passing the bier.
A death mask of the president’s face
was made Sunday evening. The mask was taken by Eduard L. A. Pausch
of Hartford, Conn. Pausch has modeled the features of many of the
distinguished men who have died in this country in recent years.
The mask is a faithful reproduction of the late President’s [sic]