Source: Evening Bulletin
Source type: newspaper
Document type: article
Document title: “Off to Washington”
City of publication: Maysville, Kentucky
Date of publication: 16 September 1901
Volume number: 20
Issue number: 253
|“Off to Washington.” Evening Bulletin 16 Sept. 1901 v20n253: p. 1.|
|McKinley funeral services (Buffalo, NY); William McKinley (remains: condition, treatment, etc.); William McKinley (lying in state: Buffalo, NY); William McKinley (death mask).|
|Theodore Alfred Bingham; John Rutter Brooke; Frédéric Chopin; Marcus Hanna; Charles Edward Locke; Ida McKinley; William McKinley; Benjamin B. Odell, Jr.; Eduard L. A. Pausch; Presley M. Rixey; Theodore Roosevelt; Ansley Wilcox; Mary Rumsey Wilcox.|
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 the Day.
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
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 was closed.
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] McKinley’s features.