Nation’s Tribute to Its Martyred Chief Executive.
LAST RITES AT WASHINGTON.
Mrs. McKinley Unable to Attend Obsequies in the Capitol.
EX-PRESIDENT CLEVELAND PRESENT.
President Roosevelt a Conspicuous Figure in the Ceremonies—Impressive
Funeral Pageant from White House to the Federal Building. Thousands
Look upon the Features of the Honored Dead for Last Time.
Washington, Sept. 17.—The state funeral
day of the late President McKinley opened as somber as the occasion.
The sky was overcast with dark, slow moving gray clouds, occasional
patters of rain fell, giving way for momentary intervals to gleams
of dull sunshine, and a soft wind barely stirred into relief the
signs of mourning on building fronts that told as well as the subdued
air of the public that it was a day of sorrow.
A portion of the many beautiful floral
tributes sent to the White House were placed about the funeral casket.
Conspicuous among them was a massive cushion floral tribute in the
form of an army badge from the G. A. R. and offerings from the Loyal
Legion and other soldier organizations. Other tributes came from
Mrs. James A. Garfield, widow of another martyred president, Mrs.
Garrett A. Hobart, Secretaries Hay and Hitchcock, General and Mrs.
Miles, Ambassador Porter at Paris, the Argentine, Guatemalian, Costa
Rican and other legations and the municipality of Havana, commissioners
of Porto Rico and many others.
Thursday, that which was mortal of
William McKinley will be committed to earth at Canton with ceremonies
as personal as the national character and interest in its executive
will permit. Today was the occasion when the nation was to pay its
last tribute of respect and admiration at the bier of the dead president.
All the country had sent representatives to testify that the dead
held his place deep in the nation’s heart. Other nations ordered
their diplomatic and military representatives to be present as a
token that they mourned with America in its loss. Ex-President Cleveland
was here to take part in the ceremonies and like President Roosevelt,
paid his tribute first in private at the White House and later at
the public services in the rotunda of the capitol. Many of the states
sent their chief executives and part of their staffs. All branches
of the national government, legislative, executive, judicial and
military were represented. Senator Frye, president pro tem of the
senate, arrived from Maine. With him was Chief Justice Fuller of
the supreme court. David B. Henderson, the last speaker of the house
of representatives attended as the representative of the lower house
of congress, as well as the long time personal friend and associate
of the dead man. Many others were present also of the legislative
and judicial departments. Early the navy had its highest officers
within reach of the city in attendance and all officers within the
limits of the national capital took part under orders directing
them to participate in the services of honor to their late commander-in-chief.
The south sent General Longstreet and other leaders of the Confederacy.
At precisely 9 o’clock, a silent command
was given and the body-bearers silently and reverently raised to
their stalwart shoulders the casket containing the relics of the
illustrious dead. They walked with slow step and as they appeared
in the main door of the White House the Marine band, stationed on
the avenue opposite the mansion, struck up the favorite hymn of
the dead president, “Nearer My God to Thee.”
There was perfect silence throughout
the big mansion and as the last strain of music died away those
in the building lifted their heads, but their eyes were wet.
The second stage of the late president’s
journey toward the waiting grave at Canton was begun a few minutes
after 9 o’clock. As early as an hour previously officers of the
government, civil, military and judicial, began to arrive and many
others whose names are familiar the world over came singly and in
groups to pay their tribute. Several members of the diplomatic corps
in court costume were among the early comers. Former President Cleveland
and former Secretary of War Lamont arrived about 8:30 and were shown
at once to seats in the red parlor. Members of the cabinet began
to arrive soon after and were immediately followed by members of
the senate committee and the members of the United States supreme
court, headed by Chief Justice Fuller in the robes of office.
President Roosevelt arrived at 8:50
o’clock, accompanied by his wife and his sister and went immediately
to the blue parlor, where they were joined by members of the cabinet.
The president wore a frock coat with a band of crepe of the left
Mrs. McKinley arose earlier than usual
to prepare for the ordeal. She had rested quite well during the
night, but her pale face told plainly of her night of sorrow.
Senator Hanna reached the White House
only a short time before the procession was to move. While the men
of note were arriving at the White House the funeral escort under
command of Major General Jahn [sic] R. Brooke was forming
immediately in front of the White House. Besides regular soldiers,
sailors and marines, the escort was made up of a detachment of the
national guard, members of the G. A. R., Loyal Legion and kindred
bodies and civic organizations and representatives of all branches
of the national government and governors of states and their staffs.
The public had been astir early and the streets were crowded with
people. Wire cables strung along the entire route of march from
the White House to the capitol kept it clear for the funeral procession.
As the hearse moved away the mourners
from the White House entered carriages and followed the body to
the capitol, where the funeral services were held.
Mrs. McKinley Unable to Attend.
It was thought early in the morning
that Mrs. McKinley might feel strong enough to attend the services
there, but it was finally decided that it would be imprudent to
tax her vitality more than was absolutely necessary and so she concluded
to remain in her room under the immediate care of Dr. Rixey, Mrs.
Barber, her sister and her niece, Miss Barber.
Slowly down the White House driveway
through a drizzling rain, the solemn cortege wound its way to the
gate leading to the avenue and halted. Then with a grand, solemn
swing, the artillery band began the “Dead March from Saul,” a bugle
blast to “march” and the head of the procession was moving on its
way to the capitol. The casket in a black covered hearse and drawn
by six coal black horses, caparisoned in black net with trailing
tassels, and a stalwart groom at the head of each, moved down through
the gateway and came to a stand alongside of the moving procession.
Major General John R. Booke, mounted,
was at the head of the line. Behind him came his aides, the artillery
band, a squadron of cavalry with red and white guidons, a battery
of field artillery, a company of engineers, two battalions of coast
artillery and a detachment of the hospital corps. Then came the
naval contingent of the first section, headed by the marine band,
followed by a battalion of marines and one of sailors from the North
Atlantic squadron, very picturesque and strong. As the national
guard of the department of Colombia [sic] brought up the
rear of the first section of the parade, the civic section of the
procession marched into line. It was under command of General Henry
V. Boynton, as chief marshal and comprised detachments from the
military order of the Loyal Legion, the Army and Navy union, the
Union Veterans’ Legion, the Spanish war veterans and the G. A. R.
As these veterans of the civil war passed the waiting hearse wheeled
into line, the guards of honor from the army and navy took up positions
on either side of the hearse and the funeral cortege proper took
its appointed place behind a delegation of the Grand Army of the
Republic. Close behind the hearse came a carriage in which were
seated ex-President Grover Cleveland, Rear Admiral Robley D. Evans
and General John M. Wilson. In a carriage drawn by four black horses
coming next were President Roosevelt, Mrs. Roosevelt and Commander
W. S. Cowles, the president’s brother-in-law. Then followed a line
of carriages bearing all the members of the cabinet, a number of
ex-members and behind them the diplomatic corps. Solemnly the funeral
party proceeded past the treasury building and into the broad sweep
of Pennsylvania avenue amid profound silence that was awful to those
who only six months ago had witnessed the enthusiastic plaudits
which greeted the dead man as he made the same march to assume for
the second time the honors and burdens of the presidential office.
The artillery band played a dirge
as it led the way down the avenue. All the military organizations
carried arms but with colors draped and furled. The crowds were
silent, all was sad, mournful and impressive. The people stood with
heads uncovered and many bowed as the hearse passed along, with
a gentle rain falling.
After the carriages in which were
diplomats, followed a long line of others containing the justices
of the supreme court, the senate and house committees appointed
to attend the funeral, the local judiciary, the assistant secretaries
of the several departments, members of the various government commissions
and official representatives of the insular governments. The remainder
of the procession was composed of a large representation of local
bodies of Knights Tempars [sic], over 1,000 members of the
Grand Army of the Republic, the United Confederate Veterans of the
City of Washington and Alexandria, Va., the various religious and
patriotic societies, including the Sons of the American Revolution,
secret societies and labor organizations of the city. Scattered
here and there at intervals were representatives of out of town
organizations, including the Republican club of New York city, the
New York Italian chamber of commerce and of the New York board of
trade and transportation, the New York Democratic Honest Money league
and the Southern Manufacturers club of Charlotte, N. C.
The military order of the Loyal Legion
of which President McKinley was a member, with representation from
the New York and Pennsylvania commanderies formed a conspicuous
part in this portion of the procession, as did the Knights Templars
of this city and of Alexandria, Va., and a battalion of the Uniformed
Rank, K. of P.
The full force of letter carriers
of Washington, each with a band of black crepe around his arm, walked
to the solemn tread of the dirge. The banners of all organizations
were furled and draped with black and all the marching civilians
wore mourning badges and white gloves. Fife and drum corps and bands
rendered at frequent intervals along the route the president’s favorite
hymn, “Nearer My God to Thee.” The procession occupied one hour
and a half in passing a given point.
For hours before the arrival of the
funeral cortege at the east front of the capitol an impenetrable
cordon of people had massed along the walk and areas fronting the
plaza. Thousands upon thousands had gathered here to pay their last
tribute of respect and love to the memory of the dead.
At 10:12 o’clock the head of the procession
arrived at the north of the capitol plaza, but instead of swinging
directly into the plaza and passing in front of the capitol as is
usually done on the occasion of presidential inaugurations, the
military contingent passed eastward on B street, thence south on
First street east. Headed by Major General John R. Brooke and staff
and the Fifth artillery corps band, the troops swept around to the
south end of the plaza and then marched to the positions fronting
the main entrance to the capitol. As soon as they had been formed
at rest, the artillery band on the left and the Marine band on the
right of the entrance, the funeral cortege with its guard of honor
entered the plaza from the north. As the hearse halted in front
of the main staircase, the troops responding to almost whispered
commands, presented arms. The guard of honor ascended the steps,
the naval officers on the right and the army officers on the left,
forming a corden [sic] on each side, just within the ranks
of the artillerymen, seamen and marines. As the eight sturdy body-bearers,
four from the army and four from the navy drew the flag-draped casket
from the hearse the bands again played “Nearer My God to Thee.”
With careful and solemn tread the body-bearers began the ascent
of the staircase with their precious burden and tenderly bore it
to the catafalque.