Source: Evening Bulletin
Source type: newspaper
Document type: article
Document title: “Solemn Services”
City of publication: Maysville, Kentucky
Date of publication: 18 September 1901
Volume number: 20
Issue number: 255
|“Solemn Services.” Evening Bulletin 18 Sept. 1901 v20n255: p. 1.|
|McKinley funeral services (Washington, DC); McKinley funeral services (Washington, DC: attendees).|
|Mary Barber (Ida McKinley niece); Mary C. Barber (Ida McKinley sister); Henry V. Boynton; John Rutter Brooke [first and last name each misspelled once below]; Grover Cleveland; William S. Cowles; Robley D. Evans; William P. Frye; Melville W. Fuller; Lucretia Garfield; Marcus Hanna; John Hay; David B. Henderson; Ethan A. Hitchcock; Jennie Hobart; Daniel S. Lamont; James Longstreet; Ida McKinley; William McKinley; Mary Sherman Miles; Nelson A. Miles; Horace Porter; Presley M. Rixey; Edith Roosevelt; Theodore Roosevelt; John M. Wilson.|
|The article below is accompanied on the same page by an illustration, captioned as follows: “Catafalque in Capitol Rotunda.”|
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 arm.
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.