The Last Requiem
All Ohio Joined in Final Tribute to the Lamented
A NATION SHARES THE GRIEF
Canton a Mecca of Mourners Who Wept for the President Slain.
TOMB RECEIVES ITS SACRED TRUST
Weeping Widow’s Last Hours Beside
the Inanimate Form of the Departed
Husband—Flora’s Choicest Gems
Strewn Upon the Bier—Solemn
Pageant Marched from
City of the Living to
the Resting Place
of the Dead.
Canton, O., Sept. 19.—The streets
of Canton were filled early with waving plumes, prancing horses
and densely packed bodies of moving men assembling for the procession
which escorted the remains of the late president from the church
to Westlawn cemetery in the afternoon. All night civic, military,
fraternal, social and commercial organizations from the four quarters
of the compass had been pouring in, and into the seething [?] of
humanity already here the [?] morning trains deposited other thousands.
So fast the trains arrived, that there appeared to be one continuous
string of cars unloading their human freight through the stations
into the congested streets beyond.
The two sections of the train bearing
members of the senate and house of representatives and other government
officials from Washington arrived during the morning.
Thirty special trains in addition
to regular trains had arrived before noon. The biggest crowd in
the history of Canton during the campaign of 1896, estimated at
over 60,000, was far exceeded. The people overflowed the sidewalks
and literally packed the streets from side to side. The greatest
crush, of course, was in East Tuscarawas, the principal thoroughfare,
and North Market street, on which are located the McKinley cottage
and the Harter residence, at which President Roosevelt was stopping.
The awe-stricken crowds upon their arrival moved as if by a common
impulse toward the McKinley cottage, where the remains were lying.
Scenes at the Cottage.
Military guards stationed at the
four corners of the lawn, paced their beats, there was no other
sign of life about the house of death. The window shades were down.
A long border of black which had been put in place after the body
was moved to the house Wednesday night fringed the roof of the porch
from which President McKinley had spoken to delegations from every
state in the union, and where he had met and talked with all the
chieftains of his party. No badge of conventional mourning was on
the door. Instead, there was a simple wreath of palms bisected in
a beautiful band of wide, purple satin ribbon. Sorrowfully the throngs
turned away, the people to take up their positions at the church,
the representatives to seek their places in the imposing procession
which was to follow the remains to the cemetery.
The number of prominent public men
in the city was augmented as every train arrived and the city numbered
among its mourning guests those who are most prominent in every
walk of public life. Among the arrivals were Speaker Henderson and
a number of his colleagues of the house of representatives, including
those who had served in the house with Mr. McKinley; Justice McKenna
of the United States supreme court, who was a member of the ways
and means committee when the McKinley bill was drawn; Sereno Payne,
present chairman of the ways and means committee; the governors
of several states, together with delegates representing states,
cities, chambers of commerce and innumerable civic organizations.
President Roosevelt spent a quiet
morning at the Harter residence. He did not go out to the crowded
street where thousands were gathered, hoping to catch a glimpse
of his face, but took a walk in the spacious grounds of the residence.
While at breakfast Judge Day joined him half an hour and later Secretaries
Root and Hitchcock came in to see him. Many unofficial visitors
left cards of respect, but the president saw very few people, preferring
to remain in retirement. Among those who called were a half score
of his old command of rough riders, several of them in their broad-brimmed
sombreros. The president saw them only for a moment.
Mrs. McKinley’s Condition.
Mrs. McKinley’s condition is exciting
grave apprehension among those caring for her and it is feared that
the dreaded collapse may come at any moment. Since she has returned
to the old home, the full realization of the awful calamity has
come upon her. Wednesday night after the body had been brought from
the court house and deposited in the little front room formerly
used as the president’s library, she pleaded to be allowed to enter
the room and sit beside the casket. Consent was reluctantly granted
and for half an hour the stricken widow sat in the dim light beside
the flower-draped bier. Then she was led away to her room. Through
the morning she wept piteously hour after hour. Owing to her condition
she was able to take no part in any of the final ceremonies, neither
at the church nor coming into the chamber of death when the body
was borne away for the last time. From this time on she will be
guarded with the most solicitous care and quiet, for it is only
in this way that a collapse can be averted.
The face of the dead president was
seen for the last time when it lay in state Wednesday in the court
At 1:20 p. m. the funeral procession
started from the McKinley residence to the church, arriving there
at 1:40. The body of the president was taken into the church at
1:45, and when all who were admitted were seated the services began.