At McKinley’s Funeral.
A Marysville Citizen Tells of Impressions That Will Never Be Effaced.
Canton, made historic by the life
and death of William McKinley is a city of about thirty thousand
inhabitants. It will never look more sombre and pitiful than it
did last Thursday. Nightly black hung almost every where [sic] and
an atmostphere [sic] of bereavement and even agony seemed to hover
over the city. The clouds above were black, too. From the moment
the body of the dear President was started on its last journey for
the home he loved, and where he hoped to spend his latter years,
not a ray of sunshine pierced the gloom. And it was most fitting
so, for sunshine would have seemed a mockery in that sad hour.
There have been gathered larger crowds,
but never I think so large a crowd of heart broken [sic] people.
“It is too bad! It is too bad!” was the most common expression among
the one hundred thousand people that stood with uncovered heads
while the funeral car drawn by six black horses, passed by. But
most of the great mulitude [sic] spoke not a word and the silence
was oppressive. The drums were muffled and the bands were notably
silent. Occasional strains of “Nearer My God to Thee,” “How Firm
a Foundation,” “Lead Kindly Light,” and “Onward Christian Soldiers”
and other favorites of the dead President were wafted in modulated
tones on the chilly air, but most of the march to the cemetery was
made in a silence unknown to large assemblies.
Perhaps the Government was never before
so fully represented at a funeral. The navy officers in their rich
full uniform trimmed in gold cord attracted the most attention,
after President Roosevelt. Admiral Dewey could be designated by
his pictures by almost every body [sic]. General Miles was easily
pointed out a picture of stately military bearing. Senator Hanna’s
sad face was the most familiar one among the Senators and General
Grosvenor among the Congressmen. Hundreds of closed carriages drawn
by the best teams of Northern Ohio, conveyed the distinguished friends
But to my mind no part of the solemn
parade attracted the universal attention and sympathy of the vast
throng as did the unsteady, limping battalion of old soldiers, who
marched as an escort of honor, with bowed and uncovered heads. There
were about five hundred of them, some of them members of the President’s
regiment and all his comrades forty years ago. It was a sad, impressive
sight and the march was too long for them, but their determination
to make the last march with their ideal soldier President and Comrade
nerved their strength and not one dropped out of the ranks.
The National guard [sic] under the
command of Major General Charles Dick honored themselves and the
state by their splendid deportment and service. It would certainly
have been impossible to fittingly hold the funeral service had it
not been for the responsible and untiring work of the military.
They formed a line of guards from the family residence to the cemetery
on both sides of the streets, standing like statuary in blue, and
Union county [sic] may well feel proud of Capt. E. W. Porter’s Co.
E. of Marysville for no company discharged the sacred duty with
more honor. Troop A. of Cleveland, the finest equipped cavalry company
I ever saw, had the post of honor as escort to President Roosevelt.
Gen. Dick and staff were nicely mounted and marched at the head
of a detachment of his old regiment the 8th and part of other regiments,
among them a company or two of colored troups [sic] which show splendid
Many civic organizations marched but
the white plumes of the stately Knights Templar and the neat uniforms
of the Uniform rank K. of P. were the most noticible [sic]. It was
dusk when the last of the procession passed through the cemetery.
The vault where the remains were left
guarded by a detail from the regular Army is built in a knoll in
West Lawn Cemetery and here the immense offerings of flowers were
placed on the grass up the incline on each side of the tomb, with
most beautiful effect. The scene when the body was borne on the
shoulders of the marines and placed for a few moments in front of
the vault, surrounded by President Roosevelt and the great retinue
of Government representatives, with uncovered and bowed heads, will
long be remembered. The short impressive closing service of the
Methodist ritual was rendered and the canons near by [sic], in place
of the usual three volleys, fired three rounds—the honors of war—and
a band of buglers took up that sad refrain of “Lights out,” and
although I have heard it a thousand times it impressed me, and I
think every other listener, as it had never before. And this ended
the last sad rites.
There were several arches trimmed
in midnight darkness, across the principal streets. The one I noticed
most was the one erected by the school children of Canton in front
of their large school building. At the top of the arch was a fine
painting of President McKinley beautifully decorated. On each side
was painted a cross on which rested a crown. On the left hand column
was printed the short sweet words, “He Loved Us” and across on the
other column, “We Loved Him.” A volumn [sic] could not tell the
story better. In all the beautiful tributes paid to the great soldier,
citizen, statesmen [sic], President this, to me, was the most touchingly
eloquent. And there by their arch, on raised seats on the school
house [sic] grounds, sat the children by the thousands watching
their dear friend pass by for the last time.