Source: Hope Valley Advertiser
Source type: newspaper
Document type: letter to the editor
Document title: “From the Pan-American”
Author(s): Clarke, Elisha P.
City of publication: Hope Valley, Rhode Island
Date of publication: 12 September 1901
Volume number: 26
Issue number: 37
|Clarke, Elisha P. “From the Pan-American.” Hope Valley Advertiser 12 Sept. 1901 v26n37: p. .|
|Elisha P. Clarke; Hattie Tucker Clarke; McKinley assassination (persons present on exposition grounds); William McKinley (at Pan-American Exposition); McKinley assassination; McKinley assassination (public response: Buffalo, NY); McKinley assassination (personal response); presidents (handshaking in public).|
|Hattie Tucker Clarke; Abraham Lincoln; William McKinley.|
|Though Elisha P. Clarke (a.k.a. Mrs. Clarke’s husband) is not specifically named in the newspaper as the letter’s author, it seems most likely to have been written by him since a preceding issue of the Hope Valley Advertiser specifically reports the pair as traveling together on this trip.|
From the Pan-American
Dear Editor: Mrs. Clarke and I left Hope Valley
Wednesday afternoon, the 4th inst., and went to Woonsocket and stayed all night
at my son’s. Thursday morning we left Woonsocket and joined our party, fifty-six
in all, from Providence at 8:30 a. m. We proceeded via Worcester and Albany
to Buffalo. We arrived at this place about midnight, tired [a]nd dirty. We were
fortunate in securing board in a private family, front room, second story, at
Friday we visited the exposition. Our first impressions were very favorable. We went around the grounds and into the buildings somewhat hastily to get the lay of the land prior to a more careful examination.
About 3:30 p. m. word was passed around that President McKinley would be in Music Hall at four o’clock. Mrs. C[l]arke and I hastened to the Esplanade in front of the Music building. [T]his space is said to be large enough to hold 250,000 people. A large crowd was already collecting. We were fortunate enough to obtain a position near the entrance. Promptly at four o’clock the immense crowd was parted by the police, and the President and his suite and escort passed through and into the main entrance of the building. He was rec[e]ived with great demonstrations of enthusiasm—waving of handkerchiefs and hats, hurrahs, etc. He made acknowledgement [sic] by removing his hat and bowing in a genial manner. He looked well and happy. After he had passed into the building a side door was opened for the crowd to enter. Then commenced a mighty rush for the door, the crowd swaying back and forth and pushing so as nearly to jamb the life out of one. We decided not to venture to be smothered by this great mass of humanity, though near the door. We were glad afterwards we did not. Scarcely fifteen minutes had passed when we heard the report of a pistol. The door of entrance was instantly c[l]osed by the police, and the cry went out, “The Pre[s]ident is shot,” and in a moment the people’s voices were hushed, strong men trembled and shook with excitement. Women fainted and went into hysteria. Then cries of lamentation mingled with cries of rage were heard on every side. An ambulance was hurried to the spot and the President was brought out of the building on a stretcher, and we saw him tenderly lifted into it and driven to the hospital. A close carriage was brought and after a time the assassin was rushed out and tumbled into it and driven rapidly away, surrounded on all sides by the military, who [r]an in double quick time to keep pace with the carriage. A general sadness spread over the whole city. This sad incident shows that President McKinley is the best and most loved of all the presidents since Lincoln. Is it not time to call a halt in this custom of requiring the chief magistrate of the United States to hold public receptions, thus becoming an easy mark, exposing him to malignant attacks of the assassin, who represents the scum and dumpings of the whole world?
I have no time to speak of the splendid exhibits, the beautiful illumination of the grounds and buildings at night, the trip to Niagara Falls, the gorge ride around the Canada side, across the river, and back on the New York side, etc.
Today we leave Buffalo for Cleveland, Ohio, to take in the 35th encampment of the G. A. R. Our party will return, leaving Cleveland at five p. m. Saturday and arriving in Providence Sunday evening.