He Saw the President Fall
John Gilson of Port Washington Was But Ten Feet
Away When Shot Was Fired.
PORT WASHINGTON, Wis., Sept. 13.—John
Gilson of this city, proprietor of the Gilson Iron works, was in
attendance at the Pan-American exposition in Buffalo at the time
President McKinley was shot. He was about ten feet from the president
in the line that was passing him, ready to be taken by the hand.
The president seemed to be elevated slightly above the approaching
and passing line, so that when he extended his hand he also made
a slight movement forward with his body and face towards each extended
Suddenly, Mr. Gilson said, he heard
above the noise of the crowd a small report like the discharge of
a pistol. The president, apparently, receded slightly a step or
two; others immediately surrounded him and he seemed for an instant
to be lost to sight. Word went out at once into the line of those
that were approaching and leaving, beyond the president, that the
president was shot.
All lines and order were broken, police
were trying to restore order and push back the crowd which was becoming
dense; this lasted but a brief time. The audience, under the control
of the police, was thinned out. The president was immediately removed.
The assailant could hardly be seen or pointed out for the atention
[sic] which he immediately received from a band of police
hustling him away. The story had been immediately circulated that
the president was not much hurt. That prevented violence from being
summarily used upon their prisoner. Everyone seemed stunned by the
attempt more than by any fatality which would follow it. Threatening
vengeance, the crowd dispersed.
It was later and towards evening when
the dangerous condition of the wound was reported, and the prospect
of a fatal ending, that the great mass of the people in that city
were fully aroused to the situation; every one that expressed themselves
seemed to have considered and taken second thought, and rushed out
and were ready to aid or abet in administering the worst of punishment
to the anarchist, or any of his accomplices. There is no doubt but
that for the law which he had so conspicuously violated, the feelings
of almost every person in Buffalo would have personally countenanced
and a large share of them would have aided in lynching him.
Mr. Gilson says it was the police,
the prison bars and the law so despised by anarchists alone that
saved the man who sought the president’s life.