Source: Milwaukee Sentinel
Source type: newspaper
Document type: article
Document title: “He Saw the President Fall”
City of publication: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Date of publication: 14 September 1901
Volume number: none
Issue number: 23689
|“He Saw the President Fall.” Milwaukee Sentinel 14 Sept. 1901 n23689: p. 8.|
|John Gilson; McKinley assassination (eyewitnesses); McKinley assassination; McKinley assassination (public response: Buffalo, NY).|
|Leon Czolgosz [in notes]; John Gilson; William McKinley.|
|The article below is accompanied on the same page by a photograph of John Gilson, captioned as follows: “Port Washington (Wis.) Man Who Was Second in Line behind Czolgosz When the Latter Shot the President.”|
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 hand.
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.