On the Mournful Way
Tolling Bells and Reverent Thousands Along the Route.
Olean, N. Y., Sept. 16.—(On Board
the Funeral Train.)—The funeral train bearing the body of the martyred
president started on its journey to the national capital at 8:34
this morning. Only the engines and the observation car were shrouded
in black. The other cars were undraped. Behind the drawn blinds
were Mrs. McKinley, President Roosevelt, the cabinet and other high
dignitaries of the government.
The casket of the president, completely
covered with a beautiful silk flag, lay on a raised bier in the
observation car. Two sheaves of wheat were crossed above the breast.
A white dove with outstretched wings seemed to be rising from the
head of the casket. It was part of an exquisite floral piece in
which red and white buds pictured the American flag and the French
colors, a tribute from a Franco-American society. Standing at the
foot of the casket was a soldier of the United States army uniformed
and accoutered with gun at order arms. At the head a sailor of the
navy stood at attention, cutlass at shoulder. The lid of the casket
was closed. Just off from the apartment in a curtained niche, Lieutenant
Ebroule of the army and Lieutenant Hamlin of the navy, remained
on duty, while Colonel Bingham was in general charge of the car.
The other apartment of the car was
for the moment a barracks, with guns stacked in the sections, cutlasses
on the seats and the reserve of soldiers and sailors awaiting their
detail at the bier of the dead chief. Two narrow overhanging viaducts
under which the train passed as it drew slowly out of the station,
bent beneath the weight of crowded humanity packed there by the
pressure of the tide of people who filled all the adjoining streets.
The windows and roofs of the houses and the roofs of the car in
the yards were black with people, all uncovered.
When the train had cleared the city
the people were still there, standing at the cross roads [sic] and
in the fields. It ran literally between two lines of people. Farmers
from the surrounding country had driven through the dark hours of
the night to be at the side of the track where they could pay their
last tribute of respect.
At East Aurora, the first town through
which the train passed, the inhabitants had been augmented by thousands
from the surrounding country. The country schools along the way
let out, and the children the president loved so well in life were
there to see his dead body pass. The train slowed down at every
station to allow the people lined up on either side to get a better
view of the flag-covered casket. The population of the little towns
along the way like Holland, Arcade, Machias Junction, Franklinville
and Hillsdale [sic] had tripled and quadrupled. The towns seemed
suddenly grown into cities. As the train slowed up the mourners
behind the curtained windows of the train could hear the tolling
The funeral train passed here at 10:29.
Three thousand people were gathered at the Pennsylvania station.
Mrs. McKinley Rests.
Port Allegheny [sic], Pa., Sept.
16.—Mrs. McKinley was prevailed upon to lie down soon after the
start was made. There were no flowers in the apartment set aside
for her use, and nothing to recall to her mind the mournful mission
on which the train was speeding. President Roosevelt was quartered
in a drawing-room in the car Hungary with Secretary Loeb. He busied
himself with letters and telegrams and with the innumerable questions
which required immediate answers.
The members of the cabinet individually
cared for the more pressing business requiring their attention.
Secretary Root was occupied for an hour dispatching orders in connection
with the assembling of troops at Washington and other points for
the ceremonies soon to occur. The cabinet officers joined President
Roosevelt from time to time, but there was nothing in the nature
of a concerted meeting.
Major-General Brooke, in fatigue uniform,
with a band of crepe about his sleeve, conferred occasionally with
the secretary of war and with him determined upon the military requirements
of the occasion.
Up the Mountains.
Renovo, Pa., Sept. 16, (on Board
Funeral Train).—Two engines were used to pull the heavy train up
the mountains. After leaving Olean the train descended into the
valley of the Susquehanna. At Emporium Junction one of the engines
was taken off. The route continued down the beautiful valley of
the Susquehanna as far as Harrisburg.
At the little town of Driftwood, which
was reached at 12:30 the entire population of the town was massed
behind a little band of Grand Army veterans who had planted a furled
crape-trimmed flag in front of them. Renovo was reached at 1:05
p. m. Here the train crews and engines were changed.
Williamsport, Pa., Sept. 16.—(On
board funeral train).—At Renovo ropes had been stretched to keep
back the crowds which surged through the neighboring streets. A
big flag, with President McKinley’s picture framed in crape, was
strung from corner to corner of the station, and in front of it
were hundreds of school children, their hats in their hands and
their little faces grave. This was the terminus of one of the railroad
divisions, and the train hands were all lined up with bared heads.
Some of those who traveled with President McKinley to California
last spring recalled how often, when train crews were changed on
that trip, President McKinley had sent for the trainmen to express
his thanks personally.
After leaving Renovo the train passed
through a more thickly populated country and the crowds grew denser.
Half-masted flags were on every schoolhouse and the bells of the
churches tolled dolefully as the funeral train sped by.
President Roosevelt lunched in the
dining car of the train with Secretary Root at 1:30. The members
of the cabinet and other distinguished personages aboard the train
had preceded him into the diner. Mrs. McKinley and her immediate
party remained in the car Olympia, which was provided with its own
special dining car service.