The Place of Sepulture of the Dead President
Only for a Short Time Will the Casket Rest in the
Vault at West Lawn.
SITE FOR MONUMENT IS CHOSEN.
Canton, Sept. 18.—On
the crest of a knoll overlooking a pretty lakelet in West Lawn Cemetery,
the ashes of the dead President will rest, one day. Already, Canton
is planning a monument of massiveness and beauty, and its site has
been chosen. For the present, the cloth-covered, copper-lined cedar
casket will be placed in the public receiving vault of the cemetery.
Captain W. S. Williams, a veteran
of the Civil War and a wealthy resident of the town, placed his
family vault at the disposal of those in charge of the funeral.
The offer was declined with expressions of gratitude, because the
crowds could not be conveniently handled there. The receiving vault
is about the size of the chapel at Oak Park Cemetery. It has no
chapel attached. Upon one side is a rack upon which the casings
of the dead are placed. The President’s casket will not be placed
in one of these grooves, but will rest upon a black-draped base
placed in the center.
A force of workmen were busy about
the vault and cemetery, today. They have been working there since
Monday morning. The interior of the vault has been cleansed, polished
and painted. The iron gates before the entrance doors have been
scoured of every trace of rust, and glisten in the sunlight. The
inlaid floor is mirror-like in its smooth surfacing.
Just outside, and to the right, a
canopy of black and white has been raised. Beneath this shelter
the martyr will rest for a moment while the brief service of the
grave is read. Then it will be tenderly lifted and borne within
the walls of the tomb, there to rest until removed to the new monument,
when it will be moved no more.
The cortege will wind its solemn way,
for one and a half miles, over streets so often traveled by Major
and Mrs. McKinley as they went to West Lawn to strew blossoms upon
the graves of their dead children, or to stand beside the mounds
heaped over their parents. Out Tuscarawus [sic], on which the President’s
home church fronts, it will proceed to Harrison, thence, with one
more turning, it will enter the cemetery gates.
Every foot of that route has its reminder
of the martyr. Here is the church in which he took the vows of held
[sic]; here, just a little above, is the church in which he took
te [sic] vows of marriage; here is the house in which his father
lived and died; here are homes of friends he loved.
Here and there, stands have been erected
from which the cotege [sic] may be seen as it passes along. Here
and there is an arch. Everywhere are streamers, festoons and knots
of crepe and smaller bits of white. Everywhere are draped pictures
of the fallen President.
On the line is the great Dueber watch-case
factory. John C. Dueber was a close friend of the President, and
is one of his honorary pallbearers. There will be no stir of life
in those vast shops, for they came to a standstill when the funeral
train rolled in. From top of towers to ground line the facade of
the great building is clothed in black and white. John C. Dueber
must have expended thousands to honor his dead friend.
Every telegraph, telephone and trolley
pole along the route is wrapped in black, with a narrow band of
white winding about the sombre folds. Every building bears the mark
of grief. And it is so out North Market street [sic], where the
McKinley home stands. That home was bought by the Major after he
became Chief Executive, and was intended to be the spot of his retirement
when the stress of hard duty should be over.
Quickly and effectively has Canton
worked in preparation for the funeral. Immediately upon receipt
of the news that all was over, leading men of the place met and
sketched a general plan. General committees were appointed, and
to them the details were confided. How well their labors were performed
is shown today. The change of plans which resulted in the arrival
of the funeral train a day earlier than was expected caused a frantic
acceleration of arrangements, but Canton was still equal to the
Today, when the solemn party came,
it was seen that every contingency had been provided for. There
was no hitch, no awkwardness, no uncertainty. With the precision
of clockwork the plans agreed upon were carried out. The reception
committee, the carriage committee, the entertainment committee,
the decoration committee, he [sic] flower committee, the press committee,
had all in readiness.