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Source: Norfolk Landmark
Source type: newspaper
Document type: article
Document title: “Widespread Gloom”
Author(s): anonymous
City of publication: Norfolk, Virginia
Date of publication: 14 September 1901
Volume number: 53
Issue number: 16
Pagination: 3

“Widespread Gloom.” Norfolk Landmark 14 Sept. 1901 v53n16: p. 3.
full text
William McKinley (death: public response: Norfolk, VA); William McKinley (mourning).
Named persons
William McKinley.


Widespread Gloom


The Sad News of the Passing Away of the Nation’s Chief Executive Was
Received in Sorrowful Silence—Scenes on the Streets and Around the
Bulletin Boards—Fire Bells Tolled.

     When the startling news of the attempted assassination of President McKinley was received in this city one week ago yesterday Norfolk people were at first shocked by the terrible deed of the assassin. Everyone seemed anxious constantly about the Chief Executive’s condition, and not until the attending physicians stated that Mr. McKinley would recover was the anxiety of thousands of people in this city relieved. For several days the people were buoyed up by hopes of the President’s speedy recovery, and not until it was almost certain that Mr. McKinley would recover did the people express in words their anger and the act of the dastardly assassin was denounced. The morning papers yesterday told the people for the first time that a change had taken place, and the President’s condition was serious. This news caused much alarm, and when business men began to arrive at their offices bulletins commenced coming in rapidly and the hopes of thousands of people were soon shattered and a shadow of gloom quickly overspread the city.
     All day long busy people loitered around the bulletin boards and business was almost suspended. In hushed tones, the condition of Mr. McKinley was discussed and each message from Buffalo was scanned with intense interest by the eager watchers whose only wish was that their Chief Executive would recover. The banker, the newsboy, the laborer, and in fact every one discussed the news in tones that showed their feelings more plainly than words could.
     All during the morning and until late in the afternoon the watchers continued until the last sad message was received, which told them that William McKinley was no more.


     Never before has such a pathetic scene been witnessed in Main street, where the news was first made known to Norfolk people on the bulletin boards, and a few seconds later the tolling of bells told the people in a way that was heartrending that another good man had passed away as a result of an assassin’s dastardly work. Many people could not control their feelings, and did not attempt to do so, as almost everyone seemed dazed by the terrible blow that had struck the nation and deprived the American people of their President.


     All over the city the grief of the people was universal. All classes mourned the loss of a man who had during the years he has presided over the destinies of his country been just to all and to whose call to arms many Virginians responded. In the hotel lobbies the sad news was discussed in hushed tones, and everywhere it seemed as if even the street urchins were mourning the loss of their President, as every one silently showed their grief and sorrow in a manner that was painful.
     In the clubs, and in fact everywhere there was an assemblage of people, the memory of the nation’s dead Chief Executive was revered, and nothing but praise in hushed tones of the many good deeds of Mr. McKinley could be heard.
     The crowds continues to stay around the bulletin boards until an early hour this morning, when the sad news was received at —— o’clock.


     The scenes on the streets last evening were simply indescribable around The Landmark’s bulletin board. For hours stood hundreds of men, while across the street in front of the theatre were many ladies who were deeply interested in the President’s welfare, but on account of the late hour they were compelled to leave before the sad news was received in this city at an early hour this morning. All over the city people stood around in groups, and for the first time in quite a while large crowds of people were down town after 1 o’clock in the morning.


     During the day yesterday and last evening the telephones in the newspaper offices were kept continuously ringing, and it is a strange fact that many of the anxious inquirers were ladies, who seemed deeply interested in the President’s condition. After midnight the calls gradually began to diminish and only once in a while would the tinkle of the bells disturb the “man on watch” at the ’phones in the morning newspaper offices.


     The city was thoroughly bulletined by the newspapers, and this somewhat relieved the congestion in Main street, but the street cars had quite a hard time picking their way through the crowds that stood for hours in Main street.


     As soon as the news of the death of President McKinley was received in this city it was immediately transmitted to fire headquarters, and the big bell in the tower of the jail was tolled and this is how the Norfolk people learned that Mr. McKinley was dead.



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