Canton Has Martyr Dead
Home Town of Wm. McKinley Mourns Departed Statesman.
NEIGHBORS PASS BY THE BIER.
Friends Who Have Known Him So Long View the Body and Casket Is Then
Closed Forever—Final Sad Scene Is Near.
Canton, Sept. 19.—Tenderly and reverently
those who had known William McKinley best yesterday received his
martyred body into their arms. They had forgotten the illustrious
career of the statesman in the loss of a great personal friend who
had grown dearer to them with the passing of the years. They hardly
noticed the president of the United States or his cabinet or the
generals and admirals in their resplendent uniforms. The flag-draped
casket which contained the body of their friend and fellow townsman
held all their thoughts. He had left them two weeks ago in the full
tide of the strength of a glorious manhood, and they had brought
him back dead. Anguish was in the hearts of every man, woman and
child. The entire population of the little city and thousands from
all over Ohio, the full strength of the National guard of the state,
5,000 men in all, the governor, lieutenant governor and a justice
of the supreme court, representing the three branches of the state
government, were at the station to receive the remains.
The whole town was in deep black.
The only house in all this sorrow-stricken city without a touch
of mourning drapery was the old familiar McKinley cottage on North
Market street, to which so many distinguished men of the country
have made pilgrimages in the times that are gone. There was not
even a bow of crepe on the door when the stricken widow was carried
by Abner McKinley and Dr. Rixey into it to the darkened home. Only
the hitching post at the curb in front of the residence had been
swathed in black by the citizens in order that it might conform
to the general scheme of mourning decorations that had been adopted.
People File by Loved Chief.
Sad as was the procession which bore
the body to the court house, where it lay in state during the afternoon,
it could not compare with the infinite sadness of that endless double
line of broken hearted people who streamed steadily through the
dimly lighted corridors from the time the coffin was opened until
it was taken home to the sorrowing widow at nightfall. They stepped
softly lest their footfalls wake their friend from his last long
sleep. Tears came unbidden to wet the bier. Perhaps it was the great
change that had come upon the countenance which moved them more
than the sight of the familiar features. The signs of discoloration
which appeared upon the brow and cheeks Tuesday at the state ceremonial
in the rotunda of the capitol at Washington had deepened. The lips
had become livid. All but two of the lights of the chandelier above
the head were extinguished in order that the change might appear
less noticeable, but every one who viewed the remains remarked the
darkened features, and the ghastly lips. When the body was taken
away thousands were still in line, and the committee in charge of
the arrangements was appealed to to allow a further opportunity
today to view the remains before they were taken to the church.
But this had to be denied to them, and the casket may never be opened
All through the afternoon the crowd
passed the catafalque, approximately at the rate of 100 every minute,
making in the five hours the body lay in state, a total of 30,000
The funeral service will take place
today at 1:30 p. m., at the First Methodist Episcopal church, of
which the dead president was a communicant and a trustee.
They will be brief, by the expressed
wish of the family. Rev. O. B. Milligan, pastor of the First Presbyterian
church, in which President and Mrs. McKinley were married 30 years
ago, will make the opening prayer. Dr. C. E. Manchester, pastor
of the late president’s church, will deliver the only address. A
quartette will sing: “Beautiful Isle of Somewhere,” and another
quartette will render “Lead, Kindly Light.”
An imposing procession consisting
of many of the G. A. R. posts of the state, the National guard,
details of regulars from all branches of the service, fraternal,
social and civic organizations and representatives of commercial
bodies from all over the country, the governors of several states
with their staffs, the house and senate of the United States, the
cabinet and president of the United States, will follow the remains
to Westlawn cemetery, where they will be placed in a receiving vault,
awaiting the time when they will be laid in the grave beside the
two children who were buried years ago.
Railroad facilities seem inadequate
to bring the people who are coming today.
Floral Designs Are Elaborate.
The number and beauty of the floral
tributes which are arriving surpass belief. Flowers are literally
coming by the ton. The hot houses of the country seem to have been
emptied to supply them. The facilities of the little city of Canton
are entirely inadequate to care for the thousands who are here,
much less the other thousands who are on the way. Although the local
committee is doing everything in its power to furnish food and shelter,
many of the officials from Washington were compelled to sleep in
the cars in which they came. The population of Canton is about 31,000,
but it is expected over 100,000 people will be here today.
President Roosevelt and his naval
aide, Captain H. Cowles, are at the residence of Mrs. George Harter
on Market street. A company of Ohio militia guards the house. During
the afternoon the president walked over to the McKinley residence
to inquire after Mrs. McKinley. He was informed that she had stood
the trip from Washington bravely, but in the opinion of the physician
it would not be advisable for her to attempt to attend the services
at the church today. She will therefore remain at her home with
The other cabinet officers and the
generals and admirals completing the guard of honor, are also at
private residences. President Roosevelt and the official party will
start back on the return journey to Washington at 7 o’clock tonight.