The President’s Host
CHARACTER AND CAREER OF JOHN G. MILBURN, WHOSE
HOME SHELTERS THE WOUNDED CHIEF MAGISTRATE.
Buffalo, Sept. 11 (Special).—The
name of John George Milburn, in whose beautiful home the wounded
President is lying, has within the last ten days become known in
every quarter of the globe where there is sympathy or anxiety for
William McKinley. It is something that Mr. Milburn would not have
sought or desired under ordinary circumstances, for he has always
disliked everything that approached parade and notoriety, and has
never put himself in the way of public applause.
For twenty years or more John G. Milburn
has been known as one of the ablest lawyers in the Western part
of the State. In Buffalo he has belonged to that class of men who
do not intrude themselves into public matters, but whose opinions,
when given, count for much—the sort of man whom the newspaper reporters
fly to when the soundest judgment upon the gravest affairs is to
be had. When the business men [sic] of Buffalo decided to build
the Pan-American Exposition it was this sort of man they wanted
at the head of the great undertaking, and they selected John G.
Milburn because he was a giant intellectually, a gentleman always,
and honest beyond the suspicion of any man’s doubt.
By birth he is an Englishman. He was
born in the North of England fifty years ago, and started in life
as a mechanical engineer, a profession in which his father gained
considerable prominence as the builder of the high level bridge
at Berwick-on-Tweed, the Tyne docks at Newcastle, and other works.
But young Milburn had made up his mind early in life that he wanted
to be a lawyer, and, taking hasty [and?] unexpected leave of the
draughting room, he [sailed?] for America in 1869, and soon found
an opportunity to study law in the office of Wakeman & Watson,
at Batavia, N. Y. In 1873, after four years of the most laborious
preparation, he passed the bar examination, but was not permitted
to practise because it was discovered that he had not been in the
country long enough to gain citizenship. His case was taken up by
a number of influential men in the State, and a bill was introduced
in the legislature to waive his alienage and give him the privileges
of full citizenship. The introduction of the bill aroused intense
opposition, and, after a protracted storm of anti-British oratory
in the Senate the measure was passed and became Chapter 7 of the
Laws of 1874. Thus it is that this alien is to-day repaying the
efforts of those who aided in making him a citizen by the tenderest
care of the nation’s chief ruler that human hands could bestow.
In appearance he is a type of the
sturdiest manhood, both physically and intellectually. He is six
feet tall, well proportioned, with broad, regular features and the
impress of character and determination upon every line. His manner
is pleasant and cordial always, with a style of candor and deliberation
that adds much to his force as a speaker, whether in serious argument
or in lighter vein. As a public speaker he has enjoyed great popularity
for years, and is usually chosen for the most conspicuous duties
of this character at all important affairs in Buffalo.
As a lawyer he has for the last fifteen
years been a member of the firm of Rogers, Locke & Milburn,
the leading law firm in Buffalo, and has been retained in most of
the important civil cases in the local courts in the last decade.
He was within the last year retained by the defence to argue the
appeal in the Molineux case, and he made a powerful argument for
his client against David B. Hill, who appeared in the case for the
District Attorney of New-York.
In politics he is an old style Democrat
and supported McKinley each time he was a candidate against William
J. Bryan. But he has never sought or accepted political honors.
There has never been a time in ten years past when John G. Milburn
could not have had almost any honor of a political character that
the city or county could have given, but he seems without ambition
in that direction.
Although a man capable of great achievement
and a hard worker always, yet he has the sublime faculty of taking
life easy, and no matter how many the burdens upon his shoulders,
or how great the mountains of work before him, he never fails to
find time for a pleasant, deliberate word with the man who drops
in upon him. His beautiful home at No. 1,168 Delaware-ave., is a
palace wherein there is ever good fellowship and a hearty welcome
for him who enters. Often it is a workshop of the busiest sort,
but always it is John G. Milburn’s home, and that means it is a
place where whole souled hospitality belongs with the atmosphere.
Nor is he alone the maker of the atmosphere
of hospitality in the Delaware-ave. home. Mrs. Milburn is a woman
of the kindliest disposition, and has much of her husband’s sturdiness
of character. They have three sons, John George, jr. [sic], and
Devereux, who are in Oxford University, England, and Ralph, who
is much younger. The Milburn home is situated in one of the most
delightful sections of Buffalo, on a broad avenue, where the morning
sun and the fresh air from the park reach it unobstructed, and in
all the land the unfortunate President could not have fallen in
a spot where his every need would have been more carefully supplied.
Never but once since his coming to
America has Mr. Milburn had his residence outside of Western New-York.
Shortly after being admitted to the bar he went to Denver, Col.,
where he formed a law partnership with United States Senator Edward
Wolcott, but he did not like the West, and after a year’s residence
in Denver returned to Buffalo, where he has since lived.
Like their father, his sons are big,
manly fellows, and in the last year the newspapers of the United
States have told some gratifying things about the achievements of
the Milburn boys in the athletic contests at old Oxford. The good
work of his boys is a matter of considerable gratification to Mr.
Milburn, and, added to his pride as a father is also the pride that
his boys are Americans, and as such have won their laurels.
John G. Milburn came to America a
poor boy, and the success he has achieved has been due wholly to
his own industry and strength of character. After he had begun to
make some headway as a lawyer in Buffalo he sent for his younger
brother, Joseph, in England, and started him on the road to the
legal profession. But Joseph did not take easily to the law, and,
turning his mind to more serious things, studied for the ministry
and is now a successful pastor of a church in Chicago.