At the Milburn House
SIMPLE RELIGIOUS SERVICES BESIDE PRESIDENT M’KINLEY’S
Buffalo, Sept. l5.—Simple and sincere
in life, so was the funeral of William McKinley at the Milburn house
to-day. There was no pomp, no harsh stiffness of painful ceremony.
It was a sincere tribute of respect to a great and a good man who
had died with the words “God’s will be done” upon his lips.
Early in the morning the last preparations
for the services at the Milburn house had been made. In the adjacent
streets, where the restrictive lines had been maintained in the
President’s last hours, a closer guard was placed, and the eager
multitude which began pressing forward shortly after daylight was
There were only a few persons at the
house in the early morning, probably not a score in all, and it
was not until after 10 o’clock that those who were to be admitted
began to arrive. The Rev. Dr. Charles Edward Locke, of the Delaware
Avenue Methodist Episcopal Church, was among the first to come to
the house, and in his visit there was something more than the ordinary
interest of one chosen to conduct the last ceremonies on an occasion
of this character. His father had been the pastor of the McKinley
family in Canton many years ago, and when the clergyman entered
the house he felt that it was not the common duty of a clergyman
that he was called upon to perform over the sleeping form of a distinguished
man, but that he was standing in the presence of one whom he had
known in life and whose Christian faith and exalted character were
known to him long before the dead man had become the pride of a
THE COFFIN AND ITS DRAPINGS.
The coffin rested in the drawing
room on the first floor. It was richly draped in black, with the
upper part open, and bearing the simple inscription on a silver
Across the foot of the coffin was
a new silk American flag which fell in graceful folds to the floor.
All about were an abundance of flowers sent from all parts of the
country, with a large wreath of roses resting on the mantel near
the head of the bier. At every door into the drawing room soldiers
were stationed, and no one was permitted to enter.
Shortly after the arrival of Dr. Locke
came the choir from the First Presbyterian Church, of 
Buffalo, who furnished all the music at the ceremony. They sang
only the favorite hymns of the President.
A little after 10 o’clock the members
of the Cabinet arrived, and they were soon followed by Senator Hanna,
who took his place at the foot of the coffin.
Shortly after the arrival of Senator
Hanna, President Roosevelt came in a carriage with Ansley Wilcox,
and as he entered the room all those present arose and remained
standing until he had passed in and halted at the head of the coffin.
President Roosevelt showed signs of the great grief that he felt.
Barely speaking to Secretary Root as he entered the room, he went
quickly to the head of the coffin and for many moments he stood
there looking down into the face of the dead President, with his
jaws set, his face stern and motionless, his arms at his side, and
rigid and dumb as marble. Of the Cabinet Messrs. Knox, Root, Long,
Hitchcock, Wilson and Smith were present, seated in the folding
chairs provided for them near the body.
FITTING RELIGIOUS SERVICES.
At a signal there rose from the hall
the words of “Lead, Kindly Light,” sung by the quartet. It was President
McKinley’s favorite hymn. Every one within sound of the music knew
it, and as the voices swelled through the house half of those in
the room put their faces in their hands to hide their tears. Controller
Dawes leaned against a bookcase and wept. President Roosevelt seemed
to be swaying to and fro, as if his footing were insecure.
When the singing ended Dr. Locke read
from I Corinthians, xv. All had risen as he began and remained standing
throughout the services. “O death, where is thy sting? O grave,
where is thy victory?” repeated the minister. Again the voices rose
with the words, “Nearer, My God, to Thee.” Dr. Locke, who was dressed
in the simple garb of a clergyman of the Methodist church, then
advanced to the head of the coffin. Bowing his head and folding
his hands as he looked down into the face of the dead President,
he said slowly and impressively, “Let us pray.” His prayer was as
“Oh, God, our help in ages past,
Our hope for years to come,
Our shelter from the stormy blast,
And our eternal home.”
We, Thy servants, humbly beseech
Thee for manifestations of Thy favor as we come into Thy presence.
We laud and magnify Thy holy name and praise Thee for all Thy goodness.
Be merciful unto us and bless us, as, stricken with overwhelming
sorrow, we come to Thee. Forgive us for our doubts and fears and
faltering faith, pardon all our sins and shortcomings and help us
to say “Thy will be done.” In this dark night of grief abide with
us till the dawning. Speak to our troubled souls, O God, and give
to us in this hour of unutterable grief the peace and quiet which
Thy presence only can afford. We thank Thee that Thou dost answer
the sobbing sigh of the heart, and dost assure us that if a man
die he shall live again. We praise Thee for Jesus Christ, Thy Son,
our Saviour and Elder Brother; that He came to “bring [life?] and
immortality to light,” and because He [lives?] we shall live also.
We thank Thee that death is victory—that “to die is gain.” Have
mercy upon us in this dispensation of Thy providence. We believe
in Thee, we trust Thee, our God of Love, “the same yesterday, to-day
We thank Thee for the unsullied life
of Thy servant, our martyred President, whom Thou hast taken to
his coronation, and we pray for the final triumph of all the divine
principles of pure character and free government for which he stood
while he lived and which were baptized by his blood in his death.
Hear our prayer for blessings of consolation
upon all those who were associated with him in the administration
of the affairs of the government. Especially vouchsafe Thy presence
to Thy servant who has been suddenly called to assume the holy responsibility
of our Chief Magistrate.
O God, bless our dear nation and guide
the Ship of State through stormy seas. Help Thy people to be brave
to fight the battles of the Lord and wise to solve all the problems
Graciously hear us for comforting
blessings to rest upon the family circle of our departed friend.
Tenderly sustain Thine handmaiden upon whom the blow of this sorrow
most heavily falls. Accompany her, O God, as Thou hast promised,
through this dark valley and shadow, and may she fear no evil, because
Thou art with her.
All these things we ask in the name
of Jesus Christ, our Lord, Who has taught us when we pray to say,
Our Father Who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom
come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this
day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive
those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil, for Thine is the kingdom, and the power,
and the glory, forever. Amen.
May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,
the love of God the Father and communion of the Holy Spirit, be
with us all evermore. Amen.
All present joined in the Lord’s
Prayer as the minister repeated it, President Roosevelt’s voice
being audible at the back of the room. The service closed with a
simple benediction. Those in the room stepped back. The undertaker
was about to place the cover on the coffin, when suddenly there
was a movement behind Governor Odell. Senator Hanna, who had risen,
saw that the last opportunity to look into the countenance of his
dead friend had come. He could restrain himself no longer. Pressing
forward in an instant, he was at the side of the coffin, and bending
over and looking down into it. Almost two minutes passed while he
gazed into the coffin. There were no sobs. His grief was deeper
than that. He simply looked and drank in the features of the dead.
It was pathetic in the extreme. Then he turned away, and the coffin
Colonel Bingham signalled the bodybearers.
Four sailors of the navy, two infantry sergeants and two artillery
sergeants bore the coffin out of the house. The President, the Cabinet
members and the others followed it. Mrs. McKinley and the members
of the family remained. The widow had passed through the ordeal
bravely and without breaking down. During the services Mrs. McKinley,
Mrs. Barber, Miss Barber and Mrs. Garret A. Hobart were seated at
the head of the stairs, removed from the gaze of those in the lower
rooms, but where they could plainly hear all that was said over
The trained nurses and the personal
attendants of the President gathered on the side porch to see the
body taken away. Through their tears from behind the screen of vines
they saw it borne from the house, and as long as the hearse in which
it was deposited remained in view they strained their dimmed eyes
to see it. These noble women who minister to the sick and who are
inured to sorrow were prostrated with grief.