Source: Omaha Daily Bee
Source type: newspaper
Document type: article
Document title: “Is He a Bogus Hero?”
City of publication: Omaha, Nebraska
Date of publication: 7 October 1901
Volume number: none
Issue number: none
|“Is He a Bogus Hero?” Omaha Daily Bee 7 Oct. 1901: p. 6.|
|James B. Parker (dispute over role in assassination).|
|Leon Czolgosz; Albert Gallaher [misspelled three times below]; William McKinley; James B. Parker.|
|The identity of H. J. Close (below) cannot be determined. Possibly it is a mistaken reference to Charles J. Close.|
Is He a Bogus Hero?
Part Played by Parker in the Buffalo Tragedy.
Early accounts of the shooting of President McKinley
gave much credit to a man named Parker for having instantly grappled with the
assassin, preventing him from firing a third shot. Parker became a hero of the
tragedy immediately. Congratulations and favors were showered upon him. Souvenir
fiends demanded the buttons of his clothes, and other enthusiasts purchased
his shoes and hat. For a week or two he was the greatest attraction on the midway.
Emotional yellow journals started funds for the hero, and museum managers, with
an eye to the main chance, struggled to secure him as a headliner for their
For a brief period the hero Parker enjoyed the affusive favors of the multitude and quite a pile of money poured into his pockets. Then came the trial of the assassin, at which testimony was given by every person who witnessed the crime. But Parker was not called to testify. The reason why he was not called in as a witness is explained by a Buffalo paper as follows:
“The first time Parker was seen in the scuffle over Czolgosz was when a half dozen officers were trying to prevent the crowd from beating Czolgosz to death, and Parker forced his arm around one of these officers, Secret Service Operative Gallagher, to drag him away so that he could strike the prisoner. A most careful canvass of the people who were immediately about the spot fails to show that he did anything else.
“This negro has been given national prominence by making claims of bravery which on the spur of the moment seemed genuine, but have since been shown to be entirely false.
“He appeared in Rochester Sunday and was billed as the ‘Giant Colored Man Parker, who struck the gun from the hand of President McKinley’s assassin.’
“The receipts of the lecture go toward ‘The Parker Fund.’
“The truth of the matter is Parker was standing some distance away, according to the statement of H. J. Close of the Pan-American treasurer’s office, who has known him for some time and was beside him at the time of the shooting. When the shots were fired Parker sprang forward, as did everybody else, and entered vigorously, as his enormous size allowed him to do, into the effort to beat the prisoner Czolgosz. Secret Service Operative Gallaher was in the way of the blows which Parker sought to bestow on the helpless, bleeding man and Parker thrust his arm around Gallagher in an effort to drag him back. Only the interference of an exposition guard prevented Parker from striking Gallagher, it is said.
“An effort may be made by the authorities who have been handling the case to prevent further humbuggery on the part of Parker.”