Publication information
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Source: Ogdensburg Journal
Source type: newspaper
Document type: article
Document title: “History Made at Buffalo”
Author(s): Hopkins, Grace Porter
City of publication: Ogdensburg, New York
Date of publication: 20 September 1901
Volume number: none
Issue number: none
Pagination: [2]

Hopkins, Grace Porter. “History Made at Buffalo.” Ogdensburg Journal 20 Sept. 1901: p. [2].
full text
William McKinley (death); Buffalo, NY; Milburn residence (outdoors: setup, conditions, activity, etc.); McKinley assassination (news coverage); William McKinley (death: public response: Buffalo, NY); William S. Bull; Buffalo, NY (police department); McKinley assassination (public response: Buffalo, NY); Pan-American Exposition; George B. Cortelyou; Theodore Roosevelt (swearing in); Roosevelt cabinet; William McKinley (lying in state: Buffalo, NY); McKinley funeral services (Buffalo, NY); William McKinley (death: personal response); F. L. Martin.
Named persons
William S. Bull [first initial wrong below]; George B. Cortelyou; Lyman J. Gage; Louis McLane Hamilton; John Hay; Ethan A. Hitchcock [misspelled below]; Philander C. Knox; John D. Long; F. L. Martin; William McKinley; Theodore Roosevelt; Elihu Root; Charles Emory Smith; Ansley Wilcox; James Wilson.
The identity of F. L. Martin (below) cannot be confirmed.

The article’s author identifies her location as “Ohio Building, Pan-American, Buffalo.”


History Made at Buffalo


Days of Excitement and Grief at the Exposition City Described by a Republican and
Journal Correspondent, an Eye-Witness.
The National Events Which Rapidly Succeeded Each Other and the Personages
Who Figured in Them Vividly Described from Ohio State Building by a Talented Writer.

     Buffalo, Sept. 17.—Seldom is history made more rapidly than recently in the vicinity of the Milburn house, on fashionable Delaware avenue, Buffalo. A noble Preshident [sic] has been called up higher and another has taken his place with a promise to carry out the same policy of administration.
     When the city was arrayed in gala attire in honor of the nation’s chief magistrate, whose approach was announced by the sounding of the customary twenty-one guns, little was it thought that it soon would don the dress of mourning because her guest had been assassinated within her borders.
     The 13th of September, 1901, will be remembered by those who spent it in Buffalo, as a black Friday, rivalling [sic] that other one now become historic.
     The intensity of feeling that had surrounded the Milburn residence since the President was first shot, reached its climax when his death was announced as inevitable. Noted surgeons and scientists did their utmost, but to no avail. All day long messengers came and went, the little fellows’ natural sportive youth, being subdued in the presence of awful tragedy and its effects. Nearly one hundred newspaper men and women, (two of the latter braved the elements to keep the world informed as to the news from the sick bed), gathered from all parts of the country and from the Latin Americas, but, save for the whistling of the wind and the ceaseless click of the telegraph machines, nothing broke the stillness of the night.
     An occasional messenger would bring bulletins which would silently be used by each reporter, with a sigh to indicate the personal touch the news had made. All loved the man, William McKinley. All honored and respected the President, William McKinley.
     On her way to a down town [sic] telegraph office, the correspondent of the Republican and Journal, had her attention attracted to the down cast [sic] appearance of two stalwart representative American men. As she passed along she heard one say in mournful tones and with bowed head, “He is dead, he is dead, McKinley is dead.”
     It was no unusual sight for a man to give a newsboy a dollar bill and not wait for change, so anxious was he to know how it was with the great man whose death was momentarily expected. Conflicting reports were circulated despite the best efforts to the contrary, and the death being announced prematurely, all local theatres were closed for the evening, out of respect to the nation’s chief. Large crowds gathered in front of the local newspaper offices and serious accidents were only averted by the vigilance of a number of mounted police. Not permitted to block the sidewalks, the people surged back and forth for a distance of about three blocks, a solid mass of hoping, fearing humanity. Another crowd, with whose dread of the rapidly approaching national bereavement, was mixed a desire for revenge upon the unnameable [sic] fiend who had been its cause, had collected around the police headquarters, where the miserable wretch was supposed to be lodged.
     Under the supervision of Superintendent J. Bull, the police of Buffalo have been thoroughly drilled and in the recent severe emergencies proved themselves a most capable public safeguard. Too much credit cannot be given to General Bull and his men for their habitual courtesy as well as for their manner of maintaining discipline. On the night in question two hundred guards were kept busy keeping the crowd outside the ropes. The mob had gained in numbers and in intensity of feeling, if the latter were possible, as the hour of death drew near and at times it seemed as though their point must be gained. With angry exclamations they would make a rush forward only to be pushed back by the police at the point of the sword. Until about daylight, when worn out from their fruitless efforts, they quietly sought their homes.
     At the Ohio building quite a different scene was being enacted. No sleep came to the eyes of the weary watchers, representing the President’s native State at the Pan-American.
     Most of the buildings were closed and the crowd no longer having a spirit for sightseeing, had homeward wended their way, leaving the Exposition a deserted village at an unusually early hour. The echoes from the merry Midway, soon ceased and one could almost feel the presence of the angel of death so still was the night. Slowly did the hours pass, until finally the light on the tower went suddenly out. As this silent messenger announced the going out of the life of the third martyred President of the United States, the watchers quietly rose, and with full hearts went to seek much needed rest.
     The morning after was also not what had been expected. It was calendared as “Railroad Day” at the Pan-American, and a varied programme being offered Sept. 14th, was expected to be a red-letter day. It was unlike any other day. The gates were closed to all, save those few whose duties called them thither. When the grounds are closed on Sundays, there is still an air of life about its palaces and through its courts as the workmen come and go, preparing for the afternoon’s visitors. Such activity was now not necessary, as no crowd would seek recreation and pleasure amid the brilliant scenes of the Pan-American while our President lay dead in the city.
     But it was on Delaware avenue, the fashionable street of Buffalo, that history was being made. Preparations for the autopsy and funeral of the late President were going forward, while the new President was coming to pay his respects to the bereaved widow of the man he was to succeed.
     No one was allowed within two blocks each way, of the Milburn house, except members of the press and officials, and even these had to give an account of themselves.
     George B. Cortelyou, secretary to the late President, was the man upon whom came the greatest strain of those trying days. It was he who had to decide the questions of the moment in the absence of the Cabinet. So well did he stand the physical strain that he has been called the man of iron, and so patient was he at all times that he won the admiration of those of low and high degree. He came and went with a sad, serious face, but when information was wanted, one was sure to find a gracious courteous man in Mr. Cortelyou. It was he who first greeted Mr. Roosevelt when the latter came as a private citizen to the death bed [sic] of his predecessor.
     Theodore Roosevelt took the oath of office at the home of his friend, Hon. Ansley Wilcox, who lives a short distance from the Milburn house. Though only forty people actually witnessed the ceremony, fully 20,000 stood on the outside of the house, hoping to be able to cheer the new executive, for whose welfare they prayed.
     The Capital for the time being Buffalo, a Cabinet meeting was called at once. The six members present were Secretary of War Root, Secretary of Navy Long, Secretary of Interior Hitchcox, Secretary of Agriculture Wilson, Attorney-General Knox, and Post Master-General [sic] Smith. Together with Secretary of State Hay, and Secretary Gage, who presides over the U. S. Treasury Department, these men form a Cabinet strong enough even for the invincible “Teddy,” and they were each requested to remain in charge of his respective portfolio. After completing the arrangements for the funeral of the late President the meeting adjourned, agreeing that the calling of an extra session of Congress would be unnecessary. The first plan of having only a private funeral was changed at the urgent request of members of the Board of Trade of Buffalo, made on behalf of thousands of citizens, who wished to have a last opportunity of showing their respect to a man of such pronounced patriotism, integrity and brilliance, typifying the greatest statesmanship of America.
     The desire of the people was put to a most severe test by a drenching rain. The late President held such a strong place in their hearts that wind and rain would not force them under cover till they had marched three blocks and over in an immense crowd, which gazed on that beloved face, now still and cold in death. Old men, young men, women and children were there, representing both the wealthy and those of the humbler walks of life, as well as the vast middle class. They were admitted in pairs on either side of the bier, but not allowed to hesitate an instant in the line. The body was under U. S. military guard in charge of Lieutenant Hamilton of Fort Porter. Sixteen men from the Fourteenth Infantry were detailed for the service and that the honor was appreciated was shown by the remark of one of them who had but recently returned from hard service in the Philippines and in China. He was from California but I could not learn his name. He said, “I would serve twice as long in the army for the privilege of being one of the guards of honor to such a splendid American as President McKinley.” Another to speak in a similar tone was F. L. Martin, of Toledo, O., who, having been away for four years, was home on a furlough, when he was summoned to report for duty to accompany the funeral party to Washington and Canton. He reached Buffalo very early Monday morning, and though regretting to be obliged to leave home and mother so suddenly, was glad of the opportunity to do his share in honoring the nation’s dead.
     A crowd filling the streets, stood with bare heads as the final procession bore the mortal remains of William McKinley from the city hall and from Buffalo. Scarcely a dry eye was to be seen as the last carriage passed from view and the people returned to their daily duties. And thus closed a notable chapter in the history of Buffalo.



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