Source: Post Express
Source type: newspaper
Document type: article
Document title: “Day and Night Scenes at the Milburn House”
City of publication: Rochester, New York
Date of publication: 10 September 1901
Volume number: 43
Issue number: 79
|“Day and Night Scenes at the Milburn House.” Post Express 10 Sept. 1901 v43n79: p. 2.|
|William McKinley (recovery: public response: Buffalo, NY); William McKinley (official bulletins); Milburn residence (outdoors: setup, conditions, activity, etc.); Milburn residence (curiosity seekers); Ida McKinley; John G. Milburn; Milburn residence (visitors); Theodore Roosevelt (at Buffalo, NY); Marcus Hanna (at Buffalo, NY); McKinley cabinet.|
|Wilson S. Bissell; Conrad Diehl; Charles W. Fairbanks; George F. Foster; Lyman J. Gage; Marcus Hanna; Ethan A. Hitchcock; Samuel R. Ireland; Ida McKinley; John G. Milburn; Redfield Proctor; Theodore Roosevelt; Elihu Root; Charles Emory Smith; James Wilson.|
|The condition of the newspaper (an online scanned document) is poor in places, rendering selected letters/words difficult or impossible to read.|
Day and Night Scenes at the Milburn House
Crowds at the Rope Barriers on Delaware Avenue.
ALL CLASSES TOUCH ELBOWS
Only Sentiment Heard Is Personal Affection for the Wounded President.
Anxious Inquiries Regarding the Condition of Mrs. McKinley’s Health
Heard—Statesmen and Government Officials Attract Attention.
Special to The Post Express.
Buffalo, Sept. 10.—All doubt of the president’s
ultimate recovery [seem?] to grow gradually less as the days pass and the bulletins
from the sick [room?] [c]ontinue to breathe hope and confidence. The optimistic
ones have becom[e] enthusiastic and the doubters, who [gravely?] shook their
heads at first, are beginning to feel tha[t] the president wi[ll] [?]. The gloom
and anxiety that has hung over the city since the sh[oo]ting [i]s [be]ginning
to give way under the reassuring news from the bedside of the wounded president,
but bulletins and news of all kinds are just as eagerly sought as ever. The
variest trifles and incidents in the case of the president, casual remarks of
the physicians in attendance and [o]f [v]isitors to the house are picked up
eagerly and retailed from one to another.
Despite the confidenc[e] that the bulletins and reports have given, the [s]lightest indication of a relapse or a mere obscurity in the bulletins renews the anxiety and hundreds of queries are sent to the house for explanation. This was demonstrated conclusively, yesterday morning, when the first bulletin issued showed that the president had passed a “somewhat restless night.” Within an hour after the bulletin was flashed to the world over the wires queries were received from all over the country asking what it meant. In Buffalo mess[e]ngers hurried to the newspaper tent and made anxious inquiries. The second bulletin allayed this anxiety but, as the hours of the morning and afternoon wore on without another bulletin uneasiness again developed. Unofficial rep[or]ts from the house were encouraging but there was lacking the faith in them which is placed in the official bulletin. The bull[e]tin at 4 o’clock again revived the spirits of the less hopeful ones, whose fears had exaggerated the significance of the delay.
The crowds that line the barrier ropes are wonderfully interesting. All class[es], ages and professions, laborers, lawyers and laymen, women known in [t]he social world of Buffalo and those entirely unknown jostle elbows and exchange news and opinions. An air of democracy pervades the pla[c]e and no one who comes from the house or who has been seen talking to any one connected with the Milburn house manages to escape without being questioned. But the pe[r]son that dominates the scene is the Pan-American visitor. The difficulty in finding the natives in Buffalo is [a]ccentuated when you try to classify and localize the inquirers at the rope barriers. Every state is represented and your questioner may be from Maine or Maryland or any other state. Many of them can be distinguished by their accent but none of them shows that mere curiosity prompted them to go to the place where the president lies wounded. There is something more than that and the most [s]keptic who doubts the hold of the president on the affections of the people would do well to spend fifteen minutes with the crowd that daily gathers near the Milburn house to hear the latest news from t[h]e bedside of their chief magistrate. The tone not only indicates respect and reverence for the patient sufferer, but there is always a note of personal affection as if the president’s sorrows came as close to them as if he were a member of their family. There is no hesitancy in expressing gratitude to Providence as the bulletins containing the cheering news of the president’s improvement are announced and this is coupled with audible prayers for his speedy and complete recovery.
In the early morning workingmen go out of their way to visit the Milburn residence to ask for the president. They stand at the ropes and gaze silently at the house. In th[e] early morning, when the light is just breaking, a dozen persons may be found near the newspaper tent, pointing out the vine-covered house and whispering that that is the house where the president lies. There is a fascination for many in the scene. The bright light shining from the rear windows of the annex on the second floor are all the indications of life, ex[ce]pt the sentries wh[o?] [noiselessly?] pat[rol?] the lawns, d[r]iveway and streets, walking on the grass to [d]eaden th[e?] [sound?]. Then there is the early morning guard [mount?], the rousing of the sleeping soldiers in the tents directly across from th[e] hous[e]. Hurried yawning[,] stretching and fixing of accoutrem[en]ts, and in a few minutes all are in line. The [relief?] is [marched?] across the avenue in charge of the [co]rporal of the guard to post No[.] 1, which is directly in front of the h[o]use [?]n the lawn. Orders are interchanged in whispered [t]ones and salutes ex[ch]ang[e]d, the relief takes the post, the other falls in behind and so the tour of the guard is made. These sentries are typical matter-of-fac[t] soldiers, their drill and bearing perfect, [c]lean [c]ut and hardy and apparently thoroughly able to sustain their reputation as fig[h]ter[s.] The strictest discipline prevails in this miniature camp, but the soldiers are themselves the disciplinarians and hold themselves accordingly.
No one who has been in the neighborhood of th[e] Milburn hous[e] for the past few days can help but notice the attitud[e] of the people toward Mrs. McKinley. It is hard [?] describe it and, to all appearances, she ranks equal with the president in the affections of the people. Every inquiry for the president has coupled with it one for Mrs. McKinley. The crowd realizes now that she goes out for a drive every afternoon about 3 o’clock and th[e] barriers [o]n Delaware avenue [sic] at each side are crowded at that time. There is no need for the sentry or the police to ord[er] them back. Th[e] moment th[e] carriage is driven from th[e] Milburn hou[se], a block away, the people fall back to the sidewalks and stand perfectly quiet, the men with bared heads until the carriage has passed. The white face, drawn and tense, strikes deep into the hearts of the crowd and it is no unusual sight to s[e]e women crying quietly after she has passed. This same scene is witnessed on the return. The drive is usually to the “Front,” as the park overlooking the Niagara river is called and this occupies one hour. She is assisted in and out of the carriage by Mr. Milburn.
The newspaper men and those in the vicinity of the house have come to regard Mr. Milburn’s face as a sort of barometer indica[t]ing conditions in the sick room. Always jovial and good-natured, the shooting of the president almost prostrated him. The night and day succeeding his face showed his fear and the anguish of mind which he experienced but, as the president began to improve and the physicians continued to send out hopeful bulletins, he regained his composure a[?] is apparently everywhere at once, looking aft[e]r details, and trying to make everyone comfortable. He ordered the newspaper tent floored and installed with electric lights. That did not quite sa[t]isfy him, however, so he called up Ma[yo]r Diehl and asked him to send an election booth provided with a stove to supplement the press accommodations. This was done at once.
Delaware avenue [sic] and Ferry street [sic], at the point where the Milburn h[o]use stands, reminds one during [t]hese days very forcibly of Washington. Ca[b]inet officers, senators, congressmen, ju[d]ges, soldiers and men identified with politics all over the country pass and repass during the day. Little knots of [m]en, whose names are household words from one end of the country to another and whose faces have been the delight of [t]he cartoonists, gather on the lawn in front of the house and discuss the situation. Party lines are unknown and politics tabooed. The crowd has learned to know these men and point them out.
Senator Hanna and Vice-President Roosevelt always attract the most a[t]tention. As the vice-president comes swinging up Delaware avenue [sic] with his characte[r]istic, vigorous stride, he is quickly surrounded by a crowd. He has a word and salute for every one and as he comes from the house with the good [n]ews of the president’s continued improv[ement] he fairly bubbles over with [?]. In quick, crisp phrases he [?] news and congratulates his [auditors?] upon it. Then he is off down the avenu[e] again. It amuses the crowd when he comes out of the house, as he frequently [d]oes, with Senator Hanna. The senator is not near so lively as the vice-president and he grins and shakes his head as he makes a determined effort to keep up with him.
Senator Hanna never manages [t]o evade the crowd. He is pounced upon [t]he moment he comes beyond the ropes and he invariably raises a laugh by some witty saying. But the presence of the wounded president is effective and no one mistakes the humor of the senator, or fails t[o] understand his anxiety. He has been enthusiastic in his praise of the president’s improvement and when asked l[a]st [n]ight after a visit to the house to express an opinion as to the president’s condition he exclaimed: “Why, I have already used up my repertoire of adjectives.”
The [c]abinet officers are also sp[ec]ial objects of interest. Secretaries Hitch[co]ck, R[oo]t, Gage, Wilson and S[m]ith have to run the gauntlet of the cameras every time they appear. Secretary Gage is made an especial target. They all take it good naturedly. Senator Pr[oc]tor and Sena[to]r Fairbanks come in for their share of attention. The long, angular figure of Senator Fairbanks and the mass[iv]e figure of ex-Postmaster-General Bissell afford de[ci]ded contrasts as they walk down the lawn from the house. The senator always appears pensive[,] holds his hands clas[pe]d behind his back [a]nd gazes at the ground. The se[cr]et service m[e]n, ireland [sic] and Foster, are [c]ons[p]icuous figures at the house during the [da]y and [th]eir movements ar[e] watched with [interest?] by the [cr]owd.