Source: Philadelphia Inquirer
Source type: newspaper
Document type: article
Document title: “Buffalo Trains Were Besieged”
City of publication: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Date of publication: 8 September 1901
Volume number: 145
Issue number: 70
|“Buffalo Trains Were Besieged.” Philadelphia Inquirer 8 Sept. 1901 v145n70: sect. 1, p. 5.|
|McKinley assassination (public response: Philadelphia, PA); McKinley assassination (eyewitnesses); McKinley assassination (eyewitness accounts); McKinley assassination (public response: Buffalo, NY); Leon Czolgosz.|
|Leon Czolgosz; Samuel R. Ireland; William McKinley; John G. Milburn.|
The identity of Thomas R. Mainwick (below) cannot be verified. The surname is most probably misspelled.
The identity of Robert Hendricks (below) cannot be verified.
Buffalo Trains Were Besieged
Crowds Waited at Terminals to Learn More of Attack on President
Two Philadelphians Give Vivid Picture of the Scene at the Exposition
Crowds gathered in the railroad terminals yesterday
to meet incoming trains from Buffalo in the hope of learning additional news
of the attack upon President McKinley. Many of those who waited in the stations
evidently had relatives and friends on board the Buffalo trains, but a larg[e]
portion of the throng counted on securing information from strangers. When the
first train arrived there was a rush for the exit gates and the passengers were
fairly besieged as they left the train shed.
At Broad Street Station a number of people were awaiting the arrival of the 8.56 train from Buffalo. When the train pulled in on schedule [sic] time the exit gates were surrounded by those who were awaiting it[s] arrival. Friendly greetings were exchanged and then all sorts of questions were asked about the President’s condition. Along those on boar[d] who had spent some time at the Exposition and who was standing in the crowd [i]n front of the Temple of Music when the self-confessed anarchist fired at President McKinley was Thomas R. Mainwick, a traveling salesman, living at 1966 Napa st[r]eet [sic], this city. Mr. Mainwick stood directly in front of the rostrum and was an eye witness to the attempted assassination. In speaking of the attack Mr. Mainwick said:
“I shall never forget the terrible event a[s] long as I live. It was all done so quickly that the crowd did not realize the enormity of the crime until Secret Service Operative Ireland sprang into the a[ss]emblage and bore the miserable assailant to the ground. Then a terrible rage seized possession of the onlookers. I myself became excited and pushed on with the frenzied mob, which was wildly shouting ‘Lynch him; kill the coward!’ Everybody heard the two shots, but not a move was made until the President fell and Ireland sprang from the steps. Then the people apparently lost all reason.
Clung to Captors
“Mobs bent on summary vengeance, as [a] rule,
are not to be tolerated, but on this occasion I have no hesitancy in declaring
the people were justly aroused. Had it not been for the careful methods pursued
by the police there is not the slight[e]st doubt that the would-be murderer
would have been [k]illed on the spot. As it was, he [r]eceived decidedly rough
treatment at the hands of the crowd. When he was hustled into the waiting cab
his face was bloody, his hands were covered with ugly scratches and his clot[h]ing
hung about him in shreds. Calm a[nd] collected when he attempted the as[s]assination.
Czolgo[s]z lost his nerve in [t]he face of the incensed populace. He [w]as [s]o
badly frightened that it was impossible for him to speak. He cowered like a
hunted animal and clung to his captors.
“In a twinkling of an eye the cowering wretch was literally hurled through the crowd and forced into the waiting vehicle which was to convey him to jail. The driver, [a]t a command from the police, whipped his horse into a furious trot. I was as much excited as the rest of the crowd and followed the carriage. Later in the evening I made my way to the hotel and prepared for my departure to Philadelphia. As I made my way to the station I found that the crowd had again collected and were making threats to attack the jail. Additional policemen were sworn in, and it was not until after midnight that the streets again became quiet.
“It was my original intention,” concluded Mainwick, “to remain in Buffalo for another week. The excitement, however, was too much for me, and I concluded to return home.”
Another passenger who was present when Czolgosz
fulfilled his cowardly mission was Robert Hendricks, of 3210 Ontario street
[sic]. Hendricks was quite a distance from the Temple of Music, but witnessed
the attack on the President and the subsequent excitement. “Nobody noticed the
man,” said Hendricks, “until he produced the revolver. Then it was too late.
From where I stood I saw the President sink into a c[h]air. He turned deathly
white and placed his hand over his breast where the first bullet had entered.
President Milburn, of the Exposition, who was standing beside Mr. McKinley when
he fell, supported [him] and helped him to the chair. The people in front of
the Temple seemed completely [s]tunned for a while and stood staring [s]tupidly
at the injured President. Then of a sudden they realized what had happened.
To describe the scenes that followed is beyond me. Everybody seemed to have
gone insane. Many lingered in the vicinity of the Temple until it had been officially
announced that the President was alive, and would probably recover. After this
encouraging news had been received the stragglers joined the mob and shouted
for the prisoner’s blood. To me it seems most remarkable that he escaped with
his life. I never witnessed anything like the fury of the mob.
“The police deserve great credit for their behavior in the trying emergency. At times the crowd became so disorderly that I surely thought that the police would be compelled to fire as a means of self-protection. But, fortunately, they avoided this and finally landed their prisoner, covered with blood, in the jail.”
Several other [p]assenger[s] residing in this city were interviewed and told similar tales of the scenes of great disorder following the attempted assassination of President McKinley. While the stories told by the passengers were a practical repetition of what has already been published, they were replete with many details, and those anxious to learn more were fully satisfied by the numerous recitals.