Source: Randolph Register
Source type: newspaper
Document type: article
Document title: “A Narrative of the President’s Assassination by Dr. Colegrove of Holland, Who Was Present in the Temple of Music at the Time of the Tragedy”
Author(s): Colegrove, Clinton
City of publication: Randolph, New York
Date of publication: 20 September 1901
Volume number: 37
Issue number: 20
|Colegrove, Clinton. “A Narrative of the President’s Assassination by Dr. Colegrove of Holland, Who Was Present in the Temple of Music at the Time of the Tragedy.” Randolph Register 20 Sept. 1901 v37n20: p. [?].|
|Clinton Colegrove; McKinley assassination (eyewitnesses); McKinley assassination (eyewitness accounts: Clinton Colegrove); Pan-American Exposition (President’s Day); McKinley assassination (personal response); anarchism (dealing with); McKinley memorialization (Buffalo, NY).|
|George F. Foster; Samuel R. Ireland; Abraham Lincoln; William McKinley; James B. Parker; Alexander R. Robertson; George Washington.|
|The identity of Mr. Hayne (below) cannot be determined.|
A Narrative of the President’s Assassination by Dr. Colegrove of Holland,
Who Was Present in the Temple of Music at the Time of the Tragedy
In view of the intense and justifiable
interest universally felt in relation to the assault on President McKinley,
I suppose I may suggest what I know about it from personal observation. Little
did I think I should ever be a witness of such a dreadful tragedy. I had heard
the President’s speech on Thursday, which was distinctly audible where we stood,
though we were in the midst of a compact throng of people, and had to endure
the scorching rays of the unclouded sun. We saw him march with almost royal
stride nearly around the stadium, while many thousand people watched from tiers
of seats enclosing and overlooking the oval space where the troops were manoeuvered.
On Friday I had arranged with an officer of police to be admitted without the necessity of a long delay, and I was put at the front of a long line of people who were allotted the privilege of approaching the President and taking his hand for the briefest possible moment of time. A daily paper stated that I carried a child in my arms. This was a mistake, for I was preceded by a small boy whom neither the policeman nor anyone else seemed to know. After taking the President’s hand, I said, “Let me speak a sentiment.” (It had been in my mind and heart since the march around the stadium.) “George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and William McKinley.” I felt that no further words were necessary—as they were self-explanatory. The President simply said “Thank you,” and I passed on. I might have said more, but I could not monopolize the time. Instead of issuing at the south door, the place of exit for the rapidly passing line of people, I paused to watch the faces of the possibly one hundred, less or more, who preceded the coming of the assassin, taking my stand along the margin of the passage way [sic]. Suddenly the pistol shots were heard. The miscreant was at once struck down, and in this proceeding it appears that three men were concerned, viz: the negro, James Parker, and the two U. S. detectives, Ireland and Foster. At the first instant I could scarcely believe my eyes. An assassination! How could it be possible? The President did not fall; he did not even reel or utter a word of groaning or complaint. He simply stood almost motionless and laid his hand over the lower or abdominal wound, as if to find the place and verify the fact of the stroke and course of the missile. In a few moments he was gently led to a seat, and not long after I saw him on the stretcher, lying at full length, pale as death, and with eyes closed, as he was put into the ambulance with careful hands and taken to the Exposition hospital, a few hundred yards distant from the Temple of Music.
Meanwhile, the wretched creature who had done this deed of audacious wickedness and folly was quickly removed to a side room and a coupe was appropriated for conveying him to the jail, with three police inside also, and Major Robertson on the outside with the driver. I saw this creature with his bloody face, and at that moment I think unconscious, bearing the mark, I believe, of the heavy blow dealt by detective Foster. When we finally were outside the building, we felt the more keenly and sorely the magnitude of the tragedy. We were surrounded by people eager to hear anything and everything we had to relate. A Mr. Hayne of Great Valley, Penn., we just behind the assassin, while I was some distance in front. Of course, the grief and indignation everywhere I need not seek to represent. Had the miscreant been put to death on the spot, who could have felt that he was personally afflicted? I know the tendency is to visit, or to wish to visit a swift retribution on such a “pauvre miserable,” as the French say. But we know that our religion, not to say good sense, enjoins self restraint. Underneath all the rising tempest of wrath, there is still a certain reserve of pity, while we consider that God knows all, that he permits all, and is not only able, but fully intending to overrule the shocking tragedy for great ultimate good. By means of it, the anarchistic serpent nests may be located and destroyed. The President, had he recovered, would have been more than ever loved and respected. Laws will be enacted restricting emigration. And I [can?] say emphatically that I have long considered the liberty given to people of the worst type morally to flock to this country, a great and flagrant wrong. And as to out and out anarchists, they should not be tolerated here at all. They should be [confined?] or else deported. An island in the [sea?] could be assigned to them and guarded by a small force. This may be done by international agreement.
I hope the Temple of Music will be preserved and maintained as long as Buffalo remains an inhabited town. If need be, let it be strengthened and put into a condition of comparative indestructibility. It will remain a resort for musical associations and a monument to the tragic assault on one of the noblest men.
The great organ that was sounding a subdued accompaniment to the tread of feet, as the people were gliding past the President, may also well be retained as a perpetual memorial. A tablet may mark the exact spot of the assassination.