Funeral Train Rolled into Canton in Absolute Silence.
CANTON, Sept. 18.—The
sight was profoundly impressive as the funeral train drew into the
little station at Canton at exactly noon to-day. All about the station
and banked deep in the surrounding streets were the friends and
neighbors of the martyred President, while drawn up back of the
station were long lines of militiamen at present arms. Immediately
in the rear of the station, at the mouth of Tenth Street, was troop
“A” of Cleveland, mounted on their black chargers, keeping the entrance
of the line of march clear.
All about were the black symbols of
mourning. The approach of the train was unheralded. No whistle was
blown, no bell was rung. In absolute silence it rolled into the
station. At the mere sight of the train the people who had been
waiting there for hours were greatly affected. Women sobbed and
MRS. M’KINLEY APPEARED.
For a full minute after
it had stopped no one appeared. Judge Day and his committee moved
slowly down the platform in front of the line of soldiers to the
catafalque car and waited. Suddenly Abner McKinley, in deep black,
his face tense and drawn, appeared in the vestibule of the car next
that conveying the remains, and a moment later Dr. Rixey appeared,
half carrying a frail and broken form. It was Mrs. McKinley, arrayed
in the deepest mourning. Beneath the heavy black veil she held her
handkerchief to her eyes and her slight figure shook convulsively.
Gently she was lifted from the car and supported by 
Dr. Rixey and Abner McKinley, and was practically carried to a carriage
in waiting at the east end of the station. The door of the carriage
was closed and Mrs. McKinley was driven hurriedly to her home on
North Market Street, which she had left only two weeks ago with
her distinguished husband in the full vigor of manhood.
Colonel Bingham, the
President’s aide, then gave directions for the removal of the casket
from the car. The coffin was too large to be taken through the door,
and a broad window at the side was unscrewed and removed. While
this was going on, the floral pieces inside were carefully lifted
out and placed upon the ground at the side of the track. When all
was ready the soldiers and sailors who had accompanied the remains
all the way from Buffalo emerged from the car and took up their
places. The soldiers trailed their arms at their sides and the sailors
held their drawn cutlasses at their sides. Only the body bearers
were bare-headed and unarmed.
Meantime President Roosevelt, with
his brother-in-law, Captain Cowles, of the navy, in full uniform,
at his side, had descended from the car ahead of that occupied by
Mrs. McKinley. The President was met by Judge Grant, of the Reception
Committee, and the official party then moved to the west of the
station, where they formed in line with the President at the head.
All were uncovered.
COVERED BY FLAG.
The casket was then
lifted through the window and taken upon the brawny shoulders of
the body-bearers. Only the flag was on it now. At sight of it tears
came unbidden and flowed freely. The sad procession was then formed.
It was headed by Colonel Bingham in full uniform, a bow of crepe
at the hilt of his sheathed sword. Following and immediately preceding
the casket was the local committee, headed by Judge Day. Then came
the soldiers and sailors. Slowly they moved down the platform to
the turn at the western end of the station, where the President
and Cabinet stood. As they reached the head of this line a clear
drawn bugle call sounded a silvery requiem. Before the President
and Cabinet and the Ohio officials the coffin was then borne to
the hearse. When it had been placed inside, the President and the
official party entered carriages.
Meantime Admiral Dewey, Lieutenant-General
Miles and the other high officers of the army and navy who compose
the guard of honor had moved around the east side of the station.
They also entered carriages and took their place in the larger procession
that was now forming. All were attired in the full uniform of their
rank. They were fairly ablaze with gold lace.
The shrillness of the
bugles had given the first sign to the waiting multitude outside
the station that the casket was approaching. Instantly the long
lines of soldiers became rigid, standing at present arms. The black
horses of the Cleveland troop, immediately facing the station, stood
motionless, their riders with sabres lowered. Slowly through the
entrance came the stalwart soldiers and sailors with solemn tread,
bearing aloft the flag-covered coffin of the man they loved so well.
As it came into view a great sigh went up from the dense throng;
after the first glance many of the men and women turned away to
hide their emotions, which they could not restrain.
When the casket had
been consigned to the hearse three mounted trumpeters gave signal
for the melancholy procession to move. A moment later the sound
[of] “Nearer, My God, to Thee” floated through the air, as the Grand
Army veterans with their band swung into line and took up the march
toward the courthouse. A majestically solemn spectacle was presented
as the procession neared the public square in the center of the
city. After the Grand Army men came the Cleveland troops in their
brilliant uniforms of Austrian hussars, with tall bearskin shakos
topped by pom-poms of white. At the hilt of every sword streamed
a long band of crepe and the tiny silk guidon flag was topped with
a long black streamer. Immediately following the mounted troops
came the hearse, bearing its flag-covered burden.
The sight sent a hush along the dense
long lines of humanity stretching for a mile away to the courthouse.
As the casket passed every head was bowed and every face evidenced
the great personal grief which had come upon the community.
the hearse came the carriage of President Roosevelt, who rode with
his brother-in-law, Captain Cowles, of the navy, and Secretary Gage.
The carriages of the other members of the Cabinet and those who
had been near to the late President in public life were lined out
for half a mile. Back of them marched the national guard of Ohio,
regiment after regiment, in platoon front formation and filling
the broad thoroughfare from side to side. As the head of the procession
reached the great square of the city, the military ranks swung about,
forming solid fronts facing the approaching hearse. As it was driven
to the curb the bearers stepped from the places alongside and again
took up their burden. Before the eyes of the vast concourse filling
the square, the casket was tenderly raised and borne up the wide
stone steps leading to the entrance of the courthouse. The strains
of “Nearer, My God, to Thee” were still sounding as the flag-draped
coffin disappeared within the building.
Moving slowly with short steps the
coffin was borne to its support. The bearers swung slowly around,
so that the head lay to the east. The silk banner that was flung
over the casket was drawn back, the wreaths which rested upon its
head were removed, and the coffin lid was taken off. Word was quickly
passed to President Roosevelt, and followed by the members of the
Cabinet, he stepped briskly into the hall. He glanced down as he
reached the casket, halted for the space of a breath, and went on.
The members of the Cabinet followed him one by one.
The members of President
McKinley’s old commandery of Knights Templar, Canton Commandery,
No. 38, had asked the privilege of posting a sentry over the casket
while it lay in state, and throughout the afternoon the guard was
relieved every thirty minutes.
Four detachments of militia were marched
into the hall and drawn up in a line reaching from the entrance
south to the bier. Another line stretched from the bier to the place
where the hall diverged and down each side hall were other lines.
Strict orders were given to see that there was no delay in the crowd
as it passed out of the building. When everything was ready for
the public to enter, Jos. Saxton, uncle of Mrs. McKinley, an aged
man bowed deeply with the weight of years, entered from the east
hall and passed up to the casket. He stood for fully two minutes
gazing into the face of his distinguished kinsman. He then passed
slowly down the hall, his head bowed low, his lips twitching convulsively.
VIEWED THE REMAINS.
A few final details
were arranged and then the door was opened to the public. Two little
girls were the first to approach the casket. Directly behind them
was a tall, powerful man with a red moustache. As he gazed into
the casket he caught his breath in a quick, sharp sob, that was
audible in every part of the hallway. He then gave way entirely
and weeping bitterly passed out. Many of the people as they looked
upon the face of their dead found whom they had seen but two weeks
ago in full health, caught their breath at the sight of him there.
The President’s face was much thinner than they had expected it
would be and the sight that met their eyes shocked them greatly.
The crowd was admitted four abreast, passing to the right and left
of the casket by twos. No delay was permitted and fully 150 a minute
passed the bier.
BODY BORNE HOME.
All through the afternoon
the crowd passed the catalfaque [sic] approximately at the
rate of one hundred per minute, making in the five hours in which
the body lay in state a total of 30,000 people, practically a number
equal to the population of Canton. When the doors were closed at
6 o’clock the line, four abreast, stretched fully one mile from
the courthouse, and people were still coming from the side streets
to take their places in line.
At 6 o’clock the doors were closed
to the public and preparations made for removing the body to the
McKinley residence on North Market Street, several squares from
the courthouse. Canton Commandery of the G. A. R. acted as escort,
and there was no following. Arriving at the house, the escort formed
in line in the street, presenting arms, while the conffin [sic],
borne by the body-bearers, was taken into the house. It was placed
in the front parlor, where it will remain until it is removed to
the church to-morrow afternoon. Guards were posted around the house
to-night and a number of sentries were placed in the front yard.