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September 15, 2012
McKinley Campaign Slogan and Poster
Death of a President: The Community Mourns McKinley
Glens Falls joined the nation in honoring the late president. On the evening of September 15, 1901, a Union Memorial Service was held at the Methodist church jointly with the Quakers, the Baptists, the Presbyterians along with the host Methodists. The church was filled and some were turned away because there were not enough seats. Portraits of the president and purple-draped flags adorned the chancel of the church.
McKinley is Shot: While standing in a receiving line at the Temple of Music in Buffalo, NY, President William McKinley was shot by an anarchist, Leon Czolgosz.
Reverend Dr. John H. Coleman presided over the service, which began with the hymn, “Rock of Ages.” Reverend H. R. Kenton of the Quaker Church recalled McKinley’s Scotch-Irish heritage and his deep Christian roots in his Methodist beliefs. “The record which his life will leave on the nation will be a lesson for good. As we treasure it in our hearts, let us thank God that he was raised up to the head of our nation.”
This button was just one of the ways a nation mourned McKinley’s death.
Reverend W. O. Stearns, pastor of the Baptist Church compared McKinley to Washington and Lincoln. He called McKinley a “Christian gentleman.” The service concluded with the singing of “Jesus, Lover of My Soul.” Separate services honoring McKinley were held at the Church of the Messiah on the afternoon of September 19, 1901 at 2 pm.
The whole community came together at the Empire Theater at 3 pm on September 19th for a memorial service as well. Businesses suspended their operations that afternoon. Veterans of the Civil War and the Spanish-American War marched together from the Armory to the Empire Theater on South Street and were seated on the stage. Company K Commander Captain Seldon W. Mott led the procession.
Once again hymns were sung and there were readings from scripture. Miss Ella Hall Shields sang President McKinley’s favorite hymn, “Nearer My God to Thee.” Colonel J. L. Cunningham gave the principle address. He stated that, “hearts are aching and tears are falling” and that “our flag in all its splendid significance is drooping, humbled and half-masted, with the burden of grief it symbolizes.”
A son of Polish immigrants from Prussia, Leon Czolgosz shot President William McKinley on September 6, 1901. Czolgosz was later put to death in the electric chair at Auburn Prison, Auburn, NY.
These events were marred by one incident. The Glens Falls Times reported that, “a man (or beast) who spoke ill of the dead president” was attacked and beaten by an angry mod.” The Times obviously approved, stating that the man’s words about McKinley were “too awful to repeat.” The paper noted that the man beaten was Italian.
William McKinley: 25th President of the United States, William McKinley, served March 1897 until his death on September 14, 1901.
© September 15, 2012, Warren County Historical Society.
Article prepared by Dr. Norman Enhorning for the Warren County Historical Society.
Caption for photo: William McKinley was the 25th President of the United States when he was assassinated in Buffalo, NY.
Photos courtesy of the Google Images, History.com