News from 1902 (September)

September 6 - President Roosevelt cannot attend the McKinley memorial services to be held in Buffalo Sept. 14. Mayor Knight has received from him a letter saying he had a previous engagement. Gov. Odell said he could not be here, and Senator Hanna declined to speak and did not give a positive assurance of his presence. Mayor Knight will inform the citizens' committee of the state of affairs when it meets this afternoon. No speaker of national prominence has been obtained.

September 11 - Besides the civic memorial service in Convention Hall next Sunday afternoon, the anniversary of the death of President McKinley will be quite generally observed in the various churches of the city.

At the Delaware Avenue M.E. Church in the evening there will be a service consisting of the singing of McKinley's favorite hymns, responsive scripture reading, the chanting of the 90th Psalm and a brief address. The church will be draped with the National colors and mourning emblems. At the Church of the Ascension, North Street and Linwood Avenue, a commemorative sermon will be preached in the morning by Rev. John Dawes Hills. At Trinity Church a commemorative service will be held immediately following the morning prayer.

Bishop Quigley states that the rectors of the various Catholic churches will follow their own discretion in the matter, but in all probability the pastors will make some reference from their pulpits to the day.

September 12 - At the executive meeting yesterday morning of the Buffalo Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution at the residence of the Regent, Mrs. John Miller Horton, the board decided to recommend to the Chapter at its next meeting the erection of a bronze tablet to the memory of the late President McKinley. This tablet will doubtless be in connection with the McKinley Monument to be placed in the city.


September 13 - Tomorrow will be a day of sorrowful significance for the whole nation, but peculiarly for the city of Buffalo. It will be the first anniversary of Sept. 14, 1901, when the life of the head of the Nation went out in this grief-stricken city.

In this city the meetings for the purpose of honoring the memory of the brave, patriotic and good man will be numerous, but the most important will be that held in Convention Hall under the auspices of the citizens' committee appointed by Mayor Knight.

The doors will be open at 2:15 o'clock and the exercises will begin at 3. There will be no reserve seats. The programme has already been printed.

The memorial exercises of the various schools and colleges will be held on Monday morning. Those at the Central High School will be as follows:

"Nearer My God to Thee".....................School
Introductory Remarks .........................The Principal, Krederick A Vogt
Address.............................................Rev. Charles C. Albertson of Philadelpia
Piano Solo.........................................M. Marvin Grodzinsky
Remarks............................................Supt. Henry P. Emerson
"Lead, Kindly Light"............................School

A special memorial service will be held at the Central Presbyterian Church Sunday evening at which Hamilton Ward, Jr. will deliver an address. A feature of the service will be the singing of the songs which were favorites with the martyred President.

Rev. C. Mueller, pastor of St. Paul's M.E. Church on Ellicott Street, will deliver an address at a special service to be held at 10 o'clock tomorrow morning.

Last Wednesday Bishop Walker asked all Episcopalian ministers to arrange for special services and they will be generally held in the churches of this denomination.

A special McKinley memorial services will be held at St. Luke's Church, Richmond Avenue and Summer Street, tomorrow evening. Mr. Wenborne will sing at the offertory.

Memorial services will be held at Pythian Hall, 45 Seneca Street, in honor of President McKinley on Sunday afternoon at 3 o'clock. All members of the order and friends are invited. Good speakers will be present.

September 13 - Today being the Jewish Sabbath, a service of commemoration of the anniversary of the death of President McKinley was held in the Temple Beth Zion on Delaware Avenue this morning.

The service was simple and yet beautiful, being the morning service for the Sabbath of the Jewish worship, with prayers appropriate for the occasion. As Rabbit Israel Aaron intoned the sentences of the ancient Hebrew liturgy responsively with the execellent quartet choir of the Temple, the effect was impressive, indeed.

The Rabbi drew aside the veil of the Ark and took therefrom the scroll. He read the lesson for the day from the Torah and then the Heptara, which is the 91st Psalm. The choir then sang McKinley's favorite hymn, Cardinal Newman's "Lux Benigan," "Lead, Kindly Light, amid the encircling gloom."

Dr. Aaron then delivered the sermon, which dealt with the life of William McKinley. He said in part:

"In the good old pious days, whenever the name of a departed one was mentioned, his relatives and friends exclaimed, 'May his name never be forgotten!' The life, work and example of William McKinley are in many ways a blessing to this country. We can all call to mind the heartrending sorrow, the deep dejection which came over us when we heard the mournful tidings that McKinley was no more.

"It was in this place of worship that, when he had been stricken down by the assassin's bullet, prayer was first offered up for his recovery. It was in this house of God when, met in solemn worship, we were told that the bullet had done its work and that the President had passed away. It is therefore fitting that we should here today revere the memory of that spiritual child of the Truth of Israel.

"McKinley was the last of those Presidents who, through laborious activity, won his way to the highest seat in America. His life is an example to the youth of this land of this is indeed the land of equal opportunities.

"McKinley was a conspicuous example of the one great virtue. He was faithful to his obligations even unto his own undoing. He paid his debts to his own ruin. When a man has to choose between absolute honesty and utter ruin, many men who have been upright all their lives sometimes waver.

"William McKinley was the Great Conciliator. it was he who quenched the embers of sectional hatred which were kindled in the Civil War. It is, perhaps, a bold statement, but a true one, that the American Nation began, not in the 18th century, but in the 20th. Never again can schism rend this land with civil strife.

"When one good man died another rises up to succeed him, and we may all thank God that when the humane and upright McKinley passed away there stood ready to succeed him that young giant of American patriots and civic virtue, Theodore Roosevelt."

September 14 - One more relic connected with the death of President McKinley, the first anniversary of which is being observed in Buffalo and throughout the State today, has been discovered and will henceforth be preserved in this city where the martyr met his fate on September 6 a year ago, and where his body lay in state on the stormy Sabbath following. The relic referred to is the floor of the Temple of Music where the President stood when he was shot. It was recovered last Tuesday and will be presented to the Buffalo Historical Society to be kept for future generations, together with the handkerchief that masked the pistol that fired the fatal shot and the pistol itself.

After the President was laid away in the tomb at Canton, the Exposition authorities placed a brass star in the floor of the Temple of Music where the Nation's Chief stood when he was shot down. After the close of the Exposition this star was stolen, and no man except the thief knows of its whereabouts to this day.

Later, the floor inside the railing that enclosed the star also disappeared. Along in the winter before the buildings were sold to the Chicago House Wrecking Company, the area inside the railing, being a space about five feet square, was missed. It was supposed to be the vandalism of the relic hunters, and that the floor had been carried away in splinters at a time, and so it was represented to the public.

As a matter a of fact, the floor was cut out by order of Newcomb Carlton, the Director of Works, who became acting Director-General when Director-General Buchanan went to Mexico. Forseeing that the flooring was likely to be carried off piecemeal as the chair in which the President reclined after he was shot was carried off, he gave orders for the floor to be taken up within the railing. The boards were taken up according to instructions and cleated together in their original position, and the whole panel was secreted in the Service Building.

Among those in the secret was Samuel Field, the chief of the Engineering Department of the Exposition. Some time ago he undertook to look up the panel, but it could not be found. On Tuesday last, in company with Supt. Bennitt, who has charge of razing the Exposition buildings, he made another search, and this time found the section of flooring in the rooms in the Service Building formerly occupied by Henry Rustin of the Electrical Department. The panel still retains the outline of the star which was stolen from it. The relic was taken to the Exposition Emergency Hospital, which is now occupied as the office of Supt. Bennitt.

The latter stated that it was his intention to turn the floor over to the care of the Buffalo Historical Society.

September 15 - How great was the love which the American people bore to William McKinley, how deeply they revere his memory and how great is their sorrow for his untimely takin-off was shown by the great throng which attended, or tried to attend, the memorial exercises at Convention Hall yesterday afternoon. The auditorium will hold 5000 people, but if it had been twice as large it would have been filled. A great mass of people stood in the vicinity of the hall straining their hearing to catch some word, some sound of what was passing within.

Inside a great assembly which filled every seat and every available foot of standing room, listened with hushed attention to the strains of solemn music or to the words of eloquent speakers as they dwelt on a theme which was first in the minds of all yesterday - the life and character of William McKinley.

The interior of Convention Hall was draped with Red, White and Blue for which McKinley fought in his young manhood and which he strove to advance by the arts of statesmanship in his later years. A large portrait of the martryed President draped with flags occupied a central place in the background of the stage. On the stage were the speakers, memorial committee and other citizens. Directly in front of the stage was the Philharmonic Orchestra, and back of the musicians stretched the congregatino, filling the hall to the doors.

The entrances were thrown open at 2:45 o'clock and when they were closed again at 3 there was room for no more in the building. Many pleaded for admission. One was successful, a veteran in a blue uniform who had walked from Lockport to Buffalo to be present and who said he served in McKinley's regiment during the war. the work of admitting and seating the crowd and maintaining order was performed by a company of regulars from Fort Porter under command of Sergt.-Maj. Walter C. Mason and a squad of police under Capt. Killeen.

Near the front of the hall sat an elderly, quiet man dressed in black who seemed to take a remarkably deep in interest in the exercises. He was Rev. D.H. Mueller, D.D., who was four years pastor of the church at Canton, Ohio, which McKinley attended. He traveled to Buffalo from Alleghany, Pa., to attend the services yesterday.

The services began at 3 o'clock with the playing of Chopin's Funeral March by the orchestra under the direction of John Lund. Then Mayor Knight, who presided, made a short introductory address, in the course of which he paid a beautiful tribute to the dead President.

Rev. O.P. Gifford, pastor of the Delaware Avenue Baptist Church, then invoked the divine blessing on the meeting.

The choir of the First Presbyterian Church sang and the vast crowd then joined in singing one of McKinley's favorite hymns, "Nearer, My God, to Thee."

The first of the orators of the day was then heard. He was Rev. Charles Edward Locke, D.D., of the Delaware Avenue Methodist Episcopal Church. He spoke of "McKinley, the Christian." It was an eloquent address and was listened to with the closest attention. He said, in closing:

"William McKinley will live forever in the love and memory of this Nation. The story of his life of achievement, of his tragic death and of rapturous ascension will be immortalized in song and statue and sermon, but those memorials will be the most enduring which consist of human lives emulating and imitating the superb Christian character of our martyred hero."

The orchestra played Massenet's "Last Dream," and then Tracy D. Becker spoke on "McKinley, the President." Mr. Becker gave an eloquent resume of McKinley's career as a public man. The First Presbyterian Church choir sange another favorite hymn of McKinley, Cardinal Newman's "Lead, Kindly Light," which was followed by an oration by Anselm J. Smith, himself a veteran of the Civil War, on "McKinley, the Soldier."

Again the vast audience sang in deep chorus the song being the patriotic hymn, "America." [ed. note: known in 2002 as "My Country 'Tis of Thee."] As the strains of 5000 voices and the orchestra rose on the air the effect was impressive indeed.

The benediction was pronounced by Rev. Edwin H. Dickinson, D. A., pastor of the North Presbyterian Church, and then the audience slowly left the building to the strains of a march by Mendelssohn.

Memorial services were held in many of the city churches yesterday. At Trinity Episcopal Church, the special service authorized by Bishop Walker was used. Portions of the burial service were read, a funeral song was chanted, and the rector, Rev. Cameron J. Davis, paid a beautiful tribute to the memory of the departed President.

Capt. Hamilton Ward delivered the memorial address at the Central Presbyterian Church. The pastor, Rev. R.C. Hunter, related personal reminiscences of the President.

At the Niagara Square Congregational Church, Rev. T. Aird Moffat preached a memorial sermon.

The Rev. Dr. Locke repeated to a large congregation at the Delaware Avenue M.E. Church in the evening the address which he delivered at Convention Hall in the afternoon.

Rev. John Dows, at the Church of the Ascension, delivered a memorial sermon. Appropriate services were held in the Free Methodist Church on Tenth Street and in St. Paul's Evangelical Church on Bushnell Avenue.

Rev. Daniel Walsh, rector of the Church of the Nativity, delivered an eloquent and touching address on the late President at the 10 o'clock mass, and many other ministers recognized the special significance of the day in their services.

McKinley was for many years a member of the Knights of Pythias. The Buffalo Knights held memorial services in the lodge rooms at 45 Seneca Street. Dr. C. T. Wolsey presided and E.A. Hayes delivered the principal address.

September 27 - Members of the McKinley Monument Commission held a meeting at the Iroquois Hotel this morning. There we present Edward H. Butler, George E. Matthews and John G. Milburn of this city, and E.A. Curtis of Dunkirk. The meeting was an informal one and was held for the purpose of conferring with Architect D. H. Burnham of Chicago. Mr. Burnham stopped in Buffalo on his way home from New York at the request of the commissioners.

"We intend to go over the ground with Mr. Burnham as fully as time will permit, to show him the proposed site for the monument, and to get his views and advice generally on matters pertaining to the monument," said Mr. Matthews. "Nothing of a decided character with reference to the monument will be done today. Mr. Burnham, who was the architect of Ellicott Square, has always been ready to give us his advice and opinion whenever asked."

After the meeting the commissioners and architect Burnham went to Niagara Square to look over the site of the monument. Wilson S. Bissell, the other member of the commissin, was unable to be present on account of pressing business engagements.

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