Image provided by: University of Nebraska-Lincoln Libraries, Lincoln, NE
About The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923 | View Entire Issue (Sept. 27, 1901)
The Last Sad Rites.
" 'At 2:30 p. m. on Thursday, September 19, the
last sad rites wore performed over the mortal re
mains of "William McKinloy, late president of tlio
United States. The tribute of neighbors and
friends among whom he had lived for more than
thirty years was a fitting finale to the exercises
that began In Buffalo on the Sunday before and
lasted for five days five days of universal sorrow
When the funoral train left Buffalo Monday
morning it seemed to bo the head of a funeral
procession hundreds of miles long, for along every
mile of the sad journey from Buffalo to Washing
ton people gathered and with "bowed heads and
streaming eyes watched tho flight of tho train
bearing the remains of tho nation's dead chief. It
was a solemn pageant. As the long train, deco
rated with its emblems of- mourning, climbed tho
heights of the Alleghanies, the people gathered
upon tho mountain sides and paid their last tri
buta of respect. Down the slopes the train rushed,
and everywhere business was suspended and the
people stood along the railway to watch and weep
as the body of the dead chief magistrate was car
ried to Washington for the last time. School chil
dren gathered by thousands and strewed the shin
ing rails with flowers, and as tho revolving wheels
of the funeral train ground tho buds and blos
soms Into millions of fragments the scent of the
bruised blossoms arose upon tho air and seemed
to breathe the love that went out from the nation's
heart to the soldlei'-statesman now taking his last
journey to the scene of his final triumphs in the
arena of Jhuman action.
Bells tolled and guns boomed the presidential
salute as the train sped through village and city.
Biislness wrfs suspended all along the route, and
farms" were deserted for the day. The remains of
the president Teposed in an observation car at
tached on the rear of the train. Around the casket
Stood representatives of the military and naval
arms of the government, the soldiers with their
rifles and tho sailors with their short swords.
Hicliest flowers rested upon the casket, and the
raised curtains of the car afforded to all one fleet
ing glimpse tf the Interior as the train hastened
witli lightning speed upon its sad and solemn jour
ney. The train loft Buffalo at 8:30 o'clock Monday
morning, and in twelve hous arrived in Washing
'ton. It is estimated that between the two cities
700,000 people saw the casket in which the body re
posed. AT WASHINGTON. "
Borne upon Jho shoulders of army and nayy
' representatives the body of tho dead president was
returned to tho capitol of the nation back to tho
home from which he had gone on July 5 full of -
hope and strength and friendship. It was a sad
and mournful home-coming. The streets of Iho
city were draped in black, and thousands of people
gathered with bared and bowed heads to watch
the silent procession move from the Baltimore &
Ohia station to the White House. Escorted by
soldiers, sailors and cavalrymen; by statesmen
and diplomats; by humble citizens in all walks of
Jife, the casket was taken through the silent streets
of Washington and -placed In tho east room of the
White House. And there is rested during the
night, faithfully guarded by armed men who but
a few days before had hailed its occupant as their
The state funeral of President McKinley was
held at tho national capitol on Tuesday. The day
opoued'as sombre as the occasion. The sky was
overcast 'and rain fell at intervals. But still tho
people gathered by thousands and waited patiently
in the chill and the rain for an opportunity to
gaze for the last time upon the face of tho beloved
As the "United States gathered in spirit 'and by
representative at tho state funeral, so" foreign ua-
- The - Commoner.
tlons wore represented In spirit by their embassies.
Tho military and tho diplomatic walked side by
sid6. Ex-President Cleveland came to pay his last
respects to his successor, first in private and then
at the public ceremonies.
The King of Great Britain was present in the
person of Mr. Gerard Lowther, charge of the Brit
ish embassy, whom Edward had specially com
missioned to participate in the services as his
Captain Louis Bailey, of the Royal navy, rep
resented the embassy. They will return to New
port tonight and not go to the family funeral at
Canton. The other embassies and legations like
wise had sent their representatives.
Many of the states had sent on their chief
executives and part of their staffs. All branches
o. the national government, legislative, executive,
judicial and military, were represented. Senator
Frye, president pro tem, of the senate, arrived from
Maine in the morning. With him was Chief Jus
tice Fuller, of the supreme court. David B. Hen
derson, tho last speaker of the house of represen
tatives, attended as the representative of the pop
ular legislative, as well as the long-time personal
friend and asoclate of the dead man.
Many others were present also, of the legis
lative and judicial departments. The army and
navy had their highest officers "within reach of the
city in attendance and all ofilqers within the limits
of the national capital took part under orders, di
recting them to participate in the services of honor
to their late commander-in-chief.
General Longstreet and other former leaders
of tho confederacy were present.
About the -White House, the patrol of soldiers
and sailors guarding the entrance and grounds told
tho sad story. The night there had been a quiet
one. A vigil over the dead had been maintained
throughout the watches.
Details of cavalrymen, artillerymen and iri
fantrymen sailors, and marine's were on .guard
around, thev grounds. A sentryman paced;back and
forth on the portico. Inside the house others did
duty. In tho east room, sombre with its drawn
shades and dim-burning lights and its heavy black
casket in the centre of the room, the guard of
honor watched over the dead.
Members of the Loyal Legion and the G. A. R.
performed this sad duty, silently giving way to
" others every two hours. At the head of the casket
stood an artilleryman and a sailor. At the foot
were a cavalryman and a marine. All were at
parade rest. These watchers were relieved every
After the foreign representatives and officials
of the republic had gazed upon the face of the
dead, the great doors were thrown open and
tho waiting thousands given an opportunity to
pass by the casket. As the Marine band played
the sweet strains of the dead president's favorite
hymn, "Nearer, my God, to Thee," thousands
passed silently, yet hurriedly through the rotunda
and out again past the waiting guards and vigilant
The state funeral began at 9 o'clock Tuesday
morning. At that hour tHo funeral procession
wended its way down Pennsylvania avenue, from
tho White House to the national capitol. And
there in the rotunda of tho great building that had
been tho scene of so many of his triumphs, tho .
body of William McKinley was placed to await tho .
sclemn rites. From their place on the circling
"walls of the rotunda the faces of the republic's il
lustrious dead looked down upon the casket con
taining ono who had already taken his place among
the nation's immortals. The history of the great
republic Is pictured upon tho great walls of tho
nation's capitol, and these historical paintings'
gave to tho passing multitude a new hope aM a
now resolve for the furtherance of the principles
for which so many of the nation's greatest and best
had gladly given their lives.
As the coffin rested upon the catafalque it was
Just high enough to permit of easy Inspection by
adults. Tho people passed by in double file, tho
faithful guards permitting no delay.
The funeral services were beautifully simple.
They were in tho form prescribed by the Methodist
Episcopal church. When all were seated the choir,
almost hidden behind the huge masses of flowers
Bent by loving hands, sang- "Lead, Kindly Light,"
and the crowd arose and stood with bowed heads.
At the conclusion of the' hymn Jtev. Dr. Naylor de
livered the invocation. Then the choir sang "Some
day we'll understand," following which Bishop Ed
ward G. Andrews delivered a short address, full
of feeling and sentiment. Then, with the choir
leading, the -vast concourse sang the hymn con
taining the words that wore uttered almost with
the dead chief's latest breath "Nearer, my God,
to Thee." Then the services were at an end.
Shortly after 7 o'clock p. m. the great bronze
doors of the capitol were closed and preparations
made for continuing the long journey to Canton,
where the remains of the president were to be
consigned to the grave. It required thirty minutes
to remove tho casket to the depot, and all along
the line people gathered in the chill and damp to
stand with uncovered heads as the hearse drove by.
LAST STAGE OF THE JOURNEY.
At 8:35 p .m. the funeral train started for .Can
ton over the Pennsylvania road. The casket was
again placed in the observation car and covered
with choicest flowers. The national colors wero
draped about the casket, and the guards again
stood at head and foot While tho rest of the train
was as dark as tho night itself, the observation, car
was flooded with light, and the undrawn curtainp
let the long rays of light penetrate the darkness
on every hand. Thus it was that the waiting
thousands along the weary way to Canton were en
abled to see the flags, the flowers and tho casket
of their dead,. At every station gathered .crowds,
and as the train hurried by hats were lifted and
heads bowed, -while from the distance, came -the
sound pf tolling bells and booming guns, - AJ1
night long the crowds waited and watched and
wept. The rain fell for almost the entire journey,
but It could not keep the people of farm and vil
lage and city from waiting until they had seen the
last of the nation's dead chief. The speed of tho
funereal train was timed so as to arrive in Crtnton
ar a convenient morning hour, and just as the
clocks tolled the half-hour between 9 and 10 the
black train halted at the end of the final stage of
Herein the home where he was loved so well;
here amidst the scenes of his early struggles, and
his later triumphs, the people gathered by thou
sands to pay their respects to neighbor and friend.
Canton was a mass of black. Business was sus
pended entirely, and the streets were thronged with
silent and subdued people. -Soldiers at intervals
kept the pressing crowds back, and the casket
placed in a hearse and drawn by four; horses was
carried from the depot to the Stark county court
house, and here it was opened that friends and
neighbors might gaze for tho last time upon the
face of' their fellow-citizen. They passed by with
streaming eyes, thousands upon thousands of them,
and when the doors were closed waiting thousands
were disappointed, for there was no further time.
. Then tho casket was taken to tho cottage
home the home where love in Its sweetest and
noblest form had abounded the home where
waited the stricken widow and the friends who
strove to comfort her. And then passed the last
night of earth for the dead president.
On Thursday afternoon tho last sad rites wero
held. The body was borne from the cottage to tho
First Methodist church, followed by military, civic
societies and friends and neighbors.
The services in the church were simple. They
began with the rendition of an organ prelude,
Beethoven's funeral march, played by Miss Flor
Powered by Open ONI