President McKinley Shot: September 6, 1901

Opening of the Panama Canal: August 15, 1914

“Extra!” screamed late-edition newspaper headlines on the evening of September 6, 1901, “President McKinley has been shot.” The crime had occurred earlier that day at about 4 p.m. while President William McKinley was shaking hands during a public reception at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York.

The popular president had given a speech at the exposition the day before and returned the following day to hold a short meet-and-greet with the public. The assassin, 28-year-old would-be anarchist Leon Czolgosz (pseudonym Fred Nieman), had attended the president’s speech but lacking opportunity to kill him there, arrived early enough the next day to ensure that he would be in line to meet the president. Czolgosz hid his gun in a handkerchief that he then wrapped around his hand. When the assassin finally reached the president, he fired twice, point blank, hitting McKinley in the chest and abdomen.

One Bullet is Extracted
McKinley was rushed to the exposition’s hospital. The wound to his chest was superficial, but the one to his stomach was serious, and during the surgery the doctors were unsuccessful at locating the bullet. Still, despite mistaken news reports of his death, in the days following the shooting McKinley appeared to be recovering—until the night of the 12th, when he took a sudden turn for the worse. Gangrene had developed around his stomach wound, and at 2:15 a.m. on the 14th, President McKinley died. Vice President Theodore Roosevelt, who had rushed back from a family vacation, was sworn in as president later that afternoon.

Depiction of McKinley's funeral procession
The nation was devastated by McKinley’s death. Vast crowds showed up to view his body in Buffalo, Washington DC, and Canton (Ohio) during the various public viewings, processions, and funeral services, and towns across the nation held their own memorial services. Czolgosz, who had been arrested at the scene of the crime, was quickly tried and convicted. He was sent to the electric chair on October 29, less than two months after the shooting.

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29 thoughts on “President McKinley Shot: September 6, 1901

  1. Great story. However, in your personal comments at the end, you referred to people that instead of people who. You have great material. Please keep it great by using proper grammar. We can’t let that part of our heritage die. Thank you.

        1. I agree with both D Wright Downs and Thomas.

          It is unnerving to read what is in print at times. Leaves one wondering if English was the authors first language.

          And Thomas, you are also right. When the American schools decided to “dumb down America” in order to pass more people through the schools, the misspelled words and bad language structure is what we ended up with. And, not many people care that we as a whole now look stupid.

          1. I agree with Margie. Our children are being taught by schools and parents that they don’t need to be correct, just close. If a business person has two college graduates of equal experience, which do you think they’re going to hire? The one who can’t spell and write in order to communicate properly? Or the one who can? Business needs and hires people who care about doing it right.

      1. Thank you, Wright. One of my pet peeves. Another is avoidance of the subjunctive mood. See the next comment..

        1. Comments regarding the use of “that” are correct, but that is not the point of the article—informing the public. Newspaper writers today do much worse

          I agree. two subjects with
          and between

    1. Content, context, punctuation, and a suggestion:

      You wrote: ” However, in your personal comments at the end of the article you referred to ” people that instead of people who ? ”

      The aforementioned sentence is confusing. Perhaps written as such:

      It’s a great story. Your comments concerning the people reflect their true feelings during this time frame.

    2. The only comment that is correct on the whole ‘that’, ‘who, debate is from Ms T Dunlop. Of course, the sentence is talking about events and people together. Whereas one can (and should) say who when referring to people one can not use that word when referring to events. Hence, when they are coupled together the only pronoun that is applicable is ‘that’.

  2. I too wish justice was that swift now, however, it is amazing to see how medicine has progressed. If it were now, McKinley would have undoubtedly survived.

    1. Linda Singerman, yes, reading this makes us wish justice was only that swift today. Interestingly, I’ve read that an X-ray device was on exhibit at the Pan-American Exposition and possibly could have been used to locate the bullet. Also, visiting doctors would stick their fingers into the poor man’s wound attempting to find it.

      1. Oh shucks, I just read Amanda Nell Adams’ post. It was President Garfield who may have survived but for doctors trying to dig the bullet out of him. I am correct about the X-ray device at the Exposition, however. If only someone had thought “out of the box” and tried to use it. Who knows?

  3. I totally agree about using good grammar, having swift & fair justice and being thankful for medical progress.

  4. After the message was printed and some one replied back and his/her grammar was not like a English teacher might have said it but,everyone understood which is
    English was my worst subject all through school because i never liked the teacher
    I had her in the fifth grade and then she went to the sixth and each year she graduated until i went to high school
    There was no end to her
    Each year it was worse instead of getting better like it should have been
    There are millions of people in the the world and if you do not like the way they talk or their English is not up to your specs then you should go to a college and never leave it
    Don’t look for peoples fault because when you look in the mirror you will find one
    Being in construction all my life 50 years and having a tavern for 22 years at the same time you will hear all kinds of things good and bad
    Learn the people are not perfect and just every day people
    What about the English teachers meeting Math teachers or History teachers
    The English teacher talking to a History Professor and he/she will ask her something and she will not be able to answer the question
    That does not make her bad it just means she does not know who the last president was or vice president was
    that does not make her wrong
    Just do not judge people

  5. Regarding today’s poor grammar; I’ve only an eighth grade education, so am cognizant that many mistakes by me will surface; too-bad, because I enjoy writing articles, (& to my friends)! My mom always was there to correct me, when possible! When She gradated High School, (around 1927)…those schools made certain each pupil passed ALL subjects, contrary to our current Learning Facilities, especially on the higher levels: (College, & Universities)! I know many of them who are very poor spellers, etc.! Mr. Dana R. Daffin, 82+ 9-3-2014 4:57AM,

  6. You see…there I go again; I neglected, or thought I caught mistakes in spelling, such as: (I meant to write “Graduated”) – sorry about that dumb oversight, in my recent message, folks!!!

    Mr. Dana R. Daffin 9-3-2014 5:09AM

    1. True, you made a simple mistake. But you re-read your post, you caught it, you admitted it, and you fixed it.
      You care about getting it right. And that matters in a world where many folks don’t care and won’t admit mistakes.

  7. My God.
    A huge chunk of history here. But when one comment is a request that a site use correct grammar,,, all history is forgotten as folks bitch about English language.
    See,,, English is indeed what was taught back in those golden years when edicts gun wiz better and more good then nowadays.

    Oh,,, and them schools tsetse history two!!!

  8. More interesting than grammar is how this event ties in to history. Did you know that McKinley was the fourth president who was elected in a zero year (1900) to die in office? The first one was William Harrison, elected in 1840, who died of pneumonia. After that was Lincoln 1860, Garfield 1880 (who may have survived his gunshot wound if doctors had not kept trying to dig the bullet out of him, finding out during the autopsy that it was located in a cyst), Next was McKinley, elected in 1900, then Harding, elected in 1920, who died of a heart attack. Number six was Roosevelt, elected in 1940, who died of a stroke and number seven was Kennedy, elected in 1960, who was the the fourth president to be assassinated. All together seven presidents who were elected in zero years (every 20 years from 1840 through 1960) died in office. Reagon was elected in 1980, and was shot but survived. Hinckley’s bullet missed Reagon’s heart by one inch. .
    As for George W. Bush, elected in 2000, he fainted after choking while eating a pretzel. Perhaps the so-called curse of Tecomseh had ended but who knows what lies ahead in 2020, when the planets Jupiter and Saturn once again meet in the sky for another round. Astrologers call Jupiter the King (or leader) and Saturn the Reaper and they have a 20 year cycle when they meet and start another round.
    An interesting aside though is that three presidents died on the same day of the year, the Fourth of July, no less. Adams, Jefferson and Monroe. Two of them, Adams and Jefferson dying on the same day in the same year. The presidency did not exist in 1780 but John Adams had occupied the office during the first zero year of 1800. Jefferson was his first VP, succeeding Adams as President a year later. James Monroe, who had been elected in 1820 also died on the Fourth of July, 1831, five years after Jefferson and Adams. .

  9. I love history and all the quinky dink’s about the years. But the point is history about what happened. English will always be corrected but history will remain history yes some updated corrections but it is history not English 101 come on!

  10. As a veteran of 50 years in Journalism (that’s a capital J): Like it or not, editors and reporters are teachers and the newspaper is the textbook they publish new every day. So it behooves them to get it right the first time.

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