September 6, 1901: President McKinley shot, in Buffalo

September 6, 2016

From the University of Buffalo site on McKinley and his visit to the Buffalo Exposition:

From the University of Buffalo site on McKinley and his visit to the Buffalo Exposition: “President McKinley Greeting Well-Wishers at a Reception in the Temple of Music. September 6, 1901 (minutes before he was shot). Photographer: Undetermined. Source: The Prints and Photographs Division of the Library of Congress.”

Buffalo, New York, hosted the deaths of two presidents. Long-time Buffalo resident and ex-President Millard Fillmore died there of natural causes on March 8, 1874. And on September 6, 1901, President William McKinley was shot at the Buffalo Pan American Exposition, what passed for a world fair at the time. McKinley died in Buffalo 8 days later.

President Andrew Jackson survived a knife attack. Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Charles Garfield were both assassinated within the previous 36 years of the attack on McKinley. This was the third fatal attack on a president, and the fifth time a president had died in office.

Fortunately for McKinley, there was a new X-ray machine on display at the Exposition, which could be used to find bullets for extraction. Unfortunately for McKinley, attending physicians did not use the machine. Operations to remove bullet fragments were not wholly successful. Worse, the surgeries exposed McKinley to bacteria that infected him. He died of gangrene on September 14.

Had antibiotics, modern surgical instrument sterilization, and modern surgical methods been used, McKinley might have survived to serve out his term. Would Vice President Theodore Roosevelt then have had a chance to succeed him? A great history what-if.

Here’s another. McKinley’s first Vice President, Garrett Hobart, died during the first term, of heart disease in 1899. Six months earlier, there was no Vice President to succeed McKinley.

In an election year, we may want to revisit presidential succession in tough times. Our votes may count more than we know.


From the University of Buffalo's Pan Am Exposition site:

From the University of Buffalo’s Pan Am Exposition site: “President McKinley’s Speech at the Pan-American Exposition. September 5, 1901. Photographer: Frances Johnston. Source: Photograph from the Johnston Collection in the Prints and Photographs. Division of the Library of Congress. Also in Pete Daniel and Raymond Smock. A Talent For Detail : The Photographs of Miss Frances Benjamin Johnston, 1889-1910. New York : Harmony Books, [1974], p. 73.” The day before McKinley was shot.


A Scout camp absorbed William McKinley’s boyhood home

November 5, 2014

From the photo archives of the Boston Public Library, we get this postcard:

Scout camp with home of Wm McKinley, circa 1940 post card from Boston PL

Post card from the archives of the Boston Public Library: “Boyhood Home of President Wm. McKinley, Lisbon, Ohio. Now Part of Columbiana County Boy Scout Reservation. Built in 1808.

From the Boston Library’s Flickr files, we learn a little more:

Boston Public Library

Boyhood home of President Wm. McKindley, Lisbon, Ohio. Now part of Columbiana County Boy Scout Reservation, built in 1808

File name: 06_10_016732
Title: Boyhood home of President Wm. McKinley, Lisbon, Ohio. Now part of Columbiana County Boy Scout Reservation, built in 1808
Created/Published: Tichnor Bros. Inc., Boston, Mass.
Date issued: 1930 – 1945 (approximate)
Physical description: 1 print (postcard): linen texture, color; 3 1/2 x 5 1/2 in.
Genre: Postcards
Subjects: Historic buildings

Collection: The Tichnor Brothers Collection
Location: Boston Public Library, Print Department
Rights: No known restrictions

Is this historic building still part of a Scout camp?

According to Buckeye Council, BSA, the home is still part of what is now Camp McKinley.  It’s the home of the camp ranger.

Camp McKinley is located in Columbiana County, near Lisbon, Ohio. The 300 acre camp has been owned and operated by the Boy Scouts of America since 1934.

Camp McKinley is the Buckeye Council’s most historic camp. The modern history of the area began back in 1807 when Ohio was a new state of only three years. Gideon Hughes, a local businessman, built a blast furnace in “new Lisbon” to supply the needs of the settlers heading west. The remains of the Rebecca Furnace are still visible on the camp property. Mr. Hughes also built a stone “mansion” across from his furnace. The house, known as the McKinley homestead, was the home of President William McKinley’s grandparents for a number of years. President McKinley no doubt spent many summers wandering the hills of the present Camp McKinley. The Stone House is now the residence of the Camp Ranger.

President McKinley slept here, as a boy.

Scout camp ranger’s house does not seem to you to be a respectful enough use of a president’s boyhood home?  Buckeye Council has preserved the home at least in its exterior appearance.

Another of McKinley’s boyhood homes is now a bank parking lot.

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