McKinley attends funeral ceremonies in New York

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Editor’s note: This is part of a weekly series marking the 120th anniversary of Niles native William McKinley’s U.S. presidency.

The New York newspapers reported on the president’s schedule, writing the following:

“PLATTSBURG, Aug. 3 — The president today had a call from Dr. A.D. Richardson of West Chazy, an old farmer 70 years of age who walked all the way from his home to the Hotel Champlain, a distance of 15 miles, to ‘shake hands with the President of the United States.’ Mr. McKinley greeted him warmly and talked with him several minutes. Among the others who called on the president today were Mr. and Mrs. W.S. Carroll and Miss Carroll of Washington, E.L. Holloway, J.O.A. Holloway, and Miss Holloway of Baltimore, and Gov. E.C. Smith of Vermont, Adjt. Gen. T.S. Peck and Col. G.G. Benedict of Burlington, Vt., who came from Burlington on Dr. Webb’s steam yacht Elfrida, which was used as a dispatch boat by the government during the war.

“Mrs. McKinley’s health is improving rapidly. Today she went driving twice, with the President holding the reins both times over the handsome pair of bays sent over from Burlington, Vt., by Col. Le Grand B. Cannon for the President and Mrs. McKinley to use while they are here. Their route today was up the Saranac Valley and Mrs. McKinley returned from the drive very much refreshed.

“A committee will call upon the President, Vice President Hobart and Postmaster General Smith tomorrow to invite them to attend the ceremonies at North Elba, Essex County, N.Y., next week, when the bodies of seven men who died with John Brown at Harper’s Ferry, Va., in 1859 are to be buried beside the grave of John Brown in the little plot of ground donated to New York State in 1806 by Kate Field, Henry Clews, Horace B. Claflin, Charles Stewart Smith and others.”

Among the men to be reburied at North Elba is John Henri Kagi, John Brown’s “secretary of war.” Kagi is a Trumbull County native from Bristol, where his father serves as the village blacksmith.

“LAKE PLACID, N.Y., Aug. 30 — Thirty-five hundred persons witnessed the ceremonies at the reintermet of John Brown’s followers in the little graveyard at the John Brown Farm at North Elba, about two miles from here, this afternoon.

“Miss Katharine E. McClellan of Saranac Lake, who has published a charming sketch of John Brown in the Adirondacks, was kind enough to assume the labor of making all the arrangements for the funeral at the John Brown farm in North Elba. At her solicitation, that town presented a handsome casket with silver handles and a silver plate bearing the names of all the men, with the date of interment. The remains were all placed together in this one casket, and a grave was dug by the side of those of Captain John Brown and his son, Watson, under the shadow of the huge boulder that Captain Brown wished to stand sentinel over his last resting place. August 30, being the 43rd anniversary of the battle of Osawatomie, was selected as the day for the funeral ceremonies.

“A detachment of the 26th United States Infantry, which had gone up from Plattsburg to act as escort, fired a volley over the open grave; the benediction was pronounced; and the 1,500 visitors and neighbors who had attended the funeral turned away and left old John Brown, no longer solitary, to sleep on amid the mountains and trees that he loved so well.”

Wendell Lauth of Bristol is a Trumbull County historian.