Canton, Ohio: 1901. Unbound. This piece of mourning cloth measures 5” x 2.75”. It was removed from the Stark County Courthouse in Canton, Ohio where the body of President McKinley lay in state the day before his funeral on 19 September 1901. Included is a letter from Bond to an aunt in Canfield, Ohio, describing the cloth and the events of the day.
“Thinking perhaps that you would like some . . . that had connection with the funeral of McKinley, I enclose you a piece of mourning used in draping the corridors of the court house. Of this material there was used in the inside of the court house five thousand yards, this particular piece that I send you was located just opposite where the martyred president lay during the afternoon of Wednesday, and during the afternoon of that day there was at least ten thousand people went through the court house corridors. I did not go through as I preferred to remember him as he was when I last talked to him, what was only a short time before he went to Buffalo.”. Very good. Item #009786
On 6 September, President McKinley was shot twice in the abdomen at point-blank range by Leon Czolgosz, a leftist disciple of the anarchist leader Emma Goldman, while he was visiting the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York. One bullet was deflected by a jacket button, but the other penetrated his stomach. McKinley’s wound was not immediately fatal, but infection set in and the President lingered painfully for eight days until he died on 14 September. After a formal state funeral at the Capital on 17 September, McKinley’s funeral train departed for Canton, Ohio that evening, arriving around noon the following day when his casket was taken to the Stark County Courthouse, where he had practiced law for years. Thousands of people filed through the courthouse until 9 pm to pay their last respects. On 19 September, following a second funeral service at McKinley’s First Methodist Church he was buried in a family plot at West Lawn Cemetery. McKinley was reinterred at the McKinley Memorial in Canton following its completion in 1907. A scarce memento of President McKinley’s assassination. McKinley mementos are less common than those related to other presidential assassinations; even the Smithsonian’s American History Museum notes, “we don’t have quite as many objects that commemorate the assassination of William McKinley as for his predecessors.” (see Murphy’s “Artifacts of assassination, Pt. 2 “ at the National Museum of American History online.).