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On the morning of October 10th 1898 President McKinley and his First Lady Ida Saxton McKinley woke up in the home of Marshall C. and Mary Barber, Ida’s sister. The home is now known as the National First Ladies Historical Site. According to the Monday October 10, 1898 Evening World-Herald of Omaha, Nebraska the couple passed as comfortable a night as possible. After breakfast the President took a short walk for exercise and smoked a cigar. They held a private funeral for George Dewalt Saxton brother of Ida McKinley and Mary Barber at the Barber home. Rev. O. D. Milligan of First Presbyterian Church in Canton, Ohio officiated. At 9:27 the President would meet the rest of his cabinet at the Pennsylvania Railroad Station for the trip to Omaha Nebraska while the first Lady would remain in Canton for a few days. President McKinley was bound for Omaha to attend the Trans Mississippi and International Exposition. James Fuller McKinley nephew of the President attends the exhibition with him.
The following evening a short parade welcomed President McKinley to Omaha, Nebraska, and the next day Wednesday October 12, 1898 he attended the exhibition. Looking for a way to show the progress of the country since the financial panic of 1893 twenty-four states combined forces and put on an exhibition containing 4062 exhibits with over 2.6 million people in attendance.
The President’s Special Train then heads back to Chicago to attend a Peace Jubilee. The Wednesday, Oct 19, 1898 Cleveland Leader spoke of President McKinley being greeted by five thousand people in the jubilee’s auditorium. The crowd called for President McKinley to speak after the keynote was through with his speech. The President expressed how deeply moved he was with the reception he has received in Chicago. There was a call for three cheers for President McKinley and the exercises concluded with a rousing rendition of “America” sung by the crowd. Mrs. McKinley made the trip to Chicago escorted by Major Webb Hayes, son of the late President Rutherford B. Hayes.
The Presidential train moved southeast from Chicago and headed for Indianapolis, Indiana where it would stop for two hours. The train much like today was met by rain, rain, and more rain. The train stopped at East Washington Street where the President and his party would disembark and board seven carriages for the ride to the Indiana Statehouse. The President and First Lady were seen having a grand old time in the parade, and Mr. McKinley posed for the cameras with his hat off. As the party neared the capital the crowds grew larger. The President was ushered into the capital and reappeared through a window onto a platform. The crowd applauded for several minutes before they were ordered to quiet down, and even then Mr. McKinley first words were inaudible. He thanked the crowd for the warm welcome. He said “We met with in no party name, we meet in common country and patriotism and peace.”
One hundred and twenty years ago today President McKinley stopped briefly in Indianapolis, Indiana to speak to his fellow citizens.
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