President William McKinley Dies

McKinley's doctors believed he would recover, and the President convalesced for more than a week in Buffalo at the home of the exposition's director.

On the morning of September 12, he felt strong enough to receive his first food orally since the shooting—toast and a small cup of coffee. However, by afternoon he began to experience discomfort and his condition rapidly worsened. McKinley began to go into shock. At 2:15 a.m. on September 14, 1901, eight days after he was shot, he died from gangrene surrounding his wounds. He was 58. His last words were "It is God's way; His will be done, not ours." He was originally buried in West Lawn Cemetery in Canton, Ohio, in the receiving vault. His remains were later reinterred in the McKinley Memorial, also in Canton.

Czolgosz was tried and found guilty of murder, and was executed by electric chair at Auburn Prison on October 29, 1901.

Leon F. Czolgosz, age twenty-eight, a Detroit resident of Polish heritage and an unemployed mill worker of anarchist sentiments, had fired a concealed .32 Iver Johnson revolver point blank into the President's chest. McKinley doubled over and fell backward into the arms of his Secret Service escorts. As he lay bleeding from his wounds, he managed to tell his guards not to hurt his assailant. Then he turned to his private secretary and said: "My wife, be careful, Cortelyou, how you tell her -- oh, be careful." Rushed to a nearby hospital by ambulance, McKinley's doctors predicted a recovery. Gangrene had set in around the bullet wounds, however, and he died on September 14, 1901, just six months after his second inauguration.

By September 13, the President was decidedly worse and sinking fast. Gangrene had developed along the path of the bullet. Vice President Theodore Roosevelt, who was in the backwoods of the Adirondack Mountains, was quickly notified of the situation. He rode out of the forest on horseback and boarded a train to Buffalo. McKinley slipped in and out of a coma over the next few hours. During the afternoon of September 14, McKinley awoke long enough to comfort his family and friends who stood vigil beside his bed. "Good bye all. It is God's way. His will, not ours, be done. Nearer my God to Thee!" he said softly. A few minutes later, as his beloved wife wept by his side and sobbed "I want to go too, I want to go too!" McKinley died. Shortly afterwards, the forceful and charismatic Theodore Roosevelt, at age 42, was sworn in as the youngest President in American history.