American Boys' Life of William McKinley
AMERICAN BOYS' LIFE
ILLUSTRATED BY A. BURNHAM SHUTE
AND FROM PHOTOGRAPHS
LEE AND SHEPARD
Copyright, 1901, by Lee and Shepard.
All Rights Reserved.
The American Boys' Life of William McKinley.
J. S. Gushing & Co.-Berwick & Smith
Norwood Mass. U.S.A.
The life of William McKinley affords a shining example to all American boys of what honesty, perseverance, and a strict attention to duty can accomplish.
The twenty-fifth President of our Nation was born in a humble home, of humble parentage, and had to make his own way in life at an early age. When little more than a boy he taught school for a living, and at the age of eighteen he became a private in the army. He served through the whole of the great Civil War, and so faithful was he and so heroic that he became first a commissary sergeant, next a lieutenant, then a captain, and, finally, left the army a full-fledged major, twenty-two years old.
William McKinley could have remained in the army, and would undoubtedly have risen to a much higher rank had he done so. But this was against his mother's wish, and to please her then, as he had always tried to please her before, he gave up that hope and took to the law. Poor, but persevering, he studied until able to pass his examination, and then set up for himself, in a very humble way, in Canton, Ohio, which from that time on became his home. Here, as a lawyer, he served a term of two years as prosecutor of Stark County, and was a few years later nominated for Congress and elected to that honorable office.
As a congressman McKinley served his State and his Nation well for nearly fourteen years. At the conclusion of that time Ohio wanted a new governor, and McKinley was made such by a large majority of votes. So popular was he that, despite the loss of his private fortune through a friend whom he had endeavored to help, when he came up for reëlection he was kept in the gubernatorial chair by a majority which was as astonishing as it was pleasing to him.
In all his long political career McKinley had been faithful not alone to his party, but also to his friends and to the public at large. Twice he might have had the nomination for the Presidency, but he had given his word to stand up for others and he would not allow that pledge to be broken.
But at last came the time when he stood free to accept the highest office within the gift of the American people. He was made President amid the good wishes of all members of his party, and later on was elected a second time by an increased vote, which showed that many who had formerly opposed him were now his supporters.
Thus it was that this unknown boy, this humble soldier, this obscure lawyer, climbed the ladder of success from the very bottom to the very top, rung by rung, toiling faithfully, conscientiously, and with a strong religious conviction that as long as he did what was right he had no reason to fear for the future. This alone is a lesson which every American youth will do well to remember.
But there are other lessons of equal importance. When William McKinley became President, his aged mother testified to the fact that her son had always been a good boy, that he had never disappointed her, and that she believed he had never told her a lie. Would that every mother in our broad land could say as much of her boy! And when William McKinley married and settled down, his domestic life was above reproach, and thousands can testify to his loving, tender care of a wife who was an invalid for many years.
A character that is so noble and so spotless is certainly well worth studying, and it is for this reason that the author has written this volume, hoping that its perusal will inspire boys to be true to themselves in the best meaning of that saying, doing, as faithfully as they can, all that their hands find to do, and growing up into honest, wide-awake American citizens, to enjoy the prosperity which our departed President did so much to establish.
- October 15, 1901.
Birth and Birthplace of William McKinley—Ancestry—Early Training—Honesty and Truthfulness—First Days at School
Removal to Poland—Life as a Schoolboy—The Debating Society—His Opinion of a Law Case
McKinley enters Allegheny College—A Close Student—Sickness and Return Home—Becomes a School Teacher—The Mutterings of Civil War
Bombardment of Fort Sumter—McKinley hears the News—The Call for Volunteers—The Enlistment—Off for the War
At Camp Chase—The Twenty-third Ohio Infantry and its Officers—A First Engagement—In Battle of South Mountain
McKinley at Antietam—Rations for Fighting Soldiers—Made a Second Lieutenant—Morgan's Raid—Capture of the Noted Raider
Winter in Camp—Dividing up with the Soldier Boys—A Disagreeable March—Battle of Cloyd Mountain—A Teamster's Tribute
The End of a Three Years' Enlistment—McKinley on General Hayes's Staff—Battles at Kernstown and Winchester—A Mission of Life or Death
Out of a Dangerous Situation—Made a Captain—Up and down the Shenandoah Valley—An Order from General Crook, and how McKinley carried it out
Cutting down the Artillery Horses—Cedar Creek—An Early Morning Surprise—Sheridan's Wonderful Ride—Turning Defeat into Victory
McKinley appointed a Major—Closing Scenes of the War—Return to Poland—A Mother's Protest—Farewell to Military Life
Back to Ordinary Life—McKinley becomes a Law Student—At Albany Law School—Admission to the Bar—The Young Lawyer's First Case
A First Case and its Result—The Miserly Soldier and the Trick he played—How McKinley squared the Account—The Man with the Twisted Leg
Taking a Case on the Jump—Talking against Time—The Lost Documents—A High Sense of Honor—Running for his First Office
McKinley as Prosecuting Attorney—His First and Only Love—Mrs. McKinley and their Two Little Children—The Home in Canton
A Private Lawyer again—A Friend in Need—The Call to Congress—Success at the Polls—His Shining Example
McKinley in Congress—His Kindness to a Political Opponent—The Farmer and his Creek—A Defeat almost Equal to a Victory
McKinley as a Candidate for Governor—An Interrupted Meeting—Scenes of Childhood—Loss of his Fortune—Mrs. McKinley's Nobility of Character
Second Term as Governor—Declines the Nomination for the Presidency—The Convention at St. Louis—Triumph of the Gold Standard
Sworn in as President—Death of Nancy McKinley—The Old Soldier's Interview—An Old Colored Woman made Happy
Revolution in the Hawaiian Islands—Annexation to the United States—The Troubles in Cuba—Blowing up of the Maine—Fifty Millions of Dollars for the National Defence
Opening of the War with Spain—Task of Preparing for the Contest—Dewey's Victory in Manila Bay—Far-reaching Results of this Naval Battle
Looking for Cervera's Fleet—The War Room at Washington—The President's Undesirable Visitors—Laying out Campaigns on Land and Sea
The President at the Camps—Roosevelt's Rough Riders—The Army's Departure for Cuba—Landing at Baiquiri—Battles of La Guasima, El Caney, and San Juan Hill
Blockade of Santiago Bay—Sinking of the Merrimac—"The Enemy is Escaping!"—Destruction of the Spanish War-ships—End of the War with Spain
The Situation in the Philippines—Fall of Manila—President McKinley's Views—Campaigns against Malolos and San Isidro
Additional Campaigns in the Philippines—McKinley's Reëlection to Office—The Troubles in China—Capture of Tien-Tsin
Relief of the Legations in Pekin—The President's Views on China—Capture of Aguinaldo—His Peace Manifesto—The President's Trip to the West
The Pan-American Exposition—The President's Last Speech—The Temple of Music—The Assassination—Last Words of a truly Great Man
Tribute of a Nation—The Funeral and Final Resting-place
On and on rode Lieutenant McKinley (p. 78)
Birthplace of William McKinley, Niles, Ohio
And, in his stocking feet, William McKinley took the chair
Sergeant McKinley delivering rations on the firing line
Major McKinley greeting his mother
McKinley as student, soldier, lawyer, and congressman
"Billy McKinley, the rider of the bobtailed nag!" shouted the old soldier
The White House
"An' he give my hand a hot squeeze"
McKinley delivering his speech of acceptance
The second inaugural address
Temple of Music, Buffalo
McKinley's residence at Canton, Ohio—The Milburn house—Tomb at Westlawn Cemetery