Saturday, October 29, 2016


JFK+50:  Volume 6, No. 2113


Auburn, New York (JFK+50) President William McKinley's convicted assassin, Leon Czolgosz, was electrocuted 115 years ago today, October 29, 1901, at Auburn Prison.

The President was shot as he was in the process of greeting the public in the Temple of Music at the Pan American Exposition in Buffalo, New York.

According to James M. McPherson, Czolgosz...

"reflected the...class hatred suffering of the urban industrial world of the late 19th century.  (He) was an unemployed mill worker (who) drifted through the industrial cities of the Midwest, reading anarchist newspapers and adopting the revealing name of Fred Nieman--literally "nobody."

Czolgosz, who stood in a long reception line,  had concealed a pistol under a handkerchief wrapped around his hand as if bandaged.   It was 4:07 p.m., September 6, 1901, when Czolgosz fired the pistol point blank at the President. After the shooting, blood appeared on McKinley's shirt and he said..."Am I shot?"  

Mr. McKinley then told people around him..."My wife, be careful about her. Don't let her know."

The President was taken to the hospital where doctors determined that one of the bullets caused a superficial wound while another bullet passed through the abdomen lodging in the back.   Doctors were unable to locate or remove the second bullet.  Czolgosz when asked why he had shot the President answered... 

"I killed the President because I done my duty.  I didn't believe one man should have so much service and another man should have none."

McKinley's condition gradually improved but on September 12 it began to quickly deteriorate and the President died on September 14 at 2:15 a.m. 

The assassin was electrocuted with three jolts of 1800 volts each at 07:14, October 29.  In order to disfigure the remains, the body was doused with sulfuric acid. 


"To the Best of My Ability: The American Presidents," by James M. McPherson, Dorling Kindersley Publishing, Inc., New York, 2001.

President McKinley Is Shot
Sketch by T. Dart Walker (1905)

Leon Czolgosz