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McKinleys are joined for Thanksgiving dinner

Editor’s note: This is part of a weekly series marking the 120th anniversary of Niles native William McKinley’s U.S. presidency.

On Nov. 20, Mr. Horace Vose of Westerly, R.I., shipped a turkey to the White House for President William McKinley’s Thanksgiving dinner. The 27-pound turkey was a traditional gift established by Vose many years earlier.

The president and Mrs. McKinley’s Thanksgiving dinner guests included Vice President and Mrs. Garret Hobart, Mr. and Mrs. Abner McKinley, Mrs. Fanny Hayes Smith and Mrs. M.C. Barber, the president’s sister. The dinner was served at the usual hour at the White House, 7:30 p.m.

The day after Thanksgiving, the president met with his Cabinet to review work on his annual message to Congress. The New York Times reported:

“The President has not finally completed his message to Congress. The matter is, however, in such shape that it can be put in form for the printer at a day’s notice, but this notice has not yet been given, and the Cabinet spent most of the time of today’s session going over once more certain portions of the document.”

“One of these portions was the very first chapter on the message, treating of the foreign relations of our Government. It is the intention of the President to devote much attention in his message to the subject of trade relations and reciprocity, so that there was some talk today respecting the positions assumed by the great European sugar-producing countries, that the laying of a countervailing duty on sugar, to offset the home-paid bounty, amounts to unjust discrimination.”

Four winter receptions at the White House were announced for the week following Thanksgiving. Fifteen hundred are expected to be invited to each event. Judges of the district courts, the diplomatic corps, U.S. Army and U.S. Navy officers, and the press are on the first reception list.

The second reception list will include the U.S. Supreme Court and members of Congress and part of the press. Members of Congress are on the third reception list and includes Marine Corps, Army and Navy. The public is invited to the fourth reception with an estimated 500 expected.

The Red Room will be the location of the receiving line. Arrangements for the receptions were directed by Col. T.A. Bingham, superintendent of buildings and grounds, and were patterned after practices in Germany and other European countries. The receptions will attempt to provide the best “continental experience.”

McKinley’s busy schedule also included a meeting with a delegation from the Pan-American Exposition Company regarding an exposition in New York state during the summer of 1899. The exposition is to be held at La Salle on the Niagara River.

The historic site is where Cavelier de La Salle constructed the Griffon, the first vessel to sail the Great Lakes, and in which he made his famous exploration of the Northwest Territory. The president visited the site during the summer with Mrs. McKinley and several members of his Cabinet and drove the first stake of the memorial to the explorer that is to be erected in connection with the exposition.

Wendell Lauth of Bristol is a Trumbull County historian.

columns@tribtoday.com

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