Canton residents welcome McKinleys home amid fanfare
On June 30, 1900, the city of Canton was overjoyed to welcome home President William McKinley.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the reception of neighbors, friends and well-wishers greatly pleased the president. It was reminiscent of the crowds that gathered for the campaign of 1896. The McKinleys were greeted by an impromptu parade organized by a group called the Old Citizen’s Reception Committee.
The committee gained its recognition during the campaign of 1896. They showed their admiration for McKinley when he made his return trips to Canton by organizing welcoming receptions. The members of the committee arrived at the train station in uniform and on horseback. Members of the Grand Army band played “Home Sweet Home.” The Ohio National Guard participated.
Also in the crowds were some Spanish American War veterans. Shopkeepers who could not leave their station showed their support by waving at windows and cheering as the president went by. The president traveled by carriage from the train station to his home by private carriage with secretary George Cortelyou and Dr. Presley Marion Rixey. Rear Adm. Rixey was personal physician to Mr. and Mrs. McKinley and later Theodore Roosevelt. Rixey was one of the physicians who attended to McKinley when he was shot in Buffalo, New York, in 1901. In 1902, he was appointed surgeon general.
The trip took about 15 minutes to arrive at the McKinley’s recently remodeled home, on North Market Street. Shortly after his arrival, the president delivered a brief address to the crowds, and said: “My fellow-citizens: It is needless for me to say that we are very glad to get home again, and to be with you and each one of you as of old. And the pleasure is very greatly enhanced by the warm and hearty welcome which my old neighbors and fellow-citizens have given me here this morning, for which I most profoundly thank you all.”
The nonpartisan crowd was described as being joyous. They welcomed McKinley home with celebration and fanfare. As described in the Washington Post, “Cantonians have for the most part respected the desires of the President to have rest and quiet, and while a number of old friends have paid their respects the house has not been overrun.”
The evening closed with a quiet dinner in the newly renovated home. President and Mrs. McKinley, secretary Cortelyou, and Dr. Rixey attended. After dinner, the group enjoyed a short drive in the city.