James Garfield's Obituary
Transcribed by Ted Diamond (thanks, Ted!)
THE PRESIDENT DEAD
HE EXPIRED AT HALF-PAST TEN LAST NIGHT.
THE END COMES SUDDENLY AND WITHOUT WARNING.
GEN. ARTHUR TAKES THE OATH AS PRESIDENT.
SYMPTOMS THAT WERE APPARENTLY FAVORABLE FOLLOWED BY SEVERE PAINS IN THE HEART -- DEATH ENSUES IN FIFTEEN MINUTES-THE PRESIDENT UNCONSCIOUS -- HIS WIFE AND DRS. AGNEW AND HAMILTON HASTILY CALLED -- THE SUDDEN END CAUSES GREAT SURPRISE, EXCITEMENT AND GRIEF -- OFFICIAL NOTICE SENT TO VICE-PRESIDENT ARTHUR.
The sad announcement came at 11 o'clock last night that President Garfield had breathed his last at 10:35, thus putting an end to the long weeks of suffering he has endured. His condition yesterday, aside from a slight rigor in the early morning, was apparently more favorable than it had been on Sunday, and his surgeons and attendants, though realizing the fact that he was in an extremely critical state, were inclined to hope that he might grow better after all. At a few minutes after 10 o'clock last night, however, the sufferer complained of a severe pain in the region of the heart and almost immediately became unconscious. Dr. Bliss, who was hastily called, at once announced that he was dying, and Mrs. Garfield and consulting surgeons were summoned. Within 15 minutes President Garfield had drawn his last breath and the sorrowful intelligence was being sent with lightning speed throughout the country. Everywhere, notwithstanding the lateness of the hour, the bells were tolled as a mark of respect and sorrow for the long-suffering, patient, and heroic President.
Vice-President Arthur took the oath as President of the United States at his residence, in Lexington avenue, this morning at 2:10 o'clock. It was administered by Judge John R. Brady.
THE PRESIDENT'S LAST MOMENTS.
A SUDDEN AND UNEXPECTED END -- THE ANNOUNCEMENT A SURPRISE-THE CABINET SUMMONED AND VICE-PRESIDENT ARTHUR INFORMED -- ATTORNEY GENERAL MACVEAGH'S STATEMENT OF THE PRESIDENT'S DEATH.
Long Branch, Sept. 19 -- The President of the United States died to-night unexpectedly at 10:35 o'clock. Between 9 and 10 o'clock almost all the correspondents who had been closely watching the case left the Elberon and went to the West End to finish their dispatches and place them upon the wires there. The information that the President was sinking fast was sent to the West End Hotel at 10:45. At once the correspondents and others hastened to Elberon. When they reached that spot no particulars could be learned. At first Warren Young had brought the news across the lawn to the hotel. At 11:05 Attorney-General MacVeagh appeared in the hotel, took possession of the Western Union wire in the name of the Government and sent to Vice-President Arthur a dispatch informing him in the briefest manner that the President was dead, and saying that he would at once consult the members of the Cabinet. The members of the Cabinet were at once summoned. In a few minutes, having started from the West End before the reception of the summons, they were at Elberon, and, arm in arm, they walked across the lawn in the darkness to the Francklyn cottage, where the dead President lay.
At 11:02 Attorney-General MacVeagh came to the Elberon Hotel and made the following statement: "I sent my dispatch to Minister Lowell about 10 o'clock. Just before that Dr. Bliss had seen the President, and had found that his pulse was 106, and that all his conditions promised a quiet night. He asked the President if he felt uncomfortable anywhere, and the President answered, 'Not at all.' Soon
afterward the President fell asleep, and Dr. Bliss retired to his room across the hallway, while Gen. Swaim and Col. Rockwell remained with the President. About 10:15 o'clock the President said to Gen Swaim that he was suffering great pain, laying his hand near his heart. Dr. Bliss was immediately called from across the hall, and when he entered the room he found the Presidnet unconscious and substantially without pulse, while the action of the heart was almost indistinguishable. He said at once that the President was dying, and directed them to send for Mrs. Garfield and Drs. Agnew and Hamilton. The President remained in a dying condition until 10:35 o'clock, when life was pronounced extinct. It is supposed that neuralgia of the heart was the cause but, of course, that is not certainly known as yet. I have notified the Vice-President and have endeavored to notify Secretaries Blaine and Lincoln, who are on the track from Boston to New-York. The other members of the Cabinet were called from the West End and are now together in consultation."
The following persons were present when the President breathed his last: Drs. Bliss, Agnew, and Hamilton; Mrs. Garfield and her daughter Mollie, Gen. Swaim, Dr. Boynton, Private Secretary J. Stanley Brown, Mrs. and Miss Rockwell, Executive Secretary Warren Young, H. L. Atchinson, John Ricker, S. Lancaster, and Daniel Spriggs, attendants, the last named colored.
Mrs. Garfield sat in a chair shaking convulsively, and with tears pouring down her cheeks, but uttering no sound. After a while she arose, and taking hold of her dead husband's arm, smoothed it up and down. Poor little Mollie threw herself upon her father's shoulder on the other side of the bed and sobbed as if her heart would break. Everyone else was weeping slightly. At midnight Mrs. Garfield was asked if would like to have anything done, and whether she desired to have the body taken to Washington. She replied she could not decide until she became more composed. A dispatch was sent to W. H. Crump, the custodian of the White House, announcing the sad news.
Attorney-General MacVeagh was the first member of the Cabinet to get the news. He ran bareheaded through the darkness across the lawn from his cottage to the Francklyn cottage, followed by his wife, and the first dispatch of sympathy received from Gen. Arthur.
THE FIRST NEWS OF THE EVENT
HOW THE CORRESPONDENTS GOT THE ANNOUNCEMENT -- FORTY CARRIAGES RACING BETWEEN THE WEST END AND ELBERON -- THE SUMMONS TO THE CABINET.
Long Branch, Sept. 19, -- At 10:35 o'clock Dr. Boynton was sitting in the office of the Elberon Hotel talking with some newspaper men about the case. Suddenly a man's form appeared at the side-door and beckoned to the Doctor, who sprang to his feet and was outside. He returned in a minute and said: "The President is now sinking very rapidly," at the same time throwing up his hands with an expressive motion. A dispatch was instantly sent to the West End Hotel, and in less than a minute 40 carriages filled with newspaper correspondents were dashing through the darkness in the direction of Elberon. Hardly had Dr. Boynton disappeared than Capt. Ingalls, the commander of the guard, ran across the lawn. He was asked whether the news was as bad as was supposed. "I think it is," was his reply; "I think the President has another rigor." "Why?" was asked. "Because," he answered, "the Sergeant on duty has ordered a soldier to mount and go for some mustard in haste." A moment later Messrs. Atchison and Ricker walked over from the cottage, and seated themselves upon the hotel porch. They were not aware of anything alarming. In another instant a bright light flashed from the President's window, showing that the gas had beeen suddenly turned on and they both ran toward it.
In the meantime the newspaper men had swarmed into the hotel. For a short period they were compelled to remain in suspense. Then, at 10:53, Mr. Warren Young, the Executive Secretary, who has taken Miss Edson's place as nurse, appeared, carrying two dispatches. One was dispatched to the boys at Williams College and the other to Mrs. Eliza Garfield, the President's mother, and a formal warrant taking possession of the Elberon telegraph office in the name of the Government. He was surrounded by the eager crowd, whom he scattered like chaff by the announcement: "It's all over. He is dead!" Back at break-neck pace the carriages flew over the shockingly bad road, and in less than five minutes a hundred dispatches were flashing the news to all parts of the country and the world.
When the President died, the members of the Cabinet who were living at the West End -- Secretaries Hunt, Windom, James, and Kirkwood -- were retiring for the night. A dispatch announcing the news was sent up to the West End over the single wire which connects the two places. The news was proclaimed in the West End Hotel, and was heard by Assistant General Superintendant of the Railway Mail Service John Jameson, who verified it, and then ran across the street to the cottages where the members of the Cabinet and their families had rooms. He also hastily ordered carriages for them, and in a few minutes the members of the Cabinet were on their way to Elberon. As soon as they reached the cottage they sent the carriages back for Mrs. James and Mrs. Hunt, who came to the cottage and went to the room where Mrs. Garfield was.