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From 1896…..

January 20, 2014

I have often stated at the end of the day this blog is about things that interest me, and hopefully my mentioning a topic here or there will also amuse someone else.  Such is the following from the latest book I am reading.

The imagery in the following account of how William McKinley came to know of his nomination for president on the Republican ticket is grand to ponder in light of our technology driven age.

Consider if you will that for these men of the late nineteenth century, many of them Civil War veterans, what author Edward P. Kohn writes about in Hot Time In The Old Town was almost an “eerie experience”.

It was a time, of course, when nominees to-be usually did not attend political conventions and so that is how we find McKinley at his Ohio home surrounded by a few associates and newspapermen.  Upstairs in the hallway are telegraph machines delivering the latest news from the convention being held in Minneapolis.  Mrs. McKinley and some ladies were in a separate room, and one of her cousins relayed messages that were also coming via a telephone.

McKinley waited and obviously was wondering what had happened as the minutes ticked away after his name had been placed in nomination by the Ohio delegation.  No news was forthcoming and McKinley was wondering if the phone was working.  When he lifted the receiver he found the line was open and someone had left the circuit open.  What had happened was that for a full half hour after his name was placed in nomination the convention was filled with cheers and chants.  One of those in the room with McKinley will write of the sound over the phone sounding like “a storm at sea with wild, fitful shrieks of wind.” McKinley will easily secure the nomination.


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