Wednesday, October 18, 2006

A big misunderstanding

As President William McKinley – hit by assassin’s bullet – edged closer to death, anxious Houstonians kept up with the latest on his health.

“The bulletin boards of the city were constantly scanned by an army of anxious watchers, and telephone inquiries poured in on The Post from all parts of the city,” the Houston Daily Post reported in Sept. 1901. “For hours it appeared that almost the entire population of the city alternated between mingled hope and fear.”

But a misunderstanding and touchy nerves led to the arrest of a Katy man downtown.

The man, who was not named by the Post, came to Houston for some medical treatment. He joined a crowd of others outside The Post’s bulletin boards awaiting the latest news on McKinley.

As they waited, he said he canvassed for McKinley in Chicago in 1896 and voted for him in 1900. During the 1896 election, the man said he made an $80 bet that McKinley would be elected. After the bet was agreed to, another man said, “You are right in betting on McKinley; he will be elected twice and then he will be assassinated, and after this there will be a revolution.”

That created a commotion when the crowd misheard the man’s tale and thought he won $80 betting that McKinley would be assassinated.
An officer arrested him, but the man was quickly released once everyone realized it was a misunderstanding.



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