Shapell Manuscript Foundation and Lake Champlain

On September 6, 1901, President McKinley was shot in Buffalo.  Initially it was thought that the President of the United States of America would not only make a full recovery, but that it would be a speedy one.  Thus, his Vice President at the time, Theodore Roosevelt, didn’t show too much concern about what might change the course of his political career forever.

At the time of the shooting, Vice President Roosevelt was on a different political mission: he was preparing the speech he was to deliver to the Vermont Fish and Game League’s annual meeting in an island of Lake Champlain. As part of its ‘Between the Lines’ program, Shapell Manuscript Foundation houses the original document written by Roosevelt to his superior McKinley, scribbled on the back of a railroad timetable.  It read: “Director of Hospital or House at which President lies Buffalo NY.  Wire me at once full particulars to Van Ness House Burlington Vermont.”

Roosevelt no doubt anticipated a pleasant trip that day in 1901 at Lake Champlain, but that wasn’t what happened.  This was a huge, unexpected shock.  Just three days after the assassination it seemed like McKinley was all set to recover; he had an excellent prognosis.  But that prognosis didn’t reign true and thus ultimately Roosevelt had to step up and replace President McKinley, becoming the youngest President of the United States of America.