October 10, 1908


Made Money Farming and Turned
the Leisure of Age to a Useful
End -- Had a Note From

William McKinzie, a farmer, 84 years old, died yesterday at his home a half mile ast of Piper in Wyandotte county, Kas. Since he moved to that vicinity in the fall of 1865 he was well known in Republican local politics and it is said that up to 1900 he never missed a county convention of his party.

In his early life McKinzie was a cabinet maker in New York state. When he moved to Kansas at the close of the civil war he found the Western market did not justify this occupation so he permanently gave it up. A remnant of his first profession came back to him later when he had acquired considerable wealth from the soil, and in his odd moments he would sit for hours at a time in some sunny place carving out handsome canes with his pocketknife.

At the time of his death there were 350 unfinished canes in the woodshed back of the old fashioned residence. He has given as many more to inmates of the Old Soldiers' Home. Some of the products of McKinzie's jackknife are very beautiful and every president of the United States from Grant's time to the present has received one and acknowledged the gift in his own handwriting.

One of McKinzie's fancies was never to give away a can unless there was actual need of one on the part of the recipient. At some time during their administrations all the presidents had something the matter with their legs, until Roosevelt was sworn in. Grant often suffered with a bad knee; Garfield, Arthur and the rest down the line suffered, occasionally from rheumatism and kindred ailments. McKinley sometimes had a lame back and received a cane with sawed-off knots along its trunk bearing letters spelling the words "Protection" and "Reciprocity." When it came to Roosevelt there was a decided hitch, for the president absolutely refused to have anything the matter with him.,

Finally, two years ago, word came to the aged canemaker that the president was suffereing from a sprain received from the fall of his favorite horse, and his chance had come. The article, long preserved for this occasion, was taken out of its buckskin covering, dusted and hurried through to the White House.

The little note bearing the signature of the nation's chief in this instance is the proudest possession of the McKinzie household.

McKinzie often had said since the Republican national convention that he hoped to live to give a cane to Taft. During the last few days of sickness he often joked over the prospects of not living to make the presentation.

He is survived by Frank, Charles and Henry McKinzie, sons, and Mrs. Mary Hendricks, his daughter. All live near Kansas City.

Funeral services will be held at the home at 2 o'clock Sunday afternoon. Burial will be under the auspices of the G. A. R. and the Masonic lodge in Maywood cemetery. The funeral will probably be one of the largest ever held in that part of Wyandotte county, as the friends of the old farmer are said to be numbered by teh party roll call. A large delegation of acquaintances will leave Kansas City Sunday morning to attend the services.