Chapter 68 Legendary Teddy Roosevelt, Soldier, President & Hunter
President Theodore Roosevelt (Teddy), the 26th President of the United States, was born the same year that George Goethals was born (6/29/1858 - 1/21/1928), who is the American army engineer that directed construction of the Panama Canal.
Published family biographical sketches of the Roosevelt family indicate President Theodore Roosevelt was born with that name, but his father was recorded as Theodore Roosevelt, Sr. I've not noticed the President Roosevelt being expresses with a "Jr." suffix.
President Theodore Roosevelt is a fifth cousin to the 32nd President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who is my half eighth cousin. So, Teddy is a cousin to a cousin. Teddy's other relation to us is through his niece, Eleanor Roosevelt, who married Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Another way to describe Teddy's relationship is that he is the brother of the father-in-law of the seventh great grandson of my seventh fifth great grandmother, Alice Carpenter. Another way of describing his relationship to us is the he is the brother of father-in-law of the 7th great grandson of my 7th great grandmother.
Though President Theodore Roosevelt is not directly related to our first President, General George Washington, Theodore's relative, Franklin, is related to General Washington as a 13th cousin, eight times removed.
On July 1, 1898, Theodore Roosevelt and his ''Rough Riders'' waged a victorious assault on San Juan Hill in Cuba during the Spanish American War. He was one of the most conspicuous heroes of the war
Harry Seth Sharpe, my grandfather, was a Private in Company L of the Texas Infantry in the Spanish American War. He drew a pension as of November 21, 1927, Certificate #A-8-6-28, Company L, Texas Infantry. In historic narratives about the Spanish American War, it is noted that the then Col. Theodore Roosevelt, the future President of the United States, had a recruiting effort in San Antonio to garner soldiers for the war effort. Roosevelt's recruiting was at the Menger Hotel, that gracious old place of hospitality across the street from the famed Alamo. The recruiting story is available at the hotel today, where we have visited several times. When my parents lived in San Antonio in their senior years, the restaurant in the Menger Hotel was the favorite place of luxury where my mother loved to dine for special occasions. Though we do not have information about Harry's recruitment, we believe it most likely took place at this San Antonio event, as it is reasonably close to Georgetown (about 100 miles) where Harry lived.
After completing his military work in Cuba, he campaigned for the Office of Governor of New York, which he won in 1898 by a mere 1% margin. Due to the death of U.S. Vice President Garret Hobart, Teddy was recruited to assume the Vice Presidency early in 1900. As Vice President, he ascended to assume the Presidency when President William McKinley was assassinated.
The first public Presidential Car Ride was taken by President Theodore Roosevelt on August 22, 1906. This was a tour in areas of New England.
President Theodore Roosevelt first used the term "muck-rake" as he criticized what he saw as the excesses of investigative journalism in a speech to the Gridiron Club in Washington on March 17, 1906.
On the issue of immigration, President Roosevelt had a definite opinion. This is quoted from a 1907 speech: "In the first place, we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the person's becoming in every facet an American, and nothing but an American ... There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag ... We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language ... and we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people."
"With the assassination of President McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt, not quite age 43, became the youngest President in the Nation's history in September 1901. He was elected in 1904. He served till his term ended January 20, 1909. He brought new excitement and power to the Presidency, as he vigorously led Congress and the American public toward progressive reforms and a strong foreign policy.
"He took the view that the President, as a steward of the people, 'should take whatever action necessary for the public good, unless expressly forbidden by law or the Constitution.' I did not usurp power," he wrote, "but I did greatly broaden the use of executive power."
"Roosevelt's youth differed sharply from that of the log cabin Presidents. He was born in New York City in 1858 into a wealthy family, but he, too, struggled --- against ill health --- and, in his triumph, became an advocate of the strenuous life.
"In 1884 his first wife, Alice Lee Roosevelt, and his mother died on the same day. Roosevelt spent much of the next two years on his ranch in the Badlands of Dakota Territory. There he mastered his sorrow as he lived in the saddle, driving cattle, hunting big game --- he even captured an outlaw. On a visit to London, he married Edith Carow in December 1886.
"Boss Tom Platt, needing a hero to draw attention away from scandals in New York State, accepted Roosevelt as the Republican candidate for Governor in 1898. Roosevelt won and served with distinction.
"As President, Roosevelt held the ideal that the Government should be the great arbiter of the conflicting economic forces in the Nation, especially between capital and labor, guaranteeing justice to each and dispensing favors to none.
"Roosevelt emerged spectacularly as a "trust buster" by forcing the dissolution of a great railroad combination in the Northwest. Other antitrust suits under the Sherman Act followed.
"Roosevelt steered the United States more actively into world politics. He liked to quote a favorite proverb, 'Speak softly and carry a big stick. . . . '
"Aware of the strategic need for a shortcut between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, Roosevelt ensured the construction of the Panama Canal. His corollary to the Monroe Doctrine prevented the establishment of foreign bases in the Caribbean and arrogated the sole right of intervention in Latin America to the United States.
"He won the Nobel Peace Prize on December 10, 1906 for mediating the Russo-Japanese War, reached a Gentleman's Agreement on immigration with Japan, and sent the Great White Fleet on a goodwill tour of the world."
He was the first American to win the Nobel Peace Prize. It was a prize that began world-wide awards in 1901. The other of our family members to win a Nobel Peace Prize was the sixth American to win it. It was the former Senator from Minnesota and who was the United States Secretary of State, Frank Billings Kellogg. Frank is my half sixth cousin, twice removed to me. I must admit that some of the more contemporary winners of the Nobel Peace Prize have made me wonder whether the value of that prize has not depreciated in its meaning.
"Some of Theodore Roosevelt's most effective achievements were in conservation. He added enormously to the national forests in the West, reserved lands for public use, and fostered great irrigation projects.
"He crusaded endlessly on matters big and small, exciting audiences with his high-pitched voice, jutting jaw, and pounding fist. 'The life of strenuous endeavor' was a must for those around him, as he romped with his five younger children and led ambassadors on hikes through Rock Creek Park in Washington, D.C.
"Leaving the Presidency in 1909, Roosevelt went on an African safari, then jumped back into politics. In 1912, he ran for President on a Progressive ticket. To reporters, he once remarked that he felt as fit as a bull moose, the name of his new party."
"Despite his contention that he was 'as fit as a bull moose,' the Republican Party denied Theodore Roosevelt its nomination for President and, instead, backed incumbent William Taft. Four years earlier, Taft was Roosevelt's handpicked successor for the presidency, but the two had a falling out. Taft called TR a 'dangerous egotist' and a 'demagogue.' Roosevelt countered by referring to Taft as a 'fathead' and a 'puzzlewit.' William Howard Taft is the first cousin of the husband of my seventh cousin, once removed, Eleanor Kellogg Chase.
"With his defeat, Roosevelt bolted the Republican Party to run under the banner of the Progressive Party - renamed the Bull Moose Party in his honor. Feeling the pressure, Taft broke with precedent and became the first President to campaign actively on his own behalf while in office. The election turned into a two-way race between Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson, with Taft running a distant third. Roosevelt called for a 'Square Deal' and would control monopoly by regulating it. Wilson spoke of the 'New Freedom' and called for the breakup of big business as a means of restoring economic competition.
"In the end, Republicans split their vote between Roosevelt and Taft, allowing Wilson to gain the presidency with a 42% plurality. Wilson's victory made him only the second Democrat to win the presidency, since the Civil War. Taft was humiliated, gaining only 8 electoral votes to Roosevelt's 88."
Roosevelt was "Shot in the chest while entering an automobile outside the Hotel Gilpatrick in Milwaukee, Wisconsin by would-be assassin John Nepomuk Schrank at about 8:00p.m. Campaigning on the 'Bull Moose' ticket, Roosevelt delivered a 90-minute speech at the Auditorium in Milwaukee before seeking medical attention. The bullet would never be removed."
President Roosevelt was a strong outdoors man and hunter. In an account about the Winchester rifle history, it was reported that "President Teddy Roosevelt was also a Winchester devotee, using the1895 model on his famous 1909 African safari, which historians credited with boosting the sale of Winchester sporting rifles."
Source: "Great Days Outdoors Magazine," March 2006, published monthly by Alan White, Stapleton, Alabama (www.gdomag.com), page 9
Teddy Roosevelt's tenure as President ultimately was honored with the naming of a room after him in the White House. Here's the story:
"The windowless Roosevelt Room occupies the original site of the president's office when the West Wing was built in 1902. Seven years later, the room became a part of two waiting rooms when the West Wing was expanded and the Oval Office was built. When Franklin Roosevelt relocated the Oval Office from the center of the building to the southeast corner in 1934, this room received a skylight.”
On the night of January 5, 1919, Roosevelt suffered breathing problems. After receiving treatment from his physician, Dr. George W. Faller, he felt better and went to bed. Roosevelt's last words were "Please put out that light, James" to his family servant James Amos. Between 4:00 and 4:15 the next morning, Roosevelt died in his sleep at Sagamore Hill after a blood clot had detached from a vein and traveled to his lungs. He was sixty years old.
Upon receiving word of his death, his son Archibald telegraphed his siblings: "The old lion is dead." Woodrow Wilson's vice president, Thomas R. Marshall, said that "Death had to take Roosevelt sleeping, for if he had been awake, there would have been a fight." Following a private farewell service in the North Room at Sagamore Hill, a simple funeral was held at Christ Episcopal Church in Oyster Bay. Vice President Thomas R. Marshall, Charles Evans Hughes, Warren Harding, Henry Cabot Lodge, and William Howard Taft were among the mourners. The snow-covered procession route to Young’s Memorial Cemetery was lined with spectators and a squad of mounted policemen who had ridden from New York City. Roosevelt was buried on a hillside overlooking Oyster Bay.