THEODORE ROOSEVELT, DEPUTY SHERIFF 1886
THEODORE ROOSEVELT, DEPUTY SHERIFF
Theodore Roosevelt went to the Dakota Territory in 1883 to spend a vacation shooting buffalo. While in the Badlands, he fell in love with the beautiful yet savage country. Roosevelt lost himself in the charisma of what he called "the never ending plains."
TR's ELKHORN RANCHSketch inspired by photo, likely taken by Theodore Roosevelt himself, of his log cabin overlooking the Missouri River in the Dakota Territory Bad Lands where he lived the life of rancher and hunter from 1883 through 1886.
While in the West, he decided to build a log ranch house as a getaway retreat from his native New York and the political toils of his life. During a stay in the West, Teddy had a famous encounter with a frontier bully in Mingasville, West of Medora. One evening he entered Nolan's Hotel and Saloon just as two shots were fired by a drunken cowboy. The gunslinger then pointed his weapon at Roosevelt, whom he referred to as "four eyes", and demanded that he buy a drink for the entire house. Teddy laughed, which distracted the outlaw just long enough, before TR struck the desperado twice square on the jaw with left and right punches. As the man was going down, he convulsively squeezed off another shot, which missed Roosevelt. The corner of the bar met with the falling man's head and placed him into unconsciousness. The unconscious man was locked in a shed overnight until he was jailed the next day.
Theodore Roosevelt was traveling West from New York after attending to his politics when another adventure occurred.
TR CAPTURES BOAT THIEVESSketch inspired by copy of Frederic Remington's oil-on-panel depicting TR's capture of the men who stole his Badlands boat. The original painting hangs in the White House. The copy is part of a NYS Museum exhibition described on its web site.
In 1886, three "hard characters" made off with his boat. He was enraged with the theft but could not pursue the thieves down river due to severe weather. The loss of the small boat was not the primary reason for his anger. He knew that if the band of thieves was successful, it would signal others to plunder his ranch during frequent vacancies.
TR AS COWBOYThe original photos that inspired this web page's sketches of cowboy TR and his cabin are part of the Harvard College Library Theodore Roosevelt Collection shown in the NYS Museum, Albany. A full description of the fine exhibit Theodore Roosevelt: Icon of the American Century is on the museum web site at http://www.
On the frontier, where justice was a six-shooter on a man's hip, Roosevelt knew he had to pursue the trio, capture them, and turn them over to the law for punishment.
Roosevelt wrote to his friend, Henry Cabot Lodge, and described the incident:
...as soon as it lightens up I shall start downriver with two of my men in a boat we have built indoors, after some horse thieves who took our boat the other night to get out of the country with it.
As soon as the storm subsided, the posse made provisions for a three-week trek to hunt the thieves. They packed supplies of bacon, flour, and coffee. Roosevelt brought his camera and a copy of Tolstoy's Anna Karenina to occupy his time. Roosevelt cites the event in his 1897 book Ranch Life and the Hunting Trail:
The next eight days were as irksome and monotonous as ever I have spent: there is very little amusement in combining the functions of a sheriff with those of an arctic explorer.
The posse located and arrested the violators and returned them to the authorities. While on the trip back Roosevelt relates:
...all the time, of course, we had to keep guard over the captives, who had caused so much trouble that we were bound to bring them in, no matter what we lost.
Bring them in he did and as a result, he served the function of a Billings County deputy sheriff and received a fee of $50 for making the arrests. After this he would go on as a politician, leader of his party, New York City Police Commissioner, New York State Governor, Vice President, and President of the United States.Source: http://www.correctionhistory.org/html/chronicl/sheriff/ch17.htm
- Several people recently noted that they wondered why they didn't see much in the way of activity on my part on this group and also did not have my current email address or work phone. After working for the excercise equipment company, Nautilus Inc, maker of that Bowflex Machine that we all see on the informercials, I've launched out on my own and gone back into independent consulting. Things have went well and I've been able to more than double my Nautilus income. Of course, this takes me all over North America and I even have clients as far away as Japan. My private email is now Simonamerica@... and also another email works which auto-forwards to the gmail account, SimonATL@....
That said, I have been offline for a number of months and quite busy
setting up the business whose web site is www.jdetechnology.com I'll
be in Calgary, Canada for 6 weeks starting Monday. My new cell phone
is 360-901-4708. I will delete this post in a couple weeks.
Thanks for all the great posts we've seen here over the past months.
We also have some new members who've joined this group including
Michelle Bryant of the Washington State Chapter of the Theodore
Also, I'll be posting some photos from last summer's TRA Strenuous
Life Adventure in Medora, North Dakota ASAP. It was great fun and I guess the US Marine in me most enjoyed a good ole fashion "shootin match" with lever-action Winchester rifles and Colt peacemaker pistols!
Regards to all and hopefully I'll see fellow Theodore Roosevelt Association members in New York at the end of October.
Michelle Bryant and my Cuban-born wife and fellow TRA member, Maria Elena Simon and some others are working on a trip to Cuba to visit historic places associated with Theodore Roosevelt's participation in the Spanish-American War in 1898. When I was discussing a Cuba trip with Michelle and my wife, I said to Maria, "Hey, isn't your mom's entire family from Santiago de Cuba? I bet you have relatives who still live in that city. Why don't you try to find a cousin with email down there and see if they might assist with some of the logistics, otherwise we'll have to go thru a tourist agency who will tack on at least $1500 a head making a trip beyond the reach of a lot of people who might otherwise be interested." Fortunately, Maria was able to email some cousins down there who are willing to help and who have said, in typical Cuban cousin fashion, "Forget tourist agencies. We know everyone who needs to get involved down here." And it just so happens Mrs. Simon has family only a few miles from San Juan and Kettle Hill. We're waiting to see what they come up with. Just the fact that they have email in Cuba is no small feat as only professionals with work-related business are allowed to have email. One cousin is also a professional historian from Havana! No firm dates set and the USA educational organization who will sponsor the trip is still being worked out. Of course we have several in mind. In the end, it will all be quite legal and approved by the US State Department. If anyone is interested, please let me know by email. When we have definite information to put out, Michelle Bryant, who's great at Web site work will also be setting up a web site to inform the public. For me personally, I've always wanted to see all of this and I think this looks like it will work out and will not break the home budget "bank." Who knows - but perhaps this could be made an event that we could repeat from time to time. There's even a San Juan Hill Hotel who Senora Simon we will be talking to. Michelle Bryant reports that there is a lot of that ongoing construction is pretty much chewing up Kettle Hill. She'll have more information and will be able to give us an update.