Monday, January 6, 2014



Oyster Bay, New York (JFK+50) 95 years ago today, January 6, 1919, the 26th President of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt*, passed away quietly in his sleep at his home at Sagamore Hill** here in Oyster Bay.

According to Mike Purdy, one of the last statements TR made before his death was when he said to his wife, Edith...

"I wonder if you will ever know how I love Sagamore Hill."

                    Theodore Roosevelt
  26th President of the United States
              White House Portrait by
                  John Singer Sargent

The former President, known as the "Colonel" because of his service in the Spanish-American War, had been suffering from inflammatory rheumatism, but doctors determined the cause of death was from a "clot of blood which detached itself from a vein and entered the lungs."

TR's sudden death took doctors and the Roosevelt family by surprise. 

Mike Purdy writes that son Archie relayed the bad news to his brothers in Europe by a cable which read...

"The old lion is dead."

The Colonel himself apparently had no idea of the seriousness of his illness.  In the days before his death when asked about his health, TR responded with his characteristic "BULLY!"

Roosevelt died between 4 and 4:15 a.m.  Vice-President Thomas R. Marshall, upon receiving the news, said...

"Death had to take Roosevelt sleeping, for if he had been awake, there would have been a fight."

TR's health problems were aggravated by the fever he sustained while exploring in Brazil in 1914 and by the bullet he carried in his chest fired by a would-be assassin when he was a presidential candidate for the Progressive Party in 1912.

Another factor, perhaps, was the shock of losing son Quentin who was killed fighting in the First World War. 

Theodore Roosevelt, survived by his wife Edith, was buried in the Youngs Memorial Cemetery in Oyster Bay, Long Island, New York.

                 Gravesite of TR and Edith
                       Youngs Cemetery
                 Oyster Bay, New York
Photo by Shadow2700 at en.wikipedia

*Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919) was born in NY City and graduated from Harvard.  He served as Asst. Sec of the Navy, Governor of NY, Vice-President and President of the United States. 

During the Spanish-American War he was a Colonel in the Volunteer Cavalry known as the Rough Riders.

Sagamore Hill
National Historic Site
Oyster Bay, NY

**Sagamore Hill is located near Oyster Bay on the north shore of Long Island.  TR purchased 155 acres for the Queen Anne home which was completed in 1887.  Mr. Roosevelt lived here until his death in 1919.  The name of the estate comes from a local Native American tribe on Long Island.

Sagamore Hill, which was expanded to 23 rooms, became a National Historic Site in 1962.


"Manners, William. TR and Will: A Friendship That Split the Republican Party,"  New York,  Harcourt, Brace and World, 1969.