January 6, 2013
DEATH HAD TO TAKE TEDDY ROOSEVELT SLEEPING ELSE “THERE WOULD HAVE BEEN A FIGHT”
Oyster Bay, New York (JFK+50) 94 years ago today, 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.”
The former President, known as the “Colonel” because of his service in the Spanish-American War, had been suffering from inflammatory rheumatism in the weeks before but doctors determined the cause of death was from a “clot of blood which detached itself from a vein & entered the lungs.”
TR’s sudden death took doctors & 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 & 4:15 a.m. Vice-President Thomas R. Marshall would make the famous comment…
“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 & 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.
Mike Purdy adds that “the death of his son, Quentin, in the Great War in Europe had been a big hit on TR.”***
Theodore Roosevelt, survived by his wife Edith, was buried in the Youngs Memorial Cemetery in Oyster Bay, Long Island, New York.
*Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919) was born in NY City & graduated from Harvard. He served as Asst. Sec of the Navy, Governor of NY, Vice-President & President of the United States. During the Spanish-American War he was a Colonel in the Volunteer Cavalry known as the Rough Riders.
**Source: Manners, William. TR & Will: A Friendship That Split the Republican Party. New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1969.