Theodore Roosevelt, Police Commissioner of New York City. Rancher. Cowboy. Conservationist. Rough Rider. Person the Teddy Bear was named in honor of. Author. Assistant Secretary of the Navy. United States President, one of four to be on Mount Rushmore. Winner of a Nobel Peace Prize.
And some of his greatness could have been related to his link to the United States Civil War. Not bad, considering that Roosevelt was born in October, 1858. In other words, he was two years old when the Civil War started.
Like many Americans, Roosevelt had links both to the Union and to the Confederacy. Roosevelt's father, Theodore "Thee" Roosevelt, was an active supporter of the Union during the war.
Roosevelt's mother, on the other hand, was from Georgia, which seceded from the Union and joined the Confederacy during the Civil War. Roosevelt's mother, the former Martha Bulloch, came from a slave owning family. It is said she was a model for the character Scarlett O'Hara in Margaret Mitchell's famous novel, Gone with the Wind. (Others say Scarlett O'Hara was based on Margaret Mitchell herself. Perhaps we will never know. But it's fun to speculate.)
Two of her brothers fought in the Navy of the Confederate States of America.
Her brother Irvine, Theodore Roosevelt's uncle, served on the CSS Alabama, sunk off the coast of France in what is known as the Battle of Cherbourg in June of 1864. (Yes, there was a United States Civil War naval battle fought off the coast of France. It was a fascinating incident- I should have blogged about it. I wonder if my European blog readers learned about it in school, because I never did.)
Growing up, Roosevelt loved the water and all things nautical. He read letters from his uncles, and must have imagined himself living their life of excitement and challenge. You have to think these stories fired Roosevelt's imagination, and some of the adventures he had as an adult.
Theodore Roosevelt, eventually, became (in 1905) the first sitting President to visit the South since the 1865 end of the Civil War.
Today, you can visit Bulloch Hall and learn more about the ancestry of our 26th President.
Do you have links to both sides of the Civil War in your family ancestry?