Page images
PDF
EPUB

wealth and culture. The building is one of a row, of a type to be seen in hundreds of other places, of brick and stone, four stories and a basement high, the upper floor being an attic. A heavy railing runs from in front of the basement up the broad front steps to the doorway. Inside, the rooms are large and comfortably arranged, and there was, in those days, quite a nice garden in the rear.

It can truthfully be said that Theodore Roosevelt comes from a race of soldiers and statesmen, and that Dutch, Scotch, French, and Irish blood flows in his veins. This being so, it is no wonder that, when the Spanish-American War broke out, he closed his desk as Assistant Secretary of the Navy, saying, “ My duty here is done; my place is in the field,” and went forth to win glory on the battle-field of San Juan Hill.

Five generations of Roosevelts lived in or near New York previous to the birth of Theodore Roosevelt, the father of the President, in 1831. Nearly all were well-to-do, and many served the city and the state as aldermen and members of the legislature. During the Revolution they followed under

Washington's banner, and their purses were wide open to further the cause of inde pendence.

Theodore Roosevelt the elder was a merchant and banker; a man broad in his views and filled with the spirit of genuine philanthropy. He founded one of the hospitals of the city and was at one time chairman of the State Board of Charities. A story is told of him which is probably true. One day Charles Loring Brace came to him for financial assistance in establishing homes for the little waifs of the city.

“I will see what I can do," said Mr. Roosevelt. “ But you know that just at present I am busy with other charitable works."

“I know that,” said Mr. Brace. what I ask for is very much needed. The waifs and poor, homeless newsboys have no shelter.”

The next day, when returning from the establishment in which he was a partner, Mr. Roosevelt came upon a newsboy sitting on a doorstep, crying bitterly.

“What is the matter, my little man ?” he asked.

[ocr errors]

“ I lost me money; it dropped down into de sewer hole!” sobbed the ragged urchin. “Every cent of it is gone."

Mr. Roosevelt questioned the lad and found out that the boy had no home and that his only relative was a longshoreman who was hardly ever sober. He gave the lad some money to replace the amount lost, and the next day sent word to Mr. Brace that he would do all he possibly could toward establishing the waifs' shelters that were so much needed. The Newsboys' Lodging House of New York City is one of the results of Mr. Roosevelt's practical charities. He also did much to give criminals a helping hand when they came from prison, stating that that was the one time in their lives when they most needed help, for fear they might slip back into their previous bad habits.

In 1853 Theodore Roosevelt the elder married Miss Martha Bullock, of Roswell, Cobb County, Georgia. Miss Bullock was the daughter of Major James S. Bullock and a direct descendant of Archibald Bullock, the first governor of Georgia. It will thus be seen that the future President had

both Northern and Southern blood in his make-up, and it may be added here that during the terrible Civil War his relatives were to be found both in the Union and the Confederate ranks. Mrs. Roosevelt was a strong Southern sympathizer, and when a certain gathering, during the Civil War, was in progress at the Roosevelt city home, she insisted upon displaying a Confederate flag at one of the windows.

“I am afraid it will make trouble,” said Mr. Roosevelt; and he was right. Soon a mob began to gather in the street, clamoring that the flag be taken down.

“I shall not take it down,” said Mrs. Roosevelt, bravely. “ The room is mine, and the flag is mine. I love it, and nobody shall touch it. Explain to the crowd that I am a Southern woman and that I love my country.”

There being no help for it, Mr. Roosevelt went to the front door and explained matters as best he could. A few in the crowd grumbled, but when Mrs. Roosevelt came to the window and looked down on the gathering, one after another the men went away, and she and her flag remained unmolested.

« PreviousContinue »