Theodore Roosevelt was a natural storyteller. His summers spent with cowboys and cavalry men provided a wealth of opportunities to add to his repertoire.
Here’s a sample:
“The men of my Roughrider Regiment always enthusiastically helped me when I ran for public office. On one occasion, Buck Taylor of Texas accompanied me on a trip to speak. The crowd took to his speech and so did I until I heard him say this as follows:
‘Vote for my colonel, vote for my colonel – and he shall lead you as he led us, like sheep to the slaughter!’
This hardly seemed a tribute to my military skill, but it delighted the crowd and as far as I can tell, did me nothing but good!
Bill Jones was a good sheriff and a man with his fists. There was an election in Medora with threats that section hands without the right to vote would try.
Arriving late that day to town, I asked if there had been any disorder. Bill Jones was standing by. ‘Disorder?’ Said my friend. Bill Jones just stood there with one hand on his gun and the other pointed towards the jail to the section hands.
Only one tried to vote, and Bill Jones knocked him down. Lord, how that man fell!
‘Well,’ drawled Bill Jones. ‘If he hadn’t a fell, I would have walked over to see what was proppin’ him up!’
No men were more welcome in the White House than old friends of the cattle ranges. I remember one of them who appeared in Washington just before lunch where the British Ambassador was a guest.
As we went in, I turned to my cow-puncher friend and said with great solemnity: Remember, Jim, that if you shoot at the feet of the ambassador to make him dance, it would likely to cause international complications, to which Jim replied with unaffected horror, ‘Why colonel, I shouldn’t think of it, I shouldn’t think of it!’
I owe more than I can ever say to the West!”
Dakota Datebook: Remembering Theodore Roosevelt is written and performed by Steve Stark. Funding provided by the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation.