Monday, January 23, 2017

When Theodore Roosevelt Was Shot--and a Giveaway




Perhaps we don’t hear about the assassination attempt on Theodore Roosevelt as much as we do some others, because he wasn’t actually president when it occurred.
Roosevelt in 1904

Theodore Roosevelt was known as a robust and active man. He refused to let his health hold him back. As a child, he was somewhat weak, and his father told him to “make his body.” For the rest of his life he insisted in engaging in strenuous exercise. People who worked with him had trouble keeping up with him.

On October 14, 1912 he made his way to the Milwaukee Auditorium to give a speech. He got into an open-air car outside the Gilpatrick Hotel and was waving his hat to the crowd when a man fired at him from only a few feet away with a Colt revolver.

Roosevelt was campaigning for a third term as President. He had served from 1901 to 1909, and sat out the next four years. In the 1912 campaign, he lost the Republican nomination to incumbent president William Howard Taft, and so decided to run as a Progressive Party candidate. Heading out to make his speech, he had folded the fifty or so pages of his planned address in half and stuck into the inner pocket of his heavy coat. That speech, along with a case holding his eyeglasses, may have saved his life.

John Schrank
The shooter, John Schrank, 36, was an unemployed saloonkeeper. He said later that “any man looking for a third term ought to be shot.” 

But he also seemed to think he’d seen the ghost of William McKinley, whose assassination in 1901 catapulted Roosevelt to the presidency. Schrank felt he was following McKinley’s wishes in stalking Roosevelt for weeks and trying to kill him. According to Schrank, McKinley told him in a dream that Roosevelt was his murderer and to avenge his death. The man spent the rest of his life in a Wisconsin asylum.
Schrank's letter "to the people of the United States" describing his alleged dream of McKinley.

Roosevelt could tell the wound was minor and insisted on going ahead with his speech, in spite of what the doctor traveling with him advised. He declared, “He pinked me,” a fencing term which meant the wound was not serious but drew blood. Roosevelt avidly studied and practiced fencing and single stick fighting.

He went to the auditorium to deliver his address. He declared to the crowd, "I have just been shot…Fortunately, I had my manuscript. . .and there is where the bullet went through.” He displayed the two holes through each page of his folded speech. 

His party had been nicknamed the Bull Moose Party, for Roosevelt’s energy and determination. He told the crowd as he displayed the blood-stained manuscript, “You see, it takes more than one bullet to kill a Bull Moose.” He spoke for more than an hour. Only at its conclusion did he let his attendants get him to a hospital.

X-rays showed that the bullet lodged against his fourth right rib. If the items in his pockets hadn’t deflected it, probably it would have struck his heart. The doctors decided it was safest to leave the bullet where it was, rather than to operate, and he carried it for the rest of his life.

Even though the assassination attempt brought Roosevelt a lot of sympathy, he lost the election, and Democrat Woodrow Wilson took office.

Giveaway: Leave a comment with your contact information to enter a drawing for a copy of my book River Rest, set in 1918 Maine.

Susan Page Davis is the author of more than sixty published novels. She’s always interested in the unusual happenings of the past. Her newest books include Echo Canyon, Seven Brides for Seven Texans, The Saboteur, River Rest, and Tearoom for Two. She’s a two-time winner of the Inspirational Readers’ Choice Award and the Will Rogers Medallion, and also a winner of the Carol Award and a finalist in the WILLA Literary Awards and the More Than Magic Contest. Visit her website at: www.susanpagedavis.com .

33 comments:

  1. Interesting post! I didn't know about this incident. I can't imagine carrying a bullet in my body.

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    1. Boggles the mind, doesn't it, Linda? Thanks for coming by.

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  2. OMG!! I did not know Teddy Roosevelt was shot. What an informative post. I love history and romance so this book, River Rest, sounds great (I looked it up and found it is already on my TBR list). Thanks for the giveaway and good luck everyone.

    princessdebbie1_2000(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. You're welcome, Debbie. I tried to match the post with a book from the same era.

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  3. My husband has read a few biographies of Teddy Roosevelt. I have always been impressed with his tenacity. Having asthma as a child he was tutored at home. He spent years doing physical exercise to combat his condition. Doctors recommended he take up smoking believing the coughing would help keep his lungs clear. Teddy was noted for his squeaky voice in college and slight frame. His many adventures and successes despite his asthma makes him a true American hero.

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  4. There are so many fascinating aspects to T.R.'s life. This is one of a thousand incidents I could have written about. I'm always amazed when I read about this man.

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  5. To me it says that he was worthy of his place in history. He was no slacker, that's for sure! bcrug(at)myfairpoint(dot)net

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    1. Connie, I agree! He didn't do anything by halves.

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  6. Great post, I never knew that about Teddy Roosevelt.
    Blessings, Tina

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  7. So much history...I am always learning new things.

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  8. Fascinating! Thanks for sharing that. I can't imagine just going on with your speech. Tough old bird ... uh moose! :)

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  9. I did not know this about Teddy Roosevelt. It was very interesting, thank you for sharing.
    susanmsj at msn dot com

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    1. You're welcome, Susan. There's much more to the story, but space here is limited.

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  10. I enjoyed this informative article about TR. Have you seen the film about him where Tom Berlinger plays TR? It's great. I also notice that he was Governor of NY, and police Commissioner of NYC. Watch for the portrait in Frank's office on Blue Bloods! I think he was one of our greatest Presidents. Paula : paulams49(AT)sbcglobal(DOT)net Thanks
    )) DOT net

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    1. I have not seen that film, but I love Blue Bloods, and yeah, I noticed the portrait.

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  11. I had heard that he was shot - but I had no idea that they left it in.
    Fun Fact - My 96 year old grandma was born during Woodrow Wilson's administration.

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    1. Oh, Connie, so lovely that you still have her with you. My grandfather was born in McKinley's administration, but he is long gone.

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  12. I love history - this was very interesting. Thanks for sharing. tomfay (AT) gotricounty (DOT) com

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  13. Fascinating - another bit of history that is little known. I don't think it would be fun to have a bullet lodged in your body. I'm sure I would be nervous that it would shift and end up killing me anyway! Thanks for the giveaway.
    bettimace(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. Same here, Betti! He was certainly a strong-willed person, and he made it work.

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  14. Teddy Roosevelt was a fascinating individual, and long winded! Thanks for sharing this information. steveandellengray(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. You're welcome, Ellen. He was a magnetic man.

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  15. Fun details, Susan. SO much to learn, so little time! Thanks for this post!
    spooler (at) comcast dot net

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    1. And I had to keep cutting stuff out! There's much more that I didn't have room for.

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  16. Informative post about Theodore Roosevelt with tidbits I did not know. Thank you for sharing. marilynridgway78[at]gmail[dot]com

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  17. Glad to see you here, Marilyn. Thanks!

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  18. Another great history lesson. This was so interesting...something I never knew. Thanks for sharing.

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  19. Loved the post, Susan. Thank you for sharing!

    mauback55 at gmail dot com

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  20. Susan, thank you for this fascinating post! I had no idea about the attempted assassination.

    psalm103and138 at gmail dot com

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  21. I didn't know any of this either. Very interesting!
    Digicats {at} Sbcglobal {dot} Net

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  22. Thank you all so much! The winner of River Rest is Connie R. I will contact you, Connie. Y'all come back!

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