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Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919)
Theodore Roosevelt is best known, of course, for being president of the U.S. – and everyone in North Dakota knows he lived in the badlands for a spell. Not as well known is the fact that for substantial parts of his life he was primarily a writer, and a good one. He was also a naturalist, historian, and soldier. TR was born in New York City on October 27, 1858, into a distinguished family. An endlessly inquisitive young man, he was especially interested in natural history, which became the focus of his first published works. He was elected to the New York State Assembly on the Republican ticket and soon made a name for himself as a historian with The Naval War of 1812 (1882).
Following the death of his wife, Alice, in childbirth in 1884, Roosevelt sought change and headed west to ranch lands he had acquired in the Dakota Territory. After failing to win the New York City mayoral election in 1886 as a self-styled “Cowboy Candidate," Roosevelt married childhood sweetheart Edith Kermit Carow and retired for a time to Sagamore Hill, his estate at Oyster Bay, Long Island.
Roosevelt returned to public life in 1889 and was assistant secretary of the navy under President William McKinley.
Resigning this office in May 1898 at the outbreak of the Spanish-American War, Roosevelt helped organize and train the 'Rough Riders,' a regiment of the First U.S. Volunteer Cavalry. A popular hero upon returning from Cuba, Roosevelt was
elected governor of New York in November 1898, and two years later he became vice president of the United States in the second administration of William McKinley.
The assassination of President McKinley in September 1901 placed Roosevelt in the White House, and he was elected president in 1904. In 1906 he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for resolving the Russo-Japanese War. Theodore
Roosevelt died in his sleep at Sagamore Hill on January 6,
Ranch Life and the Hunting-Trail
No American president has been closer to the working life of the West than Theodore Roosevelt. From 1884 to 1886 he built up his ranch on the Little Missouri in Dakota Territory, accepting the inevitable toil and hardships. He met the unique characters of the Bad Lands—mountain men, degenerate buffalo hunters, Indians, and cowboys—and observed their changes as the West became more populated. Ranch Life and the Hunting Trail describes Roosevelt's routine labor and extraordinary adventures, including a stint as a deputy sheriff pursuing three horse thieves through the cold of winter. Whether recounting stories of cowboy fights or describing his hunting of elk, antelope, and bear, the book expresses his lifelong delight in physical hardihood and tests of nerve.