Source: The Boys’ Life of Theodore Roosevelt
Source type: book
Document type: book chapter
Document title: “He Governs a Great State Justly in Spite of the ‘Interests’” [chapter 13]
Author(s): Hagedorn, Hermann
Editor(s): Newton, H. C.
Publisher: Harper and Brothers Publishers
Place of publication: New York, New York
Year of publication: 1922
Pagination: 207-32 (excerpt below includes only pages 228-32)
|Hagedorn, Hermann. “He Governs a Great State Justly in Spite of the ‘Interests’” [chapter 13]. The Boys’ Life of Theodore Roosevelt. Ed. H. C. Newton. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1922: pp. 207-32.|
|excerpt of chapter|
|McKinley assassination; Theodore Roosevelt (at Adirondacks); Theodore Roosevelt (journey: Tahawus Club to North Creek, NY: 13-14 Sept. 1901).|
|George B. Cortelyou; William Loeb; William McKinley; Edith Roosevelt; Theodore Roosevelt.|
Originally copyrighted in 1918.
From title page: By Hermann Hagedorn, Author of “You Are the Hope of the World: An Appeal to the Boys and Girls of America.”
From title page: Edited for School Use by H. C. Newton, A.M., Head of the English Department, Blodgett Vocational High School, Syracuse, N. Y.
He Governs a Great State Justly in Spite of the “Interests” [excerpt]
On September 6th President McKinley
was shot in Buffalo.
Roosevelt heard the news at Isle La Motte, in Lake Champlain. He went to Buffalo at once, ar-  riving early the following morning, feeling, as he confessed that evening, “a hundred years old.” The sudden realization that he might at any moment be called to the chief place in the nation staggered him. The possibility had never entered his head.
The news with which he was greeted was cheering. The President was resting well. Recovery was more than possible. Roosevelt’s spirits rose.
The bulletins from the bedside continued favorable. He conferred with the members of the Cabinet, who had hurried to Buffalo. The affairs of the nation were in firm control. On the 11th the physicians in attendance declared that the President was practically out of danger. The members of the Cabinet began to leave the city. Roosevelt decided to join his family, who were at the Tahawus Club in the heart of the Adirondacks.
The morning of the 13th was misty, threatening rain, but Roosevelt had determined to ascend Mount Marcy with Mrs. Roosevelt and the children that day, and at six they were on their way. At a pretty lake called “Tear in the Clouds,” Mrs. Roosevelt and the smaller children turned back, while Roosevelt, who was hoping that above the clouds on the summit there might be sunlight, pushed on with the older boys. On the peak, as below, they found only fog. They descended and camped for luncheon at the timber-line. A thin rain was falling. They spread out their lunch, feeling wet and uncomfortable.
News had meanwhile come to North Creek,  thirty-five miles from Tahawus, that the President had had a sudden relapse. The message was telephoned to the lower club, twenty-five miles north. Mounted messengers were sent to the upper club, ten miles away.
The man in charge of the club told the riders, when they came, that the Vice-President was somewhere on the sides of Mount Marcy.
Runners were despatched in all directions.
Roosevelt, descending the mountain in the late afternoon, heard shots fired in the distance, at regular intervals. It occurred to him that it was a signal. He fired his own gun in answer.
It was five o’clock when the men who were searching for him found him at last. They gave him a message from the President’s secretary:
The President’s condition has changed for the worse.—CORTELYOU.
He descended quickly to the club-house.
No further news had come. He sent runners to the lower club-house, ten miles
away, where there was telephone connection with the outside world, and waited.
The hours passed.
He walked alone up and down in front of the cottage where he was living, trying to think it all out.
At one in the morning the summons arrived, “Come at once.”
He flung his grip into the buckboard that was waiting for him and was off.
It was a bad night, misty and black. The road  was less a road than a wide trail, cut into gorges only a day or two before by a cloudburst which had drenched Roosevelt on his way to the club.
The driver turned to the man beside him, hesitating.
“Go ahead!” cried Roosevelt.
The man went ahead. The light wagon jumped from side to side, threatening to fling its passengers out now on this side, now on that. It skirted dangerous abysses, it just missed dashing into boulders and trees. The driver turned once more.
“Go on!” cried Roosevelt.
He went on. Into the blackness he went, the horses finding their way by instinct rather than sight, the wagon holding together by the grace of Providence.
Ten miles down the trail they found fresh horses waiting for them. Roosevelt helped the driver unhitch the exhausted team by the light of a lantern and hitch the new team to the shaken buckboard. Then again they were off into the blackness.
It was thirty-five miles to the railroad at North Creek. Ten miles farther down they came on another fresh relay. They changed the horses and again were away along the rocky trail at breakneck speed.
Roosevelt clung to the seat as the wagon swayed this way and that.
“Too fast?” cried the driver.
“Go on!” cried Roosevelt.
The east was paling as they dashed into North Creek at five in the morning. A special train was  waiting at the station. The driver drew up at the platform.
Loeb was there to meet him. “The President is dead,” he said.
Theodore Roosevelt was President of the United States.