A Newspaper Chronicle

Reprinted from: Bully! Colonel Theodore Roosevelt

The Rough Riders & Camp Wikoff, Montuak, N.Y. 1898

An Illustrious New York Name

Editorial – It is remarkable that the question should now be raised whether a Roosevelt is a citizen of New York, and therefore eligible to office in this State, for the Roosevelt family from the earliest days of New York has been associated with its noblest undertakings, and, as far as we know, no member has separated himself from New York in all that time.

The Roosevelts were among the early inhabitants of New York, and sine then, from generation to generation, without a break, they have been citizens who have rendered distinguished service to the city and State, to philanthropy, and whatever else contributed best to the advancement of the people.

Isaac Roosevelt was a member of the New York Provincial Congress, the Legislature, and the City Council, and was also long the President of the Bank of New York. His son, Nicholas J. Roosevelt, born in the city of New York in 1767, was associated with Robert Fulton in the invention and introduction of the steamboat, the priority of the invention being a matter of dispute. Fulton said of him in a published statement: "As to Mr. Roosevelt, I regard him as a noble-minded, intellectual man, and would do anything to serve him that I could." Nicholas J. Roosevelt lived until 1854, dying at the great age of 87. It is a long-lived family.

His nephew, Cornelius Van Schaik Roosevelt, was born in this city in 1794, and died at Oyster Bay, on Long Island, in 1871, or in his seventy-eighth year. He was a successful merchant, and was noted for his large, regular and systematic contributions to charity.

His son, Robert Barnwell Roosevelt, born in the city of New York in 1829, is still living, and as a Democrat. He has been in Congress, has rendered much service in the organization of associations for the protection of game, was a State Fish Commissioner, was active in the Committee of Seventy after the exposure of the Tweed ring, against which he had been arrayed in the Citizen’s Association, and in 1888 was appointed Minister to the Netherlands. He has been an extraordinarily active man in many public directions, and also has been a fertile writer on sporting and other subjects.

Theodore Roosevelt, his brother, born in the city of New York, was of shorter life than his family generally. He lived from 1831 to 1878. He was a merchant and afterward a banker. He was appointed Collector of the Port, but was not confirmed by the Senate. He was noted for his extensive and systematic charities and earnest and active public support.

His son, the present Col. Theodore Roosevelt, was born in 1858 in the city of New York, was graduated at Harvard college in 1880, and at once entered into politics, being elected the very next year by the Republicans to the Assembly, where he was one of the most active members. In 1884 he was Chairman of the New York delegation to the National Republic Convention. In 1886 he ran unsuccessfully for Mayor of New York on the Republican ticket. His subsequent political and military career is known to everybody.

His great-uncle, James John Roosevelt, born in New York in 1795, lived to be 80 years old. He was a lawyer and a Democrat, was twice a member of the State Legislature between 1835 and 1840, was a Justice of the Supreme Court, and afterward was United States District Attorney in New York.

Another relative of Theodore Roosevelt, a cousin of the Cornelius before spoken of, was James Henry Roosevelt, born in New York in 1800, and dying there in 1863. He accumulated a large fortune by living economically and unostentatiously and why he had been thus self-sacrificing was explained when his will was read. It left the great bulk of his estate to found the noble Roosevelt Hospital, in which a tablet justly describes him as "a true son of New York, a man upright in his aims, simple in his life, and sublime in his benefaction."

Another Roosevelt, Hilborne Lewis, also born in New York, was a noted organ builder and an inventor.

What other New York family can boast a record of more constant service to the city and State during more than a century and a half? All have been New Yorkers of New Yorkers; all have made the State better for their living. All have been stout Americans, democrats in the best and highest sense, and that, we do not need to say, is not the partisan sense; able men, good men, public-spirited and industrious in their day and generation. They have not chased after the frivolities of life, but have accepted seriously their duties as citizens and performed them faithfully and courageously.... .

Roosevelt is a name for all New Yorkers to be proud of, a name honorably and usefully associated with the history of the city and the State from the earliest Colonial days. It has never sought the cheap glare of social pretension and display. Yet, now political sophistry has sought to delude the people into the belief that Theodore Roosevelt, one of the brightest examples of public devotion in that family and in any family of America, is not now a New Yorker. The idea is absurd.

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