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70 years ago ex-President Roosevelt spoke here

Dibble’s Dabbles

May 23, 2012
By Billie Dibble - Westfield Historian, 1976-2006 , Westfield Republican / Mayville Sentinel News

First published May 17, 1984.

It was 70 years ago this October 1984 when ex-President Theodore Roosevelt spoke from the band stand in our park to a large audience of people who had come from miles around to hear the celebrated man.

Headlines in The Westfield Republican of Oct. 14, 1914 were, "Roosevelt Here!" The announcement was, "Ex-President Theodore Roosevelt will speak in Westfield Tuesday, October 20 at 12:15. Mr. Roosevelt is making a campaign tour in behalf of Progressive Candidates and is to deliver three addresses in our County; one in Westfield, one in Chautauqua and one in Jamestown.

Article Photos

Photo courtesy Patterson Library photo archives
In Westfield, ex-President “Teddy” Roosevelt spoke from the platform in Moore Park many years before the landmark locust trees were removed.

"It was hoped at one time that he would also speak in Mayville but because of the trouble with his throat contracted in the jungles of South America on his recent trip, only three addresses were thought advisable.

"Col. Roosevelt and his party will arrive in Westfield early in the afternoon, when he will deliver the brief address. He will be met by automobile parties from all parts of the county which will form a caravan to Chautauqua. There the colonel's second address in the county will be given at 3:30.

"Following the Chautauqua address the caravan will reform and continue to Jamestown where he will deliver the final address of the day.

"At Jamestown a non-partisan dinner has been arranged in Col. Roosevelt's honor, which will be given at the Eagle's new Temple. Tickets are not reserved for Progressives but may be obtained at $1.50 per plate. (Wouldn't you like to dine with an ex-president for a dollar and a half?) A delegation of citizens from Westfield will attend the six o'clock dinner.

"The following representative citizens of Westfield will act as reception committee: F.W. Crandall, V.A. Kent, James V. Minton, Dr. C.E. Welch, Rev. R.N. Merrill, E.T. Welch, Prof. W.F. Furman, Judge A.B. Ottaway and Rev. George L. MacClelland."

The Republican of Oct. 21, 1914 carried an article from the New York World, "Roosevelt Attacks Whitman! So far as Mr. Roosevelt is concerned, the paramount issue of the campaign is Charles S. Whitman. All day long yesterday, Mr. Roosevelt pounded the Republican candidate for Governor, and it may be taken for granted that he will continue these tactics throughout the campaign."

Saturday of that same week, in the morning, "Charles S. Whitman, Republican candidate for Governor, and party, paid Westfield a visit and were greeted by a large crowd of men. The day was very unpleasant but the meeting was held in the park.

"Judge Ottaway presided. Mr. Whitman was unable to speak in the open air on account of his voice, but a telling speech was delivered by Senator Thompson, after which all were given a chance to shake hands with Mr. Whitman."

Whitman won the election by a sweeping 150,000 plurality and it was reported that Col Roosevelt went disgustedly to bed at an early hour after learning that Whitman was elected.

In the summer of 1905, during his seven-year presidency, Theodore Roosevelt visited our county and spoke at Chautauqua.

In 1901 Vice-president Roosevelt succeeded to the Presidency after McKinley's assassination. At the age of 42, he was the youngest man ever elevated to the highest office in the United States.



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