In His Own Words: Big Jim

Sep 09, 2014

Among the many dignitaries from around the world who come to visit the White House, President Roosevelt discovers a friend from his ranching days in western North Dakota.

Meeting Big Jim

Letter from Theodore Roosevelt to Kermit Roosevelt, December 2, 1904. Theodore Roosevelt Collection, Houghton Library, Harvard University. Electronic copy sponsored by the Theodore Roosevelt Center at Dickinson State University. For reproduction or publication permission, contact the Theodore Roosevelt Collection, Houghton Library.

“The other day while Major Loeffler was marshaling the usual stream of visitors from England, Germany, the Pacific slope, and Australia, of warm admirers from remote country places, of bridal couples, etc. etc., a huge man about six feet four, of middle age, but with every one of his great sinews and muscles as fit as ever, came in and asked to see me on the ground that he was a former friend. As the line passed he was introduced to me as Mr. White. I greeted him in the usual rather perfunctory manner, and the huge, rough looking fellow shyly remarked ‘Mr. Roosevelt, maybe you don’t recollect me. I worked on the roundup with you twenty years ago next spring. My outfit joined yours at the mouth of the Box Alder.’ I gazed at him, and at once said ‘Why, it is Big Jim.’ He was a great cowpuncher and is still riding the range in Northwestern Nebraska. When I knew him he was a tremendous fighting man, but always liked me. Twice I had to interfere to prevent him from half murdering cowboys from my own ranch. I had him at lunch, with a mixed company of home and foreign notabilities."

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