Subjects: Wills

The Mysterious Case of Lulu B. Grover's Will

Nov 08, 2018

Sometimes we literally stumble upon stories here in the Theodore Roosevelt Digital Library.

Lulu B. Grover While searching for something else on, I came across a number of articles about a different subject and had to share. On December 6, 1906, a woman named Lulu B. Grover poisoned herself in her Harlem, New York, home. In her will, the authorities were surprised to discover she had left all of her posessions to President Theodore Roosevelt, calling him the "best friend she ever had."

According to Roosevelt, the two did not know each other, although Grover was from the Dakotas and said the two met each other there. A newspaper article from 1898 also has Grover mentioning Roosevelt, but in a sensationalistic article that makes her story of a connection seem doubtful. Regardless of their connection or lack threeof, the president honored the woman's wishes. United States District Attorney Henry L. Stimson, under the direction of the president, supervised her cremation, gave the $700 inherited to charities, and moved her Angora cat, named Snow Drop Low, to the White House according to the press.

Here is an excerpt from her will, printed in the Green Bay Press Gazette a few months after her death in a April 9, 1907, article. Her full will is linked at the bottom of the page.

Although I track people down all day here in the digital library, Grover is truly a mystery. There are no other records of her life that I have come across in vital records or historic databases, and no correspondence between the two parties from our digital library. Members of the Department of Justice searched for heirs early on, as well as for any connection to Roosevelt, but came across none. News stories claim that Grover was married at 17 and widowed soon after, so I know that Grover was not her maiden name, but still no luck in searches. 

While it is likely this woman was just unbalanced and a fan of the president, the story is curious indeed and has sparked my curiosity. See a copy of Grover's will here.

Posted by Karen Sieber on Nov 08, 2018 in History  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)  |  Share this post

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