Sunday, August 4, 2013

Teddy Stops in Ooltewah

President Obama flew into Chattanooga the other day to visit our new Amazon distribution center and speak to the local community. However, this is not the first time that a President has come to our area. A local James County man had an encounter with President Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt in 1902. Remember, at this stage of history, the President traveled across country by train and Chattanooga was a prime location for changing directions and destinations. The depots between Chattanooga and Ooltewah were only 30 minutes apart. It was very easy to make a quick stop in Ooltewah.

The article listed below  is dated November 21, 1902 and was in the Daily Illinois State Register from Springfield, Illinois, on page 4. I have highlighted the section about the Ooltewah citizen. Anybody know who this person is? It might be part of your family lore. This story must have been passed down the generations, its too good not to be a favorite story around the holiday table. Let me know if you have any idea who the famed mountaineer from James County is.

Teddy is Hastening Home

Homeward Journey was without special incidents

Fast time was made over Southern Road Through the Mountains - President let school children see him in Virginia

Asheville, NC   Nov 20  President Roosevelt's special train arrived here at 4:10 tonight and left fifteen minutes later. The President made no formal speech, but shook hands with a number of citizens.

The President's homeward journey today was without special incident. The ride across the mountains over the southern road was made in fast time. The train stopped only to change crews and engines.

It's coming was generally announced, but there were small gatherings at many of the stations through which the train passed.

At Stevenson, VA about 6 am , fifty school children gathered around his car and begged the porter to let them see the president. The president who had just gotten up, heard their cries, and rather than disappoint the little ones, he stepped to the door in his stocking feet and said: "Good morning," just as the train drew out.

At Ooltewah Junction, where the train stopped for water, a tall, haw-boned mountaineer engaged the president in conversation.

The Tennesseean remarked that the bears in the Mississippi had proved too wild for the president. "Perhaps they were democratic bears and took to the woods upon my arrival," replied the president smiling.