The Rough Writer

News for and about the Volunteers at Sagamore Hill
Volume 23, Issue 4
September 2021
The Rough Writer is a volunteer newsletter, not an official National Park Service publication. It should not be used for historic research. 

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"In civil life we need decency, honesty . . . we are not to be excused as a people if we ever condone dishonesty.” 
Theodore Roosevelt, July 4, 1903, Huntington, NY
Photo by William Leavcock, TRLP Photo Walk
A regular feature of recent issues of the Rough Writer has been the column “It Happened In…” Here we would list several prominent events in the life of Theodore Roosevelt for the month in which the Rough Writer was published. For example, in the April 2021, issue, we recalled TR’s 1885 fight in a bar in Mingusville in the Dakota Territory, the birth of his fifth child, Archie, on April 9, 1894, and his return from his harrowing journey down the River of Doubt in April 1914. In July, we remembered the famous charge up Kettle Hill on July 1, 1898, and the death of TR’s youngest son, Quentin, on July 14, 1918.
September is another one of those months that was crammed full of momentous events in the life of Theodore Roosevelt. Among just a few of those events was his entering Harvard in September 1876; the beginning of his friendship with Maine guide Bill Sewall with whom he later captured the infamous “boat thieves”; and the birth of his first son, Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., on September 13, 1887. But probably the most momentous of September days occurred on September 14, 1901, when Vice President Theodore Roosevelt ascended to the Presidency following the assassination of President William McKinley. The TR Inaugural Site ( begins its overview of that traumatizing day at the dawn of the 20th century by recalling the excitement and pride Americans felt hosting the Pan-American Exposition only to witness the third presidential assassination in our short history as a democracy: “What begins as a joyous occasion and an opportunity to celebrate a nation's achievements, ends in tragedy and a test of that nation's Constitution.”
So, with a nod to the importance of that day in September 1901, and to our country’s resilience then, and now, we are featuring a short article on three other significant September events not just in the life of Theodore Roosevelt, but in the life of our nation:

  • September 14, 1814 – Francis Scott Key composes the lyrics to our national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner”.
  • September 14, 1901 – TR begins his first term as President following the assassination of President William McKinley.
  • September 17, 1953 – Citizenship Day becomes an official holiday designated by President Dwight D. Eisenhower. In 2004, Constitution Day was designated an official holiday to be celebrated on the same day as Citizenship Day, a day set forth to both educate the public on our founding constitutional principles and to celebrate the duties, rights, and privileges we enjoy as American citizens.
As we move into another Fall season with continuing concerns about COVID-19, the Delta variant, and some public resistance to vaccines and mask mandates, we remember another year, 2001 and another September day, 9/11, when the country also struggled with unimaginable loss, grief and uncertainty, and we looked to each other for comfort and a sense of common purpose.
To the community of volunteers and staff at Sagamore Hill, we wish each of you good health and look forward to the time when we will work together again, welcoming visitors from all over the world, and sharing the stories of the Roosevelts' life “on the Hill”.

Stay in touch,
Nancy and Charlotte
by Nancy Hall
On Friday, September 17, volunteers and staff gathered for our first picnic since the summer of 2019. Despite a rainy afternoon, by the time around 40 people began to gather under a large white tent, the rain had tapered off, the skies cleared, old friends and new greeted each other, and we spread our chairs out onto the lawn (socially distanced, of course). Superintendent Jonathan Parker then began a short program before we picked up our boxed suppers or opened picnic baskets brought from home. Jonathan thanked all those who helped organize the picnic – our maintenance crew and staff, as well as Pinky Feakes, Robin Wexler, and Nancy Hall. He also wanted to recognize and thank all volunteers who have worked at the Information Tent on week-ends – Mike Sassi, Joe DeFranco, Danny Karas, and Lois Lindberg – and to thank Brenda Cherry, who has planted, weeded, and maintained the garden at the entrance to the Park. And Brenda, Al and Lois Lindberg, were also recognized for their assistance cleaning books in the Gun Room. Jonathan also expressed his gratitude to all volunteers, staff, and Friends who have contributed articles to the Rough Writer over the past 18 months, and he read a special recognition proclamation from Laurel Brierly nominating Nancy Hall and Charlotte Miska, editors of the Rough Writer for the annual Hartzog Award.

The highlight of the program, however, was honoring former Museum Technician, Betsy DeMaria and former Museum Curator, Sue Sarna. Due to COVID restrictions last year, the traditional farewell for departing Park employees had to be cancelled. But the September picnic provided the perfect time to recognize their achievements, and Laura Cinturati did the honors.

For eight years, Betsy DeMaria distinguished herself with her meticulous research skills caring for SAHI’s extensive archival collection, especially those files pertaining to Quentin Roosevelt, as well as fielding hundreds of research requests from around the country and from volunteers and staff. Betsy’s work on the 100th anniversary exhibits on Quentin Roosevelt and Theodore Roosevelt were an especial sense of pride for Betsy and her team. Laura also noted that the “highlight from Betsy’s time here at Sagamore Hill was her work on the Google Arts and Culture project that included a 3-D street view and cardboard tour of the TRH, 8 virtual exhibits, and 162 collection object entries,” providing tools that could be used to “reach people around the globe.” Now Betsy will be lending her expertise to another National Park Site to work in Cultural Resources at Fire Island National Seashore and the William Floyd Estate.

When Sue Sarna retired after 30 years at Sagamore Hill to become Cultural Resources Manager at Fire Island National Seashore and the William Floyd Estate, she carried with her the satisfaction of, among her many achievements as curator at Sagamore Hill, the completion of the multi-year planning, construction, and re-opening of the $10 million dollar rehabilitation of the Theodore Roosevelt Home. A widely recognized expert on TR, she is a frequent lecturer and consultant on books, magazine and newspaper articles on the Roosevelt family as well as being interviewed on camera for important documentaries.

As Laura noted, “one of Sue’s biggest skills was her desire to collaborate with other National Park sites and institutions, including the Oyster Bay Historical Society, Old Westbury Gardens, the Theodore Roosevelt Association, the TR Inaugural Site, and the TR Presidential Library and Museum, to name just a few.” Sue was an educator as well as a collaborator, and her “behind the barriers” tours for volunteers deepened the knowledge we could share with the public and gave us all a greater appreciation for the work our curatorial staff brings to the preservation of the TRH and its priceless artifacts from that historical period.

On Sue’s Arrowhead plaque, the quotation below from Theodore Roosevelt aptly reflects her approach to her long career at Sagamore Hill: “Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is a chance to work hard at work worth doing.” Thank you, Betsy and Sue, for including us in that ongoing “work worth doing”: to preserve what is treasured by our nation’s history.
Betsy, Emma, and Laura
Sue and Laura
The Picnic Team - Nancy, Robin, and Pinky
Listening to Jonathan's presentation
Shannon McLucas, Acting Chief of Interpretation
From the very moment I arrived here at Sagamore Hill National Historic Site, I was warmly welcomed by two volunteers and their hospitality provided me with my first impression of Long Islanders and of the park they hold so dear. For the next few months, I will be serving as Chief of Interpretation and in that I’m looking forward to getting to know the volunteer community and park partners, and collaborating with you on how we can best help visitors to have a rich and meaningful experience while exploring all that Sagamore Hill has to offer. 

Like many of you, I have been an educator, small business owner, researcher, preservation advocate, and a National Park Service volunteer. In 2010, I signed on as a visitor services volunteer at Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine in Baltimore, Maryland. I was then working in publishing and looking for opportunities better suited to my interests and training. Having served as a research fellow, teaching fellow, and professional historian, I sought a vocation rather than an occupation. While volunteering I discovered within the park a diverse and energetic community of rangers and VIPs who shared a common sense of purpose, dedication, and a sense of stewardship of the site. In 2012, I began working as a part-time seasonal ranger, and in 2016 I was delighted to accept a permanent position as an interpretive park ranger, and it has been an exciting and very rewarding five years!  

At home I also serve as the Volunteers-In-Parks program coordinator for Fort McHenry and for Hampton National Historic Site in Towson, Maryland. Over the past 18 months my volunteers have shared with me their frustrations, concerns, and a collective sense of loss – sentiments to which I’m certain many of you can relate. In June, as our volunteers returned to support operations in many new and different ways, so too did their energy, enthusiasm, and commitment to the park and visitors. It was marvelous to welcome them back. As we’ve continued to adapt and overcome the challenges of the current environment, we’ve done so together. I look forward to working with the entire Sagamore Hill NHS community as we discover the variety of ways we can help visitors to explore and preserve Sagamore Hill in a manner that honors the legacy of Theodore Roosevelt.  

Please feel free to contact me with any questions, concerns, or suggestions you may have. You can reach me at
Museum Mashup
by Victoria Cacchione

An archaeology team from the Northeast Archaeological Resources Program led by Joel Dukes spent two weeks at Sagamore Hill National Historic Site at the beginning of August. Their objectives included locating and uncovering the foundation to the Stable and Lodge (ca. 1884-1944) and exploring the firing range President Roosevelt and his family used to practice their shooting skills. Using the results from a previous ground penetrating radar survey, the team found the Stable and Lodge foundation under layers of ash and charcoal due to the fire that caused its destruction in 1944. Included in the remains were white porcelain floor tiles, that offer insight into the interior design of the building. As for the firing range, the team used metal detection to map the direction President Roosevelt, his guests, and family were shooting and to determine what types of guns they were using.
VIP Tour
by Charlotte Miska

On August 10, 2021, I attended a tour of the archaeology dig along with seven other volunteers. The very knowledgeable staff was happy to share their work with us. We met our guide, Amy Fedchenko, at the site of the Stable and Lodge. She gave us a brief history of the structure and showed us part of the brick foundation that was uncovered. Part of an axle and wheel hub, probably from a carriage, could be seen in the trench. Team Leader Joel Dukes showed us a door knob, eight beads (perhaps from a rosary), nails, and melted glass that were found. Amy pointed out a round stone that was perhaps a footing for a porch pillar. Next we went to the area near the firing range. The archaeologists determined that there were different areas for rifle and pistol shooting. Targets were set up in the same place, but the shooters moved back 25, 30, or 50 yards depending on the firearm they were using. Not surprisingly, shotgun shells were everywhere, but two soldiers and a toy gun were also recovered in this area. Our last stop was the Tool Shed where Jennifer McCann was cleaning and cataloging the items discovered during the excavation. These items will be sent to the Northeast Archaeological Resources Program laboratory in Lowell, MA for analysis and cataloging. The items will then be returned to Sagamore Hill.
VIPs learning about the Stable & Lodge
Jennifer shows VIPs some of the finds
Joel with door knob
Carriage axle
by Nancy Hall
During the War of 1812, after the British attacked Washington City, burned the U.S. Capitol and the President’s House, British warships attacked Fort McHenry in a hail of shells and rockets in what became known as the Battle of Baltimore. Throughout the night of September 13, 1814, Francis Scott Key, along with his friends Dr. William Beanes, recently released from British custody, and John Skinner, U.S. Prisoner of War Exchange Agent, standing on the deck of an American sloop but under British surveillance, witnessed what seemed a certain defeat of the American fort. Key said at the time that the British assault “seemed as though mother earth had opened and was vomiting shot and shell under a sheet of fire and brimstone.” (, Mar 1, 2007)  

But at first light on the morning of September 14, 1814, Key saw the American flag, not the British Union Jack, still flying above Fort McHenry. From aboard that same ship, he penned the lines to what was first titled, “Defense of Fort McHenry” and set it to the tune of a popular English pub song, “To Anacreon in Heaven.” After his brother-in-law, a commander of a militia at the fort, circulated the poem, and the Baltimore Patriot printed it, the poem soon became known as “The Star-Spangled Banner,” enshrining the flag as our national symbol.
Original flag that flew over Fort McHenry during the Battle of Baltimore
Twenty-seven years earlier, on September 17, 1787, 39 delegates to the Constitutional Convention representing 12 states (Rhode Island having declined to send delegates) signed the Constitution of the United States. The signers represented “18th century leadership” (, including the youngest delegate, Jonathan Dayton, 26 and the oldest, Benjamin Franklin, 81. No women and no persons of color were signatories to our foundational document. However, two holidays commemorating the ideals of that document continue to this day, and are due primarily to the efforts of two women: Olga T. Weber and Louise Leigh.

Responding to the persistent efforts of publishing tycoon William Randolph Hearst to establish a holiday celebrating American citizenship, Congress designated the third Sunday in May as “I Am an American Day”. In 1952, President Harry S. Truman presented the resolution, and all 48 governors issued proclamations in agreement. It was Olga T. Weber, however, who successfully petitioned her hometown, Louisville, Ohio to change the date of the holiday to correspond with the original date of the signing of the Constitution, September 17. She went on to lobby both Houses of Congress to do the same. They agreed, and the result was that newly-elected President Dwight D. Eisenhower revoked the original date for the “I Am an American” holiday and changed the date and the name of the holiday. In 1953, the President signed it into law, and declared that “Citizenship Day” be henceforth celebrated on September 17th.

But that is not the end of the story. Louise Leigh, having taken a course on Constitutional History at the National Center for Constitutional Studies, founded a nonprofit organization dedicated to encouraging greater public constitutional education and recognition of its importance in our civic life. Through her efforts, and with the support of the late Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia, Constitution Day was approved as part of an Omnibus spending bill in 2004. Both Constitution Day and Citizenship Day were to be celebrated on the same September day. In 2005, the Department of Education determined that “every federal agency shall provide each employee with educational materials concerning the Constitution and that each educational institution which received Federal funds should hold a program for students each year on Constitution Day.”(
Olga T. Weber
Louise Leigh
On September 14, 1901, Theodore Roosevelt, standing in the parlor of his friend Ansley Wilcox’s home in Buffalo, New York, took the oath of office enumerated in Article II, Section 1 of the United States Constitution. Roosevelt, like John Quincy Adams, did not take the oath with his hand placed on the Bible (Adams swore on a law book). With raised hand, TR solemnly swore allegiance to the document that informs and protects our democracy, the oath that challenges the holder of the highest office in the land to honor the aspirations of our history, to protect the foundations of our government, and to place country above party and self-interest:

 "I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."
A newspaper sketch of Theodore Roosevelt’s Presidential Inauguration, September 14, 1901.
Mike Sassi came across an interesting find as part of his volunteer work at Old Westbury Gardens (former home of John S. Phipps and listed on the National Register of Historic Places). His duties include helping the Director of Preservation with various projects, including organizing the archives. You can imagine how surprised he was when he unwrapped what looked like a draft version of TR’s 1900 letter accepting the VP nomination. It is bound, has edits, and some pages are cut where changes were inserted. Mike said it made very interesting reading. TR talks about several points (inflation, economy, antitrust, nation-building, foreign policy, and race). It is a remarkable insight into his thinking. It was acquired by John Phipps who also has some first edition copies of TR’s books. Mike could not find any information as to how or where it was acquired; however, he still has a mountain to work through. Who knows what he will discover.

Mike shared his find with Museum Technician Laura Cinturati who said the Sagamore Hill archives has the final printed version of TR’s acceptance speech that was published by the Republican National Committee, but she said it is “so cool” seeing the draft with the notes from TR in his handwriting.
Page 1
by Brenda Cherry
The Theodore Roosevelt Legacy Partnership (TRLP) held its summer Photo Walk on July 10th. The participants ranged in their interest and photographic skill from cell phone users to people with professional equipment. It did not seem to matter! Everyone was eager to learn about the site and capture its beauty.
TRLP President Bill Reed shared photos from previous walks while Jim Mon (husband of Board member Donna Mon) helped with registration. Bill explained the mission of the TRLP and outlined the day’s activities. Superintendent Jonathan Parker welcomed the participants and shared stories about his own photo experiences in the national parks. The group was divided into two groups led by Tyler Kuliberda and Bill Reed and Brenda Cherry. Walking past the House and along the old carriage road to the tennis court and then along the nature trail to the beach, the participants asked questions about the architecture and history of the site, Roosevelt family life, and the natural setting.
The weather was a little overcast, but the group was enthusiastic. Check the TRLP website and Facebook page to see some more photos.
Some of the participants
View from the beach
(photo by William Leavcock)
by Steve Gilroy
And I thought he came because I invited him. As a seasonal park ranger in early July of 1980, I was doing research for an upcoming program and found a letter written by Richard Nixon in 1958, to the then curator of the site, Jessica Kraft, wherein he indicated that someday he’d like to visit Sagamore Hill. I took it upon myself then to write him a letter inviting him to do just that. The summer continued and I stopped working the last week of August to prepare as a teacher for the new school year. However, Sunday of Labor Day weekend I received a phone call from the Acting Chief asking me to come in the next day to give a tour to the Nixon family. At first I thought he was kidding, but he told me that he didn’t want to do it and that since others who might have been able to give the President a tour were away on vacation, he’d like me to do it. I said sure and was told the Nixons would be arriving about 11 am, but the secret service wanted me there by 9:30, so of course I was. When I arrived I asked the agents if I could tape record the tour to which their response was, “Don’t mention taping around Mr. Nixon,” so I followed their orders. Then, however, I was shocked to learn that since the Presidential party did not want to interfere with a previously scheduled tour, instead of arriving in an hour and a half, they would arrive in 10 minutes! Now I was becoming very nervous.
Shortly thereafter, as I stood at the front door with a small crowd of TRA members and local officials, the limousine and secret service car pulled up to the front steps. Out stepped the 37th president of the United States. For a brief awkward moment nobody said a word, but then he was officially welcomed by the Curator and Acting Chief. Mr. Nixon was joined by his wife, Pat, daughter, Julie, and 2-year-old granddaughter, Jennie. I told them I’d be conducting the tour and motioned them to the front porch where I’d give an introduction.
Mr. Nixon chose to stand because he had been sitting so long in the car. As I began to speak I became worried because during my tours I would always make reference to Richard Nixon and the day he resigned from the presidency. In his official resignation speech, Nixon quoted from the famous “Man in the Arena” speech, but in his unscripted address to his staff earlier in the day, Nixon quoted from TR’s diary about the great love he had for his first wife, Alice Lee (“my heart’s dearest”), and his terrible sense of loss when she died (“the light went out of my life”). Alice Roosevelt Longworth, the only child of that first wife, grew up believing her father did not love her mother because he never talked about her. However, at the age of 90, Alice supposedly said that after hearing about Mr. Nixon’s comments that day, she realized for the first time that her father did indeed love her mother. So I repeated this story, not to remind them of the day Nixon left office, but to emphasize the speech’s meaning for Alice Longworth. The entire family seemed genuinely surprised by the story.
Once in the house it was difficult to proceed because of all the people trying to get the Nixons’ attention to chat, pose for pictures and sign autographs. At one point, I was speaking so fast the Acting Chief had to ask me to slow down. However, once we went to the second floor, no one else followed, and since it was now just the Nixons, the agents, and me, I relaxed a bit. What amazed me throughout was how quiet Mr. Nixon was except when giving his constant attention to his granddaughter, even speaking to her in “baby talk.” The one time he seemed genuinely interested was when we entered the Gun Room. There I mentioned that most of the animals were gifts except a few, including the head over the fireplace, to which Mrs. Nixon replied, “Oh, you mean that water buffalo? I said, “No, that’s a musk ox.” Mr. Nixon then said, “Pat, you remember, when Mao gave us the panda bears and we gave him the musk ox.” It was at that moment that it really hit me who I was with and had to take a moment to gain my composure.
The tour ended and as we made our way downstairs I asked Mr. Nixon if he would sign one of his books for me, which he did, and then I told him of my experiences as a White House photographer during his administration representing American University where I was a student. We posed for pictures and then something remarkable happened. Throughout the entire tour Mr. Nixon was quiet and seemed awkward and uncomfortable with chitchat and small talk. By the time we walked out of the house a large crowd had gathered and after posing for pictures he walked over to the railing and began speaking about everything from the weather, to the Mets and Yankees, to the Long Island Railroad. He seemed to be thoroughly enjoying himself so much so that with his family waiting for him in the car, someone had to tell him it was time to leave. After one and a half hours the Nixons left Sagamore Hill. A week later I received a very nice but overly flattering letter from Mr. Nixon. And, oh, by the way, they came to Sagamore Hill because his daughter Julie suggested it, NOT because of any invitation that I had sent. Oh well, at least they came, and it is a day that I will never forget.

Editor's Note: Steve is much too modest. Click here to see the letter he received from the former president. Well done Steve!
Steve, Richard and Pat Nixon with their granddaughter Jennie
Part II
by Nancy Hall
When talking with visitors about the many articles of interest in the Library of the TRH, it’s easy to overlook the small coal hod on the far left of the mantle. However, the story behind that miniature coal hod and Roosevelt’s intervention in the coal strike of 1902 is one worth retelling.

Last September, mid-COVID and pandemic shut-downs, the Friends of Sagamore Hill sponsored a well-received virtual book discussion of Susan Berfield’s The Hour of Fate, moderated by TR specialist and author, Clay Risen. Berfield, subtitled her book “Theodore Roosevelt, J.P. Morgan, and the Battle to Transform American Capitalism.” She asserts that the 1902 anthracite coal strike was “one of the greatest labor actions in American history . . . a confrontation between the past where power was concentrated [in the richest Americans] and a future where it was shared.” TR’s controversial interventionist approach and the emerging power of unionized labor had far-reaching consequences that we still experience today. Part I in the July issue of the Rough Writer presented the background to the coal strike. Below, is Part II, its consequences for the American Labor Movement.

Part II – The Impact of the Coal Strike on the American Labor Movement

The consequences of this 6-months long struggle between capital and labor were greater than the wage and workday concessions. Both Scott Connelly and Susan Berfield conclude that there were at least three important gains resulting from the coal strike that continue to affect both political and social agendas to this day.
The first was the establishment of a consequential labor movement. Economist Selig Perlman (Univ. of Wisconsin) stated that “for perhaps the first time in history ‘a labor organization tied up for months a strategic industry...without being condemned as a revolutionary menace.’ ” (Connelly) While critics of the settlement disapproved of this form of government intervention and the emerging power of labor, the public, this time, stood with the miners.
Another important advance emerging from this often violent conflict between strikers and owners was the establishment of uniformed state police. During this strike and earlier ones between 1868 and 1876, privately-owned “police” wielded tough vigilante-like “justice”. Striking miners were labeled as “anarchists” and “Molly Maguires” (after the Irish vigilantes fighting against the British), when, in fact, it was the “Coal and Iron Policeman” who enforced the owners’ “law” with brutality. When Samuel Pennypacker became governor of Pennsylvania in 1903, the mine operators wanted the Coal and Iron Policemen to become commissioned by the State and given civil police powers. Pennypacker threw their requests on the floor declaring, “Take them away ...We must have an independent constabulary.” (Connelly) On May 2, 1905, the General Assembly of the state of Pennsylvania created the Pennsylvania State Police, the first organization of uniformed police in the United States.
Finally, while Roosevelt believed his action was a risky but necessary political maneuver, the resulting negotiated settlement which he helped initiate set a precedent involving the federal government in disputes between capital and labor: it “propelled Progressivism, the greatest good for the greatest amount of people, forward onto the politics and society headed by Theodore Roosevelt.” (Connelly) That political ideology sought to limit the power and influence of the wealthy class, fought for better living and working conditions for everyday citizens, and created initiatives leading to the 8-hour workday, the formation of the NAACP, and legislation resulting in the 1906 Pure Food and Drug Act.
The coal strike of 1902 began as a potential national crisis threatening to destabilize American society, but Roosevelt’s response established a governmental precedent that had far-reaching consequences for American civil society and aspirational government, one whose ideal is “an economy that works for everyone.” (Berfield)
His decision to intervene in the anthracite coal strike was the defining moment of his presidency, and he justifiably took pride in his role in helping to avert continued civil strife and suffering. Others did, too. On Christmas Eve, 1902, a miner delivered a miniature copper coal hod (above), a token of his appreciation, to the White House. Many years later, Ethel Roosevelt Derby remembered that the small coal hod contained a piece of coal (Ingersoll). Roosevelt was so touched by the miner’s gesture that he placed it on the mantle in the library of Sagamore Hill near other treasures one from a king (the silver flagon from King Hakkon of Norway) and one from a pope (the mosaic of the Vatican Gardens from Pope Leo XIII). The framed autograph and picture of the poet of democracy, Walt Whitman, hangs nearby.
Berfield, Susan. “The Coal Strike that Defined Theodore Roosevelt’s Presidency.” July 15, 2020 
Connelly, Scott. “The Greatest Strike Ever.” The Pennsylvania Center for the Book – Great Anthracite Coal Strike of 1902. Spring 2010. 
Ingersoll, William, Historian at Edison National Historic Site. Interview with Mrs. Ethel Roosevelt Derby at Sagamore Hill. April 4, 1962.
Statue of John Mitchell, dedicated union leader who led the anthracite coal strike of 1902, is located at the Lackawanna County Courthouse where the Anthracite Coal Strike Commission held hearings in November 1902. Each October 29 “John Mitchell Day” continues to be held in remembrance of Mitchell’s success.
by Charlotte Miska
Rehabilitated Bald Eagle Released at Sagamore Hill

On July 12, 2021, an adult male Bald Eagle was banded and released at Sagamore Hill. The eagle was rescued by Bobby Horvath of Wildlife in the Need of Rescue and Rehabilitation (WINORR). The eagle was spotted on June 10th by concerned homeowners, who watched it battle a larger female eagle on their driveway in Muttontown. The female eagle flew off leaving the injured male eagle on the ground with a puncture to its scalp and puncture wounds to his head and legs. The eagle was treated by WINORR until it was well enough to be transferred to a flight cage at the Evelyn Alexander Wildlife Rescue Center in East Quogue where it was able to test its wings and practice flying before being returned to the wild. Sagamore Hill was chosen as the release site because it provided a good amount of open field to observe the bird’s flight as well as close access to the water for hunting. Since it was not known if this was a resident bird or an outsider, Bobby did not want to relocate it too far away if it was part of a family. Chris Nadareski, a bander and Wildlife Biologist with the DEP came to Sagamore Hill to band the eagle. He affixed both a Federal Wildlife Band and a Regional Wildlife Band for identification. (If you ever spot these bands, please report them to It is believed that this is the first adult Bald Eagle to recover from injuries, be banded, and released on Long Island.
Federal Wildlife and Regional Wildlife Bands
Attaching bands
by Ginny Perrell
September has been a very busy month for the FOSH. We held our monthly meeting on September 14th, outdoors by the picnic tables, and covered a jam-packed agenda filled with plans for the future. Board member Brian Tadler brought a guest, Laura Escobar, to speak to us about the possibility of becoming a part of the Oyster Bay Farmer’s Market which is held on Sundays twice monthly in the area near the bandstand on Audrey Avenue. It is a mix of farmers offering farm stand items, people selling crafts and other homemade goods, and non-profits looking to get their message out. The Board reacted positively to setting up a table in the future once the details are worked out. We also are very interested in becoming a part of a program that would offer discounts at local businesses to FOSH members. We are now giving membership cards out to direct FOSH members when they renew their memberships. These cards can be shown and will be offered a discount at two restaurants in town so far, Café al Dente and Wild Honey.
Board member Patrick Teubner offered an extensive list of projects he is working on that include future Gable Lectures, special virtual events, and two TR related projects he would like to see come to pass. One is the placing of an historic marker at the site of TR’s carriage accident in Pittsfield, MA, which resulted in the death of his secret service agent Bill Craig. He would work with the TRA to bring this about. The other project is the placing of a bronze statue of TR at the Oyster Bay RR Museum (housed in the historical LIRR station building), based on an iconic photo of him sitting on a bench reading a newspaper while waiting for the train. Board member Steve Gilroy has done some preliminary work on this by contacting StudioEIS in Brooklyn, who have done similar photograph-based statues at the AMNH and at Hyde Park NHS. It is hoped a fund-raising effort can be launched to bring this to fruition. We will keep you all informed when the times comes to get out your checkbooks!
TR waiting for the train, August 18, 1901, Oyster Bay, NY
Theodore Roosevelt was the president of the New York City Board of Police Commissioners from 1895-1897. On Thursday, September 16th, the Friends were honored to be a part of hosting the 26th and 27th Annual Nassau/Suffolk Police Awards. It was an impressive ceremony from the moment the kilt-wearing pipe and drum bands struck up their patriotic music, the color guard and mounted unit appeared, and the audience recited the Pledge of Allegiance. Each recipient (there were four as this year’s event covered 2020 and 2021) was introduced and his personal story of triumphing over adversity was told. One officer said in his acceptance speech the award is “bittersweet” because although the pride one feels in receiving it is enormous, what it took to receive it involves a level of sacrifice that was challenging to the max.
Each officer thanked his family and his police family, for that is the way both police departments view their fellow officers – as a band of brothers. The Friends provided light refreshments and water to the attendees and so many officers came by to thank us for doing so. We in turn thank them for all they do every day to enable us to live safely in Nassau and Suffolk Counties. Laura Curran, Nassau County Executive gave a short speech, which was especially notable because she quoted the famous lines from TR’s Man in the Arena speech “it’s not the critic who counts...” A link to this year’s program, detailing the personal stories of the recipients, can be found on the Friends’ website:
Nassau County Police Deputy Chief James Bartscherer, left, Nassau Deputy Insp. Darin Costello, Suffolk County Police Det. Sgt. James Cerone, and Suffolk Officer Dennis Hendrickson each receive the Theodore Roosevelt Association Police Valor Award (Photo by Howard Schnapp)
Our next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, October 5th at 5:30 pm, outdoors by the picnic tables, if possible, via Zoom if not.
More scenes from the Police Awards
(photos by Brenda Cherry)
You can find the Rough Writer on the Friends of Sagamore Hill website ( Simply select the More about TR menu and click Rough Writer Newsletter. You will go to a page that lists the Rough Writer issues going back to January 2020. Back issues are now readily available for your reading pleasure. Thank you Patrick Teubner for making this happen.
This newsletter is produced by members of the Volunteer Advisory Board for the volunteers of Sagamore Hill National Historic Site. 
About Sagamore Hill National Historic Site
Sagamore Hill National Historic Site, located in Oyster Bay, New York, is a unit of the National Park Service. The Site was established by Congress in 1962 to preserve and interpret the structures, landscape, collections and other cultural resources associated with Theodore Roosevelt’s home in Oyster Bay, New York, and to ensure that future generations understand the life and legacy of Theodore Roosevelt, his family and the significant events associated with him.

For more information please check out our website at or call
(516) 922-4788.