Teddy Roosevelt Shot by Anarchist
Manuscript of Speech Saves His Life



A question in a trivia book lead me into researching this article. The question was: "Which president's life was saved due to a speech he had prepared?" A little blurb on the card explained that Teddy Roosevelt was about to give a speech when an assailant ran forward and fired a shot. Due to the thickness of the manuscript of the speech, it acted as a deterent and slowed the bullet down enough so that it only pierced him -- a sort of bullet-proof vest if you will. A quick trip to the library and I was able to find on microfilm a copy of the October 15, 1912 edition of the Detroit Free Press. Right there on the front page was the news all about it. Printed here are transcripts of the text of the news accounts.

Milwaukee, Wis., October 14 -- A desperate attempt to kill Col. Theodore Roosevelt tonight failed when a 32 caliber bullet aimed directly at the heart of the former president and fired at short range by the crazed assailant, spent part of its force in a bundle of manuscript containing the address which Co. Roosevelt was to deliver tonight, and wounded the Progressive candidate for President.

Col. Roosevelt delivered part of his scheduled address with the bullet in his body, his blood staining his white vest as he spoke to a huge throng at the auditorium. Later, he collapsed, weakened by the wound, and was rushed to Emergency hospital.

Shot in Front of Hotel

The shooting took place in the street in front of the Hotel Gilpatrick. Col. Roosevelt reached Milwaukee shortly after 5 o'clock and making his way through the crowd which had gathered at the station, entered an automobile and was driven to a private dining room on the main floor with the members of the party on his private car.

After dinner Col. Roosevelt stood up, waving his hat in answer to the cheers of the crowd. The assassin was standing in the crowd a few feet from the automobile. He pushed his way to the side of the car and, raising his gun, fired.

Henry F. Cochems, former athlete and Chairman of the Progressive Party speaker's bureau, and Elbert Martin, Roosevelt's stenographer, seized the man and held him until policemen came up. John Schrank, who is small of stature, admitted firing the shot and said that "any man looking for a third term ought to be shot."

Col. Roosevelt barely moved as the shot was fired. Before the crowd knew what had happened, Martin, who is six feet tall and a former football player, had landed squarely on the assassin's shoulders and borne him to the ground. He threw his right arm about the man's neck with a death-like grip and with his left arm seized the hand that held the revolver. In another second he had disarmed him.

All this happened within a few seconds and Col. Roosevelt stood gazing rather curiously at the man who attempted his life before the stunned crowd realized what was going on.

Col. Roosevelt refused to allow doctors to examine him at first. Later, doctors made an examination of the wound and announced "Col. Roosevelt is suffering from a superficial flesh wound. Bleeding was insignificant. He soon traveled on to the Auditorium where he was scheduled to give a speech."

Bullet Perforates Manuscript

The manuscript of his speech doubtless had done much to save his life. When he had come upon the platform at the Auditorium he drew the manuscript from his vest pocket during his first few words, the torn sheets of paper, showing many stains blood, showed also that the bullet had gone through the manuscript.

"You see," cried the colonel holding up the manuscript so that the audience could see the bullet hole through the sheets of paper, "It takes more than that to kill a Bull Moose."



Find a great article covering the life of Theodore Roosevelt here.
This site is Teddy Roosevelt's official bio posted by the whitehouse.
Teddy Roosevelt will forever be remembered as one of the great American presidents of our government.





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