Posts in category History

Teddy’s Bear

By Hannah Kroll | Medora, ND

It’s National Teddy Bear Picnic Day today!

The little teddy bear holiday might not be widely practiced elsewhere, but we at Medora love to celebrate these history-stuffed toys. You can probably guess why. The link between the teddy bear and Teddy Roosevelt runs deep. For those who have not yet heard the tale, let’s take a trip back to 1902 – a hunting trip with our 26th president Theodore Roosevelt.

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The Greatest Optimist I Have Ever Met

(Continuing with our peek into the correspondence files between Harold and Antoine “Tony” de Vallombrosa, grandson of the Marquis and Medora de Mores, after Harold had purchased the Marquis family’s holdings in Medora. Here’s an exchange of letters from 1963. Try to imagine Harold onstage as Teddy Roosevelt!)

February 24, 1963

Dear Friend Harold,

I cannot let the New Year in without sending you my best wishes as my past year’s trip to Bismarck and Medora was for me one of the highlights of 1962—it was greatly so thanks to you and your understanding.

Here I am thousands of miles away and yet frequently I think of you as the greatest optimist I have ever met. This was confirmed by reading very completely the 20th anniversary Gold Seal Report. (Harold had mailed Tony a copy of his company’s full-color 20th anniversary report.)

So whenever I feel depressed and need a good example I think to myself all I need is a little more will power.

I have been exercising plenty to get back in shape but the going is still rough—circulatory problems and varicose veins are difficult to eliminate.

I hope you are in good shape. I enjoyed visiting your horse ranch and your hospitality. I was sorry not to see your New York associates and expect to reach them next time. Knowing you are obviously continuously coming with new ideas and making constructive use of them, I would very much appreciate hearing more about your fabulous Gold Seal Co. Also if any major activities around Medora and the Badlands are being considered I would enjoy keeping up with what is going on. Hoping this long letter is not boring you. I feel again sorry not to have been able to personally thank all the very kind people I met in Bismarck.

Very sincerely,
Antoine de Vallombrosa

June 13, 1963

Dear Friend Antoine,

I was in Medora and worked all day Monday this week. Among other things I find out that I own the original little home your grandfather lived in before he built the chateau. We got to checking and it has the old square nails on the siding and is still standing exactly where it was, on the north side of the Rough Riders Hotel. I am thinking of ripping off a few lean-to sheds that have been built on it and preserving it as a historical unit. (Note: eventually this building became the little white Bake Shop, which sat beside the old Rough Riders Hotel for many years, and has now been converted to a guest house just down the street to the south of the Hotel.)

The drama, Teddy Roosevelt’s Life in North Dakota, is starting the 26th of June in the Burning Hills Amphitheater. Please keep in mind our past conversation and some summer when you have nothing to do and want a little excitement, spend a few weeks with me in Medora – you play the part of your grandfather and I’ll play the part of Teddy Roosevelt, or one of the cattle rustlers – I think it would be fun. I gave your name to Mr. and Mrs. Andre Richard who plan to visit in France in the next week or two. Andre is the manager of our Andre Richard Division of the Gold Seal Company in New York City. If they happen to be anywhere near you, they may give you a call.


Sincerely yours,
Harold Schafer

Ask President Roosevelt

“Ask President Roosevelt” is a feature of the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation Member Newsletter, the Rough Riders Review. For five summers, veteran TR repriser, historian, and actor Joe Wiegand has brought Theodore Roosevelt to life on the matinee stage at Medora’s Old Town Hall Theater. During the off-season, Joe travels the country as TR, representing the Medora Foundation. As part of every performance, in character as TR, Wiegand takes questions from the audience.

 

Q: How did you spend your winter, Colonel Roosevelt? Any big plans for the summer ahead?

A: Like so many of you, Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays spent with family were the most special occasions. Of course, I toured the country, performing for audiences from Portland, Oregon to Saranac Lake, New  York. Like many a North Dakotan, the winter found me in Florida, Arizona, and Southern California, where thousands of Medora Musical fans follow the migratory fowl.

Traveling the country and telling people about Medora and the beautiful Badlands of North Dakota is a real honor and pleasure, READ MORE »

The Shooting of Riley Luffsey

This is an expert from local Medora author, Rolff Sletten’s book, Medora: Boom, Bust, and Resurrection. It goes into detail on the shooting of Cowboy, Riley Luffsey.

 

The sheriff responded by sending a posse which has been variously described as including from three to twenty men.

“The actual number matters little in light of the posse’s feeble response. Unfortunately the sheriff put his much weaker brother, Henry Harmon, in charge of the posse. Harmon and his posse boarded the westbound train in Mandan. When they arrived in Little Missouri (the depot had not yet been built in Medora), they confronted the three hunters and told O’Donald he was under arrest. O’Donald, Wannigan, and Luffsey simply laughed at the timid deputy and rode away.

 

The three hunters rode west from the Little Missouri depot until they reached a spot about three-fourths of a mile straight west of today’s Little Missouri River bridge. there they encountered the Marquis de Mores and four of his employees.

 

Who fired first will never be known with certainty, as both sides adamantly blamed the other. But when the smoke drifted away, William Riley Luffsey, the twenty-four-year-old buffalo hunter from Missouri, was forever dead.”

 

Learn more about Medora’s spooky history during the 2nd Annual Wild West Fright Fest on October 27 and 28. Get more details here.

“Hell Roaring Bill Jones”

The man who was known in the Badlands as “Hell Roaring Bill Jones” was actually named “Patrick McCue”.

 

He had come from Ireland where, apparently, he had become embroiled in an argument with an uncle. The argument quickly deteriorated into an altercation and in very short order the unfortunate uncle had been battered senseless. Whether or not he ever woke from his slumbers is unclear but “Bill” quickly adopted his new name and packed for the New World.

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Margaret Barr Roberts

“The Most Wonderful Little Woman in the Badlands”

 

Margaret Barr Roberts was an Irish immigrant who moved to the United States when she was around 11 years old. Her life was one of travel and tragedy.

However, through the struggle and hardship, she remained optimistic; always looking forward, as TR would say, “Doing what she could, with what she had, where she was.”

And of course, she wasn’t alone. In fact, TR himself was there to help her along. READ MORE »

5 Things You Didn’t Know About the Medora Musical

For the past 51 years, the Medora Musical as we know it today has been entertaining audiences from across the country. The musical has come a long way since the original Old Four-Eyes show at the Burning Hills Amphitheatre in 1958 and the production of Teddy Roosevelt Rides Again – A Medora Musical in 1965. So how did the original show compare to the one we all know and love today?

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Tales of Medora: How the Theodore Roosevelt National Park Began

Tales of Medora: How the Theodore Roosevelt National Park Began

Medora is a town full of fun and beauty — and nothing accentuates that beauty more than the Theodore Roosevelt National Park. In this “Tale of Medora,” we explore what went into the creation of the Theodore Roosevelt National Park. From the political leg-work to the final celebration; there is a whole story behind the creation of the TRNP and it’s fascinating! The following is an excerpt taken from Rolf Sletten’s book, “Medora: Boom, Bust, and Resurrection.” Enjoy!

BadLands2 - Copy READ MORE »

Gathering of TR’s Two – Schedule of Events

Gathering of TR’s Two – Schedule of Events

The Second Annual Gathering of TR’s will be held in Medora July 17, 18, and 19. Tickets are just $10, and can be picked up at all ticketing locations in Medora. The day will be filled with performances, classes, and much more! Read on for all the details.

Linda Sailer Dickinson Press
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Tales of Medora – Where did the Marquis & Marquise go After Medora

Tales of Medora – Where did the Marquis & Marquise go After Medora

The Marquis De Mores returned to France, where he became heavily embroiled in the intrigues of French politics. He ran for the Paris City Council, became a rabid anti-Semite, became involved in a plot to overthrow the French government, tried to organize a railroad in Indo-China, and concocted a grandiose scheme to unite all of Islam against England and the Jews.

In 1896, he went to Libya with a plan to stir up the Arabs against the English advances into Africa. On the morning of June 9, 1896, he was ambushed, shot, and killed in the Sahara Desert by a group of Touareg tribesman. The Marquise insisted the Touaregs were hired by his political enemies, but it is possible that they simply killed him for the gold he was carrying. Had he lived five more days, he would have been thirty-eight years old. READ MORE »

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