Kermit Roosevelt

Photo added by William Bjornstad

Kermit Roosevelt

Oyster Bay, Nassau County, New York, USA
Death 4 Jun 1943 (aged 53)
Anchorage, Anchorage Borough, Alaska, USA
Cenotaph Oyster Bay, Nassau County, New York, USA
Memorial ID 5999 · View Source
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Explorer, Soldier, Businessman, and Author. He was the second child of President Theodore Roosevelt and his second wife, Edith Kermit Carow Roosevelt. After attending an Episcopalian college preparatory school, Groton, in Groton, Massachusetts, he completed a four-year course at Harvard in two-and-a-half years. After his freshman year he accompanied his father on a safari to Africa. In 1913 to1914 he accompanied his father on an expedition to South America to explore the River of Doubt. The river was later renamed the Rio Roosevelt and one branch of it was renamed Rio Kermit. Theodore's book detailing this expedition, "Through the Brazilian Wilderness," was one of his most popular. The expedition was progressing at an easy pace until it was decided to change objective and trace the river from its origin through its previously unchartted path through the dense rain forest. The harsh climate, torrential rainfalls, terrain almost impossible to traverse, ill-equipped and -designed canoes, along with dangerous waterfalls and rapids soon took their toll on the crew. One crew member drowned, and another was murdered. Worst of all, Theodore Roosevelt contracted malaria and a serious infection from a minor leg wound. The former president gave Kermit complete credit for saving his life on the trip. Kermit had also contracted malaria and came close to death when he conserved quinine to make sure his father had enough, under-dosing himself. The expedition doctor was eventually forced to inject him with quinine. After the expedition, he married Belle Wyatt Willard, and they had four children. He saw service in World War I, when in 1917 he accepted a captaincy in the British Army and saw heavy combat in the Middle East. When the United States joined the war, he obtained a transfer to the American expeditionary forces in Europe. After the expedition, Roosevelt went into business; he founded the Roosevelt Steamship Company and the United States Lines. By the time World War II began, he was in a battle with alcoholism and depression, problems that occurred frequently in his ancestors. His father had sensed the possibility of the problems and had worked mightily to prevent their appearance in Kermit. Kermit, with the help of his friend, Winston Churchill, managed to get a commission as a second lieutenant in the Middlesex Regiment. His first task was to lead a contingent of soldiers into Finland for the Winter War in that country. Before the expedition could get underway, Finland was forced to make peace with Russia. He was sent to North Africa, where there was little action, and his drinking, an enlarged liver, and a relapse into malaria resulted in his return to England and a discharge. When he returned to the States, the worry of his family resulted in his cousin, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, bringing him back into the Army as a major and shipping him to Fort Richardson, Alaska, as an intelligence officer. This got him out from under the bad influence of friends, but was not enough to save his life, and he died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Bio by: Tom Todd



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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 25 Jul 1999
  • Find A Grave Memorial 5999
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Kermit Roosevelt (10 Oct 1889–4 Jun 1943), Find A Grave Memorial no. 5999, citing Youngs Memorial Cemetery, Oyster Bay, Nassau County, New York, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .