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President Theodore Roosevelt Visits Rockford





Two Congressmen Will Welcome President Roosevelt to Rockford, Beside Many G.A.R. Leaders

The Memorial Hall will not be complete until June 3, according to Architect Carpenter, who has personal charge of the construction. Indeed the men will work up to within a short time before the arrival of President Roosevelt to dedicate the building if the ideas of the architect are correct.

Work is being pushed as rapidly as possible on the building and to a casual observer it seems as though the completion of the interior would be only a couple of days hence. But such is not the case.

Plans for the Roosevelt day celebration in Rockford are progressing, and now nearly all the arrangements have been completed by the different committees in charge.

Among the distinguished visitors who have been announced to be present and to assist in the reception of President Roosevelt and party are: Congressman Charles E. Fuller and Robert R. Hitt, Gen. Benson Wood of Effingham, state commander of the G.A.R., Gen. J.H. Stibb, prominent in G.A.R. circles. Col. Frank O. Lowden of Ogle County, and a number of prominent politicians of the northern part of the state.

Senator A.J. Hopkins of Aurora has been compelled to decline an invitation to be present, owing to the fact that Roosevelt will spend a portion of the day there and there will be a rush preparatory to his coming.

Gen. John C. Black endorsed for commander of the national association of the G.A.R., has been called elsewhere by a previous engagement.

The platform committee meets this afternoon at 4 o’clock to make all arrangements for the large platform the be built, and for seating arrangements.

The general reception committee for Roosevelt day is to hold a meeting this week to plan for the reception of the president at the deport. T.E. Buckbee, chairman of the board of supervisors, is chairman of this committee.

--Rockford Daily Republic, Tuesday Evening, May 26th, 1903


Rockford, Ill., June 3--The features of the visit of Roosevelt to Rockford today was the dedication of a Memorial hall, a $60,000 structure, consecrated to soldiers and sailors of Winnebago county.

--Bay City Time, MI, June 3, 1903





Freeport 8:00 8:25

Rockford 9:15 10:00

Rochelle 10:50 11:05

Aurora 12:30 2:00

Joliet 3:00 3:30

Dwight 4:30 4:45

Pontiac 5:15 5:30

Lexington 6:00 6:15

Bloomington 6:40 …..


Bloomington ….. 8:15

Lincoln 9:05 9:25

Springfield 10:15 2:00

Decatur 3:40 4:25

Smiling, unconcerned and as nonchalant as if he had not just swung around a circle of 13,000 miles President Theodore Roosevelt stepped off an Illinois Central train at 9:14 this morning in Rockford and proceeded to his carriage in the parade to Memorial Hall.

Cheer upon cheer greeted the nation’s chief as he stepped off the rear platform of his special train, accompanied by Secretary Loeb, and proceeded to meet the official representatives of the city of Rockford.

Through some misarrangement the train stopped fully fifty feet from the point where the reception committee awaited the president and the president, accompanied by Mr. Loeb, had to walk half that distance to meet the Rockford Men.

Fast as were the committee, Officer John Cavanaugh was quicker and was the first to grasp the president by the hand.

Chairman Joel B. Whitehead of the executive committee was second and in a few words he formally introduced Chairman Buckbee, of the board of supervisors, Charles E. Jackson, may of Rockford, Charles E. Fuller, congressman from this district, A.H. Frost, judge of the circuit court, and Walter Van Alstyne of the Memorial Hall committee.

The president was escorted immediately to his carriage, which had drawn up at the depot platform, at the west end of the depot.

Capt. S.H. R(?), clad in the khaki uniform of the army, held the carriage door open and as the president caught sight of the brown uniform, he extended his hand and the smile that was wont to terrorize New York policemen spread over his face as he said:

“Comrade, I am mighty glad to see you.”

May Jackson, as soon as the party were seated, pinned upon the president’s breast a handsome Spanish-American War Veteran’s badge, presented by Col. A.E. Fisher of the local camp. The president smiled and accepted the token.

He is a member of the order himself.

The party was no sooner seated than the driver commenced. With George E. Keyt at the reins, a secret service man beside him on the box and three surrounding the carriage and reinforced by Officers Golden, Read, Cavanaugh, and Peterson, the carriage started, head by Col. A.E. Fisher and staff.

The arrangement for the driver was:

Col. Fisher and Aides.

Companies H and K, 3d Regiment.

Present’s Carriage: Present Roosevelt, Secretary Loeb, President Buckbee of Board of Supervisors and Mayor Jackson.

Nevius Post, No. 1, G.A.R., Col. Lawler commanding.

M.C. Layta, three secret servicemen, Assistant Secretary Barnes, Surgeon General Rixey, Walter Van Alstyne, J.B. Whitehead

N.P. Webster, J.L. McGrew, Hon. Charles E. Fuller, Hon. Judge A.H. Frost.

Seceretary Wilson, Senator Albert J. Beveridge, Hon. Robert R. Hitt, Hon. E.W. Brown.

H.A. Coleman, H.R. Hazard, Mr. Lindsay Denison, Hon. John H. Sherratt.

R.L. Dunn, N. Lazarnick, Hon. L.M. Noling, Hon. Amasa Hutchins.

George B. Luckey, H.A. Strehmeyer, Hon. Henry Andrus, Hon. Frederick Haines.

P.W. Williams, J.P. Gooch, Judge R.C. Bailey, D.B. Redington.

Two of the president’s party, D.A. Nylander, W.L. Osborn.

W.C. Butterworth, F.E. Pearson, A.J. Anderson, C.R. Burch.

Harry Marean, E.J. Marriot, H.M. Johnson.

Haddorff Piano Company Band.

W.C. Baker post, No. 551, G.A.R., Stillman Valley

Hurlbut Post, No. 164, G.A.R., Belvidere.

Sons of Veterans, Rockford.

Spanish-American War Veterans.

Temperance Zouaves

Temperance Guards.

Foresters of Camp 51, M.W.A.

Patriarchs’ Militant, Canton Eureka.

S.M. & S.F. Band

S.M .& S.F. Society

Foresters of Riverside Camp No. 20


Knights of Columbus.

A guard of honor of Rockford secret and other societies was formed up the entire street and these, wit the assistance of policemen and secret servicemen kept the crowd back.

The secret service men insisted on the crowd being kept clear of the president’s carriage at least twenty feet in every direction, especially in front, and no one was allowed within this space.

President Roosevelt was especially gracious all along the line of the march.

He stood up repeatedly and instead of the perfunctory bows which generally come from an official, he wave his hat cordially wherever a burst of applause greeted him.

The smile, the Roosevelt smile, was continually over his face and the enthusiasm which greeted him was spontaneous all along.

At the corner of Main and State Street the greatest crowd had gathered and there he was given a perfect ovation.

Up the street the parade continued around the corner and up to Memorial Hall’s river front entrance, where the president stepped out upon the platform and began his address.


President Sees the Flag Fly in Rockford on Every Street He Passes.

President Roosevelt and his party say patriotism shown in Rockford today, for on every street along which the party was driven and on every cross street passed, hundreds of flags were flying.

Probably never before has Rockford been so handsomely and so gaily decorated with the nation’s colors than today.

On leaving the Illinois Central depot, the chief executive could see hundreds of flags on South Main Street, and on passing under the Northwestern tracks he came in full view of a great display of colors, immense banners hanging from high buildings and hundreds of yards of bunting and small flags galore.

The Court House could be partially seen from the intersection of State and Main Streets and every side of Memorial Hall was gaily bedecked.

West State Street was a flood of color, the decorations of the Appel store being especially prominent. The girder bridge was decorated with flags and with shields, beside festoons of paper colors.

These festoons stretched from the girder bridge along East State Street to Kishwaukee Street formed a pretty array of color, backed up with hundreds of flags. East State Street easily carried away with the honors for decorations.

There was a short break in the decorations from Kishwaukee Street to Seventh Street, but the beauty of the foliage was set off by a few flags among the trees principally one large one at the home of Hon. Frederic Haines.

Seventh Street was decorated with a number of large and small flags, bunting and festoons, and in each store window was a picture of President Roosevelt. There were decorations along Fifth Avenue, College Avenue, and Seminary Street as far as the glucose factory. The college grounds were also decorated with flags, this view being seen as the president passed along College Avenue.


Street Departments Cleans up Entire Route of President’s Drive

There was no mud in the streets over which President Roosevelt traveled in Rockford today. The street department took up this question this morning and by the distribution of finely crushed stone along the route, and the carrying off of dirt by wagon loads, for there was mud galore after the rain, had the usual Rockford streets, that is, practically perfect

--Rockford Republic, Wednesday Evening, June 3, 1903


Today’s visit of President Theodore Roosevelt is not his first. The president, then governor of New York, passed through Rockford on his way to the Grant day celebration at Galena, April 27, 1900. His train stopped at the Illinois Central depot for just two minutes, but more enthusiasm was crowded into that two minutes than generally comes in a week.

President Roosevelt spoke to the Rockford crowed at that time, and what he said is appending.

Rockford today entertained one of the great men of the nation for about three minutes. Governor Theodore Roosevelt, late colonel of the 1st Volunteer Cavalry, the “Rough Riders”, and former assistant secretary of the navy, passed through here at 11:05 on the Illinois Central railway with the Chicago party which attends the Grant’s birthday celebration at Galena today.

The hero of San Juan was given a welcome to this city that he probably remembered at least twenty minutes and he showed his appreciation of the gathering of citizens at the depot by making them a two minute speech.

The train bearing the Chicago part was scheduled to get here at 10:30 o’clock. It was delayed on the way, however, and did not reach Rockford until 11:05 o’clock. A crowd of between 4,000 and 5,000 people was at the Central depot to greet the hero.

At 11 o’clock the distant whistle of the on coming special was heard and the crowd was all in a flutter of excitement awaiting his arrival. When it pulled into the yards it was greeted with a deafening cheer from the thousands of throats and the governor’s welcome to the city was a noisy one, indeed.

No sooner had the train stopped at the depot platform than Governor Roosevelt appeared on the platform of his car. He was recognized in a moment. The square cut countenance, the heavy jaw, the glistening rows of teeth revealed by the parted lips and the ever present glasses told the crowd in a moment upon whom they were gazing and cheer upon cheer rent the air. It was a welcome to be proud of and the fighting governor bowed his acknowledgements and smile that smile that used to be the terror of New York policemen and idol of his soldiers.

As soon as the noise of the cheers began to die away, and the crowd soon saw that the governor wanted to speak and desisted, “Teddy” opened his mouth and gave short and patriotic address. The speech, word for word as the soldier gave it, is appended.

Frequent cheers and applause punctuated his remarks and the short, pithy and patriotic talk given from the platform of the Central car will be remembered for years by those who heard it this morning.

Governor Roosevelt had not finished speaking when the train began to move out of the station and he said his last words to the Rockford people when the train had considered considerable headway.

The crowd at the depot watched the disappearing train and cheered until Teddy was lost to sight. The picture of the governor which will be left in the minds of the Rockford people is as they last year saw him, his tall and athletic figure framed against the dark background of a Pullman sleeper, with his hat in hand, waving to the people who did him homage.

During his brief stay in Rockford it was impossible for a crowd to shake hands with the governor and only two Rockford people had that honor. One was Mayor E.W. Brown and the other was R.C. Coyner, the east side druggist, a veteran of the war of the rebellion. They feel especially honored and will remember the hand clasp of the soldier for a long time.

Gov. Roosevelt was accompanied by a distinguished party of Chicagoans and others, all going to the celebration and their glimpse of Rockford and the reception here of their fellow travelers will long be impressed on their minds.

Before the presidents’ train pulled out Col T.G. Lawler proposed “three cheers” for the next president of the United States.” and the cheers were given a terrific sounding. The prophecy of the moment has been amply fulfilled, and if three cheers for the next president of the United States are given today, they will not fall far from the truth.



Fellow Citizens:--We today do homage to one of the greatest of the dead. The birthday of Gen. U.S. Grant. The enthusiasm and demonstrations all over this land today in that dead hero’s behalf, not only show our love for Grant himself, but, for the county he served so well.

Our cheers are not given without reason. We have a cause to be joyful. Too many bells could not ring, too many cheers could not be given on this day.

In war we have a part to accomplish. In peace a greater duty confronts us. We look back to 1861 and ‘85 as the time of war; we contrast that period with today. War then, civil and bitter strife then, today standing united under the flag of our country. Political contention then, what should we have today but an outgrowth from the horrors of war into the sunlit path of peace and prosperity?

Every high resolve on our part leads us further from war and makes cessation of strife possible. In defeat or victory all should tend to a glorious final, should result in peace.

--Rockford Republic, Thursday Evening, June 4, 1903


Mr. Roosevelt Makes a Speech at Rockford, Ill--Soldiers and Sailors Remembered

Rockford, Ill., June 3--The feature of the visit of President Roosevelt to Rockford today was the dedication of Memorial Hall, a $60,000 structure consecrated to the soldiers and sailors of Winnebago county.

President Roosevelt reached Rockford at 9:15 A.M. He was accompanied by Congressman Robert R. Hill and the John A. Davis Post, G.A.R., of Freeport, in a body as an escort. The president was officially greeted by a committee of six and driven to Memorial Hall, eight blocks from the depot. Both sides of the broad thoroughfare were lined by uniformed men drawn up facing the passing procession. Arriving at the Memorial Building, Congressman Hitt introduces the President to the vast audience and the Chief Executive made a brief response, after which came the unfurling of the flag over the memorial structure.

The President and party then re-entered their carriages and enjoyed a short drive through the streets, first passing in review before some 4,000 school children massed at a park adjoining the Memorial Building grounds.

Following the visit of the President and his party there was a public parade participated in by local civic and military organizations. Department Commander Benson Wood gave the principal address of the day at the formal dedicatory exercises in the afternoon.

--Baltimore American, MD, June 4, 1903























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