PIQUA — Tickets remain available for ‘An Evening with Teddy Roosevelt.’ Roosevelt, portrayed in the first-person by scholar/actor Gene Worthington, will entertain his audience on Thursday, April 27 at 7:30 p.m. in the Fort Piqua Hotel Ballroom.
Seats for An Evening with Teddy Roosevelt can be reserved at $25 each by calling the Johnston Farm and Indian Agency (937) 773-2522. Tickets for members of the Johnston Farm Friends Council or the Ohio History Connection are available for $20 each.
“Roosevelt” will be helping to raise funds for the Johnston Farm & Indian Agency, one of the 58 sites partnered with Ohio History Connection (formerly the Ohio Historical Society). Due to budget cuts imposed by the Ohio General Assembly, the Johnston Farm continues to operate on the same funds as it had available in 1986. As a result, operating expenses for the site must be raised locally.
John Johnston’s Farm is a historic treasure, and has been recognized as such by the American Association of Museums. In 2010, the association listed the Johnston Farm & Indian Agency as one of the top 5 percent of historic sites in the country.
John Johnston was not only a husband, father, and progressive farmer, he was an Indian Agent who had a reputation for dealing fairly with the Native Americans entrusted to his care. In addition, he was a canal commissioner, a published author (Indian Tribes in Ohio), founder of Kenyon College, a trustee of Miami University, and a member of the Board of Visitors at West Point.
The site is remarkable in that it includes thousands of years of history. There is a mound that was constructed more than three thousand years ago by the Adena people. The former site of Pickawillany, thought to be the largest Miami Indian village in the 18th Century, is on the grounds. There is an 1808 barn, thought to be the oldest barn in Ohio. The farm was the mustering site for both the 94th and the 110th Ohio Volunteer Infantry Regiments during the Civil War.
“Last year, Mark Twain entertained our audience,” stated Mike Gutmann, president of the Johnston Farm Friends Council. “In part because Mark Twain’s humor is ageless, in part because Mark Twain remains one of the authors to whom every student is exposed, and in part because he actually visited Piqua, Mark Twain was a natural. As the Johnston Farm expands its reach, Teddy Roosevelt was a natural selection for this year. He may be the only President to have actually visited so many surrounding towns and villages. In addition to Piqua, Teddy Roosevelt visited Bellefontaine, Bradford, Dayton, Greenville, Lima, Sidney, Springfield, Troy, Urbana, Xenia – in fact, it’s hard to find a municipality he did not visit.”
“We are pleased to have the opportunity to present scholar/actor Gene Worthington, who will portray Teddy Roosevelt,” said Piqua Library Director James Oda. “’Roosevelt’ will share his observations on American life and politics. Following his presentation, he will answer questions first as Roosevelt, and then as himself. It should be a wonderful, educational evening.
“What so many people do not realize is that among other things, Roosevelt was a prolific author,” Oda added. “He wrote more than three dozen books. Roosevelt wrote his first book in 1882 (The Naval War of 1812), and wrote a book nearly every year thereafter. In fact, he wrote a number of other histories, including Hero Tales from American History (1895), The Rough Riders (1899), and History of New York City (1891).
Some of his books, including True Americanism (1907), The New Nationalism (1910), Progressive Principles (1913), and National Strength and International Duty (1918) detailed his political philosophy,” Oda noted.
“Other works, including Thomas Hart Benton (1887), Gouverneur Morris (1888), and Life of Oliver Cromwell (1900), were biographies,” Oda continued. “Still others detailed his adventures as a hunter, including Hunting Trips of a Ranchman (1885), Good Hunting (1907), and African Game Trails (1910).”
Roosevelt’s life could have been written as a Hollywood script. Born with severe asthma, he overcame his disability by embracing a strenuous lifestyle. From boxing (he was left virtually blind in his left eye after being hit by a Navy lieutenant during a boxing match while he was president), to mountain climbing (he is the only president to have climbed the Matterhorn), to sailing (while president, he regularly sailed the presidential yacht on the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers), to hiking (while president he regularly hiked in Rock Creek Park), to swimming (he joined John Quincy Adams as presidents who swam nude in the Potomac River), Roosevelt was arguably the most physically active president in the country’s history.
Roosevelt was also the youngest, becoming president at age 42 following the assassination of President William McKinley. One of four presidents to have their visage carved in stone on Mount Rushmore, Roosevelt was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1906 for mediating the Treaty of Portsmouth which ended the Russo-Japanese War.
Worthington has portrayed historical characters in the Chautauqua style for over 30 years. This is a humanities program in which a scholar/actor brings to life a character from American history. His portrayal of Roosevelt will enable those present to better understand the unique qualities that made Roosevelt one of our most iconic and unforgettable presidents.
Worthington’s appearance is being co-sponsored by the Piqua Library Foundation, Greg and Alissa Blankenship, Dan and Margaret French, the Mullenbrock Family, Tom and Sandy Shoemaker, Holiday Inn Express, Unity National Bank, Koverman Staley Dickerson Insurance, the Miami Valley Center Mall and the Comfort Inn.
Author, rancher, and big game hunter, Theodore Roosevelt was home-schooled before attending Harvard College. Police Commissioner of New York City, Governor of New York, Secretary of the Navy, Roosevelt had a full life before being elected Vice-President in 1897. He became President when William McKinley was assassinated in 1901.