|Oyster Bay, NY||August 15, 2004|
It would have taken a strong person to be married to Theodore Roosevelt. Edith Kermit Carow was up for the challenge (or adventure, depending on the perspective). She wed her childhood friend in 1886, fresh off his self-imposed exile to the Dakota Badlands. Over the next 32 years Edith and Theodore raised six spirited children, managed a menagerie of pets, and navigated the politics of Albany and Washington. After TR’s death in January 1919, Edith Roosevelt spent much of her time abroad. She passed away herself in 1948 and was buried with her boisterous mate at Youngs Memorial Cemetery, a short distance from their home on the north shore of Long Island.
I visited Edith and Theodore Roosevelt with my parents and sister on a Sunday afternoon, not long after we left Grant’s Tomb in Manhattan. My father parked our minivan outside the cemetery and the four of us climbed the 26 steps that lead to the Roosevelt gravesite. We found it surrounded by an iron fence with a locked gate. Standing outside the fence clutching the bars — and my souvenir Statue of Liberty torch — seemed to be the best photograph circumstances would allow for.
My family then left the gravesite and dropped into the neighboring bird sanctuary. There my mother managed to contact the cemetery caretaker, Nicholas LaBella. We then returned to Youngs, where Mr. LaBella met us and unlocked the gate to the Roosevelt plot.
Sources Consulted and Further Reading
Theodore Roosevelt Center at Dickinson State University. “Edith Kermit Carow Roosevelt.” Accessed April 23, 2022. https://www.theodorerooseveltcenter.org/Learn-About-TR/TR-Encyclopedia/Family-and-Friends/Edith-Kermit-Carow-Roosevelt.