​November 22:

​A Civil Union
(TR's parents marry)

​Two of Theodore Roosevelt's greatest influences marry on December 22, 1853. Theodore is very happy, for more than the obvious reasons.

Here's Theodore with more:


​"a grand affair"

​The courtship of Theodore Roosevelt (Senior) and Martha "Mittie" Bulloch is wrapped in a little bit of confusion. Theodore (Junior)'s sister Corinne says their parents met in 1850; historic records first have Theodore (Thee, as Mittie would call him) arriving in Roswell, Georgia in 1851. Despite the discrepancy, Thee and Mittie did meet several times between that uncertain original point and the winter of 1853.  Thee arrived in Georgia to see family and friends - which I can hopefully explain without aid of a flowchart. 

Mittie's half-sister Susan Elliott was married to Hilborne West (from Philadelphia). Susan's full sister Mary had married Weir Roosevelt, Thee's older brother. Through this trail of in-laws, Thee was intrigued by the stories of plantation life, and together they journeyed, at Thee's request, to Roswell. There Thee, aspiring member of the family glass import business, met the charming teenage Mittie. They were four years apart in age, and according to Corinne, a "deep devotion" began, which culminated in Philadelphia, where the  two met during a mutual visit to the Wests.

Thee proposed marriage, and in accordance with established morays, wrote to Mittie's mother for approval. She gave it - sort of:

During so short a visit, of course I had but little opportunity of becoming personally acquainted with you. But that little impressed me favorably…I have never interfered with the matrimonial designs of my children, and never will when the object chosen is a worthy one. The choice I leave entirely to themselves – Therefore, I refer the matter back to Mittie & yourself.

Yours sincerely, 

M Bulloch

​to Theodore Roosevelt [Sr.] May 21, 1853.

And with that - approval? - their romance turned to engagement,  was peppered with a string of lovely romantic letters in 1853, and led to a lovely wedding in the Dining Hall of the Bulloch family plantation.

The couple that took leave of Georgia and began a new life in New York, would eventually birth, rear, and so greatly influence Theodore Roosevelt the President. They nurtured him (but did not coddle, according to Teddy)as a young asthmatic child​; they delighted him (as well as his siblings) with stories of Thee's travels and Mittie's life on the plantation, they encouraged him in his pursuits of science, and inspired him into public service, through Thee's philanthropic efforts.

Thee and Mittie's son would indeed carry a photograph of his mother and a portrait of his father from Sagamore Hill to the White House and back again, as a constant reminder - a distant precursor, if you will, to W.W.M.P.D. (what would my parents do).

And it all began when a Northern boy met a Southern girl.

​Jane Camp

​to Elisabeth Hitchcock Camp, January, 1854

​Miss M Bullochs wedding that has been so long talked of came off on the 22nd. It was a grand affair. The entertainment was splendid.

About the Author

The "founding father" of Historic Experience. Peyton is an actor-historian with over 15 years experience as a John Adams and Theodore Roosevelt interpreter, impersonator, speaker, or whatever descriptor speaks to you. Peyton Dixon is based in central New Jersey and travels across the country bringing American history to life.