Thursday, March 18, 2010

Presidential Children

We are all aware of John Q. Adams and George W. Bush, for they followed in their father’s political footsteps; most are probably familiar with Margaret Truman, the noted author, but few are aware of many other notable children of US presidents.  Did you know that Ulysses S. Grant’s son, Fred Grant, rose to the rank of General?  He was an outstanding leader but was overshadowed by the fame of his presidential father.  Did you know that President Theodore Roosevelt’s four sons all served in the Army during WWI and that his youngest son, Quentin, a pilot, was shot down in a dog-fight and killed at the young age of twenty.  His remaining three sons also served again during WWII, with his oldest, Ted Jr., advancing to the rank of General and winning the Congressional Medal of Honor, our nations highest military award for valor.  Did you know that his cousin FDR also had four sons who served in the military during WWII?  Jimmy Roosevelt served in the Marine Corps with the famed Carson’s Raiders and fought on Guadalcanal and Tarawa, earning the Navy Cross and Silver Star (he retired from the Marine Corps at the rank of Brig. General).  FDR, Jr. commanded the USS Culvert Moore, a destroyer, during the war and won the Purple Heart, Navy Cross and Legion of Merit.  His son John, served aboard the aircraft carrier USS Wasp; his son Elliot rose to the rank of General in the Army Air Corps, flying 300 combat missions and receiving the Distinguished Flying Cross.

Here’s a presidential son I bet you never have heard of – Webb Hayes, son of our 19th president, Rutherford Hayes.  This guy was a millionaire-adventurer and soldier.  He fought at San Juan Hill (Cuba), Puerto Rico and the Philippines in the Spanish-American War; he marched with the International China Relief Expedition during the Boxer Rebellion, and participated in the Russo-Japanese War as an observer.  During WWI Webb served on the Italian front.  He was awarded the Medal of Honor for actions in the Philippines during the Spanish-American war.  On the business side of life, Webb formed the company that later became Union Carbide Corporation!  What an exciting book a biography of Webb Hayes would make.
Did you know that Presidents Tyler and Taylor had sons who fought for the south during the Civil War?  John Tyler’s son Robert was the Registrar for the confederate treasury, and his son David served in the confederate army as a private at age 16, while son Alex enlisted in the confederate navy at age 14.  Richard Taylor, son of President Zackary Taylor, rose to the rank of Lt. General while serving with the CSA.  He commanded troops at the battles of Bull Run, Shenandoah Valley campaign, Seven Days Battles, Red River Campaign, Battle of Mansfield, and the Battle of Pleasant Hill.
Doug Wead has written an intriguing book about the men and women sired by US Presidents.  His work, All The Presidents’ Children is packed with the successes and failures of these individuals.
I have listed two other offerings that are biographies of a pair of extraordinary presidential offspring.  Paul Jeffer’s biography of Theodore Roosevelt Jr., In the Roughrider’s Shadow, if phenomenal and a must read.  Richard Taylor, Soldier Prince of Dixie, by Michael Parrish, gives a good account of this son of a US President who was also brother-in-law to the President of the CSA – Jefferson Davis.

No comments:

Post a Comment