Sunday, July 26, 2009

Will Rogers Would Have Liked You

Will Rogers is a friend of mine. Yes, I am writing of the Will Rogers who died in a plane crash with Wiley Post on 15 August 1935, and no, I did not know him personally! As a native Oklahoman, it was a great honor and privilege to serve as co-editor of the Papers of Will Rogers Project. Co-editor Steven K. Gragert and I edited the final two volumes of a five volume set published by the University of Oklahoma Press. These two volumes were The Papers of Will Rogers: From Broadway to the National Stage, September 1915-July 1928 (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2005) and The Papers of Will Rogers: The Final Years, August 1928-August 1935 (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2006). It was fascinating to learn more about the life and times of one of our 20th century greats, and eventually I felt like I was acquainted with Will.

If you ever visit northeastern Oklahoma (and I hope that you do!), make sure that you visit the Will Rogers Memorial in Claremore as well as Will’s birthplace near Oologah. Steven Gragert is now the director of the Will Rogers Memorial Museums, and he works hard to preserve Will’s legacy.

Now, how does Will relate to the topic of this blog? Will’s father, Clement Vann Rogers, a mixed blood Cherokee, resided in the Cooweescoowee district of the Cherokee Nation when the war started. Clement Vann Rogers enlisted in Colonel Stand Watie’s 1st Cherokee Mounted Volunteers and fought at the battle of Pea Ridge, 2nd Cabin Creek, and in a number of skirmishes. He eventually served under the command of William Penn Adair; Clement Vann Rogers admired Colonel Adair and even named a son for him. For you see, Will Rogers’ full name is William Penn Adair Rogers, named in honor of a Confederate colonel who served in the Trans-Mississippi.

“I never met a man I didn’t like.” Will Rogers


  1. I enjoyed "Peculiar Honor" very much and will look forward to folowing your blog.

  2. It's always fun to hear from someone who has read one of my books. Hopefully you'll find some items of interest on the blog.

  3. "I have Indian Blood in me. I have just
    enough white blood for you to question my honesty!"

    Will Rogers

  4. For more of Will's wonderful quotes check out the link to the Will Rogers Memorial Museums that I have in my posting--that website has a entire section dedicated to Will's memorable sayings. It's amazing how many of them are applicable to today.