President Roosevelt’s Son, Quentin Goes Missing

Quentin Roosevelt in 1902
Quentin Roosevelt in 1902

This is clearly a headline that we wouldn’t see today. Sasha and Malia wouldn’t wander off the White House grounds the way young Quentin Roosevelt did, scaring his family and the Secret Service half to death. We found an article in The Baltimore Sun about young, mischievous Quentin Roosevelt printed on December 4th, 1907.

 Quentin Roosevelt, aged 8, one time the protector of Pete, the White House bulldog and the charmer of snakes that terrified Cabinet members and sent chills up and down the spines of diplomats, gave the White House another jar today.

When time came to dress for dinner which is 7 o’clock, Quentin was nowhere to be found. Garret and cellar were searched, but no Quentin. Then the offices and grounds were hunted for traces of snakes or bulldogs or bonfires, but never a trace. The Secret Service squad was called out next, and a search of all Washington was begun for the truant.

With knowledge born of experience, a couple of men were dispatched to the humble home where lives a pretty little dark-haired, dark-eyed lass of 12 or 14 years, the object of Master Roosevelt’s affections. But he was not there; he had left two hours before, bound, so the girl said, for a snake and bird emporium.

Poring over their books at the Force School, and putting down 1 and carrying 2, Quentin and the little girl had first winked, then smiled and next he was walking home with two sets of schoolbooks under his arm. “Why hasn’t he got home yet?” asked the little girl, with dimpling cheeks and smiling eyes, this evening. “He left here at 4.15.”

“Does he come up every afternoon?” she was asked.

“Not every one. He has his music lessons.”

Quentin was finally found playing in Massachusetts avenue, a couple of blocks from the home of his little sweetheart and near the school. The detectives hustled him home.

The independence which has made his father famous is strongly developed in Quentin. Though he and his brother attend the same school, they seldom or never play together.

Yesterday a White House policeman was startled to see a cloud of smoke coming from behind the executive offices. Then he investigated and found a rudely constructed brick chimney with smoke pouring out and young Roosevelt gathering fuel. The policeman looked on for a while, warmed his hands and, being wise, never said a word, but took up a stand where he could keep an eye on the fire and fireman.

Presently the brother of a White House attache dashed almost breathless into the offices with the news that the place was afire. Tapping his brother on the shoulder, the inside officer, who had been looking out a back window, led him to where he could obtain a good view of the chimney and the fire man, who was pulling out baked potatoes.

Young Quentin was quite a precocious trouble-making child. Sadly, the young son of Teddy Roosevelt wouldn’t live to see his 21st birthday, as he died on July 14th, 1918, Bastille Day, in aerial combat over France.

About Tom

Tom founded Ghosts of DC on January 4th, 2012 as a blog to uncover the lost and untold history of Washington, D.C. He has lived in the city for over a decade and loves exploring every corner of the District.

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