When Louis, 10, and Temple Abernathy, 6, on the saddle in Frederick, Oklahoma, arrived in New York in 1910, no adults accompanied the two boys.
This is not the boys’ first adventure, they went to Santa Fe, New Mexico last year.
Louis and Temple are the children of the judicial police Jack Abernathy, who used to be a Texas cowboy. He is nicknamed “Jack caught alive” because of his talent for not catching wolves and selling them to zoos and entertainment facilities. The boys made a nearly 3,500 km, two-month trip to greet his father’s friend, former President Theodore Roosevelt, as he returned from a more than a year journey to Europe and Africa.
The trip of the two “little cowboys” was strongly reported by the press, becoming a symbol of the horse-riding talent, the strength, the independent spirit of the American West – something Roosevelt loved very much.
Louis and Temple left Oklahoma in early April wearing a wide-brimmed hat, pants, and horse spikes. Louis rode his father’s horse, Sam Bass, and Temple rode a foal named Geronimo. Temple is so small that he often has to climb a tree to get on the saddle.
They did not bring a map, but determined their direction by looking at the sun and asking the locals for directions. Behind the saddle, the two children brought sleeping bags, bacon and oatmeal for the horses. They pay for their meals and hotel bills by check. Louis and Temple kept in touch with their father by telegram and occasional phone calls.
The more famous they went east, the more reporters greeted the boy in each town. The locals invite them into their homes for dinner. In Cincinnati, they hang out at zoos. In Dayton, Ohio, Wilbur Wright, who was the first person to successfully test the aircraft, took the brothers around the aircraft factory. In Wheeling, West Virginia, a hotel manager wakes the boys in the middle of the night to watch the Halley comet.
Everyone understood the risks the two boys faced. “Many people complained that we were too young to make such a dangerous trip,” Temple Abernathy later said in a book. “Some people were astonished that the two boys were allowed to go that far alone, but Dad trusted us. Our mother has passed away. Our father was a police officer in the western district of Oklahoma, appointed personally by former President Theodore Roosevelt and my father’s travels put him on many adventures. “
The two boys encountered many obstacles such as blizzards. Geronimo was exhausted, so Temple had to change. The 6-year-old boy had a fever and was almost swept away while crossing the river.
When Louis and Temple arrived in Washington in May, Temple fell asleep while Louis chatted with reporters at a hotel. They were taken to the Washington Post headquarters, parliament building and met with President William Howard Taft at the White House.
In Trenton, New Jersey, boys reunited with their fathers. Then he went to New York by car while the two boys continued to ride.
When Louis and Temple arrived in New York, crowds gathered cheering the names of the two boys, some even taking flowers from Temple’s coat. At Mayor William Gaynor’s office, Temple was so short that the Mayor asked Louis why he hadn’t brought his brother, before he noticed Temple standing on the other side of his desk.
When asked if he wanted to be a cavalry police officer, Temple replied that he would rather be the hotel receptionist. “Temp admire hotel receptionists” was the headline in the Los Angeles Times the following day. The boy is like an A star.
On June 18, 1910, Roosevelt returned to New York after traveling to Europe and Africa, collecting many specimens for the National Museum of Nature. He is greeted as a hero with a grand parade. After Roosevelt gave his speech, he saw the father and son of the Abernathy family. Roosevelt took Jack’s hand and said, “Oh, my friend Jack, how have you been?”
“The best part of the trip was the smile he gave us at the time,” Temple said. “You have come a long way to see me, thank you,” said the former president.
Two boys rode on horseback in parade with Spanish-American War veterans, everyone cheering as they passed.
The Abernathy brothers then went on other trips as well. In 1911, they accepted a riding challenge from New York to San Francisco within 60 days with a bounty of $ 10,000. They completed the journey but reached their destination two days later. In 1913, they rode motorbikes from Oklahoma to New York and went home by train. As adults, both lived in Texas. Temple worked in the oil industry while Louis became a lawyer. Statues of Louis and Temple were erected in Frederick.
In 1910, after Louis and Temple met Roosevelt, they stayed to visit New York for a few more weeks. After a farewell lunch at the Astor Hotel in Manhattan, the two boys made their way back to Oklahoma, not on the saddle, but in a two-seater convertible. Louis got behind the wheel.
Phương Vũ (According to the Washington Post)