The Life & Times Of Will Rogers
4 May 2013
|From Warrior RV Park – Tulsa, OK
On this cold, gray skied, misty, rainy Saturday in May with temps in the low 40’s we visited the Will Rogers Memorial Museums. Our first stop was in nearby Claremore, OK at the Will Rogers Memorial followed by a short drive out to the Will Rogers Birthplace Ranch in Oologah, OK
The native limestone eight gallery museum housing artifacts, memorabilia, photographs, paintings and statuaries sits on 20 acres overlooking the city of Claremore and Rogers State University. The land was purchased by Will himself in 1911 with plans to build his retirement home on this location.
It was following his untimely death at the age of only 55 in a plane crash in Point Barrow, Alaska that his widow and children donated the land and a big part of today’s museum collection. The memorial opened in 1938 and frames the family tomb in the sunken gardens overlooking Tiawah Valley just across the southern horizon.
Visitors learn about the life, wisdom and humor of Will Rogers, a Cherokee cowboy. It is through exhibits depicting various times and events of his life you learn he was much more than just an American cowboy.
He was a motion picture box-office star, well known vaudeville performer with his outstanding roping skills, also a member of traveling Wild West Shows. He also was a widely read syndicated newspaper columnist and star of a highly popular Sunday evening radio program. Loving family man, humorist and philanthropist were also big parts of his life. All of these various facets of his life are well documented within the memorial museum.
Next we visited the birthplace of William Penn Adair “Will” Rogers. He was the youngest of eight children born November 4, 1879 at Rogers Ranch in Oologah, Indian Territory (what is now the state of Oklahoma) to parents Clement Vann Rogers and Mary America Schrimsher of Cherokee descent.
Today visitors can take a self-guided tour of the first floor inside the 1875 two-story post Civil War Greek Revival style house where Will Rogers was born and lived. The home sits on a 400 acre ranch on the shore of Lake Oologah.
It was a very interesting day looking back on the life and times of this man whose known to most by his epitaph……..”I never met a man I didn’t like”!