Teddy Roosevelt Park, Rolling Fork

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President Theodore Roosevelt came to Mississippi on November 14, 1902 for a bear hunt with the state governor.  Unlike his other companions that day, he had not located a single bear.  Not wanting to disappoint the President, Holt Collier cornered and tied a black bear to a willow tree.  Holt Collier was a famous African American scout, hunter, and sportsman. Roosevelt was summoned to shoot the young bear, but he refused.  Viewing that as extremely unsportsmanlike, he wanted it released.  Newspaper articles across the country carried this story of Roosevelt refusing to shoot a bear and it attracted national attention.  They began to refer to it as “Teddy’s Bear.” Stuffed little animals that resembled bears started being sold and the teddy bear was born.  Rolling Fork and Sharkey County, Mississippi have constructed a park near the court house to honor their place in this historic event.  A new museum is being constructed as well on Highway 61 south of Onward. There are bear statues everywhere and it is a sweet little story from history of how a toy was created because of one President’s actions.

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3 comments

  1. I made a blog post last week about Onward and I updated it a few minutes ago to include a link to your post and the Vimeo link in the comments section. I am from Gulfport, Mississippi originally and have traveled through much of Mississippi over the years, but never made it to the Delta or a few other places.

    Liked by 1 person

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