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Event Details

Torrey's Rough Riders

Time: June 26, 2019 all day
Location: Wyoming
Website or Map:…
Event Type: history, wyoming, voris
Organized By: John Voris, Lead Coordinator
Latest Activity: Jul 9, 2019

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Event Description

No, not Teddy Roosevelt's Rough Riders. 

This is about Those Other Guys . . .

So let's go back 120 years ago . . .

Jay Linn Torrey was the Attorney who drafted the Bankruptcy Act.  And when he was 46 years old, he helped initiate the "Rough Rider" movement in the build up to the Spanish-American War.

He created a group of Pistol-Totin' Rifle-Shootin' Rough Riders to accompany Teddy Roosevelt's motley crew of Ivy Leaguers and Cowboys, but Torrey's group came from the REAL West - from Cheyenne, Wyoming.

Long Story Short, a train accident crippled Torrey and his troops . . .

"On June 26, 1889 while the two trains carrying the troops and their horses were nearing Tupelo, Mississippi, the first train stopped to take on water. The second train rounded a sharp curve and smashed into the rear car of the parked train. Five men were killed and 15 were injured. Col. Torrey injured both feet and had to be on crutches for several weeks after the accident.

"While waiting their discharge, 30 soldiers died of typhoid.

So why should this be interesting ( other than it is obscure ) ?

Torrey was a cousin of Helen Nicolay, daughter of Lincoln's Secretary John Nicolay. 

Oh, and one tidbit about Torrey later in life,

"In 1900, Torrey was “prominently mentioned” by McKinley as a running mate on the Republican ticket, but was passed over when Theodore Roosevelt accepted the nomination.

So had it not been for Roosevelt and a terrible train accident, Torrey could have been the 26th United States President following McKinley’s death from an assassin’s bullet in 1901.

So a relation of John Nicolay could have ascended to the Presidency forty years after Nicolay served Lincoln. 

Now the other Nicolay connection to the Presidency that most people will cite is John Hay, the other Personal Secretary to President Lincoln, who became Assistant Secretary of State under Presidents Rutherford Hayes and Garfield, and then Secretary of State under Presidents McKinley and Teddy Roosevelt.

But I like to think that the Nicolay family came closer to achieving the Office of President than John Hay ever could have.

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