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As It Was: Presidential Hunting Party Camps in Comfort

Historian Kay Atwood reports that back in the early 1900s, President Theodore Roosevelt was already familiar with comfort camping.  These days it’s called “glamping,” or glamorous camping.

Members of a Rogue River pioneer family, Leo and Jake Fry, received word from Washington, D.C., that Roosevelt wanted to hunt bear near Galice.  Something detained Roosevelt at the last minute, but his hunting party arrived with 12 big bloodhounds.

To get the hunting party to its camp, the Fry’s had to hire 40 head of stock and several extra packers.  Amazed and a bit disdainful of the hunting party, Leo Fry said, “They had all kinds of stuff I never seen. They had a maid – a MAN! Every one of them had a tent by themselves, and when they come in, someone washed their feet and brushed their toenails!”

There was no trail, so the Fry’s followed Indian signs to Elk Wallow in the Bear Camp area.

The bear hunt was successful, and the Roosevelt party went home happy, allowing the Rogue River pioneers to return to their rustic lives.

Source: Atwood, Kay. Illahe: The Story of Settlement in the Rogue River Canyon. Medford, Oregon, Author, 1978, p. 8, 124.

Sharon Bywater of Ashland, Oregon grew up in Southern California. She taught English literature and writing at Syracuse University in New York, where she also wrote and edited adult literacy books and published freelance articles in local media. Later, she lived in Washington, D.C., where she worked as an international telecommunications policy advisor at the U.S. Department of Commerce. She has Master’s degrees in English and Communications Management.