Theodore Roosevelt was born as Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. on October 27, 1858 to Theodore Roosevelt, Sr. and Martha “Mittie” Bulloch. His parents were very wealthy, having prospered from the family businesses of hardware and plate glass importing.
His father – known as “Thee” to those in the family – came from a line of Dutch colonists who settled in New York in the mid-17th century. Thee was a partner in the Roosevelt & Son plate glass importing business, and an outspoken supporter of (and contributor to) both Abraham Lincoln and the Union efforts during the Civil War. His family began as strong Democrats but later switched to the new Republican Party in the 1850s.
His mother – known as “Mittie” to friends and family – was an old-fashioned Southern belle, whose family were not only slave owners but also prone to Confederate sympathy. Hailing from a long line of ancestors in Roswell, Georgia, her family was very outspoken about their objection to the Civil War.
Where Was Theodore Roosevelt Born?
The birthplace of Theodore Roosevelt (also known as “Teddy”) was a four-story brownstone located at 28 East 28th Street, in today’s Gramercy section of New York City, New York. He was born the second of four children, and the eldest son, of “Thee” and “Mittie” Roosevelt. His older sister was Anna “Bamie/Bye” Roosevelt; his younger siblings were Elliott Bulloch Roosevelt and Corinne Roosevelt.
Theodore was born into a family that had no problem making their political, social, and cultural beliefs well known. Even if their beliefs were unpopular for the time and location, both sides of his family made sure everyone knew where they stood. Despite his father’s staunch advocacy of the Union efforts in the Civil War, his mother’s side of the family had their own ideas. His uncle on his mother’s side, James Dunwoody Bulloch, became a secret agent in Great Britain, assisting the Confederate soldiers in destroying the U.S. merchant fleet and running supplies through the Union blockade. Another one of his uncles – Irvine Bulloch – was a member of the CSS Alabama, a Confederate raider ship. Both of these uncles stayed in England after the Civil War ended, refusing to return to their own country after the Confederacy’s loss and subsequent fall.
Theodore, Jr. was also related to other famous politically-savvy people. Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who would later become the 32nd president, was his fifth cousin. And Theodore was both uncle and guardian to a woman who later became Franklin’s wife (Eleanor); her father was Theodore’s younger brother, Elliott.
With Roosevelt born into such a prosperous and politically-active family, it wasn’t too much of a surprise that he ended up following in their footsteps.