Josiah, the White House badger.Folks came from miles around to the train depot of Sharon Springs, Kansas Sharon Springs is a city in Wallace County, Kansas, United States. The population was 835 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Wallace CountyGR6. , on May 3, 1903. Dressed in their Sunday best, they eagerly awaited the arrival of the Pacific Coast Special.
President Theodore Roosevelt was coming to town.
Roosevelt was on a western tour through 25 states. He was sharing his goals for the future, including the importance of protecting "the majesty and beauty of the wilderness and of wild life." He'd even camped in Yellowstone National Park Yellowstone National Park, 2,219,791 acres (899,015 hectares), the world's first national park (est. 1872), NW Wyo., extending into Montana and Idaho. It lies mainly on a broad plateau in the Rocky Mts., on the Continental Divide, c. before continuing on to Kansas.
Puffing coal smoke, the train pulled into the depot. The crowd began to cheer.
At half-past ten in the morning, Roosevelt stepped out of his private train car. Dozens of children led him to church in the center of town. After the service, Roosevelt shook hands all around. Then, he borrowed a horse for a refreshing ride across the open prairie.
A Special Gift
When Roosevelt returned to his train, a little girl asked him if he would like a baby badger that her brother Josiah had caught.
Roosevelt loved animals and encouraged his family to love them as well. His six children had many pets at the White House: horses, dogs, guinea pigs guinea pig (gĭn`ē), domesticated form of the cavy, Cavia porcellus, a South American rodent. It is unrelated to the pig; the name may refer to its shrill squeal. , rabbits, a blue macaw macaw: see parrot.
Any of about 18 species of large tropical New World parrots (subfamily Psittacinae) with very long tails and big sickle-shaped beaks. Macaws eat fruits and nuts. , and even a snake. But they didn't have a badger! How could Roosevelt say no?
The little badger reminded Roosevelt of "a small mattress, with a leg at each corner." He named it "Josiah," after the boy who had caught it.
As thanks for the gift, Roosevelt invited the girl and her friends to tour his presidential train car, richly appointed with gleaming mahogany and plush velvet. There were two little bedrooms with brass beds Brass beds are beds in which the headboard and footboard are made of brass; the frame rails are usually made of steel. Brass beds can be made of 100 per cent brass or of metals that have been brass plated. , two bathrooms, a kitchen, a dining room, and a living room with big windows.
The girls marveled at the house-on-wheels. After the tour was over, they hung around outside the train, looking in the windows and blowing kisses at the President.
Josiah Takes a Ride
When the train pulled out of the depot, Josiah the badger was on it. He slept in a cage on the train's platform, often joining Roosevelt inside the train as the trip continued.
Roosevelt delighted in his new companion. He wrote home to his family from California a few days later:
"I have collected a variety of treasures, which I shall have to try to divide up equally among you children. One treasure, by the way, is a very small badger, which I named Josiah, and he is now called Josh for short. He is very cunning and I hold him in my arms and pet him.... Josh is very well and eats milk and potatoes. We took him out and gave him a run in the sand to-day. So far he seems as friendly as possible."
In California, Roosevelt camped again, this time in Yosemite National Park Yosemite National Park (yōsĕm`ĭtē), 761,266 acres (308,205 hectares), E central Calif.; est. 1890 as a result of the efforts of conservationist John Muir. Located in the Sierra Nevada, it is a glacier-scoured area of great beauty; Mt. . Nestled on the forest floor amid the towering sequoia trees, he felt like he was "lying in a great solemn cathedral, far vaster and more beautiful than any built by the hands of man." A few days later, he gave a presidential order to increase the size of Yosemite. Then he returned to his train and his new companion, Josiah.
Heading east toward home, Roosevelt wrote to his family again:
"I rather think you will like Josiah the badger. So far he is very good tempered Noun 1. good temper - a cheerful and agreeable mood
amiability, good humor, good humour
humour, mood, temper, humor - a characteristic (habitual or relatively temporary) state of feeling; "whether he praised or cursed me depended on his temper at the time"; and waddles around everywhere like a little bear... spending much of his time in worrying the ends of anybody's trousers."
Josiah at Home
When Roosevelt arrived home, the children couldn't wait to meet Josiah. They ran out to play, petting him and watching him waddle. They even built a special house for him so that he could dig elaborate burrows Burrows is a provincial electoral division in the Canadian province of Manitoba. It was created by redistribution in 1957, and formally came into existence in the provincial election of 1958. The riding is located in the northern part of Winnipeg. in the White House lawn.
Josiah remained a favorite White House pet of the Roosevelt family The Roosevelt family is a prominent American political family, having produced two Presidents, Theodore Roosevelt and Franklin D. Roosevelt, and a First Lady, Eleanor Roosevelt. . The funny little badger was a treasured reminder to Roosevelt of the wild places he was determined to preserve.
What happened to Josiah?
Josiah became Archie Roosevelt's pet. When Josiah got bigger, he found a new home at the Bronx Zoo Bronx Zoo
formally New York Zoological Park
Zoo in New York City. It opened in 1899 on 265 acres (107 hectares) in the northwestern area of the Bronx. In 1941 it added the 4-acre (1. in New York City New York City: see New York, city.
New York City
City (pop., 2000: 8,008,278), southeastern New York, at the mouth of the Hudson River. The largest city in the U.S. . He lived there for many years. The President said that his son could visit Josiah at the zoo whenever he wanted.
Some historians call Theodore Roosevelt the "father of conservation." As President, he authorized the creation of
150 National Forests
18 National Monuments
5 National Parks This is a list of national parks ordered by nation. Africa
4 National Game Preserves
51 Federal Bird Reservations
Learn more about Roosevelt's visit to Yosemite on HighlightsKids.com.