Monday marks the birthday of famed wit Will Rogers. The humorist was born Nov. 4, 1879, in Oologah in present-day Oklahoma.
Rogers uttered what is perhaps the best-known of his thousands of one-liners – “I’m not a member of any organized political party, I’m a Democrat!”– in 1924 after the party nominated a little-known West Virginian as its presidential nominee. John Davis’ selection came in the middle of the night, on the on the 103rd ballot.
Another tie exists between Rogers and the Mountain State, according to the University of Oklahoma Press’ “Will Rogers: a Biography.” Rogers’ great-grandfather, Robert Rogers Sr., was an Irish-Scotsman who came to what is now West Virginia around 1800 to trade with the Native Americans. He later wed Betty Cordery, whose mother was a Cherokee.
Rogers was 55 when he died Aug. 15, 1935. Rogers was traveling through Alaska to collect material for his popular newspaper column when the small airplane piloted by his friend Oklahoman Wiley Post crashed into a lagoon near Point Barrow moments after taking off. Both men perished instantly.