Will Rogers was America's Cowboy Philosopher.
Will Rogers was the #1 radio personality, he was #1 at the movie box office, he was the nations #1 most sought after public speaker, he was the #1 most read newspaper columnist, he wrote books, traveled the world and gave liberally to charities around the world. Will Rogers was beloved by all.
William Penn Adair Rogers was born on election day, November 4, 1879 in a log-walled, seven-room house, known as "the White House on the Verdigris River," in Indian Territory.
His parents were Clement Vann Rogers and Mary America Schrimsher Rogers. They lived on a sprawling frontier ranch near what later would become Oologah, Oklahoma. Will Rogers' human nature, wisdom and humor were nurtured on the sprawling frontier governed by Cherokee Indians.
By the time of his birth, the pain of civil war and the rigors of frontier conquest had dissolved the challenge of carving civilization onto the rich and bountiful plains.
Clement Vann Rogers, Will's father, was a Cherokee senator and a judge who helped write the Oklahoma Constitution. Successful in agriculture and banking, Clem founded a ranch fenced by rivers, spread across miles and home to thousands of Texas Longhorns.
Mary America Schrimsher Rogers, Will's mother, descended from a Cherokee chief, easily mastered modern society, music, literature, etiquette and good humor. A mother of eight, Mary Rogers understood righteousness under God’s laws and performed countless charities.
The Rogers family was loving and close. Four children died in their youth, with Will and his three older sisters surviving to adulthood. The Rogers' famous "White House on the Verdigris River" was more than a home. It was a meeting place for commerce, government and community socials. There was sadness with funerals, but gaiety with parties, weddings and christenings.
When not learning on his mother's lap, Will Rogers was on the range as a hard-working cowboy. He never lost the lessons of a loving mother, the lonely frontier, the hard work of ranching or the community of sharing life’s bounty. Taught by a freed slave how to use a lasso as a tool to work Texas Longhorn cattle on the family ranch, Will Rogers mastered the lariat for trick roping on stages of the world.
From living among Indians and blacks, he carried lessons of brotherhood that came from understanding the pride of minorities.
Will Rogers’ masterful roping tricks would enter the Guinness Book of Records while his words about brotherhood and human kindness would be written across the heart of humanity.
Hard-earned lariat skills won Will Rogers employment as a trick roper in wild west shows and on the vaudeville stage.
His lessons of life, visions of humanity and kind spirit were formed into wit, jokes and observations that bespoke great human dimensions. Humor and folksy observations by Will Rogers were prized by audiences around the world. He proved visionary, well informed and simply a smart philosopher. He told truth in simple words so that everyone could understand.