Will's Home in California
|Lucille Mulhall — Will Traveled
with her and her father in his first
Wild West Show Performances
Will Rogers Cowboy Philosopher
Wild West and Will's family survived hardships with grace and courage. Will's parents, both of Cherokee
descent, provided him with a stable, loving and interesting home. Clement Van Rogers was a senator and
judge who helped write Oklahoma's state constitution. He was also a successful rancher and businessman.
Will's mother, Mary America Schrimsher, descended from a Cherokee Chief, was a gentle lady of her day.
She was the perfect senator's wife: knowledgeable about literature, music and etiquette; and known for her
good humor, piety and devotion to charitable works. She was also a rancher's wife and the mother of eight
children. Of those eight, only four survived and that was common because there was allot of illness during
son what she felt was important in the world. She stressed upon him the importance of community and that
there was a spark of divinity in each and every individual. Will adored his mother and took her message to
heart. For Will, however, the schooling of the day would be somewhat of a challenge.
"I was not a child prodigy, because a child prodigy is a child who knows as much when it is a child as it does
when it grows up."
The Rogers Ranch was a center for many of the important and notable
people in the region. Will had access to the important people in his
community but he was comfortable with all people, no matter their
education, wealth or race. He also took naturally to the life of a rancher
and outdoors man. Before the age of five, a freed slave by the name of
Uncle Dan Walker taught Will Rogers a skill that would become a source
of fascination for him, as well as a part of his public persona, for the
rest of his life - rope tricks. Will became so good with rope tricks that he
was listed in the Guinness Book of World Records.
In fact, Will was attended schooling in the community's little one-room
where his sister was attending. This was followed by Willie Halsell
College and then Scarritt Collegiate Institute in Missouri. Will spent
more time roping than studying, however, and after only one semester
at Scarritt, he was expelled. He spent two years in Kemper Military
Academy, Missouri, before quitting school for good at the age of
"When I roped her, that was the star performance of my life"
Will married his long-time sweetheart, Betty Blake. Betty was his best
friend and an astute adviser about what the public most enjoyed. She
suggested that he read newspapers everyday and comment on the daily
topics during his roping act. Soon Will was so informed that he could do
three daily shows worth of material! From then on, Will Rogers was a
household name. His leading line, "Well, all I know is what I read in the
papers," became a heads-up that humor was sure to follow.
Now Will was able to focus on what he truly loved - performing. He joined vaudeville in 1905 at Madison
music. At those times, when his rope tricks would fail, Will would begin a little patter in talking to himself.
His self-deprecating humor gradually became one of the most popular features of his act.
world that he did for his family. As Will said, he thought of himself first as a for
the charity works of the pop icons of today:
earthquake destroyed Managua, Nicaragua in 1931, Will Rogers flew south to
lend his name to fund-raising efforts; after floods ripped through the lower
Mississippi Valley in 1927, Will Rogers was on the spot to entertain and to
became a 'dust bowl' during the famous drought of the 1930’s, Rogers
stumped Oklahoma and Arkansas for the Red Cross."
Peter C. Rollins
Will's love of adventure never left him. The thrills of riding led to the thrills of
flying and it soon became normal for Will to travel all over the world in any
plane that happened to be heading in the direction he wanted to go. Will
"never piloted an aircraft but was an enthusiastic, fearless air passenger and
champion of air travel during embryonic times." He was even listed as
number 46 in Aviation Week and Science Technology's All-Time Top 100 Stars
|Will as columnist
"Nothing you can't spell will ever work."
Will with his rope
|Will's Statue in Congress
"Keeping his eye on the Senators."
It was natural that Will would begin writing his own news columns. Through
the years he wrote over an astonishing 4,000 of them, syndicated in 600
newspapers. Other overlapping careers blossomed, too. Will wrote six
books and went on to appear in seventeen films. Radio was another natural
medium for him. His down home wisdom appealed to the every day folks
who regularly tuned in to hear him.
"Rumor travels faster, but it don't stay put as long as truth."
commentator at the National Convention in 1948 and he continued in this
function for many years. To all requests for him to run for office, however,
Will Rogers always gave a firm no.
Will was a devoted husband and family man. His three children spoke fondly
of their father as "Dad." He and Betty remained close partners for all the
twenty-nine years they were married.
"I'm not a real movie star. I've still got the same wife I started out with
twenty-eight years ago."
by Betty Rogers, Reba Collins
Even after being in several plane crashes (he broke several ribs in the third one), Will insisted that airplane
travel was safer than travel by automobile. He was one of its greatest promoters and traveled around the
world three times. "Often he flew in mail planes, paying by the pound and cramming himself uncomfortably
into the cockpit with the mail sacks. Rogers would become the first passenger to make a round-trip
transcontinental flight in a mail plane." (National Aviation Hall of Fame)
Tragically, on August 15, 1935, at the age of only fifty-five, Will Rogers lost his life in a plane crash. Pilot Wiley
Post, a great scientific aviation pioneer and Will's close friend, made a brief landing at Point Barrow, Alaska,
to ask for directions. After receiving them, Wiley took off and the plane veered and crashed. Both men were
killed instantly and the nation lost two of its most treasured heroes.
It's difficult to compare Will Rogers to anyone we know today. His deep sympathy for humanity and his gentle
humor in pointing out man's follies cause many to compare him to Abraham Lincoln. And Will did not merely
stand aside and observe his fellow man - he lived his life to the fullest. He was a decent and honorable man.
He was a proud and respectful husband, to the degree that some thought he was unusual! He was
adventurous and eager to look ahead to the new world of air travel and he actively took part in it and
promoted it. He cared about his country and did his best to point it in the direction of honor and good sense.
(Some believe he did this by assuming his Cherokee heritage of The Trickster in order to change hearts and
minds!) He was a passionate humanitarian, who dedicated himself to helping others at home and around the
world in their times of need. What more could be required of a hero? Will Rogers was an early citizen of the
world, but he never lost the simplicity of his roots in the red Oklahoma soil of his home.
Will Rogers is a real life American Hero whom no one could dislike.
After all, he was known as the man who said ,
"I've never met a man I didn't like." And he meant it.
His deep understanding and love of humanity, in spite of all its follies,
endear him to many around the world even to this day.
|Comedian. He is also a fourth generation lasso spinning artist. This trick
roping cowboy has been in entertainment business for over 25 years. He
has been performing cowboy rope tricks publicly every since the age of 9
years old. Tipton has perfected his cowboy lasso spinning performance
after decades of training. He also has relative ties to the legendary Will
Rogers by way of his Grandmother McSpadden so its no wonder why trick
Tipton Productions on how to book a performance today. Performances
booked nationwide and beyond year around.
|way of his great grandmother
He would spend many
hours after school listening to
Delia's stories about his
grandfather who was a Wild
West show performer and the
times she spent with her
cousin Will Rogers.
|school everyday. She would give him a treat and
tell him stories about growing up in the Wild
West. Delia rode in a wagon across the largest
county in Oklahoma called Osage from the Vinita
area to meet her husband Dale. Dale worked in the
101 Ranch Wild West Show performing and
training horses. Marty's grandmother also told
him stories about the Pawnee Bill Wild West
Shows and her visits with Will Rogers. One of her
favorite sorties was about the unveiling of the
Pioneer Woman in 1930. She said Will had
everyone rolling with laughter when he
commented about the Pioneer Woman having a
girdle on the prairie. After the unveiling of the
statue Will and Delia had a picnic together and
she recalls him talking to her about the pickled
watermelon that was so popular. Delia received
letters from Will over the years from places he had
visited around the world. One of the letters Marty
recalls her reading was about the Mississippi
floods. Delia keep the letters at in her dresser tied
in a blue ribbon Maert recalls.