United States Secret Service Agent killed while protecting President Theodore Roosevelt to be honored in October

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William J. Craig, First Operative to Die in the Line of Duty, to be recognized during Theodore Roosevelt Association's 93rd Annual meeting in Chicago

"We are pleased to honor and recognize Agent Craig for his service to President Theodore Roosevelt" commented Tweed Roosevelt, President of the TRA and great grandson of Theodore Roosevelt

The Theodore Roosevelt Association (TRA) will pay tribute to Chicago native William J. Craig, the first Secret Service agent to die in the line of duty while protecting America’s top elected leader, during the TRA’s 93rd annual meeting. The four-day conference will be held October 25-28 at the Union League Club of Chicago.

The program recognizing Craig will include a short video on his life, his service to President Theodore Roosevelt, and details of his untimely death while protecting the President. Expected to attend the event on Saturday, October 27 is current United States Secret Service director Mark L. Sullivan.

A native of Glasgow, Scotland and a former bodyguard to Queen Victoria, Craig joined the Secret Service in Chicago in 1900. He was assigned to the White House in 1901, just as the Secret Service assumed responsibility for protecting the president.

On September 3, 1902, Craig was killed in a collision between a trolley car and a carriage in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. The accident occurred while he was riding with President Roosevelt on a speaking trip. A speeding trolley car crashed into the carriage and the impact killed agent Craig, whose last words as he tried to shield the President were “Look Out, Hold Fast”. President Roosevelt, who was thrown from the carriage, narrowly escaped death and was seriously injured, spending many weeks in a wheelchair. Roosevelt later said of Craig, “The man who was killed was one of whom I was fond of and whom I greatly prized for his loyalty and faithfulness.”

Tweed Roosevelt, president of the Theodore Roosevelt Association and great-grandson of Theodore Roosevelt, stated, “We are pleased to honor and recognize agent Craig for his service to Theodore Roosevelt. Without the heroic actions of agent Craig, my great-grandfather might have perished that fateful day.”

The theme for the 93rd annual meeting is “The Centennial Celebration of the 1912 Progressive Party Convention in Chicago.” The conference will feature prominent historians and authors speaking on Theodore Roosevelt’s 1912 presidential campaign.     

Details of the meeting and registration information are available at http://www.traannualmeeting2012.org

Founded in 1919 and chartered by Congress in 1920, the Theodore Roosevelt Association is a national historical society and public service organization that has perpetuated the memory and legacy of the nation’s 26th president through an array of historical and cultural activities. Its members come from every state and have diverse backgrounds, but they all share a keen interest in history and in furthering the legacy of one of America’s first modern presidents.

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Terry Brown, Executive Director
Theodore Roosevelt Association
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