President Teddy Roosevelt’s favorite shotgun is now on display at the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum. The firearm is on loan from the Jason Roselius Trust.
Roselius, a native of Panhandle, graduated from West Texas A&M University with degrees in history and political science and later from the University of Oklahoma Law School. He purchased the shotgun in 2010 for $862,500, setting a record for the most expensive shotgun ever sold at auction.
According to Roselius family, it was Jason’s intention the shotgun be displayed where the residents of the Texas Panhandle would be able to see and enjoy it. Following Roselius’ death in an accidental drowning in January 2018, members of his family initiated efforts for the shotgun to be placed on display at the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, on the campus of the university he loved, according to his father, Jay Roselius.
The Fox “F” Grade double barreled shotgun was presented to President Roosevelt by the president of the Fox Gun Company and bears the inscription “Made Expressly for Hon. Theodore Roosevelt.”
Roosevelt used the shotgun on his well-documented 1909 African safari, the most famous of all African safaris, and told friends it was “the finest and most beautiful gun” he’d seen. The shotgun features intricate scroll work, oak leaves and a gold inlaid hunting dog on each side of the frame.
“We are extremely excited to have this shotgun on loan to the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum,” museum director Carol Lovelady said. “PPHM has long been known for having the best gun collection in Texas, but with the arrival of Teddy Roosevelt’s shotgun – considered a national treasure – the museum has become a destination for history buffs, gun collectors and Roosevelt scholars.”
In the book Theodore Roosevelt, Outdoorsman by R. L. Wilson, Roosevelt is described as “one of the greatest of American Presidents, and one of the most versatile and accomplished individuals ever to hold that office. His public and private record of achievements during his sixty years of life (1858-1919) is remarkable. He was a social reformer and trust-buster, statesman and diplomat, rancher and hunter, naturalist and conservationist. In addition, he was a soldier, explorer and author. He also held the offices of Vice President and Governor of New York. He was a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, co-organizer of the Rough Riders, builder of the Panama Canal, and founder of the Boone and Crockett Club. Roosevelt’s colorful and forceful personality endeared him to the people of his time. To all Americans, he was a great exemplar of courage, hardihood, and self-reliance."
Visitors can see the shotgun for themselves in Pioneer Hall for the summer and possibly longer, per the terms of the loan agreement with the Roselius family.