#802 American Folk Hero Will Rogers


America’s Cowboy

Biograph:

William Penn Adair Rogers was born November 4th, 1879 on a ranch between Claremore and Oologah, Oklahoma. We have rectified his chart to 16 Sagittarius, [SS] Sea gulls watching a ship, a symbol demonstrating the spirit’s demand for its full share in the privileges and rewards of all of human society. This gives him the birth time 9:25 AM.

Betty and Will Rogers

Both his parents had a small amount of Cherokee Indian blood and he quipped about his forefathers being there “to meet Columbus.”. Rogers has a Grand Trine in Water and no air in chart, highlighting how his comments were born more of personal experience than great thought. This is probably why he is a considered a modern “folk hero.” The small stellium in the 5th house is interesting as Pluto was discovered just about when he died; Neptune is the other part of the sandwich with Mars — his sharp tongue — in between. This stellium highlights the problems he had of keeping his wild eyed naivete of the American West all the while it was disappearing.

And Neptune, the alchemical dissolver, highlights as his strongest opposition to his very personal Sun, via the push pull call of the plains (Taurus) vs his personal need to recreate a mythos for public consumption. This dichotomy literally collapsed, when Pluto was discovered and the horrors of the 1930’s Dust Bowl ravaged Oklahoma and the attendant Midwest as thousands of families took flight, chronicled by John Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath, to the sunny fields of Bakersfield, California.

Early Years

Kemper Military Academy c. 2010

Rogers attended Kemper Military Academy in Boonville, Missouri (the school closed after the 2002 graduation)  for two years (“One in the guardhouse and one in the 4th grade,” he said later.) He left school in 1889, and became a cowboy in the Texas Panhandle. Then he drifted off to Argentina and turned up in South Africa a few years later as a member of Texas Jack’s Wild West Circus.

Texas Jack Mile Marker

Will Rogers made his first stage appearance in New York City in 1905 where he met many vaudevillians like George M. Cohan, Eddie Cantor and Fanny Brice. He first reached real fame in the Ziegfeld Follies of 1916. In 1918, he started his motion picture career; in ’34 he made it to the Broadway stage.

NYTimes , August 17 1935

Rogers married Betty Blake, an Arkansas schoolteacher, in 1908. They had four children. He was killed in a plane crash near Point Barrow, Alaska, while on a flight to the Orient with the famed speed aviator #772 & fellow Oklahoman Wiley Post aboard the Winnie Mae of Oklahoma . The nation doubly mourned; Congress halted and led everyone in prayers.

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