Granville Roland Fortescue

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Granville Roland Fortescue
Granville R Fortescue.png
G. Roland Fortescue
Nickname(s) "Rollie"
Born (1875-10-12)October 12, 1875
New York City
Died April 21, 1952(1952-04-21) (aged 76)
Place of burial Arlington National Cemetery
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service 1898–1906
Rank Major
Unit 1st United States Volunteer Cavalry

Spanish–American War

Philippine–American War
Russo-Japanese War (military attaché)
World War I
Rif War {Correspondent}
Spanish Civil War (correspondent)
Awards Distinguished Service Cross
Purple Heart
Order of the Rising Sun (Japan)
Relations Robert Roosevelt (father)
Grace Hubbard Fortescue (wife)
Thalia Massie (daughter)
Helene Reynolds (daughter)
Theodore Roosevelt (first cousin)
Other work author, journalist

Granville Roland Fortescue (October 12, 1875 – April 21, 1952) was an American soldier, a Rough Rider serving with his cousin, Colonel Theodore Roosevelt in Cuba, a presidential aide in the first Roosevelt administration and later, a journalist and war correspondent for the London Standard during the Rif War in 1920 Spanish Morocco. He wrote for the London Daily Telegraph during World War I[1] and during the Spanish Civil War.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

Fortescue was the son of U.S. Congressman Robert Roosevelt (1829–1906),[3] and Marion Theresa "Minnie" O'Shea Fortescue, his mistress. At the time of his birth, his father was still married to his first wife, Elizabeth Ellis. After Ellis' death, Robert married Minnie. His father then adopted the three children that he had conceived with Minnie before their marriage, Granville, Kenyon, and Maud, and they were known as his stepchildren, although they were his biological children.[4] At the time of their birth, their father had been listed as "Robert Francis Fortescue," and all maintained the Fortescue name throughout their lives, even though they were born to Robert Roosevelt.[5]

His father, Robert Roosevelt, was the brother of Theodore Roosevelt, Sr., the uncle of President Theodore Roosevelt and the great-uncle of Eleanor Roosevelt.[3]

Fortescue's undergraduate education began at Yale College; then he transferred to the University of Pennsylvania. His college years were cut short when he volunteered in 1898 for the 1st United States Volunteer Cavalry.[4] He completed his education when he graduated from the Army Staff College in 1904.[6]


Fortescue was a Rough Rider wounded at San Juan Hill in Cuba and serving in the Philippines during the Spanish–American War.[1]

Fortescue was posted as a U.S. military attaché in Japan during the Russo-Japanese War.[1] Along with other Western military attachés, he had two complementary missions—to assist the Japanese and to observe the Japanese forces in the field during the Russo-Japanese War.[7] Service as an artillery officer during World War I was the capstone of Fortescue's military career.[1]

Military honors[edit]

Personal life[edit]

In 1910, Captain "Rolly" Fortescue married Grace Hubbard Fortescue (née Grace Hubbard Bell) (1883–1979), a niece of the inventor Alexander Graham Bell and an heir to the Bell Telephone Company fortune. The wedding party included Captain Archibald Butt, who served with the groom in the White House as a Presidential aide.[9]

The couple had three daughters:

  • Thalia Fortescue (1911–1963), who married Thomas Hedges Massie (1905–1987), a Navy lieutenant.[10]
  • Kenyon Fortescue (1914–1990), who married J. Louis Reynolds in 1936.[11]
  • Marion Fortestcue, who married Daulton Gillespie Viskniskki in 1934[10]

An alleged rape of daughter Thalia Massie embroiled his wife in the 1932 murder trial in Hawaii, known as the "Massie Affair". Afterwards, she returned to a quiet life with her husband as they moved seasonally between family homes on Long Island and in Palm Beach. Another daughter took the stage name of Helene Whitney (1914–1990) as an actress.

Fortescue died on April 21, 1952 and was laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery,[8] the only Roosevelt to be buried there.[4]

Family tree[edit]

Published works[edit]

His journalism experience led to further writing:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Spinzia, Raymond E. (2006). Long Island's Prominent North Shore Families: Their Estates And Their Country Homes, sample excerpt, p. 2.
  2. ^ Price, Warren C. (1999). Literature of Journalism, p. 90.
  3. ^ a b "Roosevelt, Robert Barnwell." Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
  4. ^ a b c d Spinzia, Raymond E. "These Other Roosevelts: The Fortescues," Oyster Bay Historical Society Freeholder Magazine. 2006; "Robert B. Roosevelt's Will; Testator's Three Children Inherit Most of the Large Estate," New York Times. June 20, 1906.
  5. ^ Robenalt, James David (2009). The Harding Affair: Love and Espionage during the Great War. Macmillan. 
  6. ^ a b c d e Renehan, Edward J. "A Secret Roosevelt," History News Network. February 22, 2003.
  7. ^ Chapman, John and Ian Nish. (2004). "On the Periphery of the Russo-Japanese War," Part I, p. 53 n42, Paper No. IS/2004/475. Suntory Toyota International Centre for Economics and Related Disciplines (STICERD), London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).
  8. ^ a b c Arlington National Cemetery: Granville Roland Fortescue
  9. ^ "Society at Home and Abroad: The Fortescue-Bell Wedding in Washington," New York Times. May 29, 1910.
  10. ^ a b Judith A. Spinzia; Raymond E. Spinzia (May 8, 2006). "Fortescue, Granville Roland (1875-1952)". Long Island's Prominent Families: Their Estates and Their Country Homes (PDF). I. ISBN 1-58939-785-1. 
  11. ^ "Milestones". Time. July 27, 1936. Retrieved October 15, 2010. 
  12. ^ New York Public Library. (1915). Bulletin of the New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations, v.19 no.2, p. 618.


External links[edit]