Our post on the Paulsen girls and their grandfathers Brush the other day, prompted one of our readers on facebook, to direct us to the story of the Abernathy Kids. We had seen the photo of the boys on the Indian Motorcycle before but were unaware of their incredible journeys. Read along and follow the links for more information.
According to www.brushauto.net “The Abernathy Kids lived with their father Jack Abernathy in the town of Frederick, Oklahoma. Frederick is located in Tillman County, the southwest corner of Oklahoma. Jack Abernathy became friends with Teddy Roosevelt as a result of the notoriety he received for his ability to catch wolves alive with his hands. Teddy Roosevelt had heard about “catch-em’ alive” Jack Abernathy but was skeptical that it was possible to catch wolves alive just with bare hands. After persuasion by his friends, Roosevelt decide to meet Jack Abernathy. Jack Abernathy welcomed President Roosevelt to Frederick, Oklahoma in April 1905 where a large crowd greeted him when he arrived. Abernathy took him on a successful hunt, a live wolf was caught bare handed. At the time of the wolf hunt Oklahoma was a U.S. territory. President Roosevelt later appointed Jack Abernathy to the position of U.S. Marshall.”
As the old saying goes “the apple does not fall far from the tree” and the Abernathy boys seem to have taken right after their dad. On their first journey in 1909 the two brothers, Louis “Bud” aged nine and Temple five, encountered a host of Old West obstacles, including wolves and wild rivers, when they rode more than 1,000 miles from Oklahoma to Santa Fe and back – ALONE!
The following year the brothers set their sights on New York City, which they reached after a month of hard riding. Along the way Orville Wright offered to take them up in his airplane and President Taft gave them a warm welcome when they reached the White House. These two boys were the story of the century at the time and widely followed by the whole world in the news.
This public frenzy ended when Bud and Temple rode their Oklahoma ponies alongside Teddy Roosevelt and the Rough Riders in a victory parade witnessed by more than a million cheering New Yorkers.
For the return journey, the boys used their meager savings and “bought” a Brush automobile, then drove it home to Oklahoma. One has to think that the PR opportunities offered to the pair must have been numerous at this point and to lead one to think the the Brush Company must have helped them out.
Even though they were only six and ten years old, Temple and Bud Abernathy were a national sensation. In the summer of 1911, they did the impossible. They rode nearly 4,000 miles, from New York to San Francisco, in only sixty-two days. Once again, the Abernathy Boys had made a historic ride without any adult assistance and accomplished an equestrian feat which has never been equaled.
In 1913 the pair did it again when the rode from Oklahoma to New York City at the ages of nine and thirteen on the Indian Motorcycle seen in the (top) photo.
To learn more about his story we have found online access for you to The Ride of the Abernathy Boys by Miles Abernathy. You can also find excellent coverage on www.brushauto.net . And Wiki also tells the brothers life story.