Oklahoma’s favorite son used to say “My ancestors didn’t come over on the Mayflower, but they met the boat.” Will Rogers who had a rich Cherokee heritage, was born in Indian Territory in 1879 when horses were the fastest mode of transportation. He was killed nearly 56 years later in Alaska Territory when an experimental airplane crashed. He was described as a scholar and a philosopher because he could unscramble complex ideas. He was one of the most popular writers and entertainers in the United States, with the support of the public, who had confidence in his views in the 1920s and 1930s. Will Rogers was many things: an important writer, a philosopher, a wit, an actor, a skilled horseman and roper–and known to his family as “Uncle Will.” In this interview you will hear the grandniece of Will Rogers talk about Uncle Will at home and his love for family, his love of ice cream and chili and Christmastime. Uncle Will didn’t talk about his national fame at home. The family would listen to the radio or read the newspaper to learn of his latest exploits. Coke remembers the day he died and how the news came to the family. President Franklin Roosevelt said of his death: “I was shocked to hear of the tragedy which has taken Will Rogers and Wiley Post from us. Will was an old friend of mine, a humorist and a philosopher beloved by all.” Will Rogers was known everywhere for his gentle humor and as the Ambassador of Good Will.
This interview was recorded in 2009 when Coke was 89 years old.
Interview with Coke Meyer
Müllerhaus Legacy Website Team
Date Created: May 17, 2009
Date Published: February 20, 2012
Credits: Audio recording of Will Rogers in Chapter 16 courtesy Will Rogers Memorial Museums, Claremore / Oologah, Oklahoma.
Notes: Recorded by John Erling in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Digital Audio Sound Recording, Non-Music.