Meanwhile, several thousand miles away, President Roosevelt, visiting Mississippi to settle a border dispute, decided to go out hunting on November 14, 1902 near the town of Smedes. After several hours, he still hadn’t bagged anything, when one of his aides discovered a lost bear cub wandering through the woods. Catching it, the aide tied it to a tree, and brought the President to it. To Roosevelt’s eternal credit, he couldn’t bring himself to shoot the defenseless cub, and ordered it to be set free by declaring, “Spare the bear! I will not shoot a tethered animal.”
The press pack following Roosevelt’s visit heard about the story, and it inspired cartoonist Clifford K. Berryman to draw a cartoon of the incident, entitled ‘Drawing the Line in Mississippi’. This cartoon was printed in The Washington Post, and triggered a moment of inspiration for Brooklyn candy store owner Morris Michtom, a Russian Jewish immigrant and his wife Rose.