As Father’s Day approaches, it’s hard not to be biased. So many of us think of our dad as the best dad. But what makes a dad the greatest in history? Dedication to his family? A devotion to his work?
This Father’s Day, we at Heritage Consulting want to take a look at six of the greatest dads in history, learn a little more about them, and see what they did to earn the title.
Charlemagne is well known as the King of the Franks, Emperor of the Romans, and, by some, “the Father of Europe”. But during late-eighth- and early-ninth-century rule, he also fathered 20 children. Charlemagne insisted that his children receive a proper education, even his daughters, which was relatively unheard of in Europe then.
Near the end of the 8th century, Charlemagne’s oldest son was found guilty of participating in a plot to kill him and was expected to be executed. However, the father commuted his death sentence and sent him to live in a monastery for the remainder of his life. For this, many consider Charlemagne one of the greatest dads in history.
Theodore Roosevelt Sr.
In his autobiography, U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt Jr. called his father, Theodore Roosevelt Sr., “the best man I ever knew”. The president celebrated his father’s strength, courage, tenderness, and unselfishness.
The elder Roosevelt expected the same of his sons and daughters, with Roosevelt Jr. saying, “As we grew older he made us understand that the same standard of clean living was demanded for the boys as for the girls; that what was wrong in a woman could not be right in a man.” The father of four raised one of America’s most celebrated presidents and was the grandfather to another. Because of his lasting legacy on American history, Theodore Roosevelt Sr. is remembered as one of the greatest dads in history.
While many questioned Nicholas II and his ability to rule a country, he was a devoted father to his five children, including his only son and heir to the throne, Alexei. The child had hemophilia, a blood disorder that left him at risk of uncontrollable bleeding.
The Czar and his wife, Alexandra, worried for their son’s well-being and called in faith healer Grigori Rasputin. Eventually, the family’s association with the infamous healer was used against him by his political enemies in court. However, throughout their lives, Nicholas II was a dedicated father, determined to maintain the health and well-being of his children, leading many to think of him as one of the greatest dads in history.
While many know of Charles Darwin for his scientific discoveries, he and his wife, Emma, had ten children. His children remembered him for his storytelling and his genuine interest in their day-to-day lives. In 1851, the scientist was devastated by the death of his daughter, Annie, who was ten years old. However, he continued encouraging his children to be free and act upon their wishes.
In “An Autobiography of Charles Darwin and Selected Letters”, his daughter Francis said of her father, “Indeed, it is impossible adequately to describe how delightful a relation his was to his family, whether as children or in their later life.” This lifelong devotion to his family and children makes Charles Darwin one of the greatest dads in history.
William Jackson Smart
While this great dad is a little less well-known, we promise he deserves the title. A Civil War veteran, William Jackson Smart was the father to five children with his first wife and six children with his second wife, who also had three children from her first marriage. After his wife died during the birth of their sixth child, with nine children left in his home, Smart gladly took over the role of father and mother. In 1909, after attending a Mother’s Day service, Smart’s daughter, Sonora Smart Dodd, petitioned for a similar day to celebrate hard-working fathers like her own.
In 1910, she sponsored a Father’s Day celebration in Spokane, Washington. Many celebrated her idea, though it wasn’t until 1972 that President Richard Nixon declared every third Sunday in June as a federal holiday that would honor fathers. Six years later, at 96 years old, Dodd passed away knowing that her father’s legacy would live on in the holiday. Because of his devotion to his children, which led to the creation of Father’s Day celebrations across the country, William Jackson Smart is one of the greatest dads in history.
Learn About The Great Dads In Your Family
Great dads aren’t exclusive to this list, and there aren’t enough words to describe all the great dads in the world. But at Heritage Consulting, we want you to know that the greatest dads in history may just be a part of your family. If you want to learn more about the great dads in your family, our expert genealogists can help you find out all you can about them. If you’re interested in learning more about the dads in your family or about your family’s history, contact us today.