In presidential campaigns, Ohio was just as important in 1912 as it is in 2012, and, as the largest community in southern Wood County, North Baltimore was significant enough to warrant a short stop by candidate Roosevelt. In those days, candidates used railroads as their primary means of campaign transportation.
Theodore Roosevelt, president from 1901-09, had chosen not to run for re-election in the 1908 campaign. His Secretary of War, Howard Taft, received the Republican nomination and won the 1908 fall presidential election. By 1912, TR had grown disenchanted with the Taft Administration and believed that big businesses and corrupt special interests had too much influence in determining Federal Government policies. As a result, he decided to run again and, by May 1912, he was campaigning in Ohio to obtain the Republican nomination.
Roosevelt’s efforts to unseat Taft failed and the Republican Party re-nominated Taft. However, Roosevelt refused to quit and ran as an independent in the fall 1912 election. As a result, the Republican vote was split, and Democratic nominee Woodrow Wilson won the presidency despite receiving a minority of the total popular vote. Despite losing the election, Roosevelt’s speech in North Baltimore paid off when he received the majority of votes in both Henry Township and Wood County.