Churchill’s mother Jennie Jerome was instrumental in furthering his career using her social connections and made an introduction to Bourke Cockran. Jennie, born in Brooklyn, told her son that he would find New York City quite boring, though his experience was quite the opposite.
Cockran was a well-connected American politician and would become a great mentor of Churchill’s. Churchill remarked of Cockran that, ‘I must record the strong impression which this remarkable man made upon my untutored mind’.
While on his way to Cuba to witness his first battlefield fighting, Cockran arranged for him to meet President McKinley and to dine with New York Governor Theodore (‘Teddy’) Roosevelt.
Churchill later commented that the first time he came under fire was on his 21st birthday, 30 Nov 1895.
On this trip, he would also take up a life-long habit of smoking Cuban cigars.
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