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James Abram Garfield was born in a log cabin in Cuyahogo County, Ohio. His father died when Garfield was 18 months old. He was a precocious child who learned to read by the age of 3 years old. Garfield attended elementary school at the local district school. He went on to attend the Geauga Academy in Chester, Ohio and the Eclectic Institute in Hiram, Ohio. He worked his way through school by teaching younger students and working as a janitor. In 1854, Garfield entered Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts as a junior. He graduated with honors in the class of 1856.

Upon graduation from Williams, Garfield returned to the Eclectic Institute first as an instructor and then, from 1857-1861, as the President of the Institute. During this period, Garfield studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1860. He was also an Ohio State Senator from 1859-1861. As a State Senator, he took a strong stand against slavery.

Garfield was commissioned a lieutenant colonel in the Union army in August 1861. He fought in some of the early battles including the battle of Sandy River. He earned the title of "Hero of Sandy River. Garfield fought at the battle of Shiloh and Corinth. he became the chief of staff of the Army of the Cumberland.

In 1862, Garfield was elected to Congress. Thus, in 1863, he resigned his army commission and took up his house seat. Garfield was among the most radical Republicans in the House, and called for stronger action against the Confederacy. After the war, he moderated his views, but still supported the impeachment of Johnson. Garfield was a leading House member, who dealt with financial members, and served at different times as Chairman of the House Banking and Currency Committee, Appropriations Committee and as a member of the Ways and Means Committee.

Garfield's administration was cut short by his assassination on July 2. Before his assassination, Garfield's efforts were mostly devoted to resolving issues of political patronage. Garfield was assassinated by Charles Guiteau, a Garfield supporter who had been denied a political appointment. Garfield was gunned down in the waiting room of the Baltimore and Potomac Railroad in Washington. He died of blood poisoning on September 17th, two months after he was shot.

James A. Garfield

James Abram Garfield was the twentieth President of the United States.

Garfield was born on November 19, 1831, in Orange, Ohio. Garfield's father died in 1833, and James spent most of his youth working on a farm to care for his widowed mother. At the age of seventeen, Garfield took a job steering boats on the Ohio and Erie Canal.

Garfield received minimal schooling in Ohio's common schools. In 1849, he enrolled in the Geauga Seminary in Chester, Ohio. After briefly serving as a teacher, Garfield attended the Western Reserve Eclectic Institute (now Hiram College) in Hiram, Ohio. He transferred to Williams College, in Williamstown, Massachusetts, and graduated in 1858. He returned to Hiram College in that same year as a professor of ancient languages and literature. He also served as Hiram's president until the outbreak of the American Civil War. In 1859, Garfield began a political career, winning election to the Ohio Senate as a member of the Republican Party.

During the Civil War, Garfield resigned his position at Hiram College and joined the Union Army. He began as lieutenant-colonel of the Forty-Second Ohio Volunteer Infantry and fought in the Battles of Shiloh and Chickamauga. He resigned from the army on December 5, 1863, with the rank of major general.

Garfield resigned his commission because Ohio voters had elected him to the United States House of Representatives. He served nine consecutive terms in the House of Representatives before he was elected President of the United States in 1880. In Congress, Garfield was a supporter of the Radical Republicans. He opposed President Andrew Johnson's lenient policy toward the conquered Southern states and demanded the enfranchisement of African-American men. He was appointed by the Ohio legislature to the United States Senate in January 1880. He declined the office, because he was elected president a few months before he was to claim his seat in the Senate.

Garfield served for only four months before he was shot by Charles J. Guiteau. Guiteau had sought a political office under Garfield's administration and was refused. Angered by his rejection, Guiteau shot Garfield while the president waited for a train in Washington, DC. Garfield lived for two more months, before dying on September 19, 1881. While Garfield accomplished little as president, his death inspired the United States Congress and his successor, President Chester A. Arthur, to reform the public service system with the Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act in 1883. Rather than having the victors in an election appoint unqualified supporters, friends, or family members to positions, the Civil Service was created to assure that at least some office holders were qualified for their positions.

Homes of Our Presidents

On Saturday, August 7, 2021, President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. will surpass the second shortest presidency in American History. William Henry Harrison had the shortest time in office, just 31 days in 1841. The next shortest presidency belonged to James A. Garfield. His service to our country ended on September 19, 1881 when he died of complications from two gun-shot wounds in the back that he sustained in a Washington, DC, train station the previous July.

During a visit to a Cleveland, Ohio, cemetery some years back, I found myself at the bottom of a lengthy flight of stairs leading up to a double-pair of bronze doors. The structure I was about to enter – at that time – was the most elaborate American grave I had ever seen.

Tomb of J. A. Garfield in Lake View Cemetery, Cleveland, Ohio

The mausoleum, dedicated to the 20 th American President, James Garfield, is a design imagined by the Irish born architect, George Keller. It was dedicated in May 1890 at a cost of $135,000. The tower that rises over the tomb stands tall at 180 feet is built with Berea Sandstone from nearby quarries.

James A. Garfield Memorial,
Cleveland, Ohio[Curt Teich, linen, 1935]

The exterior balcony holds five terracotta panels sculpted by Caspar Buberl. Buberl was best known for his Civil War monuments then found in over twenty American cities. (There are ten Buberl monuments on the battlefield at Gettysburg.) The panels depict events in Garfield’s life, including his years as a teacher, his Civil War service as a Union major-general, the day he took the presidential oath of office, and the days he lay in state at the U.S. Capital building.

In a brief conversation with myself that day a realization occurred that I had no idea what this man did while President of the United States.

I remembered that he was a wartime general, a congressman, and a president, but never realized that he served in office for only 199 days. I remembered that he was a teacher of classical languages (Greek and Latin) and it was during his teaching years that he developed an interest in politics.

I remembered reading about his assassination but had forgotten that he lived over two months – in an appalling situation of constant pain – before he died.

So what did he do as President?

Reading about James Garfield would seem to me to be a dull topic at best, but his biography by Kenneth Ackerman reads like a novel with vivid characters living in a tightly woven mystery. Dark Horse: the Surprise Election and Political Murder of President James A. Garfield, was published nearly twenty years ago. You may have trouble finding it, but if you can, it is well worth the effort.

Maj. Gen. James Garfield

The Civil War battle of Middle Creek, Ky., has been called "the battle that made a presidency" -- that of James A. Garfield, our nation's 20th chief executive officer. It was his leadership on the field during a period of low Union morale that launched Garfield's political career.

The 30-year-old Col. Garfield, then commander of the 42nd Ohio Regiment, arrived at the mouth of Abbott Creek in Floyd County on Jan. 9, 1862. Fighting through thick mountain fog, Garfield's troops battled Confederate Brig. Gen. Humphrey Marshall's forces west and south of the creek, near its forks. The firing began at noon on Jan. 10 and continued until 5 p.m., when Garfield reported that the "rebels had been driven from the slopes at every point." At last, victory belonged to the Union.

Born Nov. 2, 1831, in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, James Abram Garfield was our last president born in a log cabin. His father died when he was 2, and Garfield earned money for his education by driving canal boat teams. The devout Disciple of Christ became a classics professor and later president of what is now Hiram College.

At the time of his military service, Garfield was still more than a quarter century away from his presidency. But the ideals that brought him into the war were the same ones that led him to seek his first political office in the middle of it. Having risen from lieutenant colonel to major general, participating in battles like Shiloh and Chickamauga, Garfield was nominated for and elected to Congress as a Republican. President Lincoln asked him to take the seat because he wanted men in Congress who knew the Army.

Abram Garfield

Abram Garfield (November 21, 1872 – October 16, 1958) was the youngest son of President James A. Garfield and Lucretia Rudolph Garfield, and an architect who practiced in Cleveland, Ohio.

Garfield received a bachelor of arts from Williams College in 1893 and a bachelor of science in architecture from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology three years later. Beginning his architectural practice in 1897, in 1898 he formed Meade & Garfield with Frank Meade to form the architectural firm Meade & Garfield in Cleveland, Ohio the firm was noted for its premier residential designs. When the partnership ended in 1905, Garfield opened his own firm until 1926 when he along with Rudolph Stanley-Brown, George R. Harris, and Alexander Robinson started an architectural practice. In 1935 it was renamed Garfield, Harris, Robinson and Schafer until Garfield’s death in 1958. The firm, which still exists, was known as Westlake, Reed, Leskosky Architects until 2016 when purchased by DLR group. Garfield specialized in residential architecture, designing large houses in Shaker Heights and other Cleveland suburbs, but his work also included more modest houses for the Cleveland Metropolitan Housing Authority and institutional projects such as schools and a hospital. Garfield served as chairman of the Cleveland Planning Commission from 1930 to 1942 and was a founder and first president of the Cleveland School of Architecture, which became part of Western Reserve University in 1941. [1] He was named a trustee of the university that year and two years later was made an honorary lifetime member of the board he received an honorary doctorate from Western Reserve University in 1945. Garfield was also a director of the American Institute of Architects from 1919 to 1922 and served on the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts from 1925 to 1930, including as vice chairman from 1929 to 1930. [2] In 1949 he was elected into the National Academy of Design as an Associate Academician. He lived in Bratenahl, Ohio. [3]

A number of his works are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. [4]


Garfield was born in Orange Township, now Moreland Hills, Ohio. His father died in 1833, when James Abram was 18 months old. He grew up cared for by his mother and an uncle.

Education Edit

In Orange Township, Garfield attended school, a predecessor of the Orange City Schools. From 1851 to 1854, he attended the Western Reserve Eclectic Institute (later named Hiram College] in Hiram, Ohio. He then transferred to Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts, where he was a brother of Delta Upsilon. He graduated in 1856 as an outstanding student who enjoyed all subjects except chemistry. He then taught at the Eclectic Institute. He was an instructor in classical languages for the 1856-1857 academic year, and was made principal of the Institute from 1857 to 1860.

On November 11, 1858, he married Lucretia Rudolph. They had seven children (five sons and two daughters): Eliza A. Garfield (1860-63) Harry A. Garfield (1863-1942) James R. Garfield (1865-1950) Mary Garfield (1867-1947) Irvin M. Garfield (1870-1951) Abram Garfield (1872-1958) and Edward Garfield (1874-76). One son, James Rudolph Garfield, followed him into politics and became Secretary of the Interior under President Theodore Roosevelt. Garfield could write in Greek with his left hand and Latin with his right hand at the same time. [1]

Garfield decided that the academic life was not for him and studied law privately. He was admitted to the Ohio bar in 1860. Even before admission to the bar, he entered politics. He was elected an Ohio state senator in 1859, serving until 1861. He was a Republican all his political life. He was a general in the American Civil War, and fought in the Battle of Shiloh and the Chattanooga Campaign.

Garfield became President March 3, 1881 and was shot in Washington, D.C. on July 2. Garfield was shot in the back by Charles J. Guiteau at about 9:30 am. Guiteau helped Garfield's campaign for president, and then asked for a job when he won, but the president told him no. He was less than four months in term as the 20th President of the United States. Garfield died eleven weeks later on September 19, 1881, aged 49. The 31st Speaker of the United States House of Representatives James G. Blaine was at Garfield's side when he was shot down. At this time, it was not common for the president of the United States to have bodyguards, although Lincoln had protection during the civil war.

Vice President Chester A. Arthur became President when Garfield died. Guiteau was tried for murder, and many thought he would be found not guilty because he was insane. He was actually found guilty and hanged for the murder, reading a poem before he walked up the gallows. It is now believed Garfield was in fact killed because of his doctors, who stuck their fingers inside his wounds while treating him and causing a bad infection. Alexander Graham Bell, inventor of the telephone, tried to locate the bullet with a primitive metal detector, but failed because the bed was lined with steel wire (which he did not know). While Garfield was still alive, news of his condition was broadcasted across the country by telegraph, which was something new.

In a 2013 medical journal article, the historical record in regards to Garfield's assassination and death has been questioned, with the new argument being that the deterioration in President Garfield's condition from late July 1881 was actually caused by his doctors accidentally injuring and making a hole in his bladder, thus resulting in President Garfield getting cholecystitis. [2]


James Abram Garfield was a soldier and congressman who became the twentieth president of the United States. His inability to perform the duties of office following an assassination attempt on July 2, 1881, raised, for the second time in U.S. history, the question of presidential succession.

Garfield was born November 19, 1831, in a log cabin near the town of Orange in Cuyahoga County, Ohio. He was the fourth and final child of Abram Garfield and Eliza Ballou Garfield. Garfield's father's ancestors were among the original settlers of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. In 1827 the father carried their pioneering spirit to Ohio, where he worked on an Ohio Canal construction crew. By the time Garfield was born, his father was a struggling farmer and a founding member of the local Disciples of Christ church. In 1833, when Garfield was just two years old, his father died suddenly, leaving the family in poverty.

Garfield's mother, a descendant of an old Rhode Island family, was a remarkable woman. After her husband's death, she ran the small family farm on her own and saw to it that Garfield and his siblings worked hard, attended church, and finished school.

After completing his studies at the local school in Orange, Garfield enrolled at the Western Reserve Eclectic Institute (later Hiram College), at Hiram, Ohio. He eventually went on to Williams College, in Massachusetts. After graduating from Williams with the class of 1856, he returned to the institute at Hiram and assumed the duties of teacher and later principal. On November 11, 1858, he married Lucretia Rudolph, his childhood friend, fellow student, and pupil.

In addition to teaching and tending to the administration of the institute, Garfield frequently served as a lay speaker in Disciples of Christ churches throughout northern Ohio. Like many members of his church, Garfield advocated free-soil principles and was a firm supporter of the newly organized republican party. (Free-Soilers were opposed to the expansion of slavery in the western states and territories.)

With his natural speaking ability, Garfield soon found himself in the political arena. In 1859 he was elected to the Ohio state senate. As the United States neared civil war, Garfield put his speaking abilities to work for the Union, recruiting men and raising troops for battle.

In the summer of 1861, he followed his own advice and recruited a group of volunteers from his former school. He assembled the Forty-second Ohio Volunteer Infantry, and served as the unit's lieutenant colonel and later colonel. Though he had no military experience, Garfield did have a voracious appetite for knowledge and

access to books that could guide his command. He and his men fought at the Battle of Shiloh, in western Tennessee. Garfield left the field when he became ill. After recovering he returned as chief of staff under Major General William S. Rosencrans, with whom he fought at Chickamauga, Georgia.

After Chickamauga, Garfield was promoted to brigadier general of volunteers, and he was elected, in absentia, to a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. It has been suggested that Garfield was reluctant to surrender his command and take the seat, but he acquiesced when President abraham lincoln pointed out that brigadier generals were in far greater supply than administration Republicans.

In December 1863 Garfield took his seat in the Thirty-eighth Congress as the Republican representative from the nineteenth congressional district of Ohio. When the Republicans became the minority party in the House after the election of 1864, Garfield and Congressman James G. Blaine, of Maine, emerged as minority party leaders. Garfield distinguished himself as chairman of the committee on appropriations, and he established himself as an expert on the budget. He also focused his attention on legislation related to Reconstruction policies in the South, protective tariff issues, and the maintenance of a sound currency. When Blaine was elected to the Senate in 1876, Garfield became the House minority leader—a position he held for the remainder of his congressional service.

Garfield held his House office for eighteen years, for the most part easily winning the nomination of his party and the vote of the electorate as each term concluded. Only once during his time in the House was his reelection in question. In the early 1870s, the Republican party was discredited by allegations of scandal in the administration of President Ulysses S. Grant—including the Crédit Mobilier scandal. Crédit Mobilier of America was a construction company established to build the Union Pacific Railroad. It became known that Garfield was among a group of congressmen who had accepted stock in Crédit Mobilier, in exchange for legislative consideration. Garfield ultimately refused the stock, but it took him two years to do so. His critics maintained that he decided not to take the stock only because the issue had placed him in political hot water.

During the same period, Garfield accepted a retainer for legal services from a Washington, D.C., company seeking to supply paving materials in the nation's capital. He argued that because he had no direct connection to city government, there was no conflict of interest. Not everyone shared his opinion.

Though many public servants of the day conducted personal business while in office, Garfield found it increasingly difficult to distinguish clients who wanted his legal advice from those who wanted his political influence. Garfield was reelected in 1874, despite the controversy, but to avoid future problems, he ceased taking outside legal clients. The incident also fueled Garfield's desire to eliminate political patronage in the civil service system.

Garfield took an active role in the 1876 presidential election of rutherford b. hayes. When Senator john sherman, of Ohio, was named to the Hayes cabinet, Garfield expressed an interest in filling his vacant Senate seat. Needing Garfield in the House, Hayes discouraged him from pursuing the matter. Near the close of Hayes's term, there was talk that Sherman would seek to regain his Senate seat, but he chose instead to seek his party's nomination for the presidency. It was widely presumed that Sherman supported Garfield's election to the Senate in exchange for Garfield's support at the Republican convention, but no such deal was struck.

In due course the Ohio legislature elected Garfield to the U.S. Senate for a six-year term to begin in 1881, and he attended the 1880 Republican National Convention in Chicago as head of the Ohio delegation. Because of home state support for Sherman, Garfield reluctantly agreed to act as Sherman's floor manager and to canvass for delegates on his behalf—even though Senator Blaine, Garfield's old friend and colleague, was also seeking the party's nomination.

Garfield was a formidable and well-known figure at the convention. His persuasive skill on the floor did not go unnoticed. He kept Sherman's chances alive by fighting for the delegates' freedom to vote their choice, and by opposing a unit rule that forced delegations to cast all their votes for the candidate holding the majority of votes within a state delegation. Former president Grant, who was also running for nomination, and his supporters, called the Stalwarts, supported the unit rule because Grant held the majority in many delegations.

Garfield managed to block the nominations of Blaine and Grant, but he could not secure a majority for Sherman. With the convention deadlocked, twenty Wisconsin delegates made a bold move on the thirty-fifth ballot and, in protest, cast twenty votes for Garfield.

On the next ballot, Garfield found himself the unanimous choice of the convention and the unwitting beneficiary of his own floor maneuvering. chester a. arthur was named his running mate. Blaine followers supported the ticket, and most Sherman followers were willing to overlook the manner in which the nomination had been secured, but Grant's forces never forgave Garfield for his opposition.

Garfield pacified unhappy Sherman supporters by surrendering his new Senate seat, enabling Sherman to return to his old post. Throughout the summer of 1880, Garfield attempted to meet with the national committee and with Grant supporters, but he was never given an audience. In November Garfield returned to his farm in Mentor, Ohio, to wait them out.

Finally, on the eve of the election, Grant was persuaded to recognize Garfield as the party's choice. Grant and his followers were invited to the Garfield farm for a historic meeting, often called the Mentor Summit. What was said at the meeting—and what was promised—has been the subject of much debate. Grant thought he had extracted a personal promise from Garfield that, in exchange for Grant's support, the Stalwarts would be named to influential posts in the new administration.

With the help of Grant's supporters, Garfield won the election by a narrow margin over Democrat Winfield Scott Hancock. Between the election and the inauguration, Garfield busied himself with the selection of his cabinet. All factions of the party called on the president-elect to lobby for their preferred nominees, but Grant Stalwarts remained assured that Garfield would bow to their influence. Garfield's first known appointment, making Blaine secretary of state, caused an uproar among the Grant faction and was viewed as a breach of the promises made at Mentor. Garfield nevertheless remained committed to building a conciliation cabinet that would balance everyone's interests and eliminate political patronage jobs—and kept the rest of his choices well guarded until inauguration day, March 4, 1881.

The first months of his term continued to be plagued with appointment and confirmation battles. Grant supporters continued to believe that he should have been the party's presidential nominee and that in an election deal Garfield had agreed to consult Grant about appointments. Those in the Senate who supported Grant rallied to systematically reject undesirable appointments, but Garfield was equally stubborn. Of the Stalwarts' attempt to derail his nomination for collector of customs for the port of New York City, Garfield said, "They may take him out of the Senate head first or feet first, but I will never withdraw him."

Though confirmation battles consumed a majority of Garfield's time, he also carried out other presidential duties and commitments. On July 2, 1881, he was en route to a speaking engagement at his alma mater Williams College, when lawyer Charles J. Guiteau shot him at a Washington, D.C., railroad station. Described as an erratic character, Guiteau shouted to a crowd at the railroad station that he was a Stalwart.

Garfield lingered for eleven weeks. Daily reports from physicians showed that he was unable to carry out his responsibilities. By August the question of Garfield's succession was being discussed in the press and debated by constitutional scholars. It was agreed that the vice president was constitutionally allowed to assume the president's powers and duties, but it was not clear whether he should serve as acting president until Garfield recovered, or assume the office itself and displace Garfield altogether. The pertinent provision of the Constitution—Article II, Section 1, Clause 6—was ambiguous, and expert opinion was still divided over the precedent set by john tyler, who had taken the oath of office in 1841 after the death of President william h. harrison, rather than merely assuming Harrison's duties until the next election.

Because Congress was not in session, the issue could not be debated there, but it was addressed by Garfield's cabinet members on September 2, 1881. They agreed that it was time for the vice president to assume Garfield's duties, but they too were divided as to the permanence of the vice president's role. The problem was never resolved because Garfield died September 19, 1881, before any action was taken by the cabinet or the vice president. Following the precedent set by Tyler, Arthur took the oath of office and assumed the presidency, following Garfield's death.

"All free governments are managed by the combined wisdom and folly of the people."
—James Garfield

Garfield's unexpected nomination, bitter election, and tragic death often overshadow his previous accomplishments and his presidential agenda. His efforts to build a conciliation cabinet and to purge administrative agencies of old patronage jobs made him a strong advocate of civil service reforms. Ironically, the appointment battles preceding his murder probably caused Congress to pass civil service reforms in 1883 that were far broader in reach and scope than anything Garfield had envisioned.

James A. Garfield’s Decoration Day Speech, May 30, 1868

” I am oppressed with a sense of the impropriety of uttering words on this occasion. If silence is ever golden, it must be here beside the graves of fifteen thousand men, whose lives were more significant than speech, and whose death was a poem, the music of which can never be sung. With words we make promises, plight faith, praise virtue. Promises may not be kept plighted faith may be broken and vaunted virtue be only the cunning mask of vice. We do not know one promise these men made, one pledge they gave, one word they spoke but we do know they summed up and perfected, by one supreme act, the highest virtues of men and citizens. For love of country they accepted death, and thus resolved all doubts, and made immortal their patriotism and their virtue. For the noblest man that lives, there still remains a conflict. He must still withstand the assaults of time and fortune, must still be assailed with temptations, before which lofty natures have fallen but with these the conflict ended, the victory was won, when death stamped on them the great seal of heroic character, and closed a record which years can never blot.

I know of nothing more appropriate on this occasion than to inquire what brought these men here what high motive led them to condense life into an hour, and to crown that hour by joyfully welcoming death? Let us consider.

Eight years ago this was the most unwarlike nation of the earth. For nearly fifty years 1 no spot in any of these states had been the scene of battle. Thirty millions of people had an army of less than ten thousand men. The faith of our people in the stability and permanence of their institutions was like their faith in the eternal course of nature. Peace, liberty, and personal security were blessings as common and universal as sunshine and showers and fruitful seasons and all sprang from a single source, the old American principle that all owe due submission and obedience to the lawfully expressed will of the majority. This is not one of the doctrines of our political system—it is the system itself. It is our political firmament, in which all other truths are set, as stars in Heaven. It is the encasing air, the breath of the Nation’s life. Against this principle the whole weight of the rebellion was thrown. Its overthrow would have brought such ruin as might follow in the physical universe, if the power of gravitation were destroyed and

“Nature’s concord broke,
Among the constellations war were sprung,
Two planets, rushing from aspect malign
Of fiercest opposition, in mid-sky
Should combat, and their jarring spheres confound.”

Decoration Day in Arlington National Cemetery, May 30, 1868. This was the first national Decoration Day event and was organized by the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR), the largest and most influential Union veterans’ organization. Congressman James A. Garfield delivered his keynote address from this speakers’ rostrum. (Library of Congress)

The Nation was summoned to arms by every high motive which can inspire men. Two centuries of freedom had made its people unfit for despotism. They must save their Government or miserably perish.

As a flash of lightning in a midnight tempest reveals the abysmal horrors of the sea, so did the flash of the first gun disclose the awful abyss into which rebellion was ready to plunge us. In a moment the fire was lighted in twenty million hearts. In a moment we were the most warlike Nation on the earth. In a moment we were not merely a people with an army—we were a people in arms. The Nation was in column—not all at the front, but all in the array.

I love to believe that no heroic sacrifice is ever lost that the characters of men are molded and inspired by what their fathers have done that treasured up in American souls are all the unconscious influences of the great deeds of the Anglo-Saxon race, from Agincourt to Bunker Hill. It was such an influence that led a young Greek, two thousand years ago, when musing on the battle of Marathon, to exclaim, “the trophies of Miltiades will not let me sleep!” Could these men be silent in 1861 these, whose ancestors had felt the inspiration of battle on every field where civilization had fought in the last thousand years? Read their answer in this green turf. Each for himself gathered up the cherished purposes of life—its aims and ambitions, its dearest affections—and flung all, with life itself, into the scale of battle.”

Abram Garfield

Abram was born on November 21, 1872, and was named after his paternal grandfather and had a household nickname “Abe.” He was very close to Irvin and graduated from the same school. He studied architecture at Massachusetts Institute of Technology for three years and graduated in 1896.

He married Sarah Granger Williams, daughter of a co-owner of Sherwin-Williams Company, on October 14, 1897. They had two children named Edward Williams and Mary Louise.

As Abe earned a reputation as a premier architect and designer, he formed a partnership with Frank Meade. Eventually, he founded the Cleveland School of Architecture and became its first president from 1924 until 1929.

Two years after Sarah died, he married Helen Matthews at the age of 75. He died on October 16, 1958, at the age of 85.


Unfortunately, the new president was unequal to the task of composing the differences in his party. For his secretary of state he chose James G. Blaine. the bitterest political enemy of Senator Roscoe Conkling (q.v.) the leader of the New York “stalwarts.” Without consulting the New York senators, Garfield appointed William H. Robertson, another political enemy of Conkling's, to the desirable post of Collector of the Port of New York, and thereby destroyed all prospects of party harmony.


On the 2nd of July, while on his way to attend the commencement exercises at Williams College, the new president was shot in a Washington railway station by a disappointed office-seeker named Charles J. Guiteau, whose mind had no doubt been somewhat influenced by the abuse lavished upon the president by his party opponents and on the 19th of September 1881, he died at Elberon, New Jersey, whither he had been removed on the 6th.

He was buried in Cleveland, Ohio, where in 1890 a monument was erected by popular subscription to his memory.