Tuesday, September 3, 2013

James A. Garfield: The Presidents

James Garfield was born the youngest of five children on November 19th, 1831, in a log cabin in Orange Township, now Moreland Hills, Ohio. Next door lived his uncle Amos and aunt Alpha Boynton. The families were very close as Amos was James' father's half brother, and Alpha was his mother's sister. James and his Boynton cousins cherished their memories of childhood together.

His father, Abram Garfield, known locally as a wrestler, died when Garfield was 18 months old. Of part Welsh ancestry, he was reared and cared for by his mother, Eliza (née Ballou), who said, "He was the largest babe I had and looked like a red Irishman." Garfield's parents joined the Church of Christ (also known at the time as Disciples of Christ), which profoundly influenced their son. Garfield was able to receive rudimentary education at a village school in Orange, listening and discussing books read. Garfield knew he needed money to advance his learning.

At age 16, he struck out on his own, drawn seaward by dreams of being a seaman, and got a job for six weeks as a canal driver near Cleveland. Illness forced him to return home and, once recuperated, he began school at Geauga Seminary, where he became keenly interested in academics, both learning and teaching. Garfield worked as a janitor, bell ringer, and carpenter to support himself financially at the Geauga Seminary, at Chester, Ohio. Garfield later said of this early time, "I lament that I was born to poverty, and in this chaos of childhood, seventeen years passed before I caught any inspiration...a precious 17 years when a boy with a father and some wealth might have become fixed in manly ways." In 1849, he accepted an unsought position as a teacher, and thereafter developed an aversion to what he called "place seeking," which became, he said, "the law of my life." In 1850 Garfield resumed his church attendance and was baptized.

From 1851 to 1854, he attended the Western Reserve Eclectic Institute (later named Hiram College) in Hiram, Ohio. While at Eclectic, he was most interested in the study of Greek and Latin, and he was also engaged to teach. He developed a regular preaching circuit at neighboring churches, in some cases earning a gold dollar per service. Garfield then enrolled at Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts, where he joined the Delta Upsilon fraternity and graduated in 1856 as an outstanding student. Garfield was quite impressed with the college President, Mark Hopkins, about whom he said, "The ideal college is Mark Hopkins on one end of a log with a student on the other." Garfield earned a reputation as a skilled debater and was made President of the Philogian Society and Editor of the Williams Quarterly.

After preaching briefly at Franklin Circle Christian Church (1857–58), Garfield gave up on that vocation and applied for a job as principal of a high school in Poestenkill, New York. After another applicant had been chosen, he returned to teach at the Eclectic Institute. Garfield was an instructor in classical languages for the 1856–1857 academic year and was made Principal of the Institute from 1857 to 1860, successfully restoring it to viability after it had fallen on hard times. During this time, Garfield revealed himself to be sympathetic with the views of moderate Republicans, though he was not yet a party man. While he did not consider himself an abolitionist, he was opposed to slavery. After Garfield finished his education, between the 1857 and 1858 elections, he began his career in politics as a "vigorous" stump speaker in support of the Republican Party and their anti-slavery cause. In 1858, a migrant freethinker and evolutionary named Denton challenged him to a debate (Charles Darwin's Origin of Species was published the next year). The debate, which lasted over a week, was considered as won convincingly by Garfield.

Garfield's first romantic interest was Mary Hubbell in 1851, but it lasted only a year, with no formal engagement. On November 11th, 1858, he married Lucretia Rudolph, known as "Crete" to friends, and a former star Greek pupil of Garfield's. They had seven children (five sons and two daughters): Eliza Arabella Garfield (1860–63); Harry Augustus Garfield (1863–1942); James Rudolph Garfield (1865–1950); Mary Garfield (1867–1947); Irvin M. Garfield (1870–1951); Abram Garfield (1872–1958); and Edward Garfield (1874–76). One son, James R. Garfield, followed him into politics and became Secretary of the Interior under President Theodore Roosevelt.

Garfield gradually became discontented with teaching and began to study law in 1859. He was admitted to the Ohio bar in 1861. Before admission to the bar, he was invited to enter politics by local Republican Party leaders upon the death of Cyrus Prentiss, the presumed nominee for the state senate seat for the 26th District in Ohio. He was nominated by the party convention and then elected an Ohio state senator in 1859, serving until 1861. Garfield's signature effort in the state legislature was a bill providing for the state's first geological survey to measure its mineral resources. His initial observations about the nation leading up to the Civil War were that secession was quite inconceivable. His response was in part a renewed zeal for the July 4 celebrations in 1860.

After Abraham Lincoln's election, Garfield was more inclined to arms than negotiations, saying, "Other states may arm to the teeth, but if Ohio so much as cleans her rusty muskets, it is said to have offended our brethren in the South. I am weary of this weakness." On February 13th, 1861, the newly elected President Lincoln arrived in Cincinnati by train to make a speech. Garfield observed that Lincoln was "distressingly homely", yet had "the tone and bearing of a fearless, firm man."

At the start of the American Civil War, Garfield quickly grew frustrated with his vain efforts to obtain an officer's commission in the Union Army. Ohio Governor William Dennison, Jr. charged him with a mission to travel to Illinois to acquire musketry and to negotiate with the Governors of Illinois and Indiana for the consolidation of troops. In the summer of 1861 he was finally commissioned a Lt. Colonel in the Union Army and given command of the 42nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry.


General Don Carlos Buell assigned Colonel Garfield the task of driving Confederate forces out of eastern Kentucky in November 1861, giving him the 18th Brigade for the campaign. In December, he departed Catlettsburg, Kentucky, with the 40th Ohio Infantry, the 42nd Ohio Infantry, the 14th Kentucky Infantry, and the 22nd Kentucky Infantry, as well as the 2nd (West) Virginia Cavalry and McLoughlin's Squadron of Cavalry. The march was uneventful until Union forces reached Paintsville, Kentucky, on January 6th, 1862, where Garfield's cavalry engaged the Confederates at Jenny's Creek. Garfield artfully positioned his troops so as to deceive Marshall into thinking that he was outnumbered, when in fact he was not. The Confederates, under Brig. Gen. Humphrey Marshall, withdrew to the forks of Middle Creek, two miles (3 km) from Prestonsburg, Kentucky, on the road to Virginia. Garfield attacked on January 9th, 1862. At the end of the day's fighting the Confederates withdrew from the field, but Garfield did not pursue them, opting instead to withdraw to Prestonsburg so he could resupply his men. His victory brought him early recognition and he was promoted to the rank of brigadier general on January 11th.

Garfield later commanded the 20th Brigade of Ohio under Buell at the Battle of Shiloh, where he led troops in an attempt, delayed by weather, to reinforce Maj Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, after a surprise attack by Confederate General Albert S. Johnston. He then served under Thomas J. Wood in the Siege of Corinth, where he assisted in the pursuit of Confederates in retreat by the overly cautious Maj. Gen. Henry W. Halleck, which resulted in the escape of Gen. P. G. T. Beauregard and his troops. This engendered in the furious Garfield a lasting distrust of the training at West Point. Garfield's philosophy of war in 1862 - to aggressively carry the war to Southern civilians - was not then shared by the Union leadership. The tactic was later adopted and demonstrated in the campaigns of Generals Sherman and Sheridan. 

Garfield made the following comment in 1862 concerning slavery: "...if a man is black, be he friend or foe, he is thought best kept at a distance. It is hardly possible God will let us succeed while such enormities are practiced." That summer his health suddenly deteriorated, including jaundice and significant weight loss. (Biographer Peskin speculated this may have been infectious hepatitis.) Garfield was forced to return home, where his wife nursed him back to health and their marriage was reinvigorated. He returned to duty that autumn and served on the Court-martial of Fitz John Porter. Garfield was then sent to Washington to receive further orders. With great frustration, he repeatedly received tentative assignments, extended and later reversed, to stations in Florida, Virginia and South Carolina. During this period of idleness in Washington waiting for an assignment, Garfield spent much of his time corresponding with old friends and family. An unsubstantiated rumor of an affair caused a brief friction in the Garfield marriage of which Lucretia graciously overlooked.

The Ohio legislature had just chosen Garfield in 1879 for the U.S. Senate seat when a faint movement began for Garfield as the next Republican nominee for President to succeed Hayes – he had chosen not to stand for re-election. In early 1880 Garfield endorsed John Sherman for the party's Presidential nomination in exchange for Sherman's earlier support of Garfield for the Senate. However, at the outset of the Republican convention, a deadlock ensued between supporters of former President Grant, James G. Blaine, and Sherman; the delegates began to look to Garfield as an optimal compromise choice. Garfield eloquently defended dissenting West Virginia delegates in his speech against Sen. Conkling's convention rule that stated all state delegates must vote unanimously for only one candidate. After over thirty ballots, the vote totals for the leading contenders were within five votes of where they had been on the first ballot. With the 34th ballot, Wisconsin began the break to Garfield that would end with his nomination as the party's Presidential candidate. Garfield's capture of the 1880 nomination for the Presidency over the prominent contenders was considered historic. Garfield defeated the front runner Ulysses S. Grant's controversial third term bid for the nomination.

Thomas Nichol, Wharton Barker, and Benjamin Harrison were widely considered to be the primary architects of Garfield's ascendancy during the convention, but no one could have controlled this unpredictable outcome for such a dark horse - one who had personally objected at every step. To obtain Republican Stalwart support for the ticket, former New York customs collector Chester A. Arthur was chosen as the vice-presidential nominee and Garfield's running mate.

In the wake of such a fractured convention, the outlook for Garfield's campaign was less than optimal. In an effort to heal residual wounds from the convention, Garfield traveled to New York to bring the party's warring factions together in what was called the "New York Conference", and what was considered a personal triumph. This was the only trip of consequence which Garfield made away from home during the campaign. Powerful railroad interests were courted by the party in the wake of Supreme Court decisions that had been adverse to their interests. After assuring them that they would have the President's ear in such matters, Garfield gained their support.

Another issue in the Election of 1880 was Chinese immigration; those in the West, particularly California, were opposed to Chinese immigration, considered antithetical to normal economic growth in that region. Easterners, such as Senator George F. Hoar, took a more philosophical and religious stand in favor of Chinese immigration. On the eve of the election the Democrats widely published a letter - allegedly over Garfield's signature - which favored Chinese immigration, in an attempt to affect the outcome of the election. The timing of the letter's publication, some obvious inconsistencies in the letter's wording, and even the handwriting itself, led many to believe it to be a forgery.

In the general election, Garfield defeated the Democratic candidate Winfield Scott Hancock, another distinguished former Union Army general, by 214 electoral votes to 155. The popular vote had a plurality of just over 7,000 votes out of more than 8.89 million cast. He became the only man ever to be elected to the Presidency directly from the House of Representatives and was for a short period a sitting Representative, Senator-elect, and President-elect.

As usual, the votes had barely been counted when office-seekers besieged Garfield. There were at this point over 100,000 federal government employees, most of whom expected to be replaced when a new administration took over; the President-elect described the situation as "a barrage of fear and greed." Garfield was convinced the only answer was some type of civil service reform. President Garfield had a mere four months to establish his presidency before he was shot by Charles J. Guiteau, a deranged political office seeker, on July 2nd, 1881. Garfield lived for 80 days after he was shot, but was unable to govern. During his limited time in office, Garfield managed to initiate reform of the Post Office Department's notorious "star route" rings and reassert the superiority of the office of the President over the U.S. Senate on the issue of executive appointments. Garfield made four federal court appointments and filled one vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court. His inaugural address set the agenda for his Presidency, but he did not live long enough to implement most of these policies. Garfield's persistent call for civil service reform, however, was fulfilled with the passage of the Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act, enacted by Congress and signed by President Chester A. Arthur in 1883. Indeed, Garfield's assassination was the primary motivation for the reform bill's passage. Garfield's single executive order was to provide government workers the day off on May 30th, 1881, in order to decorate the graves of those who died in the Civil War. At the time of Garfield's residence in the office, the President's annual salary was $50,000, which would be largely consumed for the operation of the White House. And, despite rumors of ill-gotten wealth, Garfield could afford no horse and buggy to park in the White House stable, but accepted Hayes' offer of his own quite used-up rig.

Between his election and his inauguration, Garfield was occupied with assembling a cabinet that would establish peace between the warring factions of the Republican Party, led by U.S. Sen. Roscoe Conkling and James G. Blaine. Blaine was appointed Secretary of State; Blaine was not only the President's closest advisor, he was obsessed with knowing all that took place in the White House, and even was said to have spies posted there in his absence. Garfield nominated William Windom of Minnesota as Secretary of the Treasury, William H. Hunt of Louisiana as Secretary of the Navy, Robert Todd Lincoln as Secretary of War, Samuel J. Kirkwood of Iowa as Secretary of the Interior. New York was represented by Thomas Lemuel James as Postmaster General. He appointed Pennsylvania's Wayne MacVeagh, an adversary of Blaine's, as Attorney General. Blaine tried to sabotage the appointment by convincing Garfield to name a nemesis of MacVeagh, William E. Chandler, as Solicitor General under MacVeagh. Only Chandler's rejection by the Senate forestalled MacVeagh's resignation over the nomination.
 
Snow covered much of the Capitol grounds during Garfield's inauguration, which had a low turnout of about 7,000 people. He was sworn into office by Chief Justice Morrison Waite on March 4th, 1881.

Garfield's appointment of Thomas Lemuel James to U.S. Postmaster infuriated Garfield's party rival, Stalwart Senator Roscoe Conkling, who demanded a commensurate appointment for his faction and his state, such as the position of Secretary of Treasury. The resulting squabble was ponderous in the brief Garfield presidency. The feud with Conkling reached a climax when the President, at Blaine's instigation, nominated Conkling's enemy, Judge William H. Robertson, to be Collector of the Port of New York. Conkling raised the time-honored principle of senatorial courtesy in an attempt to defeat the nomination, but to no avail. Garfield, who believed the practice to be corrupt, would not back down and threatened to withdraw all nominations unless Robertson was included. Garfield stated this would "settle the question whether the President is registering clerk of the Senate or the Executive of the United States." Ultimately, Sen. Conkling and his junior colleague, Sen. Thomas C. Platt, resigned their Senate seats to seek vindication, but they found only further humiliation when the New York legislature elected others in their places. Robertson was appointed and Garfield's victory on behalf of the Executive over the Senate on this issue was clear. He had routed his antagonists, weakened the principle of senatorial courtesy, and revitalized the executive branch. To Blaine's chagrin, the victorious Garfield returned to his goal of balancing the interests of party factions, and re-nominated a number of Conkling's Stalwart friends to their positions.  


President Garfield believed that the spoils system was damaging to the Presidency while more urgent national concerns needed to be addressed. Garfield's predecessors, Grant and Hayes, had both advocated civil service reform. By 1881, civil service reform associations had organized with renewed energy across the nation, including New York. Some reformers were disappointed that President Garfield had advocated limited tenure only to minor office seekers and had given appointments to his old friends. Many prominent reformers remained loyal and supported Garfield. Garfield advocated dismissal of incompetent incumbent appointees.

Previously in April, 1880 there had been a Congressional investigation into corruption in the Post Office Department, where profiteering rings allegedly stole millions of dollars, employing bogus mail contracts called "star routes". This postal corruption by the rings had stealthily succeeded for many years during both the Grant and Hayes administrations. After obtaining contracts by a low bidding procedure, known as "straw-bids", costs to run the mail routes would be escalated and profits would be divided among ring members. In 1880, Garfield's predecessor, President Hayes, stopped the implementation of any new "star route" contracts in a reform effort. In April, 1881 President Garfield was given information from Attorney General Wayne MacVeagh and Postmaster Thomas L. James of postal corruption by an alleged "star route" ringleader, Second Assistant Postmaster-General, Thomas J. Brady. Garfield immediately demanded Brady's resignation and started prosecutions led by Postmaster James that would end in the famous "star route" indictments and trials for conspiracy. When told that his party, including his own campaign manager, Stephen W. Dorsey, was involved, Garfield directed MacVeagh and James to root out the corruption in the Post Office Department "to the bone", regardless of where it might lead. According to the New York Times, many "questionable" members allegedly involved in post office corruption were fired or resigned. Brady resigned immediately on President Garfield's demand, and was eventually indicted for conspiracy. After two "star route" ring trials in 1882 and 1883, the jury found Brady not guilty. Garfield appointed Richard A. Elmer as Brady's replacement.

The plight of African-American civil rights weighed heavily on Garfield's presidency. During Reconstruction, freedmen had gained citizenship and suffrage that enabled them to participate in state and federal offices. Garfield believed that their rights were being eroded by southern white resistance and illiteracy, and was vitally concerned that blacks would become America's permanent "peasantry". The President's answer was to have a "universal" education system funded by the federal government. Garfield's concern over education was not exaggerated; there was a 70% illiteracy rate among southern blacks. Congress and the northern white public, however, had lost interest in African-American rights. Federal funding for universal education did not pass Congress during the 1880s.

President Garfield appointed several African-Americans to prominent positions: Frederick Douglass, recorder of deeds in Washington; Robert Elliot, special agent to the U.S. Treasury; John M. Langston, Haitian minister; and Blanche K. Bruce, register to the U.S. Treasury. Garfield began to reverse the southern Democratic conciliation policy implemented by his predecessor, Rutherford B. Hayes. In an effort to bolster southern Republican unity Garfield appointed William H. Hunt, a carpetbag Republican from Louisiana during Reconstruction, as Secretary of the Navy. Garfield believed that Southern support for the Republican party could be gained by "commercial and industrial" interests rather than race issues. To break hold of the resurgent Democratic Party in the Solid South, Garfield cautiously gave senatorial patronage privilege to Virginia Senator William Mahone of the biracial independent Readjuster Party. Garfield was the first Republican president to initiate an election policy to obtain support from southern independents.

During President Garfield's limited tenure, he appointed several ambassadors, notably James R. Lowell as U.S. minister to The United Kingdom; and the famous author of Ben-Hur and former Union Civil War general, Lew Wallace, as U.S. minister to Turkey. Garfield appointed Wallace to Turkey believing that the Muslim country would serve as a good background for a second popular novel. From June 27 to July 1, 1881, President Garfield appointed 25 foreign ministers and consuls. He also appointed Sec. Blaine's son third assistant to the Secretary of State.

Garfield's Secretary of State James G. Blaine had to contend with Chinese immigration, fishing disputes with Britain, and obtaining U.S. recognition from Korea. Blaine's primary task was settling a complex international war between Chile, Bolivia, and Peru that started on April 5th, 1879, known as the War of the Pacific. In January 1881, Chile's naval forces had captured the Peruvian capital city Lima. Rather than remain neutral, Blaine chose to side with Perurvian leader Fracisco G. Calderón, who had been appointed by the Chilean government. Having concern over potential British military involvement in the war, on June 15th, 1881, Blaine stressed that the conflict be resolved by consent of the Latin American countries involved and that the Peruvian government pay Chile an indemnity rather than cede the contested land. In November 1881, Blaine extended invitations to Latin American countries for a conference to meet in Washington the following November. Nine countries had accepted; however, these invitations were withdrawn in April 1882 when Congress and President Arthur, Garfield's successor, cancelled the conference. Conflicting U.S. diplomatic negotiation attempts had failed to resolve the war. In October 1883, the War of the Pacific was settled by the Treaty of Ancón. Garfield had urged that the nation's ties to its southern neighbors be strengthened; as early as 1876, he said, "I would rather blot out five or six European missions than these South American ones...They are our neighbors and friends." Garfield continued to stress the importance of these ties in succeeding years and advocated that the Panama Canal be constructed by the U.S. and solely under U.S. jurisdiction.

On May 13th, 1881, the Garfield Administration under Sec. Blaine negotiated a reciprocal trade treaty with Queen Ranavalona II, head of the Hova tribe in Madagascar. In return, the United States acknowledged that the Hova government had complete control over all of Madagascar.

In mid-May 1881, Garfield's wife Lucretia suddenly contracted malaria and possibly spinal meningitis. She was thought to be near death; her temperature at one time reached 104 degrees. At the end of the month, her temperature subsided and her doctor recommended she recuperate in salty air. The President loyally dedicated time at her bedside until her recovery. On June 18 the Garfields left Washington and traveled to Elberon, New Jersey a popular beach resort. 

While his wife convalesced in the cool ocean air, President Garfield brought his cabinet to Elberon for consultation and ran the government by telegraph. While staying at the Elberon Hotel, President Garfield reviewed the Seventh Regiment and then spoke with pressmen at the Ocean Hotel. Garfield was to attend a formal banquet that night in honor of the Seventh Regiment veterans at the West End Hotel. Instead he retired early, after hearing news that his 80-year-old uncle, Thomas Garfield, had been killed in a locomotive accident in Cleveland, Ohio. Windom spoke on the President's behalf at the banquet. Former President Ulysses S. Grant, who had traveled from New York with his family, was also at Elberon. On June 25, Garfield and Grant informally greeted each other in the Elberon Hotel lobby. After attending church services, Garfield returned to Washington the following day (June 27th, 1881)

On the morning of July 2nd, 1881, President Garfield was on his way to his alma mater, Williams College, where he was scheduled to deliver a speech. Garfield was accompanied by James G. Blaine, Robert Todd Lincoln, and his two sons, James and Harry. As the President was walking through the Sixth Street Station of the Baltimore and Potomac Railroad in Washington at 9:30 am, he was shot twice from behind, once across the arm and once in the back, by an assassin, Charles J. Guiteau, a rejected and disillusioned Federal office seeker. Secretary Blaine had denied Guiteau, having no qualifications, a Federal appointment as the United States consul in Paris and had banned him from the White House for his aggressive behavior in seeking an appointment. Guiteau believed as well that a short speech he had partially presented before a small group of people during the presidential election campaign was in fact the cause of Garfield's election to the presidency and which, therefore, justified his appointment. When the appointment did not materialize, Guiteau believed he, the Republican Party, and the country had been betrayed and that God repeatedly told him (Guiteau) that he could save the party and the nation if President Garfield was "removed." Guiteau stalked Garfield for weeks, armed with a .44 caliber Webley Bulldog revolver. As Guiteau was being arrested after the shooting, he repeatedly said, "I am a Stalwart of the Stalwarts! I did it and I want to be arrested! Arthur is President now!" This very briefly led to unfounded suspicions that Arthur or his supporters had put Guiteau up to the crime. Guiteau also believed he would be acquitted of any crime and be elected President after the trial.

Garfield exclaimed immediately after he was shot, "My God, what is this?" One bullet grazed Garfield's arm; the second bullet was thought later to have possibly lodged near his liver but could not be found; and upon autopsy was located behind the pancreas. Though Alexander Graham Bell specifically devised a metal detector to find the bullet, the device's signal was thought to be distorted by the metal bed springs. Later the detector was proved to work perfectly and would have found the bullet had Dr. Doctor Willard Bliss (who was a Doctor of Medicine but whose given name was also "Doctor") allowed Bell to use the device on Garfield's left side as well. Garfield became increasingly ill over a period of several weeks due to infection, which caused his heart to weaken. He remained bedridden in the White House with fever and extreme pain. As the heat of summer became more oppressive for the stricken President, a Navy engineer, with the help of Simon Newcomb, installed in Garfield's room what may have been the world's first air conditioner. An air blower was installed over a chest containing 6 tons of ice, with the air then dried by conduction through a long iron box filled with cotton screens, and connected to the room's heat vent. This device was at times capable of reducing the air temperature to 20°F (11°C) below the outside temperature.

On September 6th the ailing President was moved to the Jersey Shore in the vain hope that the fresh air and quiet there might aid his recovery. In a matter of hours, local residents put down a special rail spur for Garfield's train; some of the ties are now part of the Garfield Tea House. The beach cottage Garfield was taken to has been demolished.

On Monday, September 19th, 1881, at 10:20 p.m. President Garfield suffered a massive heart attack and a ruptured splenic artery aneurysm, following blood poisoning and bronchial pneumonia. Garfield's chief doctor, Dr. Doctor Willard Bliss, had unsuccessfully attempted to revive the fading President with restorative medication. Mrs. Garfield, having leaned over Garfield, kissed his brow and exclaimed, "Oh! Why am I made to suffer this cruel wrong?" Garfield was pronounced dead at 10:35 p.m. by Dr. Bliss in the Elberon section of Long Branch, New Jersey. Mrs. Garfield remained with her dead husband for over an hour until prompted to leave the room. The wounded President died exactly two months before his 50th birthday, the second youngest age of death for a U.S. president after John F. Kennedy, who was also assassinated. During the 80 days between his shooting and death, his only official act was to sign an extradition paper. His final words: "My work is done." He was survived by his mother Eliza Ballou Garfield, who died on January 21st, 1888.

President Garfield's casket and face were viewed by 1,500 people in Long Branch before being loaded on the funeral car. As Garfield's funeral train set out, first to the Capitol and then continuing on a final leg to Cleveland for the burial, the tracks were blanketed with flowers and houses were adorned with flags. More than 70,000 citizens, some waiting over three hours, passed by his coffin as his body lay in state in Washington; later, on September 25th, 1881, in Cleveland, more than 150,000 - a number equal to the entire population of that city - likewise paid their respects. Garfield's body was viewed in a specially made pavilion powered by electric lighting. A wreath sent by Queen Victoria adorned Garfield's coffin. His body was temporarily interred in a vault in Cleveland's Lake View Cemetery until his permanent memorial was made.

On May 19th, 1890, Garfield's body was permanently interred, with great solemnity and fanfare, in a mausoleum in Lake View Cemetery in Cleveland. Attending the "impressive" dedication ceremonies were former President Rutherford B. Hayes, then current President Benjamin Harrison, and future President William McKinley. Garfield's Secretary of the Treasury, William Windom, also attended the ceremony. President Harrison stated that Garfield was always a "student and instructor" and that his life works and death would "continue to be instructive and inspiring incidents in American history". Five panels on the monument display Garfield as a teacher, Union Major General, an orator, taking the Presidential oath, and his body lying in state at the Capitol rotunda in Washington D.C. from September 21st, 1881 – September 23rd, 1881. The U.S. has twice had three presidents in the same year. The first such year was 1841. Martin Van Buren ended his single term, William Henry Harrison was inaugurated and died a month later, and then Vice President John Tyler stepped into the vacant office. The second occurrence was in 1881. Rutherford B. Hayes relinquished the office to James A. Garfield. Upon Garfield's death, Chester A. Arthur became president.



Source: Wikipedia

This work released under CC 3.0 BY-SA- Creative Commons



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