Presidents: Rutherford B. Hayes

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Rutherford B. Hayes became president as the Reconstruction period ended.

Rutherford B. Hayes in military uniform

Rutherford Birchard Hayes was born on October 4, 1822 in Delaware, Ohio. He was the son of Rutherford and Sophia Birchard Hayes.

The future president never knew his father, who died ten weeks before his birth. His widowed mother never remarried and raised him and his sister on her own.

In 1838, he graduated Kenyon College as its valedictorian. He then attended Harvard Law School and joined the Ohio bar in 1845.

He married Lucy Webb on December 30, 1852. The couple would have a daughter and seven sons together. Only four of their sons lived to adulthood.

In the late 1850s, he became the city solicitor for his area.

He joined the Ohio Volunteer Infantry as a major during the Civil War. Hayes was shot in the arm at the Battle of South Mountain and out of commission for a while. Upon return to duty he moved to the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia and the campaigns that took place there. His leadership drew the attention of his superiors, including Ulysses S. Grant. He was later promoted to brigadier general and later major

Rutherford B. Hayes


While serving in the Union army in 1864, he was elected to the U.S. Congress. He resigned in July 1867 to campaign for governor and won the election.

Upon leaving office of governor, deciding not to run for re-election, he returned to private life and his law career and real estate management.

He came under consideration for the presidency in 1876. The election between him and Samuel J. Tilden was very contentious. He lost the official popular vote to Tilden, but won the vote of the electoral college. This happened only after the Congressional commission awarded him with twenty contested electoral votes.

He took the oath in March 1877, but many Democrats would always refer to him as “His Fraudulently”.

President Hayes tried to improve morality in the south, dealt with the Great Railroad Strike of 1877, dealt with corruption in the postal service, and the Coinage Act of 1873 while in office.

In 1880, he embarked on a 71-day tour of the American West and became the first sitting president to travel west of the Rocky Mountains.

Rutherford B. Hayes

He kept his pledge not to seek re-election and returned to private life in 1881. He became an advocate for educational charities in his retirement.

In 1889 he was “greatly saddened” by his wife’s death. He died from a heart attack on January 17, 1893. His last words were “I know that I’m going where Lucy is.”
After his home was donated to the state of Ohio, he was re-interred there in 1915.

The first presidential library in the United States opened on this site.



19th President of the United States
(March 4, 1877 to March 3, 1881)Nickname: “Dark-Horse President”

Born: October 4, 1822, in Delaware, Ohio
Died: January 17, 1893, at Spiegel Grove in Fremont, Ohio

Father: Rutherford Hayes
Mother: Sophia Birchard Hayes
Married: Lucy Ware Webb (1831-1889), on December 30, 1852
Children: Birchard Austin Hayes (1853-1926); James Webb Cook Hayes (1856-1934); Rutherford Platt Hayes (1858-1927); Joseph Thompson Hayes (1861-63); George Crook Hayes (1864-66); Fanny Hayes (1867-1950); Scott Russell Hayes (1871-1923); Manning Force Hayes (1873-74)

Religion: No formal affiliation
Education: Graduated from Kenyon College (1842) and Harvard Law School (1845)
Occupation: Lawyer
Political Party: Republican

  • Member of U.S. House of Representatives, 1865-67
  • Governor of Ohio, 1868-72
  • Governor of Ohio, 1876-77

Presidential Salary: $50,000/year

1877 His inauguration as 19th President of the United States
1877 His presidency sees the impact and effect of Industrialization with riots, strikes and the emergence of Unions
1877 The Great Railroad Strike of 1877 was put down by local militia and federal troops
1877 Thomas Edison invented the cylinder phonograph, or tin foil phonograph
1877 The Nez Perce War in Oregon, Montana and Idaho. After fighting against the US Chief Joseph led his tribe 1700 miles to Canada but was forced to to surrender near the border
1877 The Compromise of 1877 (End of Reconstruction) and Federal troops withdraw from the South ending military intervention in Southern politics
1878 The Bland-Allison Silver Purchase Act was passed, despite Hayes veto, providing for freer coinage of silver
1878 The Bannock War fought between the U.S. army and Bannock and Paiute warriors in Southern Idaho. A Campaign was also mounted against Cheyenne Indians in Dakota (Territory) and Montana
1879 Victorio’s War (1879–1880) involving the army and Apaches
1879 Thomas Edison filed for a US patent for an electric lamp
1879 The Exodusters, the mass migration of African Americans to Kansas
1880 He pronounced the necessity of creating an American controlled canal in Panama
Civil Service Reforms: He fought to end the ‘Spoils System’ by which a political party, after winning an election, gave government jobs as rewards to its voters
He also fought corruption in the Post Office
1881 His presidency and term in office ends. The next US President was James A. Garfield

1822 Rutherford Hayes was born on October 4, 1822 in Delaware, Ohio

1835 Texas War for Independence begins

1837 Battle of the Alamo

1838 1838-1839: The Trail of Tears

1842 Kenyon College (graduated 1842)

1845 Harvard Law School (graduated 1845)

1846 Mexican-American War begins.

1852 Rutherford Hayes was married on December 30, 1852 to Lucy Ware Webb Hayes (Lucy Hayes was the first president’s wife to be called First Lady of the Land). They had 8 Children.

1859 Oregon admission to the US
Harper’s Ferry Raid

1860 Pony Express begins

1861 The American Civil War, also called the War between the States, was waged from April 1861 until April 1865. The 4 year war was between the federal government of the United States and 11 Southern states that asserted their right to secede (withdraw) from the Union. Abraham Lincoln was the central figure of the American Civil War.

1863 Battle of Gettysburg

1864 Sand Creek Massacre

1865 Abraham Lincoln assassinated
United States Civil War ends

1866 Civil Rights Act of 1866
Ku Klux Klan founded

1867 Alaska Purchase from Russia

1865-67 Member of U.S. House of Representatives, 1865-67

1868-72 Governor of Ohio, 1868-72

1876-77 Governor of Ohio, 1876-77

1877 1877 Rutherford Hayes became the President of the United States of America

1877 Compromise of 1877 (End of Reconstruction) Reconstruction (1865–1877), the system of bringing the Southern states back into the Unites States after the Civil War.

1878 Bland-Allison Act (1878)

1880 Pronounced the necessity of creating an American controlled canal in Panama (1880)

1881 The Presidency of Rutherford Hayes ended

1882 Chinese Exclusion Act and European Restriction Act

1890 Yosemite National Park created
Wounded Knee Massacre

1893 Rutherford B. Hayes died of a of heart attack on January 17, 1893 in Fremont, Ohio and was buried in Spiegel Grove State Park.




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