Ohio’s Great 8: Rutherford B. Hayes

Rutherford B Hayes was the 3rd president from Ohio and the 19th overall. He was born October 4, 1822 in Delaware, Ohio. His birthplace at 17 E. William St., Delaware, OH is now a gas station.

After graduating Harvard Law, Hayes opened a law office in what is now Fremont, OH. Business was slow and Hayes was forced to move to Cincinnati. This was where he met his wife Lucy.

Hayes joined the army in 1861. After fighting in the Civil War, he made it to the rank of brigadier general. Towards the end of the war Hayes was voted to the United States House of Representatives. After serving two terms Rutherford B Hayes was elected to Governor.  During is time in office he helped to ratify the 15th amendment to the US constitution, and established The Ohio State University. After a few years out of the political system Hayes returned to the Governor office in 1875.

Not long after returning to office, the Republican Party nominated him to become their candidate for President. The most contested election in presidential history occurred that November. South Carolina, Florida, and Louisiana were all contested because of claims of fraud from both parties. In the end both parties decided on a compromise which allowed for Hayes to take office. A major point was that the troops would be removed from the South, which meant ironically meant South Carolina, Florida, and Louisiana, the only states they were left in.

Hayes term in office was not known for much. He oversaw the end of Reconstruction in the south. This was more because of a lack of support than any action on his part, as he had been a firm supporter of it.  Also during his term he received his most famous gift, a desk from Queen Victoria. The desk, named after the HMS Resolute it was built from, has been in use off and on ever since.

Rutherford B. Hayes decided not to run for a second term. He presidency ended when fellow Ohioan James A. Garfield took over and Hayes returned to Ohio. Here he worked as an advocate of education. He served as a member of the board of Th Ohio State University among other charities works.

Rutherford B Hayes died on January 17, 1893. He was laid to rest in Oakwood cemetery, but was moved back to his home in 1916 after the completion of his presidential library and museum at Spiegel Grove.

P.s. Haye’s home has a navy vessel named after it, The USS Spiegel Grove, now an artificial reef in Florida.

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