Rutherford B. Hayes

Memorial Day Road Trips

On the final Monday in May America takes the time to honor those who died in service to its armed forces. This tradition started in 1868 when former Civil War soldiers decided to decorate the graves of fallen veterans. While the custom is a long held tradition around the world, this time was different. So many soldiers had died in the recent Civil War, and so many families effected, that having a single day to do this helped to bring larger importance to the act. It wasn’t until 1971 with the enactment of the Uniform Monday Holiday Act that the day created a yearly 3 day weekend.

To honor the veterans who gave it all here are some road trip ideas that have a military background. Some can be completed in one day some might take two. A great site to learn more about Ohio historical places and come up with you own trips is

Northwest Ohio and the War of 1812:

Fallen Timbers Battlefield and Fort Miamis National Historic Site  – Fallen Timbers was the site of a major battle between American Indians and the newly formed United States of America. At the treaty of Paris in 1783 Britain gave the USA all of the land east of the Mississippi River. This include the Ohio Country. The American Indian tribes living in the area felt that they had no representation in the matter and that the land was still theirs. This led to the Battle of Fallen Timbers. At this battle American Soldiers fought the natives who were supplied by British from Fort Miamis. The defeat of the American Indians led to the Treaty of Greenville (see Garst Museum Below).

Fort Meigs – This fort with stood 2 attacks from the British and defended the Ohio country during the War of 1812. This is a full standing fort with a visitors center.

Rutherford B Hayes Presidential Library and Museum: The home and Museum of The former Civil War General and 19th President. For more information see our review.

Southwest and the Civil War

William Henry Harrison Tomb – The resting place of the 9th President and Ohio Indian Wars Veteran. He was the first president to die in office and is still the short serving person to have held the office. See our review here

National Underground Railroad Freedom Center – This museum is dedicated not only to the Underground Railroad and the struggle of American Slaves, but the struggle of all people for equality, even in modern times. The museum is a powerful testament to the struggles that lead to the Civil War.

William Howard Taft National Historic Site: The birthplace and boyhood home of the 27th President. Governor of the Philippines following the Spanish American war, Secretary of War, and Commander in Chief gives this site some great military background.  See our review here

Land of Grant Grant Birthplace and Grant Boyhood home and School House – The 18th President and commander of the Union armies during the civil war. Visit where he was born, grew up and learned. See our review here.


Fort Jefferson – The site where St. Clair retreated after his defeat.

Garst Museum – Dedicated to the history of Darke county this museum tells the story of the Treaty of Greenville and the role it played in shaping Ohio. A nice large museum with lots of artifacts from the area. See our review here.

Fort Recovery – The site of the two largest and most important American Indian battles, The Defeat of St. Clair and the Battle of Fort Recovery. St. Clair had 900 of his 1200 men killed, about 1/4 of the US army. It is also the site of the fort that was built after the battle. It was this fort that allowed the US to win the next battle and led to the signing of the Treaty of Greenville.


Fort Steuben – Built to protect the surveyors of the northwest Territory. The Fort has a visitor center, full wood fort and large grounds surrounding it.

Fort Laurens – Site of the only Revolutionary War battle in the state.

McCook house – Home of the “Fighting McCooks.” Major Daniel McCook and his 9 sons and 6 nephews fought before and mostly during the Civil War.

The McKinley Presidential Library & Museum – The Tomb of William McKinley, the 25th President, and commander and chief during the Spanish-American War. Next to the tomb is the Library and Museum which house exhibits on the natural world, Stark County, and the life of the president. See our review here. 


Ohio’s Great 8: A large collection of presidential sites in Ohio

Ohio has given this mother of presigreat nation 8 of its 44 presidents. Because Ohio is “The Mother of Presidents” it has gained a large collection of presidential items and locations. From small knick knacks to house, planes, and even battlefields her is our list of places to see a bit of presidential history.

Presidential Memorabilia:
The National Museum of the United States Air Force – Planes from every president to fly
Golden Lamb – Historic Inn and restaurant that has been visited by every Ohio president and many more.
First Ladies National Historical Site – The home of First Lady Ida Saxton McKinley which celebrates the wives of all presidents
Ohio Statehouse – Houses artifacts from presidential visits
Ohio Historical Center – Houses many artifacts ( not many on display) from Ohio’s historical presidential campaigns
National Underground Railroad Freedom Center – Tells the story of slavery and the struggle to end it. Talks about Lincoln, and many other presidents, struggle with the dreaded institution of slavery.
Cleveland History Center – Talks about the history of northwest Ohio and the area that made James Garfield. Right next door to Garfield Tomb.

William Henry Harrison:
Fallen Timber Battlefield
Fort Miegs
Adena Mansion and Garden – Visited many times as a Governor and General.
Tecumseh! Outdoor Drama – A loud Outdoor Drama telling the life and troubles of the great Tecumseh and his interaction with Harrison.
Tomb of William Henry Harrison

Ulysses S. Grant
Land of Grant – Birthplace, Boyhood home, and Schoolhouse

Rutherford B Hayes
The Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center – Also house the Tomb of the late President

James A. Garfield
James Garfield Birthplace
James A. Garfield National Historic Site
James A Garfield Tomb

Benjamin Harrison
Benjamin Harrison Birthplace – A small plaque .3 miles from his grandfathers tomb denotes the site of his birth

William McKinley
The William McKinley Birthplace Museum 
William McKinley Presidential Library and Museum – Also house the Tomb of the late President

William Howard Taft
William Howard Taft National Historical Site

Warren G. Harding
Warren G. Harding Home
Warren G. Harding Tomb


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.

The Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center

Rating: ***


Quick Review: The Home and Library of the 19th President of the United States of America.

The Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center is a sight to behold in this modern era of presidential libraries. Barely a speck of a land in a town most people can’t even find on a map. Yet even though it maybe a nothing of land compared to the multi-million dollar libraries of the modern presidents, it still has a lot to offer.

The museum itself starts off with a small section on the life of Hayes. It tells about his presidency, his legacy, and the like. The basement delves into his times and what life was like in the mid to late 19th century. This is where some of the most interesting of the artifacts are housed. Guns, cannons, Uniforms, toys and the like tell about the era the President lived in.

The house is large for the area, which seems to have grown up around it. The inside is decorated as it would have been when the Hayes family lived in it. Beyond that it is nothing special. It is like most other houses of the era.

Over all the The Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center is an interesting place to visit. If not to just learn the history of one of Ohio’s presidents but to learn a little bit more about American history itself.