James Garfield
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James Abram Garfield (1831 - 1881)

President James Abram Garfield
Born in Orange, Cuyahoga, Ohio, United Statesmap
Ancestors ancestors
Husband of — married 15 Nov 1858 in Hiram, Portage, Ohio, United Statesmap
Descendants descendants
Died in Washington, District of Columbia, United Statesmap
Profile last modified | Created 27 Mar 2011
This page has been accessed 11,957 times.
The Presidential Seal.
James Garfield was the President of the United States.
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Preceded by
19h President
Rutherford B. Hayes

James Abram Garfield
20th President
of the United States
Presidential Seal
1881
Succeeded by
21st President
Chester Arthur

Descendant of Pilgrim John Billington.

Contents

Biography

Family Ancestry

His parents were Ohio farmers. The oldest paternal ancestor in WikiTree is Edward Garfield born about 1528 in England.[1]

Family Descendants

View all direct descendants here According to familypedia.com a great-grandson named Newell Garfield married Elizabeth Harrison a descendent of both Presidents William and Benjamin Harrison.

James A Garfield[2] 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.

Freemasons: James A. Garfield --November 19, 1831 – September 19, 1881 March 4, 1881 – September 19, 1881 Initiated on November 19, 1861 in Magnolia Lodge No. 20, Columbus, Ohio and raised on November 22, 1864 in Columbus Lodge No. 30. Joined Garrettsville Lodge No. 246, Garrettsville, Ohio in 1866 and was its Chaplain for the years 1868-69. Charter Member of Pentalpha Lodge No. 23, Washington, D.C."
From the Masons History book.
"SESQUI-CENTENNIAL HISTORY"
President James A. Garfield PRESIDENT

"James A. Garfield became a Master Mason in Columbus Lodge No. 30, Columbus, Ohio, November 11, 1864, the degree being conferred in that lodge as a courtesy to Magnolia Lodge No. 20 of the same city. He there- after, October 20, 1865 affiliated with Garretsville Lodge No. 246 of Garretsville, Ohio. He demitted from Garretsville Lodge to become, May 4, 1869 a charter member of Pentalpha Lodge No. 23, Washington, D. C. Although a number of Presidents of the United States, before, during or after they were President, visited, were associated with, or held honorary memberships in District of Columbia lodges, James A. Garfield has been the only President who was a regular member of a lodge in our grand jurisdiction. He received the Royal Arch Degree and the Ca- pitular work in Columbia Chapter [then No. 15 of Maryland, now No. 1 of the District of Columbia], and the Templar Degrees in Columbia Commandery No. 2, Washington, D. C., all in 1866. Later, in 1872, he received the Scottish Rite's Lodge of Perfection degrees, the 6th through the 13th Degrees being communicated to him in person by Grand Commander Albert Pike. Columbia Commandery was part of the Honor Guard at President Garfield's inauguration on March 4, 1881. He was therefore a member in a Symbolic Lodge, and in the Capitular, Templar and Scottish Rites in the District of Columbia. " from pages 66-68 "SESQUI-CENTENNIAL HISTORY"

Personal Details

Political party: Republican

  • Alma mater: Hiram College, Williams College
  • Profession: Lawyer, Teacher, Lay Preacher, Elder
  • Religion: Churches of Christ

Legacy

Six U.S. states named counties in President Garfield's honor. They are: Colorado, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Utah, and Washington.

Personal Account of Garfield

A remembrance from Garfield’s farm foreman:

Worked for Garfield
Mentor, O., Dec. 28, (U. P.) — Thomas Northcott, once a farm foreman for James A. Garfield when the latter was a United States senator, quietly observed his 95th birthday anniversary today.
Mr. Garfield could swing a scythe with the best of us,” Northcott, a native of England, recalled. He enjoyed driving a yoke of cattle and helping his farm hands in the field.
Northcott planted the maple trees at Awnfield, family home of the late president, along U. S. Route 20.

From “The Piqua Daily Call”, (Piqua, Ohio), 1939-Dec-28, page 1, https://www.newspapers.com/newspage/45698378/

Posted by Cathryn (Hallett) Hondros

Sources

  1. Anderson, Robert Charles. "English Origins of Edward Garfield of Watertown, Massachusetts", NEHGR 156: 327-332
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_A._Garfield From Wikipedia


  • "SESQUI-CENTENNIAL HISTORY" Mason History
  • Video tour of Lawnfield, Garfield's home in Mentor, Ohio [1]
  • Ohio State History [2]
  • Wikipedia President James A. Garfield [3]
  • Find a Grave Memorial #381, Find A Grave: Memorial #381
  • List of Presidents of the Freemansons [4]
  • "United States Census, 1880," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:M6CW-8GC : 24 August 2017), James A Garfield, 1880; citing enumeration district ED 39, sheet 343B, NARA microfilm publication T9 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d), roll 0122; FHL microfilm 1,254,122.

Acknowledgements

This person was created through the import of fitzmaster032511.ged on 27 March 2011.



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DNA Connections
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Comments: 15

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I share a common ancestry with James Garfield. His maternal grandmother was Mehitable Ingalls Ballou the sister of my ancestor Rufus Ingalls. Their father was Henry Ingalls a patriot of the American Revolution. Their mother was Sybil Carpenter who descends from the Billington family who came on the Mayflower. James Garfield's mother was Eliza Ballou Garfield a first cousin of my ancestor Betsy Ingalls Dye. I have read many period accounts and own 3 books published soon after his death. They were done by persons who interviewed relatives , neighbors and friends who new James and his family. He was a brilliant man who would have contributed greatly as president if he had not been struck down. I read different accounts that are false or exaggerated that he was not alive to defend. If you truly learned of his life and character you would be in awe. Parts of his life are similar to that of Abraham Lincoln. He sought Lincoln's council before leaving the Union Army to become a Congressman. One of the Garfield books was done by a man who also authored a book about Abraham Lincoln's life after he to was assassinated. He above all was most proud of his reputation for honesty. Among his first tasks as president was to take on the corruption of the New York Port Post Collections run by political boss Roscoe Conkling. I can recount many more things about his character. In the Battle of Chickamanga Garfield was the Chief of Staff for General Rosecrans commander of the Union Army. Garfield and his fellow officers had prepared well for the Battle. On the second day the Union Army was poised to take control when an errant message was sent by Rosecrans that caused an opening in the Union Lines. When Garfield learned of this he personally road into harms way to help the besieged Union men . Their commanding officer gave credit to Garfield for saving what men they could as they were surrounded. He had his horse shot from under him during the rescue. James Garfield was a self made man. He taught himself Law and Military Tactics. He was one of very few non West Point men to achieve the rank he did. After Roscrans' demotion Garfield went on to be a military Judge presiding over cases during the War for the Union Army. I am sad to see articles like this! In light of our current political climate I should not be surprised it was nothing new. I have been exchanging information with others connected to the Garfield and Ingalls families. They have stories and first hand accounts from their ancestors of the family. From all these sources I find nothing but admiration and praise for James Garfield. He gave so much for his country and his family suffered a terrible loss when he died. There was an outpouring world wide after his death. Lucretia had to run their farm and take care of the family during his absence in the Civil War and many years in Washington as a Congressman and Senator Elect. She then had to continue alone after his death. I am convinced he was one of the more intelligent men to serve as as president.
posted by Ken Morgan
“Detroit Free Press “, (Detroit, Michigan), 16-Oct-1880, page 4
Garfield, Tourgee and the Soldiers' Vote.
Grand Rapids, October 15. — It was the pleasure of your correspondent to meet to-day Mr. John DeWolf, a gentleman who resides in Grand Rapids Township, who is in the employ of Brown & Clark as superintendent of machinery in the extensive brick works owned by that firm. Mr. DeWolf is a highly respected citizen who was born at Ashtabula, Ohio, and spent the greatest part of his life in that city. Mr. DeWolf has known James A. Garfield from youth, and in conversation to-day he related to your correspondent an outrage which shows that the Credit Mobilier candidate for President had no conscientious scruples against committing an offense upon the freedom of elections long before he went to New Orleans and manufactured testimony for use by the Returning Board in overthrowing the will of the people of Louisiana at the election of 1876.
Mr. DeWolf remarked: "I was a Republican, when, on August 15, 1862, I mustered into the One Hundred and Fifth Ohio Regiment for a three years' term of service. A. W. Tourgee, now called the judge, author of "A Fool's Errand," was a lieutenant of my company. While we were at the front, in Rosecrans' army, in 1863, two men arrived from Ohio with Democratic tickets door distribution among the soldiers. General Garfield was on Rosecrans' staff, and although he possessed no more authority to act in such a case than a teamster, he promptly placed the men who brought the tickets under arrest and sent them to Cincinnati under guard. I then swore I would never vote another Republican ticket, and I have kept my oath. Garfield was of no account in tho army, and when he resigned to take a seat in Congress he took a dead load from Rosecrans' command.
About forty Democratic tickets received from Ohio in letters, were in the hands of soldiers of the One Hundred and Fifth regiment, and I succeeded in procuring one, and when election day came I presented it at the polling place. Judge Tourgee received the ballots, and when I presented mine he tore it into a dozen pieces and threw it on the ground. Every Democratic ticket offered was disposed of in the same manner, and the returns sent north were a unanimous vote of the men in the regiment for the Republican candidates.”
”What more do you know of Tourgee?
"While in the army he was constantly in trouble. One-half of the time he was under arrest for violating the regulations and orders of his superior officers. Finally he resigned, and his resignation was accented 'for the good of. the service.' He went to North Carolina after the close of the war, engaged In manufacturing wooden ware, sunk his own and the means of his relatives, and finally took to literature, with what degree of success you know as well as myself."
Mr. DeWolf declared that Garfield’s course toward the agents sent to the army by tho Democracy of Ohio is well known by all who were in Rosecrans' command in 1863, and also by the commanding general, and many who had never voted the Democratic ticket then and there withdrew from the Republican party.
From a biography of George L. Felch:
... In 1864 he taught one term in the East Springfield Academy, Pennsylvania; and after that was employed at Hiram College two years, James A. Garfield being at this time connected with the school as Advising Principal. ...

From Biographical History of Northeastern Ohio: Embracing the Counties of Ashtabula, Geauga and Lake. Containing Portraits of All the Presidents of the United States, with a Biography of Each, Together with Portraits and Biographies of Joshua R. Giddings, Benjamin F. Wade, and a Large Number of the Early Settlers and Representative Families of To-day, 1893, pages 579, https://books.google.com/books?id=c5SQWU7LOm4C&pg=PA579

posted by Cathryn (Hallett) Hondros
edited by Cathryn (Hallett) Hondros
A remembrance of Mr. Nelson Almon Cowdery
“ ... since then he (Mr. Nelson Almon Cowdery) has been connected with the Christian Church. In the early days he heard President Garfield preach.”

From History of Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley, Ohio, Volume II, by Joseph Greene Butler, American Historical Society, 1921, page 49, https://books.google.com/books?id=iRgVAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA49

Garfield-42 and Garfield-39 appear to represent the same person because: based on dates and wife
posted by Robin Lee
A remembrance from Garfield’s farm foreman:
Worked for Garfield
Mentor, O., Dec. 28, (U. P.) — Thomas Northcott, once a farm foreman for James A. Garfield when the latter was a United States senator, quietly observed his 95th birthday anniversary today.
”Mr. Garfield could swing a scythe with the best of us,” Northcott, a native of England, recalled. He enjoyed driving a yoke of cattle and helping his farm hands in the field.
Northcott planted the maple trees at Awnfield, family home of the late president, along U. S. Route 20.

From “The Piqua Daily Call”, (Piqua, Ohio), 1939-Dec-28, page 1, https://www.newspapers.com/image/45698378/

Sure - sounds good - this definitely is a relevant category. Is there another source for him being a freemason other than Wikipedia (i.e. i believe that our source guidelines encourage us to use an original source to support a fact about a person)?
posted by Ray Jones
may we add

Category: Freemasonry James A. Garfield November 19, 1831 – September 19, 1881 March 4, 1881 – September 19, "1881 Initiated on November 19, 1861 in Magnolia Lodge No. 20, Columbus, Ohio and raised on November 22, 1864 in Columbus Lodge No. 30. Joined Garrettsville Lodge No. 246, Garrettsville, Ohio in 1866 and was its Chaplain for the years 1868-69. Charter Member of Pentalpha Lodge No. 23, Washington, D.C." source: wikipedai.com

posted by Carole Taylor