Rutherford B. Hayes

October 4, 1822 – January 17, 1893

The 19th President of the United States, Rutherford Birchard Hayes’ career was marked with both good and bad moments. As a lawyer and abolitionist, he defended a number of fugitive slaves (good). As President, he formally ended all Federal Reconstruction efforts in the south, basically letting White southerners determine for themselves what rights Black freed men could have (bad). He weeded out corruption in the postal and civil services (good). He “remedied” the Great Railroad Strike of 1877 by ordering the military to bloodily end it (bad). So on and so forth.

In between, he served in the Civil War, reaching the rank of Brigadier General for the Union army. He was wounded five times – once seriously. When the war ended in 1865, Hayes returned to Ohio and ran for a seat in the U.S. Congress where he served for 2 years before running for Governor of Ohio, where he helped expand suffrage for Black men and established a deaf school (both good).  He “retired” from politics after his 2nd term. His retirement would not stick.

In 1875, he was nominated once again for Governor of Ohio. His 2nd administration would be short-lived as the growing Republican machine thought he was the perfect candidate for President. Hayes won the 1876 election in contentious fashion. After months of accusations of fraud, contested results and a tight electoral count, Hayes was finally elected President by 1 electoral vote. To ease this development, Republicans and Democrats compromised and Hayes conceded to A) pull Federal troops out of the southern states…effectively abandoning the Reconstruction effort and B) only serve as President for a single term.

Hayes retired from public life again to the home in Ohio his uncle had left him and lived out the remainder of his years there. He died of a heart attack at the age of 70 a few years after losing his wife, Lucy.


Rutherford B. Hayes State Memorial Grounds (Spiegel Grove) – Fremont, OH

Specific Location

On the grounds of Hayes’ former residence, to the south of the main house.


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