James Garfield

November 19, 1831 – September 19, 1881

James A. Garfield was the 20th President of the United States. A lawyer and Major General during the Civil War, Garfield served in the Ohio State Senate before being elected to a 17 year career in the U.S. House of Representatives. Serving in Congress during the post-war Reconstruction found Garfield helping to steer the course of the recovering nation as a prominent legislator.

A staunch abolitionist and black suffrage supporter, Garfield eventually served as the Minority House Leader for the Republican party under the Hayes administration. In 1880, he ran for and won the U.S. Senate seat from Ohio. But, he would never be seated as a Senator because during the 1880 Republican National Convention, the embattled Republicans couldn’t land on a nominee, and Garfield – after delivering an impromptu and passionate speech from the floor – suddenly became the frontrunner. After 36 rounds of ballots, a reluctant and unexpecting Garfield gained ground on everyone and was given the nomination. He won the general election over fellow Civil War General, Winfield Hancock, and became President in March of 1881.

Just 4 months into Garfield’s presidency, he was confronted at a D.C. train station by a deranged supporter, Charles Guiteau, who had repeatedly claimed that Garfield owed him an ambassadorship due to his support. Guiteau shot Garfield in the back and was immediately captured. Garfield would suffer from the wounds for 2 months before dying when they became infected. Vice-President Chester Arthur became President. Charles Guiteau was executed. And James Garfield became the second U.S. President to be assassinated.

Burial

Lake View Cemetery – Cleveland, OH

Specific Location

Enter the cemetery’s main gate from Euclid Ave. and go straight through the roundabout. Continue straight until you reach the base of a hill, then follow the signs to the GARFIELD MEMORIAL until you reach the impressive structure up the hill. On certain days, the monument is fully open to the public.

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