Garfield Family

James A. Garfield (1831–1881), husband of 4th cousin 5x removed

A good book about Garfield which I can recommend is Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President by Candice Millard.

Follow this link to read President Garfield’s Inaugural Address of 4 Mar 1881.


James Abram Garfield was the husband of Lucretia Rudolph (1832-1918).  He served as the 20th President of the United States, after completing nine consecutive terms in the U.S. House of Representatives.  Garfield’s accomplishments as President included a controversial resurgence of Presidential authority above Senatorial courtesy in executive appointments; energizing U.S. naval power; and purging corruption in the Post Office Department.  Garfield made notable diplomatic and judiciary appointments, including a U.S. Supreme Court justice, and he appointed several African-Americans to prominent federal positions.  Garfield entered politics as a Republican, after campaigning for the party’s antislavery platform in Ohio. He married Lucretia Rudolph in 1858, and in 1860 was admitted to practice law while serving as an Ohio State Senator (1859–1861).  Garfield opposed Confederate secession, served as a Major General in the Union Army during the American Civil War, and fought in the battles of Middle Creek, Shiloh and Chickamauga. He was first elected to Congress in 1863 as Representative of the 19th District of Ohio.  Throughout Garfield’s extended Congressional service after the Civil War, he fervently opposed the Greenback, and gained a reputation as a skilled orator.  He was Chairman of the Military Affairs Committee and the Appropriations Committee and a member of the Ways and Means Committee.  Garfield initially agreed with Radical Republican views regarding Reconstruction, then favored a moderate approach for civil rights enforcement for Freedmen.  In 1880, the Ohio legislature elected him to the U.S. Senate; in that same year, the leading Republican presidential contenders – Ulysses S. Grant, James G. Blaine and John Sherman – failed to garner the requisite support at their convention.  Garfield became the party’s compromise nominee for the 1880 Presidential Election and successfully campaigned to defeat Democrat Winfield Hancock in the election.  Garfield’s presidency lasted just 200 days – from 4 Mar 1881, until his death on 19 Sep 1881, as a result of being shot by assassin Charles J. Guiteau on 2 Jul 1881.  Only William Henry Harrison’s presidency, of 32 days, was shorter.  Garfield was the second of four United States Presidents who were assassinated.  President Garfield advocated a bi-metal monetary system, agricultural technology, an educated electorate, and civil rights for African-Americans.  He proposed substantial civil service reform, eventually passed in 1883 by his successor, Chester A. Arthur, as the Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act.


Lucretia Rudolph (1832–1918), 4th cousin 5x removed


Born in Hiram, Ohio, the daughter of Zeb Rudolph, a farmer and co-founder of the Eclectic Institute at Hiram, and Arabella Mason-Rudolph, Lucretia “Crete” Rudolph was a devout member of the Churches of Christ.  Her ancestry includes German, Welsh, English and Irish.  She first met James Garfield in 1849 when they were classmates at Geauga Seminary in Chester, Ohio, and followed him to the Eclectic Institute, where they began dating.  They had planned to marry on his graduation in 1856, but decided to postpone the wedding for a couple of years until he was earning more money.  James and Lucretia were married on 11 Nov 1858 at the home of the bride’s parents in Hiram.  James’ service in the Union Army from 1861-63 kept the couple apart.  But after his first winter in Washington as a freshman Representative, the family remained together.  With a home in the capital as well as one (“Lawnfield”) in Mentor, Ohio, they enjoyed a happy domestic life.  In Washington, D.C. they shared intellectual interests with congenial friends; she went with him to meetings of a locally celebrated literary society. They read together, made social calls together, dined with each other, and traveled in company until by 1880 they were as nearly inseparable as his career permitted.  The Garfields had four sons and a daughter who lived to maturity: Harry Augustus (1863–1942) – lawyer, educator, public official; James Rudolph (1865–1950), see below; Mary “Mollie” (1867-1947).  In 1888 she married Joseph Stanley-Brown, presidential secretary during Garfield’s term, later an investment banker.  Irvin McDowell (1870-1951) – lawyer and Abram (1872-1958) – architect.  As First Lady, Mrs. Garfield researched the history of the White House furnishings with a view to restoring it to its former glory, but she contracted malaria and was unable to pursue the project.  During the three months that President Garfield fought for his life after being shot by Charles Guiteau on 2 Jul 1881, her grief and devotion won the respect and sympathy of the country.  On the night of Garfield’s death, according to the doctor, she exclaimed, “Oh, why am I made to suffer this cruel wrong?”  After his death and funeral, the bereaved family went home to their farm in northern Ohio.  For another 36 years she led a strictly private, but busy and comfortable life, active in preserving the records of her husband’s career.  She created a wing to the home that became a presidential library of his papers.  In later life, she lived comfortably on a $350,000 trust fund raised for her and the Garfield children by financier Cyrus W. Field.  She spent winters in South Pasadena, where she built a home designed by the celebrated architects Greene & Greene to whom she was distantly related.  She died at her home in South Pasadena, California on 14 Mar 1918.

James Rudolph Garfield (1865–1950), 5th cousin 4x removed


President Garfield’s son, James Rudolph Garfield (1865-1950), my 5th cousin 4x removed, was a prominent politician in his own right as well.  From 1896-99, he served in the Ohio State Senate.  He was an influential advisor to President Theodore Roosevelt, serving as a Member of the United States Civil Service Commission from 1902-03.  From 1903-07, he served as Commissioner of Corporations at the Department of Commerce and Labor, where he conducted investigations of the meat-packing, petroleum, steel, and railroad industries.  From 1907-09, he served in Roosevelt’s Cabinet as Secretary of the Interior, where he advocated for the conservation of natural resources.  He left this post on 4 Mar 1909 and returned to his law practice in Cleveland.  During the 1912 presidential election, he was a key supporter of Roosevelt’s bid for a third term.  In 1914, he made an unsuccessful bid for Lieutenant Governor of Ohio on the Progressive Party ticket.


(President, 20th) James Abram Garfield (1831 – 1881), husband of 4th cousin 5x removed – Lucretia Rudolph (1832 – 1918) – Arabella Mason (1810 – 1879) – Elijah Mason (1756 – 1833) – Peleg Sanford Mason (1720 – 1761) – John Mason (1673 – 1736) – John Mason (1646 – 1676) – Ann Mason (1669 – 1753) – Althea Cogswell (1715 – ) – Lucy Foster (1740 – 1785) – Loren Hamlin (1784 – 1843) – Fayette B Hamlin (1812 – 1866) – Henry Fayette Hamlin (1834 – 1901) – Clarence Clark Hamlin (1868 – 1940) – Elizabeth Gunnell Hamlin (1901 – 1982) – Tor Martin Hylbom (1939 – 2009) – Tor Martin (Majerus) Hylbom


Lucretia Rudolph and James Rudolph Garfield are also descendants of John Greene (1597-1659) and Joane Tattersall (1598-1635), my paternal 11th g-grandparents, as follows:

Dr. John Greene (1597 – 1659), 6th g-grandfather – Thomas Greene (1628 – 1717) – Nathaniel Greene (1679 – 1714) – Nathaniel Greene (1709 – 1739) – John Greene (1736 – 1813) – Lucretia Greene (1770 – 1852) – Arabella Mason (1810 – 1879) – Lucretia Rudolph (1832 – 1918) – James Rudolph Garfield (1865 – 1950)


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