The New International Encyclopædia/Hayes, Rutherford Birchard
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Hayes, Rutherford Birchard
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HAYES, Rutherford Birchard (1822-93). The nineteenth President of the United States. He was born in Delaware, Ohio, October 4, 1822. His paternal and maternal ancestry, it is claimed, can be traced back, each to a Scottish chieftain of noble blood, and he was a descendant in the sixth generation of George Hayes, who left Scotland in 1680 and settled at Windsor, Conn. His grandfather, Rutherford Hayes, born in New Haven, Conn., in 1756, settled in Brattleboro, Vt. Here the father of the President, also named Rutherford, was born. His parents emigrated to Ohio shortly before his birth. When the boy was sixteen years old he was sent to Kenyon College, where he graduated at the head of his class in 1842. He studied law for two years in the office of Thomas Sparrow, of Columbus, and subsequently spent two years (1843-45) in the Harvard Law School. In 1845 he was admitted to the bar at Marietta, Ohio, and soon afterwards entered into practice at Fremont, the residence of his uncle Sardis Birchard, then a wealthy banker. In 1849 he removed to Cincinnati, where he soon gained a remunerative practice, and became prominent in his profession. In 1852 he married Miss Lucy W. Webb, daughter of Dr. James Webb, of Chillicothe, Ohio. In 1856 he was nominated as a candidate for judge of the Court of Common Pleas, but refused to accept the nomination, although later he served as City Solicitor. In 1861, when the Civil War broke out, he enlisted for the whole war, and on June 7th was commissioned as major of the Twenty-third Ohio, of which W. S. Rosecrans was colonel. To the regiment was assigned the duty, at Clarksburg, W. Va., of protecting the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, and of defending the border from raids; and Major Hayes took a prominent part in various expeditions necessary for the defense of the position. He served for a time as judge-advocate of the Department of Ohio, and in August, 1862, he was promoted to the colonelcy of the Seventy-ninth Ohio, but he preferred to remain, with the rank of lieutenant-colonel, with the Twenty-third, which had been incorporated with Burnside's command in the Army of the Potomac. At The New International Encyclopædia/South Mountain (q.v.) the Twenty-third, led by Hayes, was hotly engaged, more than a hundred of Hayes's men falling dead or wounded, and he himself being slightly wounded. There was a pause for reënforcements, when a dangerous flank movement of the enemy was discovered, and Hayes was again seen at the head of the regiment. He was finally carried, fainting with loss of blood, from the field. Upon his recovery he was promoted to the rank of brigadier-general, and placed in command of the Kanawha division, of which his old regiment formed a part. He remained at Kanawha Falls until March 15, 1863, when the division was ordered to Charleston, W. Va. After this he led in several important expeditions, notably in that which he himself organized to dispute the retreat of Morgan (q.v.) and his band after their raid through Ohio. By a quick movement he cut off Morgan's retreat and forced him to surrender. In the famous raid upon the Virginia and Tennessee Railroad, in May, 1864, he led the principal assault upon the enemy's fortifications with admirable boldness and success. He took an honorable part in the attack on Lynchburg, June 18th, covering the retreat of the Union forces under dangerous conditions with perfect success. In the campaign of the Shenandoah, under Sheridan (q.v.). his services were conspicuous and valiant. In the battle of Winchester especially he displayed great coolness and courage in the most trying circumstances. For his gallant services Hayes was brevetted major-general.
He was a Republican from the formation of the party, and had taken an active part in the political campaign of 1860. His achievements in the war made his name popular in Ohio, and when the Republicans of the Second District felt the need of a strong candidate for Congress, he consented to accept the nomination, with the understanding that he would not take the seat unless the war should meantime be ended. When, after the close of the war, he entered Congress, he at once attracted attention by his ability. He was reëlected in 1866, but had only served through his first term when the Republicans of Ohio, in 1867, nominated him as their candidate for Governor, under the conviction that he was the only man whom they could hope to elect. He was chosen by a majority of 3000, and reëlected in 1869 by a majority of 7518. He was elected for the third time in 1875, and while occupying the place was nominated by the Republican Party as its candidate for President of the United States, William A. Wheeler being nominated for Vice-President. The nominees of the Democratic Party were Samuel J. Tilden and Thomas A. Hendricks. The contest was severe and close, and disputes arose as to the electoral votes of several States. After a period of great tension all the contested cases were decided in favor of Hayes by the Electoral Commission (q.v.), and having a majority of one electoral vote (185 to 184), he was duly inaugurated on March 4, 1877. Aside from violent partisan disputes upon the questions adjudicated by the Electoral Commission, his administration was admitted by men of all parties to have been pure and honorable. An effort was made to reduce the evil of using appointments to office as rewards for partisan services, but this policy did not meet with hearty support. The President also failed to maintain close harmony with the party leaders in his attitude toward the ‘reconstructed’ States, from which he aimed to withdraw the Federal troops, even against the vigorous demands of the radicals for a continuation of the military supervision. He was generally recognized as a pacificator at a time when conciliation was essential to peace. Upon all political questions save those above referred to he was in full harmony with the Republican Party, and by his courageous and unflinching exercise of the veto nower prevented the adoption of measures calculated to injure the credit of the country and hinder a return to specie payments. He also, by the interposition of the same power, prevented the repeal of the laws enacted by Congress, under the express authority of the Constitution, to guard the purity of national elections. After his retirement from public office President Hayes devoted himself as a private citizen to the support of philanthropy and education. As a member of the Peabody Education Board for the promotion of education in the South, as the first president of the States Board for the instruction of freedmen, and as president of the National Prison Association, he set an example of assiduity in attendance at the meetings of the boards and of patient and far-sighted counsel on the questions brought before him. He died January 17, 1893. Consult: Wilson (editor), The Presidents of the United States (New York, 1894); and a campaign biography by Howard, Life. Public Services, and Select Speeches of Rutherford B. Hayes (Cincinnati, 1876). For an account of the administration of Hayes, see the article United States.