The New Student's Reference Work/Garfield, James Abram
Gar′field, James Abram, the twentieth president of the United States, was born at Orange, Cuyahoga County, O., Nov. 19, 1831. His father died soon after his birth, and his early life was spent in poverty. He worked on a farm, and for three months was a canal boatman. He attended and taught in the public schools, studied at Hiram College, and finally graduated at Williams College in 1856 with high honors. The next year he became president of Hiram College, and at the same time preached and studied law. He was elected to the state senate in 1859, and on the outbreak of the Civil War he became colonel of the 42d Ohio volunteers. For gallantry he was made brigadier-general, being the youngest of that rank in the service. He served at Shiloh and at Corinth, and in Alabama was appointed chief of staff of the Army of the Cumberland, and, again for gallantry at the battle of Chickamauga, was made a major-general of volunteers. He resigned shortly after to enter Congress, at thirty-two, where he remained until 1880, being, after the removal of Mr. Blaine to the senate in 1876, the recognized leader of the Republican side of the house. In 1880 he was elected a United States senator, nominated for the presidency at Chicago, and elected by the votes of nearly all the northern states. On July 2, 1881, four months after his inauguration, he was shot in the depot of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad in Washington, by Charles Guiteau, a disappointed office-seeker. For months he lingered between life and death, and at last died on Sept. 19, 1881, at Elberon, N. J., where he had been taken in the hope of saving his life. Funeral services were held over his remains in the rotunda of the capitol, and he was buried at Cleveland, O. See Life by J. R. Gilmore.