Collier's New Encyclopedia (1921)/Garfield, James Abram

GARFIELD, JAMES ABRAM, an American statesman, 20th President of the United States; born in Orange, O., Nov. 19, 1831. The family home was a small log cabin in the Ohio “wilderness,” a region now known as the Western Reserve. He went to school winters, and became an omnivorous reader, especially of the Bible. In the winter of 1849-1850 he attended a seminary at Chester, O., learned the trade of a carpenter during vacations, and was able to support himself in school from that time by his own exertions. In 1851 he entered an institute at Hiram, O. (now Hiram College), and went thence in 1854 to Williams College, and graduated in 1856. In 1857 he was made president of Hiram College, where he won reputation as an educator. In 1859 he was elected to the Ohio State Senate. In 1861 he was commissioned lieutenant-colonel of the 42d regiment of Ohio Volunteers, and was made a Brigadier in a few months. During the war he distinguished himself more or less at Middle Creek, Shiloh, Corinth, and Chickamauga. In 1863 he left the army to enter Congress, declining the offer of a division command under Thomas. He remained in Congress 16 years. In 1880 he was elected United States Senator from Ohio, but in June the Republican National Convention nominated him to the presidency, and he was elected in November. A controversy arose early in his administration over the Federal offices in New York, especially the office of collector of the port of New York City, which led to the resignation from the United States Senate of Roscoe Conkling and Thomas C. Piatt, of New York, after a bitter and heated contest in the Senate over the confirmation of Garfield's appointees. On July 2, 1881, when passing through the Baltimore and Potomac passenger station in Washington, in company with Mr. J. G. Blaine, to go on board a train, Garfield was shot by Charles J. Guiteau, a disappointed office-seeker. Garfield lived till Sept. 19, being cared for in a seaside residence at Elberon, N. J. His funeral was a state affair of great solemnity and pomp. A beautiful monument was raised over his remains in a cemetery overlooking Lake Erie, at Cleveland, O.

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