by Ryan Carpe
Posted In: Holidays
at 09:43 AM | Permalink
The Buckeye State is second only to Virginia in number of presidents
Ohio has sent so
many of its own to the White House it’s almost second nature. With local boys like Taft, Grant and
Garfield, we’re second only to Virginia in total number of presidents, and they had a 25-year head
start. Maybe we don’t have the top
spot, but we certainly have some of the most interesting presidents to date.
Here’s a list recapping some of the best Ohio presidential anecdotes.James
Abram Garfield: First to Use and Be Failed By the Metal
James Garfield was the
workingman’s president. His father died when he was only two, leaving him
and his family in poverty. He earned his keep as a carpenter, teacher and
canal boatman before he found inspiration in politics. He was also one of four
presidents assassinated in office, and suffered for weeks before complications
from the bullet took his life.
It was under these dire
circumstances that none other than Alexander Graham Bell, inventor of the
telephone, was called in to help. Bell came equipped with
an experimental metal detector invented just
months before and intended to use it to locate and remove the bullet where
others had failed. Unfortunately for Garfield, the ramshackle device failed to locate the bullet because the
bed’s metal coil mattress jumbled the signal.
Bonus: Garfield was the U.S.'s last president born in a log
cabin.William Henry Harrison: A Fool in Love
Although not a true Ohio
native, Harrison spent much of his life gallivanting in what would become the
Buckeye State as
governor of the Indiana Territory.
While governing the
territories, Harrison became interested in a young Anna Symmes, Judge John
Cleves Symmes’ daughter (you may know him from the Symmes Purchase and,
consequently, his thousand namesakes around town).
Harrison was only in his
early twenties and not exactly a distinguished figure yet, so Judge Symmes was
his daughter could make a more prosperous match elsewhere.
asked the Judge for his daughter’s hand, and was flatly denied. So what’s a
young president to do? Why, wait until her father leaves on business and elope
Judge Symmes learned of the nuptials, he berated Harrison, asking, "How,
sir, do you intend to support my daughter?" Harrison smoothly replied,
"Sir, my sword is my means of support." Now
that’s president material.William
Howard Taft: A Reluctant Champion
Who’s the Cincy
trusts into mud?
Can you dig it?
Sorry for the Shaft intro, but we Cincinnatians
certainly can dig it when we’re talking ‘bout the 27th President. During his one term as president
Taft reinforced Roosevelt’s anti-trust policies and created the U.S. Department
of Labor, but he’s also remembered for dragging his feet into the presidency.
His real ambition was to serve in U.S. Supreme Court.Before elected, Taft
told supporters: “Don’t sit up nights thinking about making me President for
that will never come and I have no ambition in that direction. Any party which
would nominate me would make a great mistake.”
eventually convinced otherwise, but during his inauguration on a particularly chilly day
he told Roosevelt, “I always said it would be a cold day when I got to be
president of the United States.”
After office, Taft was
eventually named chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court from none other than
Warren G. Harding, another Ohioan. Taft then became the only man in history to
occupy both the presidency and the chief justiceship.
Ulysses S. Grant: A Match Made in Heaven
1822, Grant grew up the son of an Ohio tanner, later becoming one of the most
decisive military leaders in United States history.
the twilight of his years, Grant plunged into debt after his financial firm
went bankrupt. As a means for settling his
accounts, he began writing his own memoirs with the hope of finding a
publisher. And he found his salvation in
one of the most prolific writers in U.S. history: Mark Twain.
Clemens (Twain) heard Grant was looking for a publisher and offered to publish
the book with Grant receiving 75 percent of the profits. They agreed and the former general finished
his notes days before dying from throat cancer.The resulting publication, Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant, became one of the most successful books of the 19th century, earning Grant's family more than $400,000 in royalties. Quite a happy ending.