Skip to main content

James Abram Garfield (1881)

 Portrait, James Abram Garfield

James Abram Garfield

20th President of the United States
(March 4, 1881 to September 19, 1881)

Nickname: None listed.

Born: November 19, 1831, in Orange, Ohio
Died: September 19, 1881, in Elberon, New Jersey

Father: Abram Garfield

Mother: Eliza Ballou Garfield
Married: Lucretia Rudolph (1832-1918), on November 11, 1858
Children: Eliza A. Garfield (1860-63); Harry A. Garfield (1863-1942) James R. Garfield (1865-1950); Mary Garfield (1867-1947); Irvin M. Garfield (1870-1951); Abram Garfield (1872-1958); Edward Garfield (1874-76)

Religion: Disciples of Christ
Education: Attended Western Reserve Eclectic Institute (now Hiram College); Graduated from Williams College (1856)
Occupation: Teacher, public official
Political Party: Republican
Other Government Positions:

  • Member of Ohio State Senate, 1859-61
  • Member of U.S. House of Representatives, 1863-80
  • Elected to United States Senate, 1880

Presidential Salary: $50,000/year

Vice President: Chester A. Arthur (1881)


Secretary of State
James G. Blaine (1881)
Secretary of the Treasury
William Windom (1881)
Secretary of War
Robert Todd Lincoln (1881)
Attorney General
I. Wayne McVeagh (1881)
Postmaster General
Thomas L. James (1881)
Secretary of the Navy
William H. Hunt (1881)
Secretary of the Interior
Samuel J. Kirkwood (1881)

Notable Events:

  • 1881
    • On July 2, shot by Charles Julius Guiteau. Garfield died of blood poisoning on September 19.

Points of Interest:

  • Garfield was the first left-handed president.
  • James Garfield could write Latin with one hand and Greek with the other.
  • The last of seven presidents born in a log cabin, Garfield weighed 10 pounds at birth.
  • He was the first president to campaign in two languages -- English and German.
  • On election day, November 2, 1880, he was at the same time a member of the House, Senator-elect and President-elect.
  • His mother was the first president's mother to attend her son's inauguration.
  • At the age of twenty-six, Garfield became president of Hiram College. At the time the school only had five faculty memebers.
  • After Garfield's shooting, repeated probing for the bullet with non-sterile instruments resulted in blood poisoning which eventually killed him.