James A. Garfield

Essay by Anonymous UserHigh School, 11th gradeA, March 1996

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James A. Garfield was born in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, in 1831. His

father died in 1833, when Garfield was only two years old and so his mother

had to carry on working the family farm by herself. With the death of his

father, the family feel into poverty. Even though they had very little money,

his mother made sure that her children went to the neighborhood school to get

a good education. He belonged to the Desciples of Christ Church.

While growing up, James drove canal boat teams, and earned enough

money to further his education at college. He attended Western Reserve

Eclectic Institute at Hiram, Ohio, and was graduated from Williams College

in 1856. He returned to Western Eclectic Institute and became a classics

professor. Later, he became the president of the College.

In 1858, he was married to Lucretia Rudolph and had seven kids.

Eliza, Harry, James, Mary, Irvin, Abram, and Edward.

James Garfield was an advocate for free-soil principles and soon

became a supporter of the newly organized Republican Party. And in 1859,

he was elected to the Ohio Legislature. During the succession crisis, he

advocated coercing the seceding states back into the Union.

During the Civil War, he helped to recruit the 42nd Ohio Volunteer

Infantry and became the infantry's colonel. He fought at Shiloh in April 1862,

served as a chief of staff in the Army of the Cumberland, saw action at

Chickamauga in September of 1863.

When the Union victories had been few in 1862, he successfully led a

brigade at Middle Creek, Kentucky, against Confederate troops. And in

1862, at the age of 31, he became brigader general, only to be made a major

general in 1863.

Meanwhile, in 1862, he was elected by fellow Ohioans to The United...