James A. Garfield

Topics: United States Senate, United States House of Representatives, James A. Garfield Pages: 3 (651 words) Published: October 8, 1999
James A. Garfield

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 States House of Representatives. He was persuaded by President Lincoln to resign his army job and remain in Congress. Said Lincoln, "It is easier to find major generals than to obtain effective Republicans for...
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