“A pound of pluck is worth a ton of luck.”
James Garfield was the last President to be born in a log cabin. His father died when he was a toddler, leaving James’ mother to raise him and his brother. The family was very poor and James rarely went to school. He was determined to get an education though and loved to read. He learned to write in Greek with one hand while writing in Latin with the other.
James served as a volunteer soldier, minister, lawyer, military officer, and congressman. He was the President of a small college too. When he became President, he wanted to end corruption in the government. He refused to give people jobs in the White House as favors. He chose people who were the most qualified. Unfortunately, his time as President lasted less than six months. He was shot by a disgruntled job hunter and died almost two months later of blood poisoning from the bullet left in his body.
- Garfield was born on November 19, 1831 near Orange, Ohio.
- He was a Republican.
- Garfield was the first President to use a telephone. The White House phone number was “1.”
- Garfield married Lucretia Randolph in 1858. They had seven children.
- James Garfield was a quiet man. He liked to stay home with his family, reading or playing cards.
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: What happened after Garfield’s assassination?
Answer: The man who shot him was tried and hanged. Lawmakers made new laws about how to fill government positions so that jobs couldn’t be given as political favors.
Visit the History Channel to learn more.