I think one of the reasons I liked Hayes is because of the story the tour guide told us. Every day he walked a mile. But of course, some days were rainy – so Rutherford figured out that you had to walk back and forth along the front porch – 66 times. Being a friendly person, he wanted company for these back and forth walks – so all the servants learned how to look very busy when Mr. Hayes was ready for his exercise – so they wouldn’t be the one walking back and forth with him.
After the guide finished his story, Ken and I looked at each other and laughed – it sounded so like something my dad would’ve done.
The other picture on this page is the view from the porch across the beautiful tree-filled yard.
Hayes father died a few months before Rutherford was born, but his life was still good. He was raised by his uncle, his mother’s brother, who was considered the richest person in Ohio. In fact, his uncle bought so much land, he was known by the Seneca Indians as “the man who owns all the land.” Money means power and more than one person owed his rich uncle a favor. So, thanks to his uncle, Rutherford studied at the best schools, including Harvard where he studied law and then went back to Ohio to open a law practice. He was hugely successful. He married Lucy Webb Hayes and then bought a large and elegant house in Cincinnati.
He joined the army during the Civil war and eventually earned the rank of major general. After the war, his friends insisted he run for Congress. From there he served two terms as Governor of Ohio – and was then nominated for President.
The election was chaotic with his opponent getting most of the electoral vote and no one exactly sure who won the popular vote. That’s when a commission was formed of 8 Republicans and 7 Democrats to decide the final vote. Hayes, a Republican was the winner by one vote.
Though at first the Democrats were upset – they came around to liking the non-partisan Hayes who did a lot toward rebulding the still war-torn south and ending the Federal occupation.
Although many wanted Hayes to run again, he decided not to. He had inherited his uncle’s house at Spiegel grove and had already expanded it to include a kitchen, a library and an office. Then he expanded again by duplicating it and finally eight years later, added on yet again.
His philosophy of life: “THE SOLUTION TO SOCIAL PROBLEMS IS IN THE HOME, THE SCHOOL, THE LECTURE HALL, THE PULPIT AND THE PRESS.”