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  August 23, 2014
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James A. Garfield Facts

 
 

Home > Holidays > Presidents Day > List of U.S. Presidents > James A. Garfield > Facts and Information

James A. Garfield Facts and Trivia

Birthday: November 19, 1831
Birthplace: Orange, OH
College or University: Williams
Religion: Disciples of Christ
Occupation or Profession: Lawyer
Military Rank: (2 Star) Major General of Volunteers
Married: Lucretia Rudolph Garfield
Children: Eliza Arbella Garfield, Harry Augustus Garfield, James Rudolph Garfield, Mary Garfield, Irvin M. Garfield, Abram Garfield, Edward Garfield
President number: 20th
Political Party: Republican
Runner Up: Winfield S. Hancock
Vice President: Chester A. Arthur
Age at Inauguration: 49
Served: 1881
Number of terms: Less than 1
Other Offices or Commissions: U.S. House of Representatives
Died: September 19, 1881 in Elberon, NJ
Age at Death: 49
Place of Burial: Cleveland, OH
Other Interesting Facts and Trivia:

- Garfield was born into extreme poverty. His father died before he was 2 years old. He paid for his first year of college by working as a janitor and carpenter. By his second year of college, he was made assistant professor of literature and ancient languages. By age 26, he became the college president.

- Garfield was ambidextrous (could write with both hands). Sometimes he would write Latin with one hand and Greek with the other at the same time just to entertain people!

- Garfield was a Civil War hero and nine-term Congressman.

- Charles J. Guiteau, a mentally disturbed man, shot Garfield in the back on July 2, 1881. Doctors tried to find the bullet using a metal detector machine (induction balance) invented by Alexander Graham Bell. The metal springs in the bed that Garfield was in caused the instrument to malfunction. Dirty instruments and other non-sterile practices that led to blood poisoning, not the bullet itself, actually killed him. Garfield died eleven weeks after being shot.

- Use of antiseptics was quickly accepted by American doctors after this event.

- Cabinet member, Robert Todd Lincoln (Abraham Lincoln's son), was on the scene during the shooting. He was present during his father's shooting as well as witnessing the murder of President McKinley 20 years later.

 

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