Garfield was born November 19, 1831, in a log cabin built by his father in Orange, Cuyahoga County, Ohio, southeast of Cleveland. His father was Abram Garfield (1799-1833), farmer. His mother was Eliza Ballou Garfield (1801-1888). 

James was the youngest of four children. He had two sisters and a brother-Mrs. Mehitabel “Hitty” Trowbridge, Thomas Garfield and Mrs. Mary Larabee. 

James Garfield married Lucretia “Crete” Rudolph when he they were 26 years of age. They had four sons and a daughter-Harry Augustus Garfield (1863-1942), lawyer, educator, public official., James Rudolph Garfield (1865-1950), lawyer, public official., Mary “Mollie” Garfield (1867-1947), Irvin McDowell Garfield (1870-1951), lawyer. And Abram Garfield (1872-1958), architect. 

Garfield served in the Union Army from August  1861 to December 1863, rising from lieutenant colonel to Major General during the civil war. He learned the fundamentals of his education at a district school near his home in Orange Township, Ohio. During 1849-1850 he attended Gauga Academy at Chester, Ohio. In 1851 he enrolled at the Eclectic Institute at Hiram, Ohio. In 1854 he entered Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts where he graduated with honors in the class of 1856. 

On graduation of the Williams institute he returned to the Eclectic Institute at Hiram, Ohio, as an instructor in classical languages from 1856 to 1857 and president of the Institute from 1857 to 1861. He studied law on his own for two years and was admitted to the bar in 1860. He served as: Ohio State Senator (1859-1861) and U.S. Representative (1863-1880) elected to congress while still in the armed forces. 

James Garfield received the presidential nomination in 1880 as Republicans convened in Chicago in June of that year. He ran for the presidency against Winfield S. Hancock which he defeated. His vice-president was Chester A. Arthur (1829-1886), of New York who served March to September 1881 and succeeded him up on his assassination. 

Garfield was assassinated in July 2, 1881, 9:30 A.M. by Charles J. Guiteau, a 39 years old that had supported him in the 1880 election. The disappointed office seeker, mentally unstable for some time came to believe that Garfield most die.

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