Elected in the closest election in our history, Rutherford and Lucy Hayes moved into the White House in 1877 with three of their five children. The oldest of these served as presidential secretary to his father. The other two children were just nine and six years old. It was a lively White House. The Hayeses had eight children, five of whom lived to maturity.
Sardis Birchard Hayes, also known as Birchard Austin Hayes, 1853-1926. Birchard Hayes was born in Cincinnati, Ohio on November 4, 1853. Most of his early childhood was spent in Cincinnati. During the Civil War, Birchard, along with his mother and brother Webb, spent several winters at the military camp of his father’s regiment in West Virginia. Later in the war, Birchard moved to Fremont, Ohio where he lived with his uncle, Sardis Birchard, for whom he was named. He lived in Fremont for seven years, and completed his high school education there. Birchard graduated from Cornell University in 1874, and from Harvard Law School in 1877.
Birchard began his law practice in New York with the firm of Evarts, Southmade and Choates, where he specialized in tax and real estate law. He moved to Toledo, Ohio in 1879, and became a partner in the firm of Swayne, Swayne and Hayes, continuing throughout his career to specialize in tax and real estate law. He continued in this firm until the death of Swayne, and then practiced alone for the rest of his career.
Birchard married Mary Sherman of Norwalk on December 30, 1886. They had four sons: Webb II, Walter, Sherman, and Scott. Mary died in June 1924, and Birchard died on January 24, 1926.
James Webb Cook Hayes, also known as Webb Cook Hayes, 1856-1934. Webb was born on March 20, 1856 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Like his older brother, he spent several winters at the winter camp of his father’s regiment during the Civil War. He then followed his brother to Cornell University. When his father became President in 1877, Cook became his private presidential secretary. In addition to helping his father with the office and paper work in the White House, Webb’s unofficial duties included such tasks as escorting single ladies at White House functions and tactfully ending parties that had dragged on too long.
After his father’s term as President ended, Webb helped start a small business that eventually grew to be Union Carbide.
When the Spanish-American War broke out, Webb volunteered and was commissioned a major. Remaining in the army, he served in Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Philippines, and China. He was awarded the Medal of Honor “for distinguished gallantry” on December 4, 1899 during the fighting in the Philippines. The citation read, in part, that Webb “pushed through the enemy’s lines, alone, during the night, from the beach to the beleaguered force at Vigan, and returned the following morning to report the condition of affairs to the Navy and secure assistance.” Webb was also promoted to lieutenant colonel.
Webb was part of the force that relieved the trapped Americans in Peking during the Boxer Rebellion in 1902. Before the U.S. entered World War I, Webb volunteered for service with the British and French forces in Italy. He married Mary Otis Miller on September 30, 1912 in Fremont, Ohio. After retiring from the army, Webb lived quietly until his death on July 26, 1934 in Fremont, Ohio.
Rutherford Platt Hayes, 1858-1927. Rutherford Platt Hayes was born on June 24, 1858 in Cincinnati, Ohio. He attended the University of Michigan, and graduated from Cornell University in 1880. He then did graduate work at Boston Institute of Technology. He then worked as a bank clerk in Fremont, Ohio for a while. Most of his adult life was spent in promoting libraries. He also helped to develop Asheville, North Carolina, into a health and tourist resort. He married Lucy Hayes Platt on October 24, 1894 in Columbus, Ohio. He died on July 31, 1927 in Tampa, Florida.
Rutherford and Lucy Hayes had two children during the Civil War, but neither lived to their second birthday.
Joseph Thompson Hayes was born on December 21, 1861 in Cincinnati, Ohio. He died on June 24, 1863 near Charleston, West Virginia.
George Crook Hayes was born on September 29, 1864 in Chillicothe, Ohio. He died on May 24, 1866 in Chillicothe, Ohio.
Frances “Fanny” Hayes, 1867-1950. Fanny was born on September 2, 1867 in Cincinnati Ohio. She was educated at a private girls school in Farmington, Connecticut. On September 1, 1897, she married Ensign Harry Eaton Smith in Fremont, Ohio. He later served as an instructor at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. Fanny died in Lewiston, Maine, on March 18, 1950. Only nine years old when her father became President, Fanny, along with her younger brother Scott, was the official hostess at the first annual Easter egg roll on the White House lawn.
Scott Russell Hayes, 1871-1923. Scott was born on February 8, 1871 in Columbus, Ohio. Six years old when his father became President, Scott, along with his older sister Fanny, was the official host at the first annual Easter egg roll on the White House lawn. He spent his career as an executive with railroad service companies in New York City. He married Maude Anderson in September 1912 in Columbus, Ohio. He died on May 6, 1923 in Croton-on-the-Hudson, New York.
Manning Force Hayes, 1873-1874. Manning was born on August 1, 1873 in Fremont, Ohio. He died on August 28, 1874, also in Fremont, Ohio.