Rutherford B. Hayes was a remarkable President, not only for his efforts to re-unite the country after the Civil War, but also for the many 'firsts' attributed to he and First Lady Lucy Hayes during their years in the White House (1877-1881). Read on to discover 10 surprising things about this amazing couple.
In the 1876 election Rutherford B. Hayes lost the popular vote to Democrat Samuel Tilden. However, the electoral counts in Florida, Louisiana, and South Carolina were disputed due to widespread voter fraud. Controlling boards in all three states declared Hayes the winner, but the acting President of the Senate declined to certify the electoral count. A special commission of 8 Republicans and 7 Democrats was formed. The members voted party lines.
By the time Hayes was declared 19th President, it was inauguration day March 4. But the date fell on a Sunday and inaugurations cannot take place on Sunday. President Ulysses Grant feared an attempt would be made to install Tilden in office before the Monday public inauguration. He insisted a private ceremony take place at once. Hayes took the oath of office in the Red Room.
3. Did you know that Rutherford B. Hayes was the first U.S. President to have a typewriter in the White House? Hayes embraced new technology and quickly acquired a typewriter. This is a hand-colored photograph of the White House interior during the Hayes Administration (1877-1881). It shows the president's bedroom and sitting room.
4. Did you know that Rutherford B. Hayes was the first U.S. President to have a telephone in the White House? Alexander Graham Bell demonstrated his invention to Hayes by calling him on June 1877; by October Hayes had a phone inthe White House. The only other phone was at the U.S. Treasury. As a result, Hayes traveled in this carriage to go talk with people.
Military service helped many 19th-Century presidents get elected. Many of these brave men endured wounds. However, Rutherford B. Hayes holds the distinction of being wounded the most. His most serious wound came during the Battle of South Mountain. A musket ball went through his left elbow. Hayes' original coat (worn by this mannequin) still bears the hole.
9. Did you know that Rutherford B. Hayes was the first U.S. President to travel to the West Coast while in office? First Lady Lucy Hayes is seen holding a plaid shawl in this photograph taken on a trip she and the President took in the 'Dakota Territory.' The President is on her left. Hayes earned the moniker 'Rutherford the Rover' for his presidential travels.
Exhibit creator — Nancy Kleinhenz, Communications Manager-Hayes Presidential Center, Fremont, Ohio.