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Civil War Streets: General James Abram Garfield

Originally Published on February 27th, 2019.

We are now at the last stop for the articles on Civil War Generals. In this last piece, we cover a man who would later be named the president. This street is Garfield – after General James Abram Garfield who was born on November 11, 1831. Born in Ohio and, like Lincoln, born into a very poor family situation. He was raised by a widowed mother and, as a boy, he worked at several jobs to put food on the table. In spite of his poverty, he got a decent education in school and in college. He attended college in Williamstown, Massachusetts. He never received a formal military education like many other generals.

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While in school in 1848, he met and married a girl named Lucretia Rudolph. He held several teaching jobs and as a result of teaching, he had access to many books on military tactics. He also was a circuit-riding preacher during that time. He got involved in Republican politics and went on to be an Ohio State Senator. He served in that capacity until the Civil War started and went on a speaking tour to raise and equip soldiers for the Union.

He was given a rank of Colonel in command of a regiment that only existed on paper. It was his job to recruit the men to fill out this regiment, which he did. His unit joined the Army of Ohio under General Buell. He only fought one battle in which he commanded a unit in the field. It was at the Battle of Middle Creek Kentucky. After that battle, he was promoted to Brigadier General at age 30 where he was given the orders by General Grant to remove all the rebel troops from the state of Kentucky, which he did. At this time, he started suffering physical problems and returned home to Ohio to convalesce.

When he was home in Ohio, his friends suggested he run for US Congress. After his health was restored, he went to Washington for reassignment where he was appointed Chief of Staff under General Rosecrans. General Rosecrans was later replaced by General Thomas. (Yes, the same one mentioned in a previous article). While under General Thomas’s command, he was recalled to Washington and promoted to Major General.

In the elections that year he won a seat in the US House of Representatives and resigned his commission as General. After the war, he went on to become Senator from the State of Ohio where he served on several influential committees in both the House and Senate. He went on to become the 20th President. In the span of his career, he overcame poverty, got a good education, became a teacher, preacher, General, member of both Houses of Congress, and President of the United States.

He was assassinated by Charles Guiteau, a member of a faction of the Republican Party known as the Stalwarts. His assassin claimed that for the Republican Party to reunite, President Garfield had to die.

He died on September 19, 1881.

This is the last of the street names named after Union generals starting at the Black River Bridge at Glenwood Avenue and 10th Street traveling all the way up to Garfield School in Port Huron, MI. It is my hope that from now on when readers of Blue Water Healthy Living magazine pass these street names, they will remember the men whose names they represent and think on the sacrifice and service that these men rendered toward the development of this great country that we call home.

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Mark E. Pearson was born and raised in Kansas City, Mo.  In 1970 he moved to Michigan where he met and married the girl of his dreams, Mary Lou Davis, together they have two sons.  He attended Briercrest Bible Institute in Saskatchewan, Canada, and later received his associates degree in business from St. Clair Community College.  He was a bookkeeper and worked in retail sales for 30 years and has spent the last fifteen years as a Jeweler at Coughlin’s Jewelers in St Clair, MI.  He is a voracious reader of history and as a result of being an avid reader he began to write short stories and articles for editorial columns and magazines on current events and comparing and relating past events to current happenings.  

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Disclaimer: Blue Water Healthy Living is an online magazine located in Port Huron, Michigan. Our purpose is to promote healthy living by showcasing the Blue Water Area, its people, issues and surroundings. This online magazine is devoted to providing healthy living related stories, local happenings, and commentary. Often inspiring and uplifting, our stories come from our heart and soul to promote the enjoyment of a more fulfilling Blue Water Area lifestyle. The material on this web site is provided for informational and amusement purposes only and is not to be confused with any medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. The views and opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the opinions and values of Blue Water Healthy Living.

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