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like himself. He joined a young church; the first school he went to was a new one, as was also the second. He joined the Republican party before that party had ever won a national victory.
In 1851, Garfield thought he had about exhausted the advantages of Geauga, and he began to seek “fresh scenes and pastures new.” We ourselves can not do better than to take leave of that secluded spot, summing up our hero's life there in these his own words: “I remember with great satisfaction the work which was done for me at Chester. It marked the most decisive change in my life. While there I formed a definite purpose and plan to complete a college course. It is a great point gained, when a young man makes up his mind to devote several years to the accomplishment of a definite work. With the educational facilities now afforded in our country, no young man, who has good health and is master of his own actions, can be excused
for not obtaining a good education. Poverty is very incon<
venient, but it is a fine spur to activity, and may be made a rich blessing.”
Alexander Campbell was not merely a zealous propagandist of religious opinions; he was an organizer of religious forces. Among these forces, education stands in the first rank. Understanding this fact, Campbell himself founded a college at Bethany, West Virginia,—then Virginia,—of which he was President until he died. Following their leader in this liberal spirit, the Disciples had established schools and colleges wherever they were able. Hiram, Portage County, Ohio, was a settlement where the new sect was numerous, and here, in 1850, was erected the first
building of what is now widely known as Hiram College, but < was then called the Eclectic Institute. It was toward this place
that in the fall of that year James A. Garfield turned. A somewhat advanced course of study was promised, and he resolved to go there and prepare for college. Arriving there in time to begin with the first classes, he looked about as usual for something to do. One evening the trustees were in executive session, when a knock was heard at their door. The intruder was admitted. He was a tall, muscular young man, scarcely twenty years old, un
polished in appearance, and carrying himself awkwardly, but withal in a strikingly straightforward manner.
“Well, sir, what is your business with us?”
In firm, clear tones the answer came: “Gentlemen, I have come here from my home in Orange. I have been two years at Geauga Seminary, and am here to continue my work. Being the son of a widow, who is poor, I must work my way along; and I ask to be made your janitor.” Some hesitation was visible in the > faces of the trustees, and he added: “Try me two weeks, and if you are not satisfied I will quit.”
The offer was accepted, and James A. Garfield again found himself a rich man; rich in opportunities, rich in health, rich in having some way, though a humble one, to support himself through another period of magnificent mental growth. His inflexible rule was to do every thing which fell in his way to do, and do all things well. Before the term was far gone, the entire school had become interested in him. With a pleasant word for every one, always more than willing to do a favor, earnest, frank, and a ready laugher, nobody could be more popular than Garfield. In a short time one of the teachers of Science and English, became ill,> and Garfield was chosen to fill the temporary vacancy. This duty was so faithfully performed that some of the classes were continued to him, and so he was never without from three to six classes till he went away to college. As a teacher he was singularly successful; the classes never flagged in interest, for the teacher was always either drawing forth ideas on the subject in hand from some one else, or he was giving his own views in a manner which invariably held attention. By these helps, by still working as a carpenter in the village, and in various other ways, making as much and spending as little as he could, Garfield finally left Hiram, free from debt, and possessor of three hundred and fifty dollars on which to start into college.
From the time when he became a member of the church at Geauga, Garfield had continually increased in devotion to religious affairs, and at Hiram quickly became a power. He was constantly present at the social prayer-meetings, where his remarks were
frequent, and attracted notice. In a short time he was called on to address the people, and this becoming a habit, rapidly improved, and came to be called “the most eloquent young man in the county.” For a number of years Garfield was known as a first-rate preacher; in regularity of speaking, however, he was very much like that order known among Methodists as “local preachers.”
That Garfield was at this time beginning to have political connections, appears from a story told by Father Bentley, then pastor of the church at Hiram. On one occasion an evening service was about to be held, and the pastor had invited our friend to sit with him on the platform; also expecting him to address the people. Unnoticed by Father Bentley, a young man called Garfield away, and was hastening him off to talk at a political meeting. Discovering his departure, Bentley was about to call him back; when, suddenly, he stopped, and said: “Well, I suppose we must let him go. Very likely he will be President of the United States, some day!”
Garfield's general progress at Hiram was intimately connected with that of the people about him; and the best possible view of him must come from a knowledge of his friends, and the work they did together. In a late address to the Alumni of Hiram, Garfield has furnished a good sketch of the kind of human material that made up the “ Eclectic Institute.”
"In 1850 it was a green field, with a solid, plain brick building in the center of it, and almost all the rest has been done by the institu'tion itself. Without a dollar of endowment, without a powerful friend anywhere, a corps of teachers were told to go on the ground and see what they could make of it, and to find their pay out of the tuitions that should be received; who invited students of their own spirit to come here on the ground and find out by trial what they could make of it. The chief response has been their work, and the chief part of the response I see in the faces gathered before me to-day. It was a simple question of sinking or swimming, and I do not know of any institution that has accomplished more, with little means, than this school on Hiram hill. I know of no place where the doctrine of self-help bas
had a fuller development. As I said a great many years ago, the theory of Hiram was to throw its young men and women overboard, and let them try for themselves. All that were fit to get ashore got there, and we had few cases of drowning. Now, when I look over these faces, and mark the several geologic ages, I find the geologic analogy does not hold-there are no fossils. Some are dead and glorified in our memories, but those who are alive are ALIVE. I believe there was a stronger pressure of work to the square inch in the boilers that ran this establishment than any other I know of. Young men and women-rough, crude and untutored farmer boys and girls- came here to try themselves, and find out what manner of people they were. They came here to go on a voyage of discovery, to discover themselves, and in many cases I hope the discovery was fortunate."
Among these brave toilers were two or three of Garfield's more intimate friends, with whom we must become acquainted before we can come at a thorough knowledge of Garfield himself. Of his introduction to them he has said:
“A few days after the beginning of the term, I saw a class of three reciting in mathematics-geometry, I think. I had never seen a geometry, and, regarding both teacher and class with a feeling of reverential awe for the intellectual height to which they had climbed, I studied their faces so closely that I seem to see them now as distinctly as I saw them then. And it has been my good fortune since that time to claim them all as intimate friends. The teacher was Thomas Munnell, and the > members of his class were William B. Hazen, George A. Baker and Almeda A. Booth."
Afterwards he met here, for the second time, one who had been known to him in Chester. Lucretia Rudolph was a farmer's daughter, whose humble home was then not far from Chester. Her father was from Maryland; his uncle had been a brave soldier of the Revolution, and, as the story goes, he afterward went to France, enlisted under the banner of Napoleon, and was soon? known to the world as Marshal Ney. Lucretia's mother came from Vermont, and her name had been Arabella Mason. The Rudolph family was poor, but industrious and ambitious. Their
daughter had, therefore, been sent to Geauga. She was a "quiet, thoughtful girl, of singularly sweet and refined disposition,” and a great reader.
“Her heart was gentle as her face was fair,
With grace and love and pity dwelling there.”
In the fall of 1819 this young lady was carnestly pursuing her studies at Geauga Seminary, and, during the hours of recitation, there often sat near her the awkward and bashful youth, Garfield. There these two beeame acquainted; and, although the boy made but few advances at first, they soon became good friends. Her sweet, attractive ways and sensible demeanor drew his heart out toward her; and, as for James, though he may have been very rough in appearance, yet his countenance was always a good one, and his regularly brilliant leadership of the class in all discussions was well adapted to challenge such a maiden's admiration. A backwoods idyl, ending in an early marriage, would not be a surprising result in such a case as this. But these two souls were too earnestly bent on high aims in life to trouble their hearts, or bother their heads, with making love. They were merely acquaintances, although tradition hath it, that from the day when, leaving Chester, their paths diverged awhile, a correspondence was regularly kept up. However that may be, the fact we know is, that at this time and place, James A. Garfield first met Lucretia Rudolph, the woman who was one day to become his wife. In 1852 the Rudolphs moved to Hiram, where the young lady studied at the “ Eclectic,” and recited to Garfield in some of her
classes. The old friendship here ripened into affection; they pur< sued many studies together, and, about the time he left Hiram for
college, they were engaged to marry. Long after they were married, a poet of Iliram referred to her thus:
“Agrin a Mary? Nay, Lucretia,