Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Raise the Rutherford!

Rutherford B. Hayes and Spring Grove Cemetery – Part I

A continuing, slightly humorous series to raise awareness of Rutherford B. Hayes and erect a statue of him in Cincinnati.

Spring Grove Cemetery is the final resting place of a number of individuals who were associated with Rutherford B. Hayes, be it family or friends. It is also one of the few places in existence in the city that Hayes visited (noted in his diary) and would probably still recognize to some extent.
The Family of Rutherford B. Hayes in Spring Grove Cemetery

As I’ve mentioned before, two Hayes children born here in Cincinnati died in infancy and were buried in Spring Grove. Joseph Thompson Hayes was born December 21, 1861 and died on June 24, 1863. George Crook Hayes was born on September 29, 1864 and died on May 24, 1866. They both were buried in Section 35, Lot 145. (Graves are unmarked in the photo below.)

However upon the death of Maria Webb, Rutherford B. Hayes’s mother-in-law, on September 14, 1866, both children were moved to Section 29; Lot 40 adjacent to where Lucy Webb Hayes’s parents are buried, including her father Dr. James Webb who died in Lexington Kentucky when she was two. (This then is the headstone to the right in the photo above.)

Lucy Webb Hayes had two older brothers. By all accounts I have seen, Lucy’s brothers were close to the Hayes family. Joseph Thompson Hayes was named after the oldest brother, Dr. Joseph Thompson Webb, who actually assisted in the baby’s delivery. When Joseph Hayes dies, Lucy’s other brother, Dr. James D. Webb, attended to his burial at Spring Grove. Dr. Joseph Webb served in the Civil War as a physician with his brother-in-law’s regiment. And I would also like to mention that I have read in one source that both brothers were in the Literary Club.

On June 12, 1873, Dr. James D. Webb (b. 1829) died and he was buried in Spring Grove. He died while at Longview Asylum, the mental institution owned and operated by Hamilton County at Paddock & Seymour and that from 1871 – 1975 was administered by Dr. Joseph Thompson Webb. James, a bachelor, was buried in the family plot next to his parents.
Then on April 27, 1880, Dr. Joseph Thompson Webb (b. 1827) passes away while in Minnesota and he too is buried in Section 29; Lot 40.
There is a fascinating entry about Dr. Joseph Webb’s death in Rutherford B. Hayes’s online diary and letters at the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center.
April 28, 1880.
Yesterday when we were sitting at lunch a dispatch was handed to Lucy which she seemed to divine contained bad news. She handed it across the table to me, and I read:
MINNEAPOLIS, April 27, 1880.
To MRS. R. B. HAYES, Executive Mansion, Washington.
Doctor had an apoplectic stroke this morning. Unconscious; condition dangerous. --ANNIE M. WEBB.
Soon after, we received a dispatch that the doctor died about noon. Lucy immediately made preparations to start for Minneapolis. We sent dispatches to Birchard at Toledo and Webb at Fremont and received replies. Hearing that the doctor's remains would be buried at Cincinnati, Lucy and Lucy Cook with our servant Isaiah, about ten o'clock last night in Mr. Garrett's private car, left for Cincinnati. Our friend John W. Herron sent word that he would meet Lucy at the depot and take her to his home.
Dr. Joseph T. Webb has been out of health several years. He was superintendent of Longview Asylum about 187-. The location was a bad one being near the canal. Chills and fever prevailed. Doctor Webb was never rid of chills and fever after he left Longview. In addition to this he had severe headaches. He was of a bilious temperament and quite corpulent. His sudden death was therefore not a surprise to us.
As a young man he was very fine-looking. He weighed over two hundred [pounds] before he was twenty years old, was about six feet tall; dark complexion, fine large black eyes, or dark hazel, good regular features, black hair; and was a friendly, social man of popular ways. His fondness for sports was a noticeable trait. He played ball, was an excellent fisherman and horseman. He was a tender-hearted and skilful physician. In the army he was an almost universal favorite. His laugh was contagious and full of happy humor. I often meet old comrades who say, "I would give anything to hear the doctor's laugh." He occasionally had melancholy spells but until after the loss of his health they were of short continuance and not very frequent. After the failure of his health, the morbid tendency of his nature became strong, almost predominant. I sometimes feared that he would become insane. There were occasional symptons of it. He distrusted at times his nearest friends. Dr. Comegys, a friend and connection, feared that he might glide into insanity. Judge Matthews [his brother-in-law] felt the same apprehension. Some months ago he wrote of his general good health but spoke of severe shooting pains in his head. These no doubt were symptoms of the apoplexy which killed him. We will remember him as he was until after the war--an affectionate, warmhearted, honest, and brave man, possessed of uncommon talents of observation, good judgment, and the faculty of making those around him happy to a degree rarely met with.
He died childless, leaving his widow, Annie Matthews, his sister (my wife), and numerous friends to mourn his loss. Age, fifty-three last January. Buried in Spring Grove, Cincinnati.

Next: Part II – The Friends of Rutherford B. Hayes in Spring Grove Cemetery


CityKin said...

About this Sanitorium at Paddock and Seymor. I assume the building is gone, but where exactly was it at that intersection? It was there until 1975? Also, he says the canal runs past there, and assume it had to go that way from Northside/Ivorydale to Lockland, it had to pass somewhere near there I suppose, but I cannot picture exactly where, unless I-75 was built on top of it, which is quite likely.

Jim Hetzer said...

That intersection is still there. North of Edison Dr.