James Garfield was a Jane Austin fan with an attractive nose, Frank Sinatra eyes, and a ready arm to throw about a friend's shoulders. (www.eisenhower.utexas.edu/20.htm) President Garfield enjoyed the hobbies of fishing, chess, and card playing. He was a 'dark horse' President who served only 199 days in office before he was shot by Charles J. Guiteau in a Washington, DC train station. James started his career in the political arena as a lawyer. From 1859 - 1861 he was a member of the Ohio State Senate. During the Civil War he was a General in the Union army. He became a U.S. Representative from Ohio in and obtained re-election every two years until 1878. During the Civil War and Reconstruction Era, he was one of the most hawkish Republicans who sought to defeat and weaken the South with every opportunity. Garfield became the Republican floor leader of the House in 1876 when James G. Blaine moved to the Senate. In 1880 Garfield was the choice for Senator of Ohio; however, before he could ever sit in the Senate, he was nominated for President by the Republican Party. Thus, James Garfield became the 20th President of the United States when he took office in 1881. .
James Abram Garfield was born on November 19, 1831 in Orange, Ohio to Abram Garfield and Eliza Ballou Garfield. His father died when he was 18 months old and was subsequently raised by his mother and an uncle. After transferring from Western Reserve Eclectic Institute to Williams College, he graduated in 1856 and continued on to teach at the Eclectic Institute in classical languages. In 1858, he married Lucretia Rudolph and together they had seven children. In 1860 he was admitted to the bar in Ohio and became an Ohio state senator in 1859. He had a promising career during the Civil war and rose to major general of volunteers; however, he resigned in 1863, having been elected to the House of Representatives, where he served until 1880.