Rutherford B. Hayes

The President of the United States paid a heartfelt visit to a dying friend in Richmond to say goodbye, and to thank the man Abraham Lincoln credited as being a major reason the Union won the Civil War.

President Rutherford B. Hayes visited Wayne County on September 13, 1877 to visit a dying friend.
Senator Oliver P. Morton was lying seriously ill at his brother-in-law’s house at what is now 115 North 12th.

Hundreds of residents lined the streets around the depot the morning Hayes arrived, and remained subdued as he was ushered from his railroad car to a private carriage.

Hayes’ entourage moved down North E to Twelfth. Eventually the carriage stopped and the chief executive stepped out.

A Cincinnati Enquirer reporter wrote, “Entering rapidly from the front door to the bedside, with quivering lip and evidence of strong mental emotion, the President grasped the warm right hand of the Senator [Morton]... Great choking sobs swelled up in his throat, the tears chased one another down his cheeks, and he vainly tried to express his feelings in words.”

Hayes visited for an hour. When he left he thanked Richmond residents for respecting his wishes.

Former Indiana Governor Oliver P. Morton was later transported to Indianapolis and died there on November 1st.

While in Richmond he had been visited by his good friend, the President of the United States.

Abraham Lincoln credited Governor Morton’s timely raising of funds at the start of the Civil War as being one of the reasons the North won.

Morton’s later service as a U.S. Senator gained the respect and heartfelt friendship of a President of the United States, who visited Wayne County and shed tears.

 

 


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June 19, 2012