CHAPTER XIMARRIED AND PROSPEROUS -CINCINNATI, 1852-1854
JANUARY 5, 1852.--A pleasant visit to Columbus. A visit
to Delaware also. Home, my mother's and sister's home, is the
spot of earth that is ever green. Wait, till one day I have such
Just before my departure, I was forcibly reminded of the
necessity of close attention to small matters by the mistake which
the hurry of a client led me to make. Suit was to be brought
on the spur of the moment in the name of a turnpike company
against a man who refused to pay toll. Looked into the act of
incorporation for its name. Saw as the title of the act, "An act
to incorporate the ------- Turnpike Road Company." I be-
gan my suit in that name. But lo! in the body of the act, the
company's name was without the word "Road" and I was non-
Now, this beginning of a New Year is a good time for good
resolves, and first, I don't mean to be caught so again. I mean
to study law, to speak often in the Club, and speak my best (on
all suitable occasions). Prepare all my cases thoroughly, if pos-
So begins the New Year. Rather prosperously with me.
Money, clients, and friends more abundant than ever before; a
loved one whose nameless and numberless virtues and winning
ways are growing into and around my heart daily more and more.
God bless her! A happy New Year, indeed, it is!
January 13, 1852.- Have just finished Captain (?) Cum-
ming's "Five Years in the Far Interior of South Africa." A
book of "bloody murder" among the gigantic game of the
African wilderness. The hero talks flippantly of "bagging" lions,
camelopards, zebras, wildebeests, rhinoceroses, buffaloes, hip-
popotami, and elephants, as one in this latitude might speak of
bagging snowbirds and rabbits. He talks of the "exquisitely
(404)MARRIED AND PROSPEROUS, 1852-1854 405
beautiful," "the lovely," etc., black-maned lion, "man-eater,"
as an enraptured lover would talk of his lady-love. Still there
is an air of truthfulness about the narrative which gains it a
credit quite other than that which one yields to the Munchausen
"yarns" of a Captain Riley. This is the last book, not of the law,
which I mean to read except on Sundays or evenings. Now for
law and the current news for the balance of my winter and
spring reading. Am daily more and more in love. Strange what
a happiness there is in her presence. She is an angel. Blessings
on her head ! Let me strive to be worthy of her.
[CINCINNATI,] January 13, 1852.
DEAR UNCLE:--I wrote to you Sunday, but the good old-
fashioned "Hayes" letter which I received this morning from
you prompts me to reply at once after the same style of gener-
I was sure some linchpin was loose as soon as I opened the
letter. Mrs. Valette was quite right as to your being a little
flighty. Instead of sending your usual telegraphic dispatch, you
give me three whole pages, and wind up with wishing for a
sleigh-ride with a team of fourteen horses! I would suggest if
you attempt such a sleigh-ride that you do it with your team
harnessed tandem and ride the leader yourself! What a sensa-
tion you would produce! . . . .
I am glad Mr. Works is at Mr. Valette's while you are housed
up. Speaking of his "slicking" his boots with tallow that Sun-
day morning, I was about the same time engaged in the same
thing with mine, greatly to the amusement of Herron (the bird,
not "Herring," the fish, as you spell it) and McDowell who pro-
tested that the grease opened the pores and let in the snow-water
instead of keeping it out. Glad to have so good authority on
my side. You know lawyers bow to "the authorities."
You speak of my "college friend" Kilbourne! Don't, if you
please. He surely can't be so poor a "skeesicks" now as he was
in college or you would never have permitted him to spend "al-
most a day with you." The not lending him a dime was "sensible
to the last." . . . .
406 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
I shall probably not come to Fremont until summer. Then
there is very little for any lawyer to do; now is our busiest
season; besides, in bad weather the city is far pleasanter than
anywhere else. I experienced this at Delaware the other day.
It was muddy, dark, and lonely, and I was glad to get away. I
told Sarah you would probably visit her when you came down.
Do so, if you can. The curve will perhaps be finished by that
time and it will be an easy trip of an hour to go up there from
Columbus. Stop at Mrs. Kilbourne's, not at the Hinton House,
which is a filthy hole. Sarah and Harriet can dish you up about
as spicy a mess of gossip as you would desire to hear about the
saints and sinners of Delaware. For example, there is Mrs.
Bennett who is an inexhaustible theme. She wears "the Bloomer"
in all weathers. She goes too late to church (the Methodist,
which is always crowded) to get a seat among the congregation,
and striding up the aisle with the dignity of a lioness, seats her-
self within the altar, immediately below the sacred desk, "the
observed of all observers." The ministers look "unutterable
things" at her, the devout brethren and sisters shake their heads
and whisper, the undevout giggle, but not a soul of them dares
breathe a syllable that would reach her ear. They all know that
the house of God would afford no protection against her; and
so she disturbs everybody else, but nobody disturbs her.
The Methodist Church, like Aaron's rod (or was it Moses'?)
swallows up all the rest. The Episcopal and New [School]
Presbyterian have no preacher. Mr. Vandieman has no con-
gregation; but the Methodists are always in "a season of awak-
ening." . . . .
I have been reading Cumming's "Hunting Expeditions in South
Africa." It is, I think, a faithful narrative of the most pro-
digious exploits in slaying big game that I ever read. If I had
seen it when a boy I should probably have been following the
"spoor" of elephants and lions instead of quietly "making tracks"
on paper about those days. He talks of "bagging" elephants,
camelopards, and lions, as one of our hunters might speak of
bagging snowbirds and quails. If your eyes are not too weak, I
fancy that you would still enjoy this bloody book.
MARRIED AND PROSPEROUS, 1852-1854 407
This is a Hayes letter for you. So regards to the folks and
R. B. HAYES.
January 17, 1852.--Yesterday I made in reality my maiden
effort in the Criminal Court. It was in defense of a man in-
dicted for grand larceny named Samuel Cunningham. There
was really no defense to be made, but the young man's friends
were respectable people in Covington, Kentucky, and I endeavored
to make a sensible, energetic little speech in his behalf. He was
convicted, but the prosecuting attorney paid me some handsome
compliments as did also the court. Best of all, however, the court
appointed me to defend, or to assist in the defense of, Nancy
Farrer, the poisoner of two families. It is the criminal case of
the term. Will attract more notice than any other, and if I am
well prepared, will give me a better opportunity to exert and ex-
hibit whatever pith there is in me than any case I ever appeared
in. The poor girl is homely -- very; probably from this mis-
fortune has grown her malignity. I shall repeat some of my
favorite notions as to the effect of original constitution, early
training, and associations in forming character--show how
it diminishes responsibility, etc.
Must look over my Odd Fellow speech on "Happiness." Study
medical jurisprudence as to poisons; also read some good speech
or poetry to elevate my style, language, thoughts, etc., etc. Here
is the tide and I mean to take it at the flood --if I can. So
mote it be!
CINCINNATI, February 9, 1852.
DEAR UNCLE:--. . . . Kossuth is expected today and
will be marched and huzzaed, feasted, toasted, and spoken at, at
a terrific rate. Poor man, I pity him. To be dragged about so,
and to get so little real substantial aid! I shall not wonder if he
dies under his labors and disappointments!
408 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
I am tolerably busy these days. Hope to see you sometime
to talk over matters.
Sincerely, R. B. HAYES.
April 1, 1852.--A great while since I wrote a word here.
Have been sick; twice to Columbus; argued my Nancy Farrer
case. She was convicted. Argued today the motion for a new
trial--gained some laurels. Don't know the results of it all
except that we (my associate who aided me scarcely at all and
myself) get one hundred and fifty dollars for the defense. We
share the fees equally, but not I suppose the laurels. It has been
a "capital" case in two senses.
CINCINNATI, April 5, 1852.
DEAR UNCLE:--Received both of your letters in due season.
Glad to hear often. I am as well now as I ever was in health
of body and mind. Spent two days arguing the motion for a
new trial before the same judge. Would have got it, everybody
said, but for his anxiety to shine in sentencing the girl before the
assembled crowd. Every other lawyer quarrelled with him in
getting bills of exceptions to take cases to the higher courts, but
mine, consisting of over sixty pages foolscap, he signed without
crossing a "t" or grumbling. He also allowed me seventy-five
dollars for what has been done. Hoy, my associate, knew noth-
ing about the grounds of [a] new trial, and so said nothing. It
will come before the District Court in two or three weeks. The
questions are very interesting to the profession, covering the
whole law as to the conduct of juries while deliberating on a
verdict. The general impression is that the verdict will be set
aside by the District Court, but at all events it gives me by far
the best opportunity to "show off" that I have had. . .
Love to Mrs. Valette. Will be out in July or August.
R. B. HAYES.
MARRIED AND PROSPEROUS, 1852-1854 409
CINCINNATI, May 1, 1852.
DEAR UNCLE:--Chase, Senator, is making a dull speech at the
other end of the table, and to pass off time till the court are at
leisure, I write you.
James Summons was convicted as he ought to have been.
Thereupon his counsel, Read, got too drunk and Chambers was
too unwell, so I got up the bill of exceptions, argued the motion
for [a] new trial, etc., etc. The result of which is that the case is
to come before the Supreme Court in January next at Columbus.
So I shall have a chance to blow off in two murder cases instead
of one at that time.
I have been even more lucky than in the other case in pleasing
the court and bar. I've evidently hit upon a good lead.
R. B. HAYES.
CINCINNATI, May 15, 1852.
DEAR UNCLE:-- I doubt very much whether you will get this
note; but if you do I wish you would get me a couple of law
books, viz: "The Trial of Dr. Webster." The best edition is
quite a large volume to be had at Little & Brown's bookstore
on Washington Street. Also "The Trial of Abner Rogers," a
small volume, at the same place. It is so uncertain about your
getting this that I write nothing but my wants. Am quite well.
R. B. HAYES.
P.S.- The books can be got in New York also, but I don't
know the store.
CINCINNATI, May 30, 1852.
DEAR UNCLE:--I have to thank you for your frequent letters
and also for getting me those books. I could not well write to
you so often, hardly knowing where a letter would find you. "I
am well and doing well and hope these few lines will find you
enjoying the same blessing."
410 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
You will see by the enclosed memoranda that I have looked
hastily into the matter of enjoining the Junction Railroad from
crossing the bay. I have found only two amendments to the
original charter (both passed last winter) which bear upon this
question. Are there any others? If not it seems to me very
probable that the amendments will be held to authorize the
company merely to extend their road beyond, and not to change
its location from the points originally in their charter.
However this may be, I am confident there is no doubt at all
about it, that if their manner of crossing the bay will materially
hinder or obstruct navigation, they will be enjoined from doing it.
This is a question of fact, as to the hindrance to navigation, I
mean, which you know a great deal more about than I do; but
I should say that for sail vessels to be forced through the narrow
gap of a drawbridge instead of having some miles of scope would
be a most serious impairment of the present usefulness of the
bay for purposes of navigation. If so the courts will without
question enjoin the railroad company from crossing....
Jesse Stem writes me a long letter; means to be a corn-planter
on the upper Brazos. Health good.--Write.
R. B. HAYES.
CINCINNATI, July 4, 1852.
DEAR UNCLE:--. . . . I had a long letter from Guy
Bryan a few days ago. He said he had written to some friend
of yours, a Mr. Sullivan, as to Texas matters. He wants to get
a couple of carpenters at thirty dollars a month and boarded, and
wished [them] for six months or a year from November next.
Do you know such?
R. B. HAYES.
P. S.--Hurrah for Scott. "Old Lundy" is bound to win. No
need of working, only laugh and hurrah.--H.
MARRIED AND PROSPEROUS, 1852-1854 411
AT. MR. VALETTE's, FREMONT, OHIO, July 17, 1852.
DEAREST:--. . . . It is not a great while, I find by count-
ing the days on my fingers, since I left Cincinnati, and that which
is dearer to me than aught else, beside, viz: your own sweet self.
That no prodigious length of time, as time is computed in the
almanack, has elapsed is true enough, but absence from the
"apple of one's eye" makes figures to seem great liars in making
up such calculations. Still, I have been so occupied, and that
pleasantly, too, that days have sped faster far than under other
circumstances they might have done.
The railroad ride to Tiffin was not particularly agreeable.
Had no acquaintances on the cars; saw one or two pretty girls
whose faces I studied as if they were sitting to me for their
portraits. [We] were delayed two or three hours in the woods
by the running off the track of another train, and reached Tiffin
about six P. M. Met Mr. Stem there and agreed with him to
be at his father's, where the girls are, Green Spring, tomorrow
evening. Saw also his brother, a young man of my own age,
and a favorite of mine, really bloated, shockingly so, with liquor.
Of such a family, so good a fellow, in these temperance times
too, and recently married! It is too bad. I don't much blame
people for being a little ultra in view of such warnings.
After supper I came down to Fremont, a pleasant ride on a
good plank road of three hours, and found the whole family
here asleep, at 9:30 o'clock! Uncle and I talked till after
midnight. He begun by showing me his new paintings and
pictures. We talked of Gympsey*, lovingly of course, for she is
a great favorite both from description and "upon actual view."
Next day, Wednesday, I sauntered about town shaking hands
and answering the same questions scores of times, as well as
asking the same. Called on Ann Maria Olmsted, a tolerably good-
looking, very sensible girl of twenty-five, educated in the coldish
Presbyterian manners of the North, but estimable and rather
agreeable withal; Minerva Justice, she [her] of the plant, who
was "out," and Octavia Dickinson, a plump, fine-looking girl of
French parentage on one side, and Catholic education at our
*A pet name of Miss Webb.
412 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
Notre Dame, who is free and laughing and about your age and
with enough of your qualities to make me like her; so I invited
her to a ride to Green Spring with a little party the next day.
Thursday, ten of us went to the springs, eight miles, a beautifully
wooded grove where we spent the afternoon splashing one an-
other, throwing May-apples, keeping off mosquitoes, and other
nonsense. Took a country tavern supper, great for variety but
poor for cooking, and started for home in the cool of the evening.
By the by, while supper was preparing I called over at Mr.
Stem's, saw Cleme looking as mildly sweet as a descended angel,
reminding me of you in that respect! . . . . In the evening
we attended a small party of married and a few young folks
marked by a little singing and a great deal of card playing and
Yesterday made myself useful to Uncle, and last evening at-
tended a large party of "young" folks which was exceedingly
agreeable. Devoted myself to an old flame, Kate Fitch, to
Octavia, and to the Miss Julia Chapman whose beauty allured me
to lie through the strict rules of the Notre Dame School, as I
once told you.
Uncle says that Glenn will probably build a pretty little sum-
mer retreat on the adjoining farm, and he says if I will promise
to spend here two or three months in the hot weather,
or to send my wife here, he will build me one in a pleasant grove
hard by. How say you? Shall I promise? I feel like doing it.
Uncle and myself start for Columbus day after tomorrow.
We return here in a few days, I suppose, but you will write me,
love, instanter on receipt of this (directed to Columbus) . .
a loving letter from the warmest corner of your heart and make
Yours truly and lovingly,
Miss Lucy W. WEBB.
FREMONT, July 26, 1852.
DEAREST:--Don't ask me, I couldn't answer it if you did,
whether I was most surprised or delighted upon the receipt of
yours of the 19th. Both feelings--surprise and pleasure--
were a good deal excited. Only think of it, a young lady who
MARRIED AND PROSPEROUS, 1852-1854 413
esteems her epistolary powers of such an humble kind that it
ordinarily requires a month of bitter reflection to screw her
courage up to the sticking-place, has actually written a letter of
good wholesome dimensions before, by the strict rules of eti-
quette, she was required to do it! Oh, I have great hopes of
thee, my dear one. If you are so soon grown strong in a point
which was lately your weakest, I know not what heights of
achievement are beyond your reach. . . . . "An apology
for writing"? No, no, my love, no apology is needed by you for
anything you are likely to do in your conduct towards me. So
long as that loving heart is true, and it cannot be otherwise, I
shall view all you do and say through a medium which makes
the rough places smooth and the dark light. But when the
thing done is one which pleases me so well as a good letter
from you never fails to do, my warmest acknowledgments to
you, instead of your apology to me, are what is natural and ap-
propriate. . . . .
But I did write to you as early, I think, as the 16th and
enclosed it to Billy Rogers, but by some arrangement, or dis-
arrangement rather, it had not reached you on the 19th. I wrote
again from Columbus on the 21St, which letter I suppose reached
you before you left Cincinnati.
. . . . Don't let those "tares" disturb your peace of mind.
I have no fears as to the result of my "schooling." When I
remember how I've rooted out of your daily speech certain
phrases which I suppose you have now almost forgotten how to
use, and how easily you take up your pen, I feel the truth of
the old saw: "The difficulty is not in the doing but in the
attempting to do great deeds." The fact is you are a bird, a bird
of paradise. Uncle says he'll write to you one of these days, only
he fears you'll not be able to read his scrawl.
I think of you constantly, but especially these fine moonlit
evenings as I walk the porch in front of this pleasantly shaded
farmhouse. I don't just know how I shall get through the sum-
mer without seeing you. I suspect I shall have to run down to
Chillicothe to see you. I did mean not to do it. I hate going
until the railroad is finished. I've said so often I'd not go until
414 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
Think of me all pleasant thoughts, as I always do
of you, and I will promise to love you ever as I do now.
Yours only, ever,
Miss Lucy W. WEBB.
FREMONT, July 26, 1852.
DEAR FANNY:--I have regretted ever since I left Columbus
that I didn't wait a few days for Laura, thinking she might pos-
sibly have returned with me after it was impossible for you to do
so. I shall be at Gambier August 4, a week from Wednesday,
and will perhaps go to Columbus, when if it is convenient for
any of you to return here with me, I shall be very glad to have
you. . . . . Write me at once as to the probabilities, as
my coming to Columbus will depend somewhat on that.
Nothing new here. Belinda [McLelland, a cousin] with her
quiet, sorrowful, hope-bereft smile listens to what we say as if she
thought "this is too good to last," a sort of perpetual melancholy
which I am not at all partial to. Mr. McLelland has a phiz with
a corresponding expression, but more pale, more pious, and less
apt to smile. Their eldest, Jane, aged ten or eleven, is a toler-
ably fine-looking girl of the sandy-complexion kind, quiet,
amiable, good, but having too little vitality to be a very enter-
taining child. Mary is a stout, wilful, spoiled, pretty girl of four,
with beautiful hair as white as snow, quite bright, and therefore
interesting, but naturally, or by being spoiled, selfish. She is in
a never-ceasing squabble with Johnny Pease, who is also stout
and has a will of his own. I am on the best of terms with both
of them, and my appearance is the signal for a quarrel as to
which shall monopolize the most of my attentions.
. . . .John R. [Pease] looks like a wreck, partly from
ill health but chiefly from a profound conviction that he has one
foot in the grave, which never leaves him five minutes of cheer-
ful joy at a time. One cannot but notice how Uncle continues
the happiest, busiest, and healthiest, too, among all those who
have been his acquaintances and friends here. He is full of
railroading, politics, building, and fun, a combination as en-
grossing as rare. Until this year there has been so little building
MARRIED AND PROSPEROUS, 1852-1854 415
in this town that it is impossible now that everyone is at it to get
either materials or hands fast enough to push matters beyond a
snail's pace. With all his energy, I hardly expect to see Uncle's
building under cover this fall. Yet I verily believe we should
all have been off on the great Scott spree at Lundy's Lane if I had
not sprinkled cold water on it, Mr. Valette leaving his harvest,
Uncle his building, Dr. Rawson his patients. And Buckland did
leave all his multifarious engagements. Great country this is!
You would enjoy it here at Mrs. Valette's greatly, I know.
It is amusing to hear Uncle go off on his pictures. Just such
pictures were never hung up in any gallery before! 'Twon't do
to doubt or dispute an item of his opinions or narratives while
he is in the fury of his rhapsodies; but after it is all said over
two or three times and assented to by his auditor, he will receive
and adopt any sensible suggestion most willingly, although the
same thing intimated a half hour earlier would have been over-
whelmed with all manner of ridicule, assertion, and invective.
We have great sport over said pictures.
Lucy Webb and her mother are in Chillicothe at present and
will be some time longer.-- Love to all.
MRS. W. A. PLATT.
COLUMBUS, August 6, 1852.
LUCY DEAREST:--I left Fremont Sunday evening, stopped a
day among the panic-stricken, cholera-smitten people of Sandusky,
staid two days, two happy days, among the students, alumni,
and visitors at Gambier, and reached here last evening. My
sister's family are all well, and, save the disfigurement of a
scratch or two, they are (the little ones I mean) the prettiest
little gems of humanity I ever saw.
Since I wrote you last I have attended a country dance and
picnic twenty miles from Fremont out on the prairie. A rough
flooring was spread under a clump of trees, on which we danced
"by the light of the moon" till late hours were turned to early
ones. Myself and another gentleman with our respective "dam-
sels" were the only town folks present. The weather was of the
416 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
loveliest,--perhaps you remember it, a week ago Thursday,--
and if instead of the very agreeable and fine-looking fair one
who was with me, I had had one who was not with me, but who
was too much in my thoughts to make me entirely present
at the scene where she was absent, I should certainly have
spent one of the most delightful evenings of my life. As it
was I survived it.
At Gambier I attended a charming party of young and
old, embracing many Cincinnati fashionables; a dinner of the
alumni, ratherish good; and a whole-hearted festive reunion
of the secret club, Phi Zeta. The latter kept in session till a
late hour, our only married brother having returned to his wife
at 12 midnight. We wound up our meeting by adjourning at
2 A. M. to his gate and singing "Auld Lang Syne."
Billy Rogers was there. Poor fellow! His yielding good
nature, as usual, stood between him and the highest pleasure.
He had been inveigled to escort a couple (relatives perhaps) of
the Misses Lawrence from Circleville, who dragged him about
from Hall to Library "like a sheep," etc. I am really appre-
hensive that he will be carried off, "engaged," and married to
some contriving and self-willed miss by reason of his extreme
anxiety to do as others are pleased to have him. He will be
here tonight on his way home....
Uncle talks a good deal about you, wonders especially whether
you will like his paintings, fears he shall not like you if you don't.
I tell him there is no danger on that score for I'll warn you of
what is wanted. To which he replies,"No, no, that won't do.
I can tell reality from affectation," etc., etc.
Last night I called on Dr. John A. [Little] and lady. She
looks sweeter than ever . . . . Called also on Miss Belle
Gardiner and Ellen; ought to have mentioned Ellen first as she is
the elder. They "talked book" as they always do; not the most
entertaining talk in the world, unless talked by a very strong-
minded, original woman, and said Ellen and Belle being neither
one nor the other, their talk, ergo, was not "the most interesting
in the world."
Fanny tells me: "Say to Gympsey for me that some day when
my babes are all asleep I mean to write her a letter." By the by,
MARRIED AND PROSPEROUS, 1852-1854 417
Fanny and Laura intend returning with me to Fremont.
Whether they will do so or not is quite another matter. If they
do go with me, we shall start Tuesday morning, the 10th. So,
my dear, put on one of your industrious fits and write me a letter
that will reach me Monday if possible at this place....
Fanny says that Hatty and Mr. Solis made a bargain when they
were engaged to write to each other once a month! Cool was
it not? I would break off an engagement that would live on
such a short allowance of correspondence. . . .
Fanny's garden is now looking charmingly. I wish you were
here to walk about in it with me tonight. . . . . Write
often and remember to think kindly of one who can't help
loving dearly his charming Gympsey R.
P.S.- And wouldn't if he could.--R.
MISS LUCY W. WEBB.
COLUMBUS, August 22, 1852.
DEAR Lucy: - Don't be nervous, nothing has happened, is
happening, or is a-going to happen, so far as I know, that need
affect your pulse. I write again so soon because it is convenient,
combined with another equally good reason, because I love you
dearly this holy Sabbath morning. You see by the date that I
have moved a hundred miles nearer to you since I wrote you that
awful scribbling from Esquire Dickinson's office in Fremont.
Fanny and Laura returned with me yesterday. They enjoyed
their visit and travels very much. The last evening at Mr.
Valette's we had the subject of matrimony, the prospect of my
ever marrying, whether I was engaged and what sort of a damsel
Lucy Webb was, up for discussion. Birchard, Mrs. Valette, and
Fanny were the "leading disputants" as we say in "the Club."
Birchard 'thought everybody ought to marry; none but fools lived
singly unless under compulsion.' Mrs. Valette 'thought I was
certainly engaged, never thought so before when she had heard
rumors to that effect, but now there was something indescribable
in my manner which confirmed the reports she had heard; had no
doubt of it. Mr. Hayes needn't deny it. Would like to know
when (?) was to be, and who this Miss Webb was.' Fanny
hoped and believed the rumors were true. She knew Miss
418 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
Webb.' Here Mrs. Valette interposed: "How does she look?
Is she tall or short?" "She is quite pretty, tall, or rather just
right, not too tall but not 'dumpy'; you know I hate 'dumpy'
people. She has a charming disposition, is merry as a cricket,
and if she was here tonight her laugh would make Uncle ten
Here Birchard interrupted: "Well, why doesn't the fool marry
her? I don't believe she'll have him. If she will and he doesn't
marry her pretty soon, I'll get mad and marry some old maid
This is a tolerable daguerreotype of the debate, and, speaking
of daguerreotypes, they insisted on my showing yours, but alas!
I had none. The next time you see Mr. Faris, that must be
attended to. The one he took of me is so much better than the
one you have that I was tempted to steal it from Mrs. Valette
to whom I gave it a couple of years ago.
As to my movements: I return to Fremont tomorrow; shall
remain a week, return here, and stay over night, and reach
Cincinnati the evening before the first of September. I am a
little disappointed not to find a letter here from you, but shall
confidently expect one when I return here a week hence.
. . . . I have had a delightful summer vacation the last
six weeks, have enjoyed myself as much as I ever did in the same
length of time in my life, but yet I see how the pleasure could
have been immeasurably increased. Do you guess how? By
simply having with me as my own dear wife the loved and I am
sure loving one with whom I am now conversing. That was all
that was wanting to fill the cup, and another summer shall not
be passed by me without your sweet self as my own if I can
help it. That glorious country house of Mr. Valette's would
have been enlivened, lively as it was, for me and for all so much
if you could have been there with your sunny smile and sunnier
heart to cheer it as Phoebe did the old "house of seven gables."
And your songs, let me exhort you for the fiftieth time, as
you love me (is there a stronger adjuration?), not to neglect the
songs which can be sung anywhere, any time, without note or
instrument. You do not know how all my happiest hours are
associated in my memory with pleasant songs. With no musical
MARRIED AND PROSPEROUS, 1852-1854 419
taste or cultivation myself, I am yet so fond of simple airs that
I have often thought I could never love a woman who did not
sing them. Fanny sings a little, but a little, yet she enjoys music
to the full as much as anyone.
We had a happy little picnic Thursday at Green Spring.
Lydia, Cleme, and Fanny sung snatches of all the songs they
knew, -- they hardly knew one entire song, -- and yet it added
vastly to the delights of the occasion. Lydia and Cleme inquired
kindly after Miss Webb, doing it very quietly as if fearing my
modesty might construe their interest into a little sly waggery.
Remember me, no, my love to your mother.
Believe me ever, yours, R.
MISS LUCY W. WEBB.
CINCINNATI, September 7, 1852.
DEAR UNCLE:--I enclose you herewith your will and also a
draft of a new one which changes the former in the manner we
were speaking of at Bellevue.
I found that I had lost nothing by remaining away during the
summer, but business is brightening a little now, and I shall not
go either to the Whig Convention or State Fair. I do hope you
will not get too warmly enlisted in politics. The result is cer-
tainly in doubt, great doubt. In this county the Whigs will do
much better than usual. I shall speak a few times, but having
no desire to figure in political life, at least not as I now view
such things, I do not care about making much effort as a political
In regard to the matter of marrying, I am of your way of
thinking. I don't like to be too dependent, but still as things are,
I think I should not feel any delicacy in calling on you in case
of need. One of Lucy's brothers is now very low, I feel quite
doubtful as to his recovery, so that nothing will be determined
just now, but as soon as that consideration is out of the way,
I shall see that your "suggestion" is adopted on short notice.
This I am determined on and you may rely upon it . . . .
R. B. HAYES
420 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
CINCINNATI, September 13, 1852.
DEAR MOTHER:-- Your letter enclosing the obituary notice of
Uncle William, I received yesterday. I am, of course, sensible
enough that there are wide differences in many respects between
my excellent uncle and myself, but really I hope you will not feel
conscience-smitten because of any fancied neglect on your part
of my early training. I suppose very few persons have less to
regret as to their opportunities in early life than your children.
The loss of our father was a far greater calamity to you than I can
possibly imagine it to have been to Fanny and myself. So far
as religious example and instruction were needed or could have
influence we certainly had the advantage of both. You must
remember, Mother, that ideas upon religious duties have changed
almost as much among the best of people in a few years past as
notions upon any other subject. That there are some such duties
we all believe, and in the end we shall, I hope, be all near enough
right not to suffer greatly for our errors of judgment.
Uncle William's death is a great affliction to us all. I do
regret it greatly, the more that he was so soon to return to his
native country,* but we cannot control these dispensations. To
Aunt Emily the event is the more distressing as she is left so
My health is excellent. I make a few speeches these days on
politics. They do no hurt, but I am not sanguine, as Uncle
Birchard is, as to the result. Glad Greeley pleased him. It will
make very little difference with either of us who is President,
but I shall learn a little as to public speaking and make some
acquaintances and friends.
Love to all. Affectionately, R. B. HAYES.
MRS. SOPHIA HAYES.
CINCINNATI, September 14, 1852.
DEAR UNCLE:--. . . . I am in fine health; prospects of
business steadily improving. The City Bank having pretty nearly
ceased to do any business, I shall be cut off from about two
*William Hayes, a cultured gentleman, was for many years American
consul at Bridgetown, Barbados, where his death occurred and in whose
cemetery he was buried.
MARRIED AND PROSPEROUS, 1852-1854 421
hundred dollars for protesting but my docket of court business is
looking up considerably. My increase of business is chiefly from
being employed by brother lawyers to assist them in the manage-
ment of their own cases.
I am posted to speak with Charley Anderson and Caleb B.
Smith,--only one of them at a time--at half a dozen Whig
meetings. Shall of course let them do the most of the speaking
so as to run no risk of injuring myself. I shall make no speeches
in the open air. I have made three set speeches, being the only
speaker, at large ward meetings. My success was quite to my
desire. We cannot fail to do well in this city and county, but
if one tenth that the Loco-foco leaders say is true, we are sure
to be beaten in the State and country. They are playing the brag
game and our folks must not be discouraged by it; but it is, per-
haps, as well for us to prepare to meet the result, if adverse,
Don't get to work out of doors yourself. It is far better for
you to spend a little money than to risk your health.
Love to friends.
R. B. HAYES.
September 24, 1852.- A world of time and events have passed
since last I scribbled here. Have been engaged in two more
murder cases. Gained some credit in the most notorious one,
viz., [the] James Summons case. Have spent happily a six-
weeks vacation with Uncle in Fremont, and with Fanny and
Laura there also. Had a pleasant commencement time at Gam-
bier--a merry meeting of the Phi Zeta Club; was appointed to
address the alumni next year; must do it well. Since my return
have made some political speeches, neither very good nor very
bad; enough to satisfy me that with a motive, and my heart in
the work, I could do it creditably. I would like to see General
Scott elected President. But there is so little interest felt by the
great body of thinking men that I shall not be surprised at his
defeat; indeed, my mind is prepared for such a result.
The real grounds of difference upon important political ques-
422 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
tions no longer correspond with party lines. The progressive
Whig is nearer in sentiment to the radical Democrat than the
radical Democrat is to the "fogy" of his own party; vice versa.
Politics is no longer the topic of this country. Its important
questions are settled--both on the construction of the Consti-
tution and the fundamental principles which underlie all constitu-
tions. Consequently, the best minds of the country will no longer
be engaged in solving political questions, in meditating on political
subjects. Great minds hereafter are to be employed on other
matters; or if upon political or semipolitical questions it will
not be upon those which are to determine who are to govern, to
hold office, etc. Government no longer has its ancient importance.
Its duties and its powers no longer reach to the happiness of
the people. The people's progress, progress of every sort, no
longer depends on government. But enough of politics. Hence-
forth I am out more than ever.
The prospect of a union with the one I love best is now upper-
most in my thoughts. No time [is] fixed, but a sort of under-
standing that as soon as her brother's health is in some degree
restored, this happiness is to be enjoyed. A great change but a
joyous one in my way of life, this will be.
My Uncle William, the favorite of all the Hayes connections,
died last summer. Links with the past daily severed. Loved
ones lost more and more till our own hour comes.
CINCINNATI, September 25, 1852.
DEAR UNCLE:-- I received your Sunday letter just as I was
starting off to the railroad celebration at Hillsboro. Quite a
number of my cronies and a host of the nabobs went up. There
were from five to ten thousand people on hand to help devour
the roast oxen and other eatables. I quartered on McDowell and
had great fun. As we had very few speakers in our city crowd,
I had to bear a hand at that part of the business. Hillsboro is a
delightful town. I shall occasionally run up there with McDowell
now that we can do it in two or three hours.
I suppose your railroad will soon be carrying passengers. In
noticing the improvement in the villages along the line of the
MARRIED AND PROSPEROUS, 1852-1854 423
Hillsboro Railroad I could not help thinking of your hopes as to
the advantage to Fremont of the one you are building. You
cannot, it seems to me, be disappointed. The effects follow in
the same manner everywhere.
I have nothing new about politics. I have no opportunity
here of knowing much about other parts of the State. There is
certainly very little interest felt in many localities. This is us-
ually against us. Perhaps the quiet work of organization under-
taken by the State Central Committee may bring out the vote on
our side. If so, we may be able to carry the State. But in such
quiet times there is no calculating beforehand, and I always feel
inclined to prepare my mind for the worst. Governor Lucas has
written a Scott letter which ought to be reprinted in our papers
and circulated in Democratic localities.
The City Bank is doing no business scarcely. I attend to their
law business and protesting. The latter amounts to nothing now,
but the former will be good for something while they are winding
up. What they intend to do, wind up or go on, I can't tell; don't
think they have determined.
Your friends here are all well. Lucy is fine as a picture;
frequently asks when you are coming down.
Love to all. Don't work hard, nor care what happens.
R. B. HAYES.
CINCINNATI, October 2, 1852.
DEAR UNCLE:--Mitchell, who is still here on account of his
wife's illness, tells me you are getting along well with your
building. Very glad to hear it. Also that the railroad is done to
Fremont. McCormick, who addressed your Democrats and with
whom I am on the best of terms, speaks well of your town;
thinks it is bound to grow up fast. . . .
Nothing new with me. I speak pretty often. It agrees with
me--my health I mean.
Everybody agrees that within three weeks past the Scott feel-
ing has risen greatly, that the prospect of carrying Ohio improves
every day. The same is true of Indiana. The state elections in
424 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
both States, week after next, may be against us so much as to
prevent our carrying them, but our chance is good and getting
I had a letter from Mother and Fanny the day before yester-
day. Both are very well. Fanny was much taken with General
Scott. His journey through this State and Kentucky was "a ten-
strike." They may talk about it as they please. "Toot, toot, and
be d-----d, I've got your money," will apply to them very well.
General Scott gets votes by it. I don't consider the thing by any
means sure yet, but my hopes, as you see, are much strengthened
of late. Don't hurt yourself electioneering. No use, the work
will all be done.
R. B. HAYES.
October 7, 1852.--Another birthday passed; thought of it;
mentioned it to Gympy. Quite a change in my position, and repu-
tation since one year ago; very little change in my pecuniary pros-
pects. Business seems to come slowly, discouragingly so; but my
success in various efforts in my profession have been so flatter-
ing that I cannot despond. Besides, the happy thoughts I am
filled with these days when home occurs to me make me quite
hopeful and cheerful.--Ideas don't flow this sultry afternoon.
CINCINNATI, October 12, 1852.
DEAR UNCLE:--It is about midnight of election day. Every
Whig in the city either drunk or crazy over our victory. We
have elected Scott Harrison to Congress over Roll, our sheriff,
and most of the important officers, and reduced the Loco majority
on state ticket to a small figure. This victory almost insures
the German vote to Scott next month. You can have no idea
of the way Whigs feel over such a victory.
R. B. HAYES.
MARRIED AND PROSPEROUS, 1852-1854 425
P. S. (Morning).--The Loco state ticket gets from fifteen
hundred to two thousand majority. All hands agree that Ohio
is for Scott. The Enquirer people say it looks squally for Pierce.
Whigs are still crazy. Charley Anderson says he shall never
pass a German without taking off his hat to him hereafter.
Every two minutes I hear some Whig cry, "Hurrah for the Ger-
mans!" They gave us the victory. We send a Whig German
to the Legislature!
October 14--I feel gloomy today. Why my spirits are de-
pressed, I cannot well divine. Probably the late hours and the
excitement of the election just passed are the chief cause. Partly
health too--physical causes have contributed to it. I feel vexed
with myself that I study so little; vexed that I have not so much
business as I think I should have. My hopes of a successful
result in the approaching Presidential election, also, are waxing
feeble "by degrees and beautifully less." I shall speak a few times
before the election, and then farewell for a time--I hope for a
long time--to politics with its excitements, its dissapointments,
and all the distracting and dissipating cares and thoughts which
belong to it. Then for steady and serious effort in the line of
I will now begin to read for my argument of the Nancy Farrer
case before the court in banc at Columbus. I mean that shall be
the best effort of my life. First the trial of Abner Rogers.--I
shall write here as I read such notions as strike me. [The
numerous notes and citations in preparation for his argument
given in the Diary are omitted.]
CINCINNATI, October 17, 1852.
DEAR UNCLE:--We are a good deal disappointed with the
result of the late election in other parts of the State. If we had
not been beaten elsewhere so outrageously, the Whigs here could
have kept the Locos from raising their heads here at the next
426 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
election. They were completely broken and disheartened. Even
now they feel doubtful about their own existence; but their recent
victories abroad will encourage and unite them again. My own
opinion is that Scott is beaten, but there is a possible chance and
we ought to fight for it, and not let it get out that we are not
confident of success. There is this crumb of comfort, that
wherever there has been a hot contest on local tickets we have
done well on our state ticket--well enough to have carried the
State with a similar contest throughout. Our losses have been
where there was no hope on the local tickets and no contest.
For proof of this, look at this county, Campbell's District, Gallo-
way's District, etc., etc., where we gain handsomely on our state
ticket; and for examples of the opposite, look at Seneca County,
Ross County, etc.
All I write for is to say, Get ready to take defeat as gracefully
as possible. Until within a few weeks I had not much hope that
there was interest enough to give us a full vote, but for three
weeks before the election we were gaining in this region so
rapidly that I began to think our chance a good one. Now I
doubt again. A full vote would elect Scott. A partial vote de-
I shan't write you more than one more letter on politics. I shall
regret defeat in Ohio quite as much on your account as for any
other reason. The truth is there is no principle at stake in the
election. It is only a preference for our party and our man.
"Sour grapes" is the feeling I am trying to cultivate, as you see,
and trust you will be philosopher enough to do the like. But if
we do beat after all, I'll shout as loud as the best of them.
R. B. HAYES.
CINCINNATI, October 22, 1852.
DEAR UNCLE:--Yours of the 19th I received this morning. I
begin to have some faith in your theory of the influence of the
new moon. Nothing short of some hidden ghostly power could
ever have turned Tim Bush and Squire Baker to Loco-focoism.
Well, well, it's no matter of life and death how an election goes
unless you should take it into your excited head to jump onto
MARRIED AND PROSPEROUS, 1852-1854 427
Ned and ride the county. Don't do that if you have any love
for your friends. You have had your day for hard work, and
considering your health you have surely done your share. San-
dusky County did as well (and better) as Seneca or any of its
neighbors, and no doubt will do so again; so let things "work out
their own salvation." We may carry it after all. Stranger things
have happened, but I don't count opon it. Here we feel pretty
well and have rousing meetings while the Loco-foco meetings
are not large.
But I am more bothered about your house; a few hours will
cure you of the defeat at the election, but the house hangs on
woefully. I am glad you will not work so again. But you must
come down here and stay a while. You will never be a man of
leisure at Fremont. You have been working there all your days
and can't break the habit at your time of life.
Miss Webb is now at Chillicothe, but if she were at home
would probably reply, "Nobody asked me, sir, she said." How-
ever this [the date of the wedding] shall be fixed to your entire
satisfaction the first time you come down here.
Our folks at Columbus are all well. I mean to go up there in
two or three weeks and stay a day or two. Love to all.
R. B. HAYES.
CINCINNATI, October 31, 1852.
DEAR UNCLE-- If a letter from me can do anything to dispel
the gloom which bad luck and a moon "over the left" are cal-
cultated [to] throw over your meditations, I am quite willing you
should have it. You have often heard me say that the consola-
tions of friendship in a time when they are needed by reason of
misfortune are always confined to a very limited circle. In such
times the ties of blood and kindred are always, or almost always,
stronger than any other. This is more so in old age than when
we are young. In youth mere friendship is often a warmer and
stronger attachment than relationship, but I fancy that every one
as he grows older desires more and more to lean upon those who
are bound to him by ties which give him a right to their affec-
428 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
tion and support. If anybody in your situation ever had a right
to count upon fidelity on the part of the few of his own blood
to whom he feels attached, you surely are entitled to look for it.
But this is all a matter of course and you know it well enough
without my discoursing about it.
The election will come off by the time this gets to you. I have
not much confidence of a right result but "while there is life there
is hope," and if we should happen to succeed we shall rejoice
all the more that success comes after so discouraging and gloomy
a canvass. While if we fail the disappointment will find us pre-
pared for it. If Pierce is elected the question of annexing Cuba
with war, slavery, and her degraded population becomes at once,
I believe, the great question of the times. On that question we
shall, of course, take the conservative and Northern side, and
will probably find ourselves again in the majority in Ohio, but
"sufficient for the day is the evil thereof."
I went up to Columbus on Wednesday to attend the wedding
of my old sweetheart, Helen Kelly. Had a gay time and en-
joyed myself greatly. Mr. Platt has a chill and fever slightly;
the rest all well and happy. Laura is in particularly good health.
My regards to friends. Shall expect to see you soon.
R. B. HAYES.
November 3, 1852.--My candidate, General Scott, is de-
feated by the most overwhelming vote ever recorded in this
country. A good man, a kind man, a brave man, a true patriot,
but an exceedingly vain, weak man in many points. General
Scott no doubt deserves defeat if weakness and undue anxiety to
be elected can be said to deserve such treatment. I have long
anticipated such a result. Should have felt more sure of it but
for my diffidence in my own judgment and reliance on that of
others; henceforth I shall trust more to my own opinions in
These last two months have added little to my store of knowl-
edge, professional or general, but I have acquired something that
MARRIED AND PROSPEROUS, 1852-1854 429
may be of value in the power to speak to popular assemblies.
Now let me to work for business and to accomplish myself as a
CINCINNATI, November 3, 1852.
DEAR UNCLE:--"Whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth."
Very consolatory text that is. I trust you will apply it to your
own case with proper unction; I am doing so with a good deal of
You have heard of the philosopher who endeavored to extract
sunbeams from cucumbers. Well, we Whigs may as well do the
same thing in this wise: Your town, I see by the reports, did
well, so did my ward, and my town and county tolerably fair.
You may reckon that as sunbeam number one. Not a very bright
beam, it is true, but then you must consider it comes from a
cucumber. Another ray of comfort is, we are beaten so pre-
posterously that we can't lay our defeat to any neglect or blunder
on the part of any of Scott's friends. No prudence or sagacity,
no industry or expense, could have averted the result. There is,
therefore, no self-condemnation. Count this beam number two.
Our Waterloo is so huge that we are not kept several days dang-
ling in suspense between the heaven of success and the pit of
despond, but are compelled to make one big plunge which is over
before we have time to shiver with apprehension, and we are
rejoiced to find ourselves, not killed after all, but alive and kick-
ing. This will do for glimmer number three. I will give but
one more: that is, that the Loco-foco majority is so great that
they must needs divide and so again be conquered. As Judge
Matthews said to me a few days ago, speaking of a legislative
body, if we have only two majority we can rely upon it, but if
it is twenty, some men will think for themselves and we are
beaten by divisions. Well, well, it's all over now; no great odds
anyhow. Hope you take it with your usual philosophy.
Get rid of that building, put on a clean shirt, and come down
to see me.
R. B. HAYES.
430 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
CINCINNATI, November 8, 1852.
DEAR FANNY:--I know it is washing day and therefore
quite improper to intrude upon housekeepers, but happening to
have a little leisure I will write a few words now which you may
delay reading until the clothes are all ironed and nicely put away.
First as to personal items. "I am well and doing, etc." (See
Sam Hinton's stereotyped formula for the rest of the paragraph.)
Friends all ditto, especially Lucy, who returned bright and
blooming Thursday evening.
Skipping to national concerns. I have nothing novel to say
in the way of facts or reflections about the election. The most
remarkable thing about it is, that it's all over and forgotten so
soon. As to the result, Who cares? is a question as hard to
answer as was a few months ago, "Who is General Pierce?"
Mother ought to feel consoled by knowing that the result is a
sort of anti-catholic triumph. Laura should find solace in think-
ing that it is probably a judgment on Mr. Pierson for being so
The event of the last week has been the sojourn among us of
the notorious Christian infidel, Theodore Parker, of Boston. He
delivered three lectures and one sermon during his three days'
visit. His lectures were on "Progress," "The True and False
Ideas of a Gentleman," and "Woman." His sermon was a gen-
eral resume of the ideas of God which have prevailed in all
times down to the present. He aims to be and is witty,--very
funny; talks in an easy, conversational way with some of the
hesitancy of utterance noticeable in Emerson and in English
speakers; pronounces many words in the old-fashioned way, clerk
clark, either ither, gentleman gintleman, etc., etc. He looks in-
differently well but intellectually; face and head not unlike J. Q.
Adams; is bold as Caesar, "calls a spade a spade," whenever he
has occasion to speak of that implement; seems to be sincere; is a
man of much more sober thought and of sounder judgment than
I had supposed; knows all things almost up to omniscience
bearing on the topics he handles; is fond of giving collateral
stabs at opinions, characters, and parties, and often does it in
most amusing fashion.
On "Progress" he, of course, said not much that was novel;
MARRIED AND PROSPEROUS, 1852-1854 431
thought the human race "began in the world" some six or sixty
thousands years ago very low down in the scale of existence, and
had gradually developed into their present "well-to-do" condi,
tion, ignoring thereby the old notion that Adam and Eve were
very "genteel" people; indeed, ignoring altogether the fact of
there having been such persons who once raised flowers and
vegetables in Eden. The idea of a gentleman was simply a cor-
rect account of the article, true and false, wittily and graphically
described; the false held up to merited contempt and ridicule,
and the true exalted to the topmost round.
A critic would say that there was more ad captandum effort
in this lecture than was needed. But the talk of all was his
sermon. He gave us the notions entertained by all the early
heathen peoples of God, showing them to be absurd enough;
then, the Hebrew, Mosaic and patriarchal, idea of Divinity was
a very narrow and imperfect one. The God of the Old Testa-
ment is partial, revengeful, hating and loving without just cause,
unmerciful, etc., etc.--which, I think, he proved by the books.
The New Testament idea was juster, higher, but still imperfect.
For it represents Him as not perfect in love, justice, goodness,
or even power. For it makes Him the author of absolute and
eternal evil, viz.: a Devil and Hell and endless punishment, and
represents Him as compelled to resort to suffering to save his
creatures. The writers of the best religion found in literature,
viz.: Fenelon, Swedenborg, William Law, Wordsworth, and
Channing approach more nearly to the true idea, but yet their
reflections are tinged with a fear, an apprehension, that God is as
represented in the New Testament, wrathful; though not a full
acknowledgment, but feeble denial rather, of this is found in
their works. But the true idea now beginning to struggle with
the popular theology is that God is a perfect being in love, justice,
mercy, power, etc., etc.
Have you seen a couple of letters by Webster, one to his
farmer in New Hampshire which is queer, merely a curiosity;
the other written from his farm in New Hampshire, in which
he speaks of old times, his father, who, he says, "was the hand-
somest man he ever saw except his brother Ezekiel, and he was
perfection. Oh, so beautiful as he lay in his coffin!"? I fancy
432 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
that a good collection of Webster's letter will be the most interest-
ing of his "remains."
Love to all.--Yours,
R. B. HAYES.
MRS. W. A. PLATT.
CINCINNATI, November 10, 1852.
DEAR UNCLE:-- Why is it Mrs. Valette thinks you voted for
Pierce? Because you are "so"- what? The word looks this
way, "rugerd"; but what word is that? Are you "so rejoiced,"
"so enraged," or "so ragged," that she thinks you voted for
Pierce? I guess it is the latter; if so, the reason is a bad one,
for it was the well-dressed Whigs, the Fillmore and Webster men,
not the "ragged" ones, who went over to Pierce and left "old
Mr. Scott" nowhere in the race. I, of course, would repel in-
dignantly a slander upon my uncle, but I must know what the
slander is. Does it consist in the charge of having voted for
Pierce or in the charge of being "ragged"? If the former you
will have no difficulty in establishing your innocence of the
charge, if you are innocent, for the number who supported the
late Winfield Scott is so small that there is no danger of being
overlooked in the crowd! But if the slander is that you are
"ragged," you had better plead guilty and throw yourself on the
mercy of the court. For when a person of respectable parentage
and connections, who has spent twenty years of his manhood
either as a merchant or a gentleman of leisure, becomes so re-
duced as to be forced during the sultriest days of summer and
the most inclement weather of November to tend mason for
bricklayers and do chores for day laborers, I think it is no slan-
der to call him "ragged"! If he isn't ragged he ought to be!
Judge and Will Lane [of Sandusky] were here a few days
ago. Will told me that the Junction Railroad had secured a
crossing over Huron River after a contest before Judge Otis.
This is as I anticipated. You perhaps remember that I thought
last summer that there was hardly good grounds for an injunc-
tion in that case. He also told me that they would send a speci-
fication of their plan of crossing the bay (as soon as it was de-
termined upon) to the mayor of Fremont. They really mean to
MARRIED AND PROSPEROUS, 1852-1854 433
cross the bay if possible; and when we consider how important
such crossings may in some cases be to railroads, and how the
relative importance of navigable streams as compared with such
roads is daily diminishing, the question as to the right to cross
the bay cannot but be regarded as doubtful, although the law as
heretofore held by the courts would not, I am confident, permit
it. Nevertheless you must keep a stiff upper lip; the chances are
certainly worth fighting for.
The plan of crossing will probably be by a platform on a
pivot leaving two passages of sixty or seventy feet each on either
side of it with piers or wings one or two hundred feet long, on
which the sailors can warp or tow their vessels into and through
the passage. This will in bad weather certainly be a considerable
obstruction to navigation. The Sandusky people will, of course,
have witnesses who will swear down the obstruction to almost
no obstacle at all; you will have to meet this with counter testi-
mony. You will interest yourself considerably in the matter, but
as every other property-holder is also interested, I would see
when the time comes that others are in the boat with you to
share the expense, etc., etc. Will also told me, when I suggested
the difficulty about their charter, that they might be forced to use
other charters, the charter of the----,-----& Mississippi rail-
road, for instance, and by combining the charters together get
over the difficulty, if there was one, under the Junction charter.
This I knew nothing about when I wrote you last summer as to
the matter. There may be something in this possibly.
Glad to hear you are all coming down.
R. B. HAYES.
CINCINNATI, November 18,1852.
DEAR UNCLE:- . . . The case of the Canal Company
was probably not a very good one; but whatever merit it really
had was completely buried in the rubbish which bad manage-
ment heaped upon it. Some of their proofs were quite amusing.
One fellow testified that "he was a sailor by trade" and that in
his judgment "the building of the Junction Railroad bridge
434 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
across Huron River would prove to the business of Milan, its
wharves and warehouses, and the income of its canal like a con-
sumption to the body, which however gradual and imperceptible
for a day is more surely fatal than the rapid cholera"! All
which might be very true, but altogether too figuratively ex-
pressed for a man who could hardly sign his name, and who was
"a sailor by trade." I did get some items however from the
transaction which are worth bearing in mind. Judge McLean is
[as] stiff as a crowbar on the subject of such obstructions to
navigation. The Wheeling Bridge case is a pet case with him.
He will allow an injunction very willingly in any proper case. If
you can raise funds enough to carry on a big fight, I think that
two suits ought to be carried on; one in the United States Court,
and one in the state courts. All that is required to get into the
United States Court is that the party complaining shall reside in
another State. This can easily be managed, if any non-resident
property-holder will permit his name to be used. But there is
time enough for all this.
R. B. HAYES.
CINCINNATI, November 20, 1852.
DEAR UNCLE:--When I got up this morning I made up my
mind that this thing of passing my days as a bachelor was a
humbug. The only reason for doing it that I can think of is
that I am not making money. Well, I have thought this over
and come to the conclusion that I never shall get rich as a bach-
elor. I doubt if I ever shall as a married man, but I am a-going
to take the step. I am a tolerable lawyer and I can do divers
other things tolerably well. Possibly the stimulus of having
others depending on me may sharpen my wits in the way of get-
ting money; but whether or no, I shall fix the day tomorrow be-
fore going to Columbus if it can be done, and I think it can.
Now what I want is to dispose of that sawmill tract or the
house and lot, so as to be able to raise some money to keep soul
and body together for self and wife during the winter at least;
as for the future I shall trust in Providence. Now, give me
MARRIED AND PROSPEROUS, 1852-1854 435
your best "suggestion," or you may make a "motion" if you
prefer it. I've made up my mind now and it will go.
I shall probably be at Columbus Tuesday and Wednesday on
business and then return.
Yours, R. B. HAYES.
CINCINNATI, December 3, 1852.
DEAR UNCLE:-- . . . Received yours of the 29th. I
have agreed with Lucy as to the marrying. We shall be ready
for the important event about the first of January; will have it a
week or two from that time either before or after to suit the
convenience of friends. So if you have anything to say on that
point let us hear it now "or forever after," etc.
As to money, I do not see that I shall want much at present.
We shall board during the winter, not determined where as yet,
and of course there will be no necessity of drawing largely on
the exchequer unless we should furnish our own rooms. Shall,
perhaps, need your assistance but will let you know. One thing,
I can always get [money] of the house I deposit with for present
need, and so not call on you without some notice. I can sell out
my interest in the coal lands for five hundred dollars. Did think
some of doing it, but have made up my mind to ask at least one
thousand dollars. It will be worth more than that in a few
months if times keep good.
By the by, if you have any thought of speculating at Toledo
or anywhere, "now is the accepted time." If I get a chance to
bid off a house during the winter, I mean to do it for there is no
danger of its being worth less in the spring or summer. I shall
not want any money until after you come down and we have a
Yours, R. B. HAYES.
CINCINNATI, December 12, 1852.
DEAR UNCLE:--Yours of the 9th is received. You know I
would like to see you here any time. As for the being present at
my wedding, so far as I am concerned it amounts to nothing. I
436 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
shall be just as glad to see you a week before or after as at that
time; but some folks think their salvation depends on seeing all
their friends' weddings; I didn't know but that was one of your
superstitions; if it isn't, don't think of risking health or inter-
fering with other engagements to attend mine on my account,
for honestly I don't care a straw whether you come at that par-
ticular time or not. It's a matter of no moment at all. I will
send you word of the time one of these days. In fact, I'd rather
see you before than at the time....
Your new niece desires me to send her love. Thinks you bet-
ter not be in too great a hurry niecing her as you will probably
get quite enough of her after [a] while. . . .
Write. Love to friends.
R. B. HAYES.
CINCINNATI, December 15, 1852.
DEAR UNCLE:--. . . The day is fixed, if nothing oc-
curs to change our plans, on Thursday the 30th, two weeks from
tomorrow. Whether we are to have an evening or morning wed-
ding, whether we are to run away to hide for a few days, or to
hide at home, are unsettled questions. If it were pleasant
weather, I would prefer running up to Fremont to going to
either of the other places in view, viz.: Columbus, Louisville, or
Lexington. As it is, we now both think it most sensible to be
laughed at at home in preference to going abroad to be ridiculous.
As to your coming down, as Mr. Toots would say, "it's of no
consequence at all." We shall think just as much of a visit be-
fore or after, or when it is most convenient to you, as at that
There is to be no extensive wedding arrangements, probably
no tickets of invitation, but of course you will specially mention
to Mr. and Mrs. Valette that I should be glad to see them here,
also the kin.
Nothing further at this present. Your new niece is "as well
as could be expected." I have a cold as usual.
R. B. HAYES.
MARRIED AND PROSPEROUS, 1852-1854 437
P. S.--If you should come down perhaps it would be a good
notion to come by way of Columbus and beau your other niece.
CINCINNATI, December 15, 1852.
DEAR FANNY:-- . . . We are well save a cold which
the worser half has as usual. Been looking about for a boarding-
place. Would prefer Mrs. Keating's but her room is unfur-
nished and would hate the bother of fixing up this cold weather.
By the by, Mrs. Keating will be "dreadful glad" to see you.
Have agreed to marry if the sign is right on Thursday, the
30th December. Ought a man to have a wedding ring? If so,
not myself knowing brass from gold, if you will get Mr. Blynn
to make a tasteful article, engraved, etc., I'll pay the bill to him
if I'm ever able . . .
R. B. HAYES.
MRS. W. A. PLATT.
CINCINNATI, December 19, 1852.
DEAR UNCLE-- I fear by your letter of the 14th that you
were disappointed, perhaps vexed, with some of my wifing ar-
rangements. . . . I thought from a remark you wrote to
Fanny that the bad weather and your business were such that
you preferred not to come, and so said that this making a big
fuss about a wedding was nonsense, and if you didn't like to
come, not to do so, etc., etc. Fanny, it seems, wrote to you to
come down and accompany her. Well, I hope you will, but not
against your own inclination. This is all there is of it. . .
You must not get vexed with me for what I write. I don't
measure my words when writing to you. Besides, aside from
this wedding business, I never had so many engagements press-
ing upon my mind at once in my life. I am so busy just now in
law that I hardly think of sweetheart or wife except when I am
with her. Love to all.
R. B. HAYES.
438 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
CINCINNATI, December 22, 1852.
DEAR UNCLE:--Yours of the 18th relieves me from an ap-
prehension I felt that you were not exactly suited with some of
my doings. Very glad of it. It won't do for people who write
as hastily as you and I do to quarrel over our letters. I shall
remember this in the future.
Have heard from Fanny; they expect to come down with
you. . . . Shall return to Columbus with you Thursday
evening, or if you prefer to stay here a few days longer, I can
beau the party back.
Love to all. Invite who [whom] you please, and say I es-
pecially wished it.
R. B. HAYES.
December 30, 1852.-"December 30th, by Prof. L. D. Mc-
Cabe, of the Ohio W. [Wesleyan] University, R. B. Hayes, Esq.,
to Miss Lucy W. Webb, all of this city."*
Thursday afternoon, about 2 o'clock, at the residence of Lucy's
mother on the south side of Sixth street, between Race and Elm
(No. 141) Cincinnati, Ohio. Present, sister Fanny and her
daughter Laura, Uncle Birchard, Rogers and Anderson (Phi
Zetas), Lucy's mother [and] two brothers, Uncle Isaac Cook,
Aunt Lucy, and Will Scott, together with about thirty friends.
Took the cars same evening to Columbus; remained there in
brother Platt's family four weeks. A delightful honeymoon.
January 7, 1853. - Had also the greatest triumph of my pro-
fessional life, viz., arguing my first case orally in the Supreme
Court of the state --"State of Ohio v. James Summons"; to be
reported in twenty-first volume Ohio Reports.
COLUMBUS, January 13, 1853.
DEAR UNCLE-:-I am writing in Sam Brush's office, and sym-
pathy with the "genius of the place" will prevent me from
*Newspaper clipping pasted in Diary.
MARRIED AND PROSPEROUS, 1852-1854 439
writing you anything else than a hurried, incomplete, jerky sort
of an epistle.
We are all well, have enjoyed our visit vastly. Our wife im-
proves on acquaintance. Am sorry you could not have staid to
get better acquainted with her. Have called, and teaed, and par-
tied a good deal and, what is strange, have found it a very
Got through with my argument in the Summons case in a
very satisfactory style, had a large audience of lawyers, was
congratulated by Ewing, Hunter, Stanbery and "sich-like" law-
yers. Your "kin," Judge Birchard, was especially complimentary
and claimed relationship, etc., etc. Don't know how it will go;
"hope for the best," as Mother would say.
Shall go home probably in three or four days.
Lucy would send love if she knew I was writing. Love to
R. B. HAYES.
COLUMBUS, January 22, 1853.
DEAR UNCLE:-Yours written for an excuse to send to town
was thankfully received. I hope you were well in time to enjoy
the lovely weather we have had for two or three days past.
I hope to get away from here in two or three days. I am de-
tained by the Summons case. The court will decide so as to save
my client's life. This is triumph enough, but they are quarrel-
ling whether it shall be a majority decision or a divided court.
They have been in labor with the case now two weeks. Bartley
(don't speak of this) was at first for joining the two in my
favor which would give a majority; but Thurman has pretty
much worked him over, which (as Caldwell takes no part) leaves
the court equally divided. Under the first impression, I was
authorized privately to notify the friends that the decision would
be favorable, and after this the "skeesicks." Bartley has been
backing out! This is all for the present to be kept quiet.
Lucy is enjoying her stay very much; wins upon the regard of
all the friends and kin more and more. All the family now
very well and apparently pleased that our stay is so protracted.
440 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
Gibson* wants to be a candidate for Attorney General. The
convention is the 22d of February. You are I hope done with
politics. I am not in deep enough to hurt; shall feel interest
enough to come up as a delegate on Gibson's account.
Am anxious to get home and settled. Taking my wifing, the
Summons case and all, this has been the luckiest period of my
life. Love to all. Lucy sends her love.
R. B. HAYES.
CINCINNATI, January 29, 1853.
DEAR UNCLE:--Got home two days ago. Received a few
minutes ago the two letters as to gold and the draft. Gold is now
worth one per cent and will be for a week longer. Do you want
it at that price? Doubtful if it can be had even at that. Heaton
probably did his best.
Wife well. Prospects every way agreeable. Shall remain at
Mother Webb's, I know not how long.
R. B. HAYES.
P.S.--I return the draft.
February, 1853.-Have settled down pleasantly in Mother
Webb's family. Find my circumstances outwardly, as well as my
family associations, all of the most agreeable character. Now
beginning life in earnest -with a dear wife to whom I am most
tenderly and strongly attached, and who returns, I believe, my
affection in the fullest measure. Let me earnestly resolve-to
use those grand lines of Bryant's "Thanatopsis":
*William Harvey Gibson (1822-1894), of Tiffin, long famous for his
surpassing eloquence as orator and political speaker. He was elected
State Treasurer in 1856. He entered the Civil War in 1861 as colonel
of the Forty-ninth Ohio Volunteers, served throughout the war with
distinction, participating in more than forty battles, and was brevetted
brigadier-general. Altogether, a most worthy, honorable, and patriotic
citizen and gentleman.
MARRIED AND PROSPEROUS, 1852-1854 441
"So live, that when my summons comes to join
The innumerable caravan that moves
To that mysterious realm, etc."
CINCINNATI, February 4, 1853.
DEAR UNCLE: --Yours of the 31st offering a reward of two
shillings (!) to any person who can give information of my
whereabouts came duly to hand. Strong as the temptation was
to get the reward, I delayed writing a day or two knowing you
would receive a letter from me before I could write claiming the
Lucy is quite well. We are comfortably, very, housed with
Mother Webb, and shall remain there. No boarding-house
would be so agreeable as an abiding place, nor so homelike. Be-
sides, it is preferred by all parties interested.
I received a letter from Buckland as to enjoining the railroad
from crossing the bay. Have written to Pugh. We will manage
to be on hand to do what we can. Have written twice to Buck-
land. There is a way by which the Court of Common Pleas in
Erie or Ottawa Counties may give them a sort of authority to
cross the bay. This has not been done, has it? Otis would know.
If not done, and I presume it has not been, it will be well to
watch the matter a little. If they attempt to cross without this
authority it helps our case; at least it improves the face of it.
I am not of course familiar with the law or the practice of the
United States courts, but Boalt must be mistaken in thinking
that Mr. Works must be in danger of being injured to the amount
of one thousand dollars in order to file his bill. The bill will be
filed in the Circuit Court and need not, I imagine, show any such
injury. At all events, there is some way of getting along with
that difficulty. The matter in controversy, viz.: the right of the
railroad to cross the bay, is of more importance than one thou-
sand dollars. Glad that Mr. Works consents. My regards to
him and the rest of the family.
R. B. HAYES.
442 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
CINCINNATI, February 9th, 1853.
DEAR UNCLE:-Yours dated February 5, but mailed the 7th
I have just received. If you have a responsible man for the
fee, let Mr. Ewing be employed by all means and at once. Let
him be written to immediately. Write letters both to Lancaster
and Columbus and Washington, all three places, for I don't
know where he is.
The matter stands thus: If the Fremont people will have the
fee to pay I would not think of employing Mr. Ewing, for we
have strength enough already; but if somebody else will foot the
bill, I would have him by all means. Tell him what other law-
yers are engaged. If anybody else loves you or hates the Junc-
tion Railroad enough to want to employ another lawyer let, E. M.
Stanton, of Pittsburgh, be retained. He mastered the whole sub-
ject in the Wheeling Bridge case.
I hope we shall see you down here the last of the week. All
well and happy.
R. B. HAYES.
P. S.-- By some sly trick the Junction Railroad Company got
leave from the Board of Public Works to bridge the bay. This of
course does not affect your legal rights; but the face of the
case would be improved by getting this "leave" revoked. Pugh
will do his utmost, but as it is a matter of lobbying, your influ-
ence and management with Steedman and the board at Colum-
bus might be of service.--H.
[COLUMBUS, February 17, 1853.]
MY DEAR LUCY:- I shall remain here until Tuesday evening
of next week. . . . We had a glorious contest before the
Board of Public Works this morning--a regular lawyers' argu-
ment. Pugh and myself for the Fremont people and a shrewd
old lawyer (Beecher) from Sandusky City for the railroad.
The "glorious" part of it is that after a warm contest we flogged
them. This is the first skirmish, face to face, in the controversy
and we take the result as a good omen.
I wish you were here. When I am busy through the day I do
MARRIED AND PROSPEROUS, 1852-1854 443
not miss you so much, but at evening I grow lonely . . . .
Think lovingly of me. I never loved you more than I do today.
You made many friends here. I hear your praises constantly.
You will have to call on quite a number who visited you after you
left. Love to all.
IRS. R. B. HAYES.
COLUMBUS, February 19, 1853.
DEAREST:--I wish you were here. . . . I am not sick,
neither am I entirely well. A little cold with a little fever has
kept me from resting the last two nights. Like Lady Macbeth,
"I lack nature's great restorer, balmy sleep."* Mother is
"nussing" me, and if you were with me I should be quite cheer-
ful today. Last night you visited me in my feverish dreams,
"springs in deserts." Sometimes I would stretch out my arms
towards you and you were gone and I would wake to hear little
Nannie coughing in the next room. She was thinking of you
also. Once in her sleep she said: "No, no, I want Aunt Lu to
read it, do let Aunt Lu read it to me." The poor little girl had a
bad night but seems a trifle better this morning.
I am not a-going to be sick, so don't feel concern
about me. Shall probably come home Tuesday night.
Good-bye for the present, dearest.
P. S.--It is a little touch of influenza. It never lasts more
than three days with me.
MRS. R. B. HAYES.
CINCINNATI, February 26, 1853.
DEAR UNCLE:--I am at home this Sunday afternoon quietly
enjoying myself with my sweet wife. Went to church this morn-
ing, have read half a dozen chapters in the Bible, a play of
Shakespeare, and will now write to say that yours appointing
Friday the 12th March at Cleveland to meet you is received.
*The quotation should, of course, be "Tired nature's sweet restorer,
balmy sleep,"--from Young's "Night Thoughts."
444 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
Shall be on hand armed and equipped. At what hotel shall we
stop in Cleveland?
Have you written Pugh? Mr. Ewing's son writes me that he
has forwarded your letter to his father at Washington.
Yours, R. B. HAYES.
February 27, 1853.-- Almost two months married. The great
step of life which makes or mars the whole after journey, has
been happily taken. The dear friend who is to share with me the
joys and ills of our earthly being grows steadily nearer and
dearer to me. A better wife I never hoped to have. Our little
differences in points of taste or preference are readily adjusted,
and judging by the past I do not see how our tender and affec-
tionate relations can be disturbed by any jar. She bears with
my "innocent peculiarities" so kindly, so lovingly; is so studious
in providing for my little wants; is--is, in short, so true a wife
that I cannot think it possible that any shadow of disappoint-
ment will ever cloud the prospect,--save only such calamities as
are the common allotment of Providence to all. Let me strive to
be as true to her as she is to me. Let me too be loving, kind, and
thoughtful. Especially let me not permit the passion I have to
see constant improvement in those I love, to be so blind in its
eagerness as to wound a nature so tenderly sensitive as I know I
sometimes have done. This is indeed life. The love of wedded
wife! Can anything enjoyed on earth be a source of truer,
purer happiness--happiness more unalloyed than this? Bless-
ings on his head who first invented marriage!
March 4, 1853.--I am now reconciled to clubs and informal
meetings, They sweeten the temper and make home and a loving
little wife dearer. It is now nine o'clock, Rutherford will soon
be in. Oh, that I may make home dear to him!--[This entry
made by Mrs. Hayes, to which Mr. Hayes appends:]
"You are my true and honorable wife;
As dear to me as are the ruddy drops
That visit my sad heart."--Brutus.*
*Shakespeare, "Julius Cesar," II: i.
MARRIED AND PROSPEROUS, 1852-1854 445
CINCINNATI, March 5, 1853.
DEAR UNCLE:--Just read yours of the 3d announcing the
postponement of the railroad case until April 12. It is well
enough. For the last three or four days I have been up to my
eyes in the case. I can now speak precisely my best judgment
as to the matter. There is not a particle of doubt about the law.
It is certainly with you. If there was not a decided case to be
found we could beat them on the statutes. But they mean to
make a desperate fight. It is life or death with them. There is
no reason to doubt the courts, I believe, but there is a preference;
and if possible let us get ready to present our bill first, about
the first week in April to Judge McLean here. I will write him
today to see when he can hear it at this city. If he answers
favorably I can come out in a week or two and spend a week or
so. There is no need of more counsel. Ewing will probably
accept, and if so, the more they get the better.
R. B. HAYES.
March 8.- Lucy asked me to write "something" in my diary.
What shall it be? "I've something sweet to tell you," or some
other magic "open sesame" which finds a path to the affections
when uttered by those we love? It is a gloomy, wet day, look-
ing more like the sad days which usher in our winter, than a
harbinger of spring and summer with their flowers and fruits.
This morning the death of Judge Peter Hitchcock was an-
nounced in our courts. The occasion drew together very many
of the older members of the bar, especially of those who have
retired from practice. Excellent speeches were made by Na-
thaniel Wright, Judge John C. Wright, Judge Johnson, and
Charles Reemlin. The strong points of Judge Hitchcock's char-
acter and powers were his simple, unostentatious manners, his
severe and scrupulous integrity, and his amazing power of en-
during intellectual labor. His patience in investigation united to
his perseverance and power of endurance made him the safest
and most successful investigator of a difficult, voluminous, con-
446 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
tradictory, and tangled mass of testimony of any man who ever
practiced at the bar or sat upon the bench in Ohio. He held more
offices than any other citizen of the State; sat upon the Supreme
bench almost thirty years; one term of seven years upon the
Common Pleas bench; was called by the lawyers "Old Common
Law," as the personification of the common law. This was
hardly an accurate description, for equity with him rather than
strict law was the guiding star, and rarely did it happen that dis-
honesty could find protection under any technical rule while he
administered the law. Honesty always proved the best policy
when suitors brought their complaints before him.
March , Saturday night.- Ruddy has gone to the club. I
did think that I had become reconciled to it, but when the evening
comes, all the feeling is revived. Well, well, have patience a
little longer! "Woman is the only enemy that has ever overcome
the club." That I love him dearly and devotedly, he knows; but
do I strive to please him in the thousand ways which I might?
I know his desire that I should improve. Why do I not exert
myself more. Dear Rutherford, love me with all my faults.--
Lu. [Entry by Mrs. Hayes to which Mr. Hayes appends:]
Love thee, dearest! Aye, as I do "the ruddy drops that visit
my heart," made happy by such words as yours.
March 13, 1853.-- A Kentucky editor does not say that he saw
a political opponent drunk, but does say: "When we last saw
him he knew no north, no south, no east, no west, and we
kindly took him by the arm and led him down an alley."
CINCINNATI, March 15, 1853.
DEAR UNCLE:- Just received yours of the 11th. Shall be
ready to come with Lucy almost any time. Our Common Pleas
Courts all adjourn this week until May I. The District Court
sits in the meanwhile and I have no business in that court which
needs any attention more than McDowell or Rogers can give
it. If I am wanted I will come by way of Columbus, stop there
and consult with Pugh, and come on.
MARRIED AND PROSPEROUS, 1852-1854 447
All well. Have received more cash for fees the last month
than any previous month in Cincinnati, not including, anything
for Summons either.
R. B. HAYES.
March 16, 1853.-On the 14th, Rutherford and I had our
daguerreotypes taken. No difficulty in getting pictures to suit
us. The large one is for ourselves, that as old age draws on we
might see what we once were. Rutherford has that expression
I love to see. 'Tis a mixed one, love, happiness, and a tinge of
pride - enough to give a noble, manly air. And he seems to have
just said, "This is my wife." How dearly I will prize this pic-
ture. It will always bring sweet memories. And whatever shall
be our lot, may he retain that look. It is a speaking one, but I
cannot tell all it shows. To me the greatest and best expression
is only love. I am pleased with mine. It has rather a meek,
subdued air, clinging to its only support,-remove that and it
In the miniature case which is taken for Aunt Lu, Ruddy says
mine is the best picture of me he ever saw. It has a little more
independence than the others, at least, a stiffer head or neck. It
may be a prettier picture, but it does not show my heart so well.
Dear Ruddy's darling face must be changed. It has the fierce
look, so different from the first. Indeed I fear, when looking
at it, he does not love me half so well; but that is only a
daguerreotype story.--[Entry by Mrs. Hayes, to which Mr.
What a dishonest artist he must be who can so misrepresent
my features and expression as to give it a look which even seems
to doubt between love and indifference towards you!
CINCINNATI, April 1, 1853.
DEAR UNCLE:--Mr. Ewing says our bill, affidavits, and case
are perfect; not a shadow of doubt but Judge McLean will at
448 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
once grant the injunction and that it will never be set aside. He
will wait over a couple of days in Cincinnati to be present at the
application. He says there is not the remotest possibility of the
bridge being built.
He complimented me on the bill, etc., etc., says it is good
enough as it is in all respect, but "suggests," if convenient, to add
a paragraph which I have written out in the enclosed "memor-
anda.". . .
R. B. HAYES.
April 3, 1853.-Just returned with Lucy from our visit to
Fremont, our first visit since we were one. A pleasant, cheerful
time, one week. Thence we went to Columbus. A good little
stay of four days. . . .
April 11.--Argued my first case in a court of the United
States last week. I assisted in preparing a brief for another
cause once, viz., "Boswell, lessee, v. Dickinson et al.," reported in
8th Howard, I think, but this was my first oral argument. Mr.
Pugh and Thomas Ewing were on the same side. Judge Lane,
Mr. Beecher, and Judge Andrews opposed. The case is one of
great importance, viz., application to restrain the Junction Rail-
rioad Company from crossing Sandusky Bay on the ground, first,
that it violates their charter, second, that it would obstruct the
navigation of the bay.
My sweet wife is so diffident of her powers. I wish she could
overcome it, so far at least as to make her willing to let me know
precisely what she can and cannot do, so as never to feel the
least hesitation in showing me the result of her efforts. I love
her better and better. She is infinitely superior in capacity to
her own modest estimate of herself, and superior to most of those
to whom she would look up. Come, love, never be ashamed
of your work, when I am the sole judge.
MARRIED AND PROSPEROUS, 1852-1854 449
CINCINNATI, April 14, 1853.
DEAR UNCLE:--Judge McLean will not be able to write out
his opinion for delivery sooner than a week from Tuesday, a
week later than we expected, and supposing you would not want
to go to Columbus until that time, [I] thought I would write you
I have heard no indication of his opinions. Have no reason to
feel doubtful of the anticipations we had at the close of the
In the meantime, keep cool. Let the matter slide; the battle
has been fought, and I think we have won it. I would not speak
much about the postponement. No day was appointed before,
and this is simply fixing a day. As to the case, let that rest.
R. B. HAYES.
April 24, (Sunday).-- Have been reading "Genesis" several
Sundays, not as a Christian reads for "spiritual consolation," "in-
struction," etc., not as an infidel reads to carp and quarrel and
criticize, but as one who wishes to be informed and furnished in
the earliest and most wonderful of all literary productions. The
literature of the Bible should be studied as one studies Shake-
speare, for illustration and language, for its true pictures of
man and woman nature, for its early historical record.
[Hayes notes the "earliest account of drunkenness," Noah's;
the curse of Ham, "supposed by many a divine sanction of
slavery"; that "Abram was occasionally guilty of telling a white
lie," always on account of his wife's beauty"; that "Sarah shows
genuine woman nature in her dealings with Hagar"; the earliest
contract and the first recorded use of money; and that "not many
love tales have been better told than this, the first we have
recorded in a book"--namely, the wooing and wedding of
450 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
CINCINNATI, May 18, 1853.
DEAR UNCLE:--. . . . Don't lose confidence in humanity.
You have, perhaps, had too much hitherto and are now going
to the opposite extreme. The men you are now doubtful about
were never the best specimens of the race. None of them. It is
needful as you are getting along in life that you should not dwell
too much on the dark side of things; keep your thoughts on the
bright side. You have preserved your cheerfulness in spite of ill
health; don't now yield it up to Father Time. The Rome Rail-
road will do you ten times as much good as the [Sandusky] Bay
bridge can do you harm.
As to the Urbana injunction, it is a fact that Corwin had made
up his mind to dissolve it before he left here. He said it was "an
outrage," but don't let this get out from me. Our cue now is to
make a strong case on the obstruction to navigation. We need
not feel hurt by the result at Urbana. Justice told me he would
save me a Statesman with Bartley's opinion. I wrote to Platt
but by mistake he sent the copy to Buckland. I would like to
have one. Medbury should be seen before he makes his report.
If a bridge is to be built it should be one that will do us as little
harm as possible. The bridge and draw on the west side of the
island at Wheeling, viz., a draw two hundred feet in the clear,
is infinitely better than the plan proposed by the Junction Com-
pany. But this better be kept back to the last moment when the
fight is clearly against us. As yet the fight is by no means against
us. Prevent Medbury's reporting in favor of the plan if possible.
Next prevent his reporting at this term. I do not think that
under a general leave to amend granted to the plaintiffs an
amended bill can be filed dropping one of the plaintiffs, discon-
tinuing the case as to him. This is a first impression, but I
think it is correct. Will look into it. No doubt of Rawson's
right to file a separate bill on distinct rights.
All about the suits is for you and Buckland also. Please show
it to him.
R. B. HAYES.
MARRIED AND PROSPEROUS, 1852-1854 451
CINCINNATI, June 6, 1853.
DEAR UNCLE:--By letter from Buckland and also from the
papers, I learn that Boalt is consolidating with the Junction Com-
pany. This is a new move in the game. I would like to talk it
over with you. Keep cool and good-natured, and not be in too
great haste to determine and act. A railroad from Ft. Wayne
connecting with roads both to Norwalk and Sandusky City at
your place, is certainly a great thing. Add to this the Rome road
and Fremont is well off in life.
As to the right of the consolidated company to bridge the Day
under the Norwalk charter, I have made no examination but
"on first presentation," I am inclined to think there is nothing
of it. . . .
R. B. HAYES.
CINCINNATI, June 8, 1853.
DEAR BUCKLAND:--Yours of the 6th is before me. In a
letter written to Uncle, on the receipt of yours of the 3d, I in-
timated that it seemed to me a point for consideration, taking
then on first blush about the same view of matters that you do,
but did not express any opinion either way.
I am not sure that I have seen all the amendments to the
Cleveland, Norwalk, & Toledo charter, but if I have, I do not
see how the consolidated company can build the bridge in its
own name and right. I would not speak of this at all at present
out of our own set. If it is correct and we consent to the proposed
compromise, we prefer that the bridge should be guilt ostensibly
as well as in fact by the consolidated company. Then if the
bridge is a nuisance, we can worry them, while if they see the
weak point and provide against it by some other dodge (for
example, the Port Clinton charter) we lose that rod. As to the
compromise: I have always thought and still believe that the
proposed bridge would be in law a nuisance, but I have not been
so sure that it would be such a serious injury to the town of
Fremont as many have supposed. The injury, in my onpnion, is
not at all to be compared with the benefit to be derived from
452 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
another railroad. You may get the other railroad without the
compromise, and you may not be sure of getting it even with
the compromise. These are things to be coolly talked over. The
only [consideration] should be the interest of the town. If we
settle, there must be no niggardliness in payment of expenses.
If I do not hear from you something which induces me to
change my mind, I will come up Saturday and spend a few days.
Do not decide unless it is necessary until I come, as I would like
to talk it over with Uncle first.
R. B. HAYES.
In what way can we bind the consolidated company to con-
struct the Ft. Wayne Railroad? Will consenting to the compro-
mise affect injuriously the prospect of the Rome Railroad?
R. P. BUCKLAND,
CINCINNATI, June 22, 1853.
DEAR UNCLE:-- I am glad you got along so well at the rail-
road meeting at Norwalk. The result looks favorably.
Sorry to hear Uncle Austin is still unwell.
Our courts adjourn today. Lucy has postponed our Kentucky
trip till fall. She will probably go to Chillicothe in a few days.
I shall go after her about the Fourth of July, stay there three
or four days, go from there to Columbus, thence to Fremont
and shall get there about the 12th or 15th of July.
I think you are pretty sure of two more railroads at Fremont.
I have looked over the Indiana routes both west and southwest,
and think it is clearly for the interest of the consolidated com-
pany to build or aid in building both roads.
If you don't want any more real estate about Fremont, sup-
pose you look out a bargain or two for me. . .
R. B. HAYES.
June 28, 1853.--Saw Lucy start in the Hillsboro cars this
afternoon. She will go to Hillsboro by railroad; thence by stage
MARRIED AND PROSPEROUS, 1852-1854 453
to Chillicothe. A disagreeable ride this hot weather; will not
reach Chillicothe before midnight. A safe ride to her! How
different my feelings on parting with her now that she is my wife
from what they were a few months ago! It seems strange, but I
have less anxiety, less that is disagreeable in my feelings than
before. Now she is mine, if anything untoward occurs, I am
sure to be first thought of and sent for. Blessings on her! She
gives me "much happiness," to use Webster's stately phrase in
September -, 1853.-Home again, but without my dearest
who makes home home indeed. On the 5th of July I left the city,
reached Chillicothe after midnight, found Lucy at cousin Fuller-
ton's in bed but awake and thinking of me. We had a pleasant
little visit at Chillicothe; spent a pleasant day at Lucy's uncles',
Scott [and] Cook; thence to Mr. Boggs' in the country, and
Saturday to Columbus. Remained there till the 17th [of] July.
Thence to Fremont. Visited Cleveland about the 3rd of August;
thence to Niagara -- three days; returned to Fremont the 8th;
remained at Mr. Valette's until the 27th; thence to Columbus,
and I returned here, leaving Lucy with my other "love," sister
Fanny, at Columbus.
This is the statistical summary of the summer. But its real
enjoyment embraces many special things. I know my Lucy far
better than before. We have been alone together among strang-
ers, and I can't express how much deeper my love for her is.
I saw a critique lately, the scope of which was to show that
Tom Moore wrote a diary for his wife to see, full of love
breathings and endearing epithets, but which shows that, in fact,
he neglected and was indifferent towards her. The article, I
hope, was unjust to the poet, but let not my sweet wife when she
reads this think that my professions are nothings else but pro-
fession. Do believe me sincere, and if you see me seem to grow
indifferent let your actions, "the daily beauty of your life," be
such that your husband needs must love you whether he will
or no. So good night, Lucy.
454 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
CINCINNATI, September 7,1853.
DEAR UNCLE:--I see by the papers that Mr. Vinton is chosen
president of the consolidated company and is the only Ohio
director except the two presidents. This will add to the strength,
reputation, and credit of the company. I would keep my bonds
unless they will sell at par, for the moment it is generally under-
stood that Mr. Vinton takes the responsible place in the future
management of the road the bonds of the company must be the
best of first-class bonds.
I shall want sometime during the fall ten or eleven hundred
dollars to pay up my coal land debt unless I conclude to sell out.
I have a standing cash offer of seventeen or eighteen hundred
dollars, being five or six hundred dollars above cost, etc.; I ask
twenty-five hundred and can get probably two thousand. The
question with me is this: Had I better go into the company that
Glenn and Gregory are forming if I can put my coal lands in at
twenty-five hundred dollars? I am inclined to think it a specu-
lation. The coal lands are put in at what I think a fair valuation;
mine at the same rate would be worth about what I ask for
them, a trifle less. There are to be ten shares of five thousand
dollars. If I go in, I shall take a half share with some other
party. Six stockholders are definitely in, all men of means and
reputation. After the company is formed on this basis and a
start made, stock to an increased amount will probably be
created and sold in small shares of fifty dollars or one hundred
dollars each. Buckland, Poag, and Mat Johnson have all said
something about the matter, so please keep all this to yourself.
Let me hear from you soon and know when you are coming
down. The Kentucky fair is next week.
Lucy is at Columbus. All well there.
R. B. HAYES.
P. S.- Fanny Platt has got a boy! Good.
CINCINNATI, September 7, 1853.
DEAR FANNY:--My love and kisses for mother and son. I
am, indeed, delighted to know that you again have a boy. Much
MARRIED AND PROSPEROUS, 1852-1854 455
happiness he brings, no doubt, to all beneath your roof. I trust
he will grow up to supply the place of the loved and lost one.
How his sisters will love him! Tell me about him when you
write, how he looks, for women think they can see resemblances
Love to all.--Affectionately,
R. B. HAYES.
MRS. W. A. PLATT.
September 28, 1853.- Groesbeck, in an effective jury speech
made today in defense of James Heffner, opened by laying down
the law, then took up the facts. The case in Massachusetts, Self-
ridge case, the great case of self-defense. He took the position
that a man has a right to take life to protect his own life or
to prevent "great bodily harm";--to take life when he has a
reasonable apprehension of great bodily harm.
[The next twenty pages of the Diary, closely written, contain
an elaborate summary of the argument Hayes was preparing at
that time to present to the Ohio Supreme Court in the Nancy
Farrer case. For this see "Life of Hayes," Chapter VI.]
CINCINNATI, October 23, 1853.
DEAR MOTHER:--I was very glad [after] so long a silence
to receive the letters of yourself and Nannie. Tell Nannie that
her aunt Lu sympathizes most feelingly with her. Being too un-
well "to eat at table" is no trifling calamity. I hope that by this
time she is able to eat when, where, and as much and what she
pleases. Now that Laura is too much occupied to write letters,
Nannie must not forget us.
We have not heard from Uncle since he went East. Shall be
looking for his marriage notice (!) in all the papers, seeing that
his intention to marry has been legally published in Dela-
ware. . .
I am kept employed with business more than ever this fall.
Hard times certainly increases the pickings for lawyers. Fail-
ures, assignments, and attatchments are constantly occurring. No
456 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
failures yet among the strong houses, but the weaker brethren
and the crooked take advantage of the times to go down when
there seems to be an excuse for it. . . . .
I shall, perhaps, come up and see you during next month, but
not certainly. Love to all.
MRS. SOPHIA HAYES.
November 6, 1853.--On Friday, the 4th, at 2 P. M., Lucy
gave birth to our first child--a son. I hoped, and had a pre-
sentiment almost, that the little one would be a boy. How I love
Lucy, the mother of my boy! Sweetheart and wife, she had been
before, loved tenderly and strongly as such, but the new feeling
is more "home-felt," quiet, substantial, and satisfying. For the
"lad" my feeling has yet to grow a great deal. I prize him and
rejoiced to have him, and when I take him in my arms begin to
feel a father's love and interest, hope and pride, enough to know
what the feeling will be if not what it is. I think what is to be
his future, his life. How strange a mystery all this is! This
to me is the beginning of a new life. A happy one, I believe.
The mother and child are both "resting" this quiet Sabbath
morning. She on our bed, he on the lounge, and I alone with
them, awake and musing. . . . . His grandmother Webb is
the mother, and nurse. She, Mrs. Warren, Mrs. Herron, Lavina,
the "culled pusson," Dr. Joseph T. [Webb], and Dr. Avery pre-
sided at the opening of life's drama, the drawing up of the
curtain. All very fortunate.
CINCINNATI, November 20, 1853.
MY DEAR GUY:--Yours of the 10th of October did not reach
me until a few days ago. I hasten to reply and to tell you how
deeply I sympathize with you in your great affliction. I have
read the newspaper column containing news from Texas ever
since the yellow fever broke out in Galveston with anxious in-
terest, fearing that I might see the announcement of the death
MARRIED AND PROSPEROUS, 1852-1854 457
of some one of your friends or family, but your letter contained
the first intimation I [had] received of the death of Mr. Perry and
Henry. Your father was one of the true men. His absence
from the family circle, already broken by the death of your
mother, destroys your childhood home; the home where from
earliest recollection you had "gathered up your heart" is forever
I cannot from any experience of my own realize the desola-
tion in which this calamity leaves one of your warm, deep, and
strong affections. The loved ones of the earliest family circle
that I remember, though few in number, all remain. All meet
frequently and revive the pleasant memories of years ago and
live over again the scenes of childhood. The sorrow that touched
me nearest--the death of my sister's beautiful bright boy--
lingers with me still. And yet, what was that compared with
what it would have been if he had lived to manhood, retaining
all that made me love him as a child and adding to it the interest
and charm which binds us to those whom we have watched and
counselled from the promise up to the fulfilment? Yet this must
come far short of your grief when your father and your darling
brother go away together into the other world leaving you to feel
so sad and lonely in this.
Henry was a noble boy. It does not seem so affectionate to
speak of him as a man--though a man he was in the best and
highest sense. But his career of happiness, usefulness, goodness,
such it was, and apparently was to be--and I know no higher
career--is ended before it scarce began. And though we may
mourn, and wonder at these sad strokes, we must try to bear up
under them. Our duties to ourselves and the living must be
remembered even while our hearts are in the grave with the
departed. Dear Guy, long before this reaches you, the first sharp
pang will be over. If seeing the familiar scrawl of your old
classmate opens the fountain afresh, let me hope that the assur-
ance that your distant friend shares this sorrow with you may
take something from the bitterness of your grief. The silver
threads and the golden--how closely they are woven together
in the web of this chequered life!
The letter which left you overwhelmed by such great grief
458 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
found me in the enjoyment of a new and peculiar happiness, the
happiness of a father over his first-born--that first-born a son--
and the mother safe from her peril sharing his joy. Believe me,
Guy, I did not feel the genuine touch of sympathy less keenly
than I should have done if yours had found me in my accustomed
mood, or even crushed by your kindred grief. I have written to
Uncle since I received your letter. He will be pained as if men
of his own blood had been stricken down. He often spoke of
the happiness he enjoyed with Mr. Perry, and always counted
upon visiting him again and living over the winter of 1848-9.
My regards to all--Eliza, Stephen and his wife, [and] "Little"
Mary. She must be old enough to mourn the loss of her uncle
and grandfather. All well at Columbus. Platt has been building
a new house out beyond Mr. Kelly's, where he will have more
house-room and yard room. He has another son who I hope will
fill the place of William.
Write to me as you find time. Believe me as ever,
R. B. HAYES.
P.S.--I have not seen George [Jones] since I received yours.
The last time I saw him a week or ten days since we talked a great
deal of you. In the hard career of business he makes no friends
like the friends of "auld lang syne."--H.
GUY M. BRYAN,
CINCINNATI, December 25, 1853.
A merry Christmas to you, dear Fanny!
"Puds," this day christened Sardis Birchard [later changed to
Birchard Austin], to be called, tell the children, Cousin Birchard,
or "Birch" for short, is behaving very well in Topsy's care.
Mother Webb is at Mrs. Herron's, Mrs. Herron being quite sick,
and Lucy has gone out a moment to breathe the fresh air.
I write only to say that we would so like to have Laura here
this week. Let her come if possible. One of us will go home
with her. . . . .
The new firm of Corwine, Hayes, & Rogers starts out tomor-
row. It starts with a good business, one good man to get busi-
MARRIED AND PROSPEROUS, 1852-1854 459
ness, and two men who give promise of being able to do business,
and an excellent attorney's clerk bred in Lincoln's Inn to do the
copying and drudgery.
Love to all. Send us Laura.
Four years ago today since my first day in Cincinnati! Think
MRS. W. A. PLATT.
CINCINNATI, March 5, 1854.
DEAR UNCLE:--Lucy and her mother have gone to church.
I am staying at home to see that Birchard and his nurse get into
no trouble. The little fellow has just got over his first cold.
He stood it bravely, really fattened under it. . . . .
John Herron and myself barely missed spending today with
you. He is to be married at Cleveland on Tuesday to Harriet
Collins, and we were near going together by way of Fremont.
I mean to come up and stay over Sunday occasionally. . . . .
I shall not probably want any money before the latter part
of April. Besides, I have now more due to me than I shall need,
it if was not rather quick to begin dunning our clients.
R. B. HAYES.
The county bond question is in great doubt, but I am confident
that a favorable decision will be obtained in some way or other.
CINCINNATI, March 26, 1854.
DEAR FANNY:--Having some leisure and business at Tiffin, I
went to Fremont on Monday. Found Uncle quite well again.
He has a very superior picture, his last, which he enjoys vastly.
All friends well. We are expecting Laura tomorrow or day
You have heard that Jesse Stem was murdered by Indians on
the plains. How awful! So good a man, so much beloved, so
many to mourn his loss, to die so! It is awful, awful. I can't
get it out of my thoughts.
460 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
We shall be very happy with Laura. If necessary for James
[D. Webb, Mrs. Hayes's brother,] to come up for her telegraph
to me. Also telegraph when she is coming. Love to all.
MRS. W. A. PLATT.
CINCINNATI, April 7, 1854.
DEAR UNCLE:--I took Lucy and Birchard to Columbus on
Tuesday. Found the boy an excellent traveller, no trouble with
him at all. Mother and Fanny decide that he has no Webb and
very little Hayes about him, all, as his name requires, Birchard.
Laura seemed to enjoy herself greatly while here.
I have not as yet found a house to suit. The best chance I
now see is to bid off at sheriff's sale one of two houses in the
same block with Glenn. One can be bought, I think, at four
thousand five hundred dollars but it will be all cash. They are
worth from five thousand five hundred dollars to six thousand
dollars. I can probably get the money here for thirty days or so.
How about it? I hear nothing from my two thousand dollars
coming from my mortgage, but I can make the money in three
months even if I have to sue it. The sale will be on the 8th of
R. B. HAYES.
April 8, 1854.--Lucy and my boy are at Columbus with
mother and Fanny. Housekeeping broken up; I living com-
fortably with friend Herron. Must employ my leisure evenings
to prepare for a few difficult and important cases; gather pearls
of thought and expression, etc.
CINCINNATI, April 23, 1854.
DEAR UNCLE:--. . . . Have made no arrangements as
to buying a house. I hope to do it this summer. All real estate
is now rising rapidly notwithstanding money is so scarce. The
MARRIED AND PROSPEROUS, 1852-1854 461
moment times are a little easy there will be a great rise. The
city was never growing as it is now.
I forget whether I told you I had a note to pay the first of
May for three hundred dollars, which I wanted to get out of the
mill property, or not. At any rate, if it can be had, very well. If
not, I must look it up here.
I hope you are taking things easy, or as easy as the nature of
things will permit. You will probably always be a poor man,
but then if you keep your real estate, as that sort of property
seems now to be going up, you will probably leave your heirs
well off. So try to feel comfortable and laugh away cares. The
tax law will probably not be changed so as to trouble this year.
Regards to all. Sincerely,
R. B. HAYES.
COLUMBUS, May 14, 1854.
DEAR UNCLE:--I came up on business yesterday and shall
return in the morning . . . . Shoemaker and the other
railroad men are here waiting the result of the county bond
cases. It is really doubtful how the decision will be. One of the
judges who was favorable to the bonds (Judge Thurman) is
now in doubt.
I shall be able to raise the most of the money for paying for
and furnishing my house without troubling you, unless I am
disappointed. My Pennsylvania friend will probably pay up.
He called on me Friday and will arrange probably in a few
weeks. . . . .
R. B. HAYES.
P.S.--About taxes. The Auditor of State has issued blanks
requiring credits, etc., to be listed without deduction of debts.
In several counties the county auditors issue blanks allowing
such deductions. Wherever the county auditors do this, there
will be no difficulty in listing. If, however, your county auditor
follows the Auditor of State, you would perhaps do best to re-
fuse to make a return on oath and run the risk of the 50 per cent
penalty putting you above the mark. There is a good excuse for
462 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
doing this. For if the government is in doubt as to what the law
is, a citizen is not to blame for being unwilling to swear what
COLUMBUS, June 11, 1854.
DEAR UNCLE:--Came up last night, shall return in the morn-
ing. . . . . You have, of course, heard that the railroad
case has been decided in favor of the bonds, so your Fremont &
Indiana road is out of the woods. No sale for Mad River stock
as yet; but all say that money is easier. . . . .
R. B. HAYES.
CINCINNATI. June 25, 1854.
DEAR UNCLE:--Yes, I would like very much to spend the
remainder of the summer with you in Spiegel Grove, or quite as
well with you at Mr. Valette's. But I can't leave town for some
time yet. Courts close business for the summer July 15. Rogers
will then go to Minnesota for about four weeks, and then I shall
be at liberty. We have had more to do the last fortnight than
at any time since I have been in the office. The weather is warm
but I am in capital health and am enjoying myself very much,
barring the absence of wife and boy. They are both now at a
very fine place in the country and doing well. Have not yet
been up there, but [I] shall go up in a week or two. . . . .
R. B. HAYES.
June 18, 1854.--So long since I have written a word here.
About the first of April we broke up housekeeping on Sixth
street. Lucy and myself with Birchard went up to Colum-
bus, and Lucy and the lad have remained there since until last
Tuesday when she went with mother Webb down to Elmwood.
I have visited my treasures often at Columbus. Oh, what a
MARRIED AND PROSPEROUS, 1852-1854 463
happiness to be with them after an absence of two or three weeks.
Birch has grown to a fine, handsome, bright little fellow. Such
mild beautiful eyes, so good a head, so sweet-tempered and all.
>From seven to eighteen pounds in weight he has grown in four
or five months. And his mother and he are dearer to me than
ever, and growing dearer every day. Health and happiness to
them this warm Sunday afternoon.
July 8, 1854.--The first, second, third and fourth spent with
and going to and returning from my wife and boy. They are
happily and healthily housed about eight miles from Circleville
at one of Lucy's kinsfolks'. How little Birchard improves--so
fine-looking, bright, good-natured, and healthy; the dear boy!
How happy I was the few days I was with him and his mother.
Blessings upon them over and over again. These ties, these
affections--nothing in life to equal them. Birchie eight months
old on the 4th and so handsome, plump, fat, and saucy. We say
to him, "You little rascal, how I love you!" and he jumps and
laughs as if he knew one and understood it. My dear is still thin
but I hope quite healthy.
CINCINNATI, July 11, 1854.
DEAR UNCLE:--Our courts adjourned yesterday until the mid-
dle of September. Rogers will go to St. Paul to be gone a month.
On his return I shall have a month. In the meanwhile I can go
up to Fremont to stay four or five days at any time almost, and
will go whenever you are likely to be at home.
Would like to talk over railroad matters with you. No sale
for stocks or bonds here. Little Miami has sold below par and
Hamilton & Dayton as low as 93. Mad River is nowhere, of
Visited Lucy last week, the Fourth. Found her delightfully
situated. Birchard healthy and as happy as a bird. Lucy ditto.
All well at Columbus.
R. B. HAYES.
464 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
CINCINNATI, July 23, 1854.
DEAR UNCLE:--I took the Mad River stock from H. & H. and
deposited it with my banker. When you want it I will forward it.
There will be a sale for that stock here one of these days.
What is the prospect of your being able to raise money for me
to pay for my house in these squally times for railroad men? I
do not want to lose my bargain. I want the house, and yet, I
confess, I don't see my way very clear. James and myself have
begun proceedings to foreclose our mortgage on which I could
get some three thousand dollars or three thousand five hundred
dollars, but it will not be sold until some few weeks after the
house is to be paid for. Is there any rich old Dutchman in the
Swamp who would lend the amount needed? I must come up
and talk it over with you.
Lucy and Birchard and the Columbus friends [are] all very
well. Rogers is gone to Minnesota and I cannot visit you to
stay more than a day or two until he returns about the 10th of
August. Then I can come up and stay until you are tired of me.
Regards to Mr. and Mrs. Valette.
R. B. HAYES.
CINCINNATI, July 23, 1854.
DEAR LAURA:--I am very glad to find that "my niece Laura"
is still one of my correspondents. I had begun to suspect that
she found her Uncle Ruddy's letters were not very interesting
since he had become absorbed in business and his boy. Indeed, I
could not blame her for thinking so, but then you must recollect
that as my letters grow duller yours are all the time improving
so that the correspondence, taking both sides of it together, holds
its own. I wish I could give you as much that is entertaining as
I find in your letters; but I am merely a plodding lawyer now.
There have been concerts, operas, and star actors here this
summer, but I have not cared enough about such amusements to
learn much about any of them.
On the Saturday before the Fourth I went up to see Lucy and
your famous cousin. Birchie hasn't raised any moustachios yet,
MARRIED AND PROSPEROUS, 1852-1854 465
and he neither smokes nor wears boots, but he is getting a head
of stiff sandy hair and is altogether quite a little man, so much
so that his cousin Scott has given up all hope of ever raising him
up into a little girl. I had a happy little visit there of a couple
of days. Some of the original forest trees are standing around
the house, and a fine grove to romp in is but a few rods off
where we roamed about picking late raspberries and early black-
berries, all the cousins following us and "Topsy" jumping and
screaming like a wild girl in a constant ecstasy over some imag-
inary snake or monster. In order to get back home for court, I
had to leave on the Fourth and got back in time to see the fire-
works in the evening. There was nothing wonderful in the stars,
rockets, and spitfires. You have seen just as good many a time.
Since the Fourth I have been at work most of the time in the
office. The hot weather is uncomfortable, but I feel very well,
better than most persons. I can do a day's work with less
fatigue than in the winter.
We are living with John Herron, widowers' retreat, on Long-
worth Street. Since Rogers left for Minnesota, two of the
Stewarts, brothers of Lizzie McCoy, have taken his place and
we manage to get on pretty well. Dr. Joe [Joseph T. Webb,
Hayes's brother-in-law] takes one or two of us riding every
evening, and we swim in the Ohio several times a week, and on
Sundays write letters to our wives and friends. If they knew
I was writing to you, you would get divers kind words from
John and the doctor. You must imagine a number of appro-
priate messages from each of them.
Tell Nannie I shall expect a letter from her one of these days.
Minnie will of course write every opportunity. How is little
Ruddy? I can see his good-natured look full of energy and
surprise as he throws up his stout little arms in glee, as plainly
as if he was before me now.
Love to all. Write often. Good-bye.
Your affectionate uncle,
MISS LAURA PLATT.
466 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
CINCINNATI, August 1, 1854.
DEAR UNCLE:--. . . . I am fitting up my house in good
style. Platt and Mother both insisted that I must do all that
was needed in the way of repairs before going into it.
Rogers is still absent, can't tell when he will be back. I have
never done so much work in the summer before and never felt
Received yours this morning. Will visit you the middle or last
of this month ten days or so.
R. B. HAYES.
CINCINNATI, August 3, 1854.
DEAR UNCLE:--I have just been reading an account of the
shocking rate at which the cholera has raged at Perrysburg. It
frightens me more than anything I have seen. It will be most
remarkable if Fremont escapes. I hope you will be prepared to
keep clear out of the way of it, if it should break out in your
town. You are more liable to take it now than you were twenty
years ago when you nursed the sick and buried the dead in '34.
I do not think I would be in danger from it. A year or two ago.
one season, I was a little afraid of it, but this year there is, I
think no danger for me.
Rogers is on his way home, will be here next week. I shall
then go to Pickaway for a week or so and then visit you if it
remains healthy with you.
All well at Columbus, also in Pickaway.
R. B. HAYES.
CINCINNATI, August 19, 1854.
DEAR FANNY:--I returned from Pickaway last night. Spent
a week there very happily with Lucy. All very well.
I am getting on very well with my house; mean to have it
ready for Lucy in two weeks from this date. If the weather
does not happen to be very warm at that time, she will then
MARRIED AND PROSPEROUS, 1852-1854 467
return and will pretty certainly be housekeeping in the course of
three weeks. As soon as we are homed we want a visit from
I am going to Fremont on Monday (the 21st) and shall spend
about a week there; after that "home again."
Good-bye. Love to all.
R. B. HAYES.
MRS. W. A. PLATT.
FREMONT, August 27, 1854.
DEAR FANNY:--Uncle and I both got here last Monday after-
noon at the same time. Friends here well. This place is finer
than ever, more pictures, bigger trees, new furniture, etc., etc.,
and all the folks inquire after you and Laura and Lucy as part
of the family. . . . .
Shall go home in a day or two and be ready to housekeep in a
week or two. Would like your sort of Welch girl for cook, etc.
Can one be got? Let me know at Cincinnati.
No more at present from your loving brother,
MRS. W. A. PLATT.
COLUMBUS, August 31, 1854.
DEAR UNCLE:--Staid one day in Delaware with Guy [M.
Bryan] and came with him here last night. Platt was on the
same train returning from the East. Guy and I go to Kenyon
in an hour and I return to Cincinnati tomorrow. Guy is looking
young, in fine health and spirits. You would enjoy his company
vastly. He goes to New York early next week. Will perhaps
visit you in October, but doubtful. . . . .
Laura and Platt will visit you this fall. If you do not go
East for two weeks, they think they can make their visit before
you go. If you go sooner they will wait till you return. Write
soon when you will go. All well.
R. B. HAYES.
468 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
CINCINNATI, September 3, 1854.
DEAR UNCLE:--I did steal said picture. But here are palliat-
ing circumstances. I intended to mention it and forgot it. I
wished to show Guy my wife's picture, knowing he would not see
the original. It is now at Columbus where you can get it when
you return Fanny's. I had, or Guy had, two copies of it taken.
One he kept, and the other I have.
I returned last evening. Met Lucy, Birchie, Topsy and all on
the train from Circleville. All well. Birchie grows fat and fast.
He crowed and laughed all the way down in the hot dusty cars,
the best child on board, and after he got here was as fresh and
good-natured as if he had just risen from a day's sleep. Besides,
he is in the midst of getting four teeth. Great boy! Aunt
William Hayes sent him a little case containing a spoon, knife,
and fork, all silver, from New Haven, by Mrs. Herron.
Our house needing two or three days' more fixing, we are
quartered pleasantly on John Herron. A Jew has offered Cor-
wine, Glenn, and Dr. Webb six thousand dollars cash in hand
for my house, and insisted that they should take the money and
telegraph me to come and make the deed! Dr. Webb offered to
take eight thousand dollars and give them [him] the key.
R. B. HAYES.
September 4, 1854.--Moved, or began to move, to my new
home, my own house (if the sale is confirmed), No. 383 Sixth
Street; south side, west of Mound. A muss it is to move; all
sorts of laughing over our loads of furniture, a good deal of it
Lucy's mother's when she went to housekeeping--good, but old;
a great sending of it back and forth for cleaning, varnishing,
making as good as new; but finally all settled comfortably, pleas-
First meal in the house, spoons, knives, and forks forgotten!
All use a little silver knife and fork presented to Birchie by his
aunt William Hayes, and an old spoon picked up by Birchie
for a plaything.
MARRIED AND PROSPEROUS, 1852-1854 469
CINCINNATI, September 17, 1854.
DEAR UNCLE:--We are not entirely through "putting to
rights" yet, but have got your room in order; so you can come
down any day. When you get to the Hamilton depot take
your carpetbag in hand, the walk is short, save your quarter, and
keep along the south side of Sixth Street till you get to No. 383,
next house east of Glenn's. My name is on the door, walk
straight in and the third-story front chamber is ready for you.
I cannot tell whether I shall get the money or bid in the land.
Shall not know until the day of sale. This will be early in
November. Shall want to pay for the house the first week in
October. Any day before the 8th will do. Any time after one
week from this, we shall be glad to have a visit from Mr. and
Mrs. Valette. You know I shall be unable to spend much time
showing the sights, but with Lucy and the doctor, they will have
Lucy read your letter and broke out: "Now, I'll pay Uncle
for that! Not one word about Birchie!"
Sincerely, R. B. HAYES.
Tell Mr. and Mrs. Valette the pleasant season here is in
October and November.
CINCINNATI, September 29, 1854.
DEAR UNCLE:--Yours of the 28th duly received. Express
the money to me, care of McMicken & Co., Bankers, 3d, Street,
I have to pay for the house four thousand five hundred dollars.
My bills for improvements and furnishing the house will amount
to one thousand dollars more. Total five thousand five hundred
dollars. I can raise all that is required to meet this, with the
aid of your four thousand dollars and five hundred dollars that
Mother sent me, by borrowing here, but I want to borrow as
little as possible and for as short time as possible. City rates
eat up the principal too fast. . . . .
Good-bye, R. B. HAYES.
470 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
October 4, 1854.--My birthday, and Birchie eleven months
old. A large fine boy, bright blue or dark gray eyes; fine, intelli-
gent, and mild as summer; sandy hair, fair complexion, a lovely
laughing face; always in motion, fond of sport, excellent dis-
position--and we love him so much. We are as happy as heart
could wish. His mother improves in all things, and is so tender
and thoughtful in all things.
CINCINNATI, October 13, 1854.
DEAR UNCLE:--I received yours of the 10th yesterday. Am
very sorry to hear of your sickness. Hope you are now well
again. I do not know as it is a kindness to try to induce you to
leave your comfortable quarters with Mrs. Valette, but I think
younger company and a change will be, as the Yankee girl said,
Anti-Nebraska, Know-Nothings, and general disgust with the
powers that be, have carried this county by between seven and
eight thousand majority! How people do hate Catholics, and
what a happiness it was to thousands to have a chance to show it
in what seemed a lawful and patriotic manner. I send you as
curiosities specimens of a kind of ticket that was circulated at
our polls. We hear that Matson is elected. Is it possible?
Galloway beats Olds at last. I am pleased to see old organizations
blotted out. Now that our idols are all gone, Clay, Webster,
etc., I am glad to have new divisions by which men of all
opinions will be willing to join us in honoring their memories.
Lucy and Birchie both very well, and very happy.
R. B. HAYES.
October 15, 1854.--Last evening at supper startled by the out-
cries of our German girl, Anna. She found at the steps a band-
box with a negro infant child, naked. This she brought in.
After a deal of trouble got the little thing into the Negro
Orphans' Asylum by the help of Father Hopper of Cincinnati,
viz., Levi Coffin.
MARRIED AND PROSPEROUS, 1852-1854 471
CINCINNATI, October 27, 1854.
DEAR UNCLE:--Yours of [the] 22d just got along. A busy
week with me, work enough but no pay, hard times and harder
coming all the moneyed men say. None of our private bankers
affected seriously by the run except those who ought to break.
Ellis & Sturgis and Smead & Co. had a little run but no damage
done. Those who stopped are either "kiters" or operators out-
side of banking.
Sale confirmed O. K. I am not yet paying any interest on the
five hundred dollars. Shall do so after the first of November,
1 + or two per cent. Mine you know is first-class paper. Thus
far I have borrowed of cronies on the score of friendship--
nobody but Herron and Billy [Rogers], so I am contracting no
Kentucky Trust Company [paper] is probably worth very little.
It would sell perhaps for forty to sixty cents. It has no market
value here. Is bought only by persons having debts to pay. Get
rid of it. There is nine hundred and forty thousand dollars in
circulation, assets doubtful.
Break the bank! Become a bankrupt and come and live with
me like a gentleman the rest of your days. This being kept poor
and worked to death also by a little property is bad economy.
S. BIRCHARD. R. B. HAYES.
November 5, 1854.--Yesterday was Birchard's birthday--
one year old--a beautiful November day, cold, clear, and brac-
ing. We had Mrs. Herron, one of the "grandmas" of the birth
scene, and Rogers here at supper. Birchie behaved beautifully,
romped, laughed, crowed, and kicked until he was too tired and
sleepy to do so longer, when he went to sleep smilingly in Mrs.
Herron's arms, with all of us looking at him. He is large of his
age, very healthy, good-natured. Occasionally he shows a temper
of his own, and has a strife of will with his mother. We had
his likeness taken with his mother last week; good, but not dis-
tinct enough to show his features or expression.
472 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
CINCINNATI, November 8, 1854.
DEAR UNCLE:--A stirring time on Third Street today. Ellis
& Sturgis made an assignment last evening to Mr. Worthington
for the benefit of their creditors, being unable to hold out longer.
This morning it was first known to the public, and with this came
the news also that Mr. Ellis was dying. He is, in fact, in a
critical state of health, has had a stroke of apoplexy and may,
perhaps, not survive.
Smead & Co. shut their doors about 11 o'clock. T. S. Good-
man & Co. about I o'clock P. M., and so the panic has become
quite general. We had three thousand five hundred dollars yes-
terday but have managed to pay it all out but nine hundred and
fifty dollars which is with out bankers, Geo. Milne & Co., and a
small amount [with] McMicken both of which seem safe enough.
Ellis & Sturgis state their assets at about one million four
hundred thousand dollars and liabilities at one million dollars,
balance on the right side four hundred thousand dollars. But
I suspect that the issue will show much worse than this. I send
you Smead's handbill.
R. B. HAYES.
P.S.--A little seventy-five dollar draft sent by you to Stem
B[aker], & Co. was sent to Goodman's about an hour before he
closed. Whether it was paid is more than I know.--H.
CINCINNATI, November 10, 1854.
DEAR UNCLE:--I just read your letter of the 7th. You don't
know how it troubles me. All the private bankers here who kept
any considerable deposits have been forced to close up. I still
think you will go through without a suspension. But if you
cannot, do not take it to heart. It is no very serious matter.
I would try to arrange it so that the poorer class of people,
widows, etc., will not be distressed for want of their means. I
am chiefly troubled on account of your feelings. Can you bear
it so as not to injure your health? I think you can. Do be as
MARRIED AND PROSPEROUS, 1852-1854 473
philosophical as possible. The times are going to keep tight
until after taxpaying is all over and money begins to come back.
Good-bye at present.
R. B. HAYES.
P.S.--Mr. Finch of Delaware has troubles greater than any
pecuniary difficulty. His oldest son, Mother writes me, has been
detected stealing and had to fly the country.
Write often, very often. Be of good cheer, your star is a
CINCINNATI, November 12, 1854.
DEAR UNCLE:--How are your nerves this rainy Sunday? By
your letter of 9th, I am glad to see you are in good spirits
and feel safe. Here the panic is over and bankers have seen the
worst of it. Smead is receiving his depositors' checks in pay-
ment of notes discounted, and merchants and others take checks
on that house at par. They are likely to resume business soon,
it is thought. My friends, McMicken & Co. closed in the midst
of the scare. I had about sixty dollars with them, the doctor
and James each about as much more. Lucy had deposited one
hundred and sixty-nine dollars for a friend in Chillicothe and
says she feels as mean about it as if she had done something
wrong. She says, "Tell Uncle Birchard to sell my picture!"
Nothing is talked of but the hard times. Shall be glad to see
you all whenever you can come. . . . .
R. B. HAYES.
It is thought that all banks will suspend specie payments. I
should think depositors would prefer to leave money with you
to risking keeping it themselves.
CINCINNATI, November 17, 1854.
DEAR UNCLE:--Yours of the 14th and also of the 15th re-
ceived. Very glad you are swimming along so well. I am glad
also that you let me know your feelings. I might be able in an
474 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
emergency to send you aid. I am assignee of McMicken & Co.,
my old bankers. They have been ruined by paying interest
on their deposits--8 and 10 per cent sometimes. Their liabilities
are near eighty thousand dollars, assets about fifty thousand
dollars. Shall probably not get in any amount in these times.
If I should, I would certainly let you have it on deposit if you
needed it. . . . .
Sincerely, R. B. HAYES.
CINCINNATI, November 19, 1854.
DEAR UNCLE:--. . . . Nothing new in money matters.
You are no doubt safe enough. You had better keep your money
in, ready for squalls. Why not gradually get out of the business?
It seems to be settled here now that no banker can afford to pay
interest on deposits. Don't do it! . . . .
R. B. HAYES.
CINCINNATI, November 23, 1854.
DEAR UNCLE: . . . . My health is excellent, my work is
accompanied with a great deal of outdoor exercise. I walk six
or eight miles every day. . . . . I have not your letters with
me, and don't remember whether you made particular inquiries
or not. I am as glad as you can be that you are going to get
along with your bank. I hope you will get out of the business
soon. It is time you were a man of leisure. You never can get
a person who will have prudence and capacity enough to allow
you to leave the business to him.
R. B. HAYES.
December--, 1854.-Began on the 7th the trial of Nancy Far-
rer before a jury in the Probate Court on the question of her
sanity. Trial occupied two days. [I] had several obstacles to
MARRIED AND PROSPEROUS, 1852-1854 475
encounter, but on the morning of the 9th, at 10 A. M., the jury
returned a verdict in favor of my theory. She will now go to a
lunatic asylum, and so my first case involving life is ended suc-
cessfully. It has been a pet case with me, has caused me much
anxiety, given me some prominence in my profession, and indeed
was the first case which brought me practice in the city. It has
turned out fortunately for me, very, and I am greatly gratified
that it is so. I argued the case in December, 1853, before the
Supreme Court at Columbus, made a successful argument; the
judgment of the court below was reversed in an opinion fully
sustaining my leading positions. The case is reported in Second
Ohio State Reports,--"Farrer v. State."
December 25, 1854.--"A Merry Christmas." Five years ago
today, having arrived late in the evening before, I awoke to my
first day's residence in Cincinnati. I cannot but look back to
that time with a feeling of gratification, not to say pride. I told
Uncle before I came (my coming was not agreeable to him, al-
though he did not oppose it) that in five years I believed that he
and every other friend I had would be glad that I had gone to
Cincinnati. It is enough to fill me with pleasant feeling, that
I am sure that my hope has been realized.