Ohio History Journal

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Young Charley Dawes Goes to the

Young Charley Dawes Goes to the

Garfield Inauguration: A Diary






CHARLES GATES DAWES, vice president of the United States

under Calvin Coolidge (1925-29), was a youth of fifteen when

he left his home in Marietta, Ohio, and with his father--just

elected to congress--went off to Washington early in 1881 to

see James A. Garfield inaugurated as president. Young

Charley was impressionable. His interests were properly those

of a person of his years. Already it was clear that he had an

observant and methodical, if perhaps slightly unimaginative,

mind. Most young men of fifteen would have tired of politics,

politicians, and sightseeing after some days in a wintry,

snowy city. Charley Dawes was game to the end. He attended

congress with his father because he found it interesting. He

went through the usual tourist's itinerary not as a matter of

duty but as a chance to learn something. Charles G. Dawes

was always interested in what he was doing, and frequently

enthusiastic about it, down to the time of his death in 1951,

when he was getting up a reception for General Douglas Mac-

Arthur in his--by then--home town of Evanston, Illinois.

The present pages are not the place to set down the career

of Dawes after he left Marietta and went west to seek his

fortune, but perhaps because he later had such a remarkable

life it is possible to say something about it in brief. As a young

man he went to Nebraska and settled in Lincoln, where he

opened a law office. He made the acquaintance of William

* Robert H. Ferrell is a member of the department of history at Indiana