Ohio History Journal









Memorials take many forms, and the gift to the State of

Ohio, for the Ohio Archaeological and Historical Society of that

portion of Spiegel Grove,

the beautiful homestead of

President Hayes, through

which runs for a half mile

the old Harrison Trail of

the War of 1812, is one of

the most interesting, com-

mendable and generous gifts

of recent years.

The deed from Colonel

Webb C. Hayes to the State

of Ohio for the Harrison

Trail State Park, now a por-

tion of Spiegel Grove, con-

veys about one-half of the

Spiegel Grove property and

reads: "To have and to

hold to the State for the use

and benefit of the Ohio

Archaeological and Historical

Society, so long as the premises shall be maintained as a State

park, in which the old French and Indian trail along the San-

dusky-Scioto water course from Lake Erie to the Ohio river,

later known as the Harrison Military Trail of the War of 1812,

shall be preserved in its present location and maintained as a

drive, in which the trees, shrubs and flowers now growing in said

park shall be preserved and cared for, and together with such


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346      Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.

other trees, shrubs and flowers as may hereafter be planted in

said park shall be properly marked with the scientific and com-

mon names so as to be instructive and interesting to visitors."

Furthermore: "The Grantor reserves the right to transfer

the remains of Rutherford B. Hayes and Lucy W. Hayes to the

knoll in the premises hereby conveyed in Spiegel Grove, to be

placed in a granite block beneath the monument heretofore de-

signed and erected by Rutherford B. Hayes in Oakwood Ceme-

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tery, Fremont. The said monument together with such im-

provements as shall be placed around it shall be preserved and

maintained forever, but no building or structure, save the monu-

ment, other than a suitable enclosure from the public roads or

around the monument, shall be erected in said park without the

consent of the Grantor in writing."

In the will made by President Hayes but a short time before

his death, he bequeathed, at the request of his children, Spiegel

Grove and all the personal property connected therewith to them

Spiegel Grove

Spiegel Grove.                  347


to be held in common without sale or division. Five years later,

the Ohio Archaeological and Historical Society, of which Presi-

dent Hayes was the president at the time of his death, issued a

confidential circular with a view of securing the property with its

valuable library and collections which had been tendered them on

the sole condition of raising an endowment sufficient to preserve

and care for the property. In this circular the Society said:

"This offer of the family is unusual for its liberality, and most

worthy of commendation for the filial desire it expresses to per-

petuate the memorial to loved and honored parents. The place

known as Spiegel Grove is of great historic interest, being lo-

cated in the old Indian reservation or free territory maintained

at the lower rapids of the Sandusky River, for a long time prior

to the Revolutionary war. The old Harrison Trail, so called, a

military road, leads from Fort Stephenson to Fort Seneca, passes

through the Grove and is preserved as its principal driveway.

Of all the homes of our twenty-four presidents, covering a period

of 10 years, the only ones that have been preserved are those of

Washington at Mount Vernon, Jefferson at Monticello, Madi-

son at Montpelier, Jackson at the Hermitage, and Lincoln's mod-

est home in the city of Springfield; but in every case men-

tioned more or less time had elapsed before the homes were ac-

quired and put in a state of preservation, and few or no per-

sonal relics or memorials were secured. Spiegel Grove is now in

a perfect state of preservation, and all of the valuable historical

effects of President Hayes remain there intact. Unquestionably

this is the largest and most complete and perhaps most valuable

collection of documents, papers and books ever left by any of

our presidents. President Hayes was a great reader and a man

of scholarly tastes and attainments. He acquired the finest

library of American history perhaps ever owned by any private

individual, and during his public life he preserved all papers and

memoranda in an orderly and accessible form." The Society,

however, did not succeed in raising the required endowment and

the entire Spiegel Grove property, library and collections became

the property of Col. Webb C. Hayes by deed from the other

heirs in the settlement of the estate in 1899, since which time he

has maintained it as the Hayes family summer home. Colonel

348 Ohio Arch

348      Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.


Hayes became much interested in locating and marking for pre-

servation the old French and Indian trail, the northern half of

which was known as the Harrison Military Trail of the war of

1812. This trail extends for over half a mile of its length

through Spiegel Grove, and in the numerous conferences with

the officers of the Ohio Archaeological and Historical Society

looking to its preservation, the eventual disposition of Spiegel

Grove property was again brought up. On October 7, 1908, a

formal offer was made by Colonel Hayes "to deed to the State

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or to your Society, the road or drive in Spiegel Grove now

known as the Harrison Trail, together with all the adjacent tract

of land (about ten acres) to be forever preserved as a State

park." Colonel Hayes added a clause which partially revived

the original proposition, "that in the event of your Society secur-

ing the erection of a suitable fire-proof building on said Spiegel

Grove property, I will transfer to your Society or the State a

suitable site therefor in said Spiegel Grove, together with all

papers, books and manuscripts left by my father for permanent

Spiegel Grove

Spiegel Grove.                  349


preservation in such building," together with his own very large

collection; and expressed the desire that eventually all of the

Spiegel Grove property, including the residence, should be un-

der the care of the Society, though maintained as the Hayes

family home, typical of the American home of the last half of

the nineteenth century.

Not only has everything been preserved as it was left by

President Hayes at the time of his death, but his son, Colonel

Hayes, has added very largely through his indefatigable efforts

in collecting articles of mili-

tary and historical interest

gathered not only during his

service in the army in Cuba,

Porto Rico, the Philippines

and China; but in his num-

erous journeyings since leav

ing the military service in

China, the Orient, South

America and in several trips

around the world. The care

of the grounds has likewise

received constant attention,

interesting trees and shrubs

have been planted along the

edge of the public highways

in such a manner as not to

detract from the beauty of

the natural grove, but yet

screen the highways from the house. The knoll to the south

has been carefully planted with appropriate evergreens and de-

ciduous trees and shrubs, including an enormous border of

rhododendrons. In order further to add to the privacy of the

enclosure on the knoll, it is separated from the remainder of

the grove by two little lakes and a running brook with several

small waterfalls.

Lower down on the knoll, marked by a great granite boulder

in memory of departed war horses of President Hayes and

his son, lie the remains of the only war horse of President Hayes

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350      Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.


which survived the battles of the war, "Old Whitey, a Hero of

Nineteen Battles."

Spiegel Grove, the beautiful twenty-five acre grove of native

American trees, is a portion of the historic site of the free city

of the neutral nation of the Eries, who three centuries ago built

two fortified towns on opposite sides of the Sandusky river.

The site of this free city where later the Wyandots (or Hurons)

made a village, was on the great natural runway of the earliest

French explorers and missionaries and their Indian allies, in

passing from the St. Lawrence and the Great Lakes to the Ohio

and the Mississippi. This old French and Indian Trail was

along the westerly bank of the Sandusky-Scioto water course

from Lake Erie to the Ohio River. Both passed through the old

free city at the lower falls of the Sandusky, the trail extending

for over half a mile through Spiegel Grove. This trail was

traversed by the early Frenchmen and by French war parties

with their Indian allies from Detroit, in their endeavor to expel

the British from the Ohio country, and was the common meet-

ing ground of the war parties and exploring parties of both the

French from Detroit and the British from Fort Pitt.

Upon the capture of Quebec in 1759 by the British, the

French surrendered all their territory in North America, and the

British sent out an expedition under Rogers to take over the

French forts. Old Fort Sandoske, originally built by British

traders in 1745, but destroyed and rebuilt and destroyed again in

the contest between the French and the British, was rebuilt and

left in command of Ensign Pauli. The great Ottawa chief Pon-

tiac refused to be delivered to the British and organized his great

conspiracy which early in the spring of 1763 resulted in "nine of

the British forts yielding instantly, Detroit and Fort Pitt alone

escaping capture. Sandoske was the first to fall." Captain Dalyell

with 260 men marching to the relief of Detroit during its siege

by Pontiac, came upon the ruins of old Fort Sandoske, on Mar-

blehead peninsula, July 26, 1763, and furious at the devastation

and the sight of the decomposing bodies of Pauli's little garri-

son he resolved on some measure of retribution. Marching in-

land to the Huron village on the site of the old neutral town at

Spiegel Grove

Spiegel Grove.                  351


the lower rapids of the Sandusky, [now Fremont,] he burned it

to the ground, and destroyed the adjacent fields of standing corn.

In the spring of 1764, General Gage, in command of the

British forces in America, sent Colonel Bradstreet from Albany

and Colonel Bouquet from Fort Pitt to punish Pontiac and his

confederates and regain possession of the western forts. Brad-

street's force numbered 1,183, Israel Putnam, later the Revolu-

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tionary patriot, being in command of the Connecticut battalion.

The present Fremont was the westernmost point reached by this

force. The whole army with cannon sailed up the Sandusky

river in their unwieldly batteaux, and encamped on the high

ground extending from the present site of Fort Stephenson

around the bluff to the Fair Grounds, at which latter point and

as a protection to the left of his line Israel Putnam constructed

fleches and redoubts. Lieut. John Montresor, engineer of the

352 Ohio Arch

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army, noted in his diary under date of Sept. 22, 1764, that he

had that day been to the Huron village destroyed by Dalyell the

previous year, and "took sketches and bearings of that advan-

tageous and beautiful situation and the meanderings of the river.

Remarked that the left of our encampment is contiguous to the

remains of an old fort where the Delawares and some of the

western Indians took shelter against the Iroquois near one hun-

dred years ago. This construction is in the form of a circle 300

yards in circumference, one-

half defended by the river."

During the War of the

Revolution, Daniel Boone and

Simon Kenton were each led

captive along this trail

through Spiegel Grove. Pre-

ceding and following the

Revolutionary war more In-

dian captives were brought

here along this trail than to

any other place; the Moravian

m i s s i o n a r i es Zeisberger,

Heckewelder and their fol-

lowers being among the num-


Our n e x t knowledge of

Lower Sandusky comes from

Captain Samuel Brady the

scout, whom Washington sent

out for information upon the movements of the Indians of this

region, and who, concealed on the island in the river, ever since

called Brady's Island, watched the Indians race their horses

along the shore.  Washington's interest in this locality was

great and in 1782 his friend Gen. William Irvine, commandant

at Fort Pitt, noted that a British post had been established at

Lower Sandusky, giving this place its claim for Revolutionary


The location of this free city was the two mile square tract,

now Fremont, which constantly reappeared in the old treaties

Spiegel Grove

Spiegel Grove.                  353


between the Indians and the Government. The treaty of Fort

Mackintosh, Jan. 21, 1785, reserved "two miles square on each

side of the lower rapids of the Sandusky River" in the allotment

of lands to the Indians. This "two mile square upon each side

of the lower rapids of Sandusky river" was again reserved by

the United States in its quit claim to the Indians in its treaty of

Fort Harmar, Jan. 9, 1789; and in the treaty of Greenville, from

the Indians to the United States of America, Aug. 3, 1795, the

Indians ceded "one piece two miles square at the lower rapids of

the Sandusky river."

Although by the treaty of peace of 1783, the present boun-

dary line was established between American and British terri-

tory, nevertheless the British on the pretext that treaty obliga-

tions to the loyalists had not been observed retained possession

of Detroit and its outposts, including Lower Sandusky, and from

these vantage points kept the Indians in a constant turmoil sup-

porting their claim that the Ohio river was their natural boun-

dary. It was not till after the Battle of Fallen Timbers in 1794,

when the great Indian confederacy was crushed, that the British

surrendered control of Detroit and its contiguous territory in-

cluding the two mile square now Fremont. Tarhe, the famous

Wyandot warrior who made his home at the lower falls of the

Sandusky in the former free city, and who was the first Indian

chief to make terms with Wayne, received from him a promise to

erect a fort at the lower falls for the protection of himself and

the other friendly Indians. On the outbreak of the second war

with Great Britain, and after the ignominious surrender of De-

troit in June, 1812, the American settlers fled to the Sandusky

country, and the old Factor's buildings at the lower falls were

transformed into a fort under the direction of Major Wood, one

of the first graduates of West Point. In the spring of 1813,

this fort was enlarged under the direction of Colonel Stephenson,

from whom it received its name, and was gallantly defended on

the 1st and 2d of August, 1813, by the youthful hero, Major

George Croghan. Gen. W. T. Sherman, in a letter to President

Hayes emphasizing the importance of this victory wrote these

words: "The defense of Fort Stephenson, by Croghan and his

Vol. XVIII-23.

354 Ohio Arch

354      Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.


gallant little band, was the necessary precursor to Perry's Vic

tory on the Lake, and to General Harrison's triumphant victory

at the Battle of the Thames. These assured to our immediate

ancestors the mastery of the great west, and from that day to

this the west has been the bulwark of the nation."

In General-Harrison's advance to repel the invading Brit

ish and Indians, he established forts and depots and constructed

a military road following the line of the old French and Indian

trail, and the heavy wheels of his wagons have left a clearly de

fined course which is still easily distinguished in its meanderings

Spiegel Grove

Spiegel Grove.                 355


through Spiegel Grove, although nearly one hundred years have

elapsed since the present State road was laid out in a direct

course, crossing and recrossing the old trail.

In the campaign of 18I3, owing to the insecurity of Fort

Stephenson, General Harrison selected as his headquarters Fort

Seneca, nine miles up the river, whence he could make swift trips

to Fort Stephenson, to Fort Meigs on the Maumee, to Huron and

Cleveland. During this campaign, all the noted officers of the

war of 1812, with the single exception of Andrew Jackson, trav-

eled over this trail. Gen. William Henry Harrison, the victor-

ious commander-in-chief was inaugurated President of the

United States in 1841; Col. Richard M. Johnson, of the Ken-

tucky Mounted Riflemen, "the man who killed Tecumseh," was

inaugurated Vice President of the United States in 1837; Brig.

Gen. Lewis Cass, who commanded a brigade, served as Secre-

tary of State in the cabinet of Buchanan; Governor Meigs of

Ohio became Postmaster General in the cabinets of Madison and

Monroe; and the venerable Governor Shelby of Kentucky always

considered this campaign as the crowning glory of his distin-

guished career.

Such famous Indians as Nicolas, the renegade Huron chief;

Pontiac, Tecumseh, Little Turtle and Tarhe the Crane were

frequenters of this old Harrison Trail and occasional residents

of this place.

Under the treaty of 1817, the Indian title in Ohio was

finally extinguished, and the land opened for settlement. The

place now known as Spiegel Grove became a portion of the

northwestern quarter of section three in the United States Re-

serve " Sandusky," which was entered by Josephus B. Stewart

and William Oliver. When the patent was executed, however,

by Andrew Jackson in 1834, it was to their assignees Jacques

Hulburd, one of the first settlers of Lower Sandusky; and to

the heirs of Martin Baum. After a partition by these owners,

the first transfer was for an undivided half and was made in

1834, by which Sardis Birchard, the uncle of Rutherford B.

Hayes, became the owner of about one-half, including Spiegel

Grove; and R. P. Buckland, who became a distinguished lawyer

and soldier and who later formed a law partnership with Ruth-

356 Ohio Arch

356      Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.

erford B. Hayes, became the owner of the remainder; their prop-

erties being separated by the old State road from Lower San-

dusky (Fremont) to Fort Ball (Tiffin), now known as Buckland


Several years after the purchase of the Spiegel Grove tract,

Mr. Birchard removed his residence from  the village to the

country home of Mr. and Mrs. James Valette, in a house built

about 1828 and now

known as the Edger-

ton homestead. It is

near  the  site  of

Colonel Ball's victory

over the Indians on

the banks of San-

dusky river, on July

30, 1813, two days

before the assault on

Fort Stephenson. It

was to this house that

Mrs. Hayes brought

Colonel Rutherford

B. Hayes, of the 23d

Ohio, after his partial

recovery from his se-

vere wound at South

Mountain on the

opening of the An-

tietam campaign in

1862. Mr. Birchard

on his way to and

from the village daily

passed his new purchase, noted the deep woods, its pools of stand-

ing water reflecting like mirrors (the German word for Spiegel)

the great trees and tangled boughs and swaying vines, listened to

the song of birds, the hooting of owls and the mourning of the

doves, crooned over the legends of the place, smiled over its

traditional ghosts and spooks, recognized many a likeness to the

scenes of the German fairy tales dear to his childhood; named it

Spiegel Grove

Spiegel Grove.                  357


Spiegel Grove and selected it for the future home of his declining

years with his nephew, Rutherford B. Hayes.

Sardis Birchard, this early patron of Spiegel Grove, was

born in Vermont in 1800 and early left an orphan. Upon the

marriage of his sister Sophia to Rutherford Hayes, the boy of

eleven was adopted and went to live with them, and in 1817

was taken by them from Dummerston, Vermont, to Delaware,

Ohio. In 1822 occurred the death of Rutherford Hayes and the

birth of his son Rutherford Birchard Hayes, and young Sardis

Birchard, then twenty-one years of age, in his turn assumed

the care of the family and became the devoted guardian of his

sister's son. He never married. He was a man of extensive

culture and of the highest social and benevolent qualities. He

was active in public and corporate works of progress in northern

Ohio -the improvement of navigation, of vessel building, of the

Western Reserve and Maumee Turnpike, a national work; also

of the Toledo, Norwalk and Cleveland railway of which he was

at first the main support. In 1851 he organized a bank which in

1863 he merged into the First National Bank of Fremont, stand-

ing fifth on the list of national banks, Mr. Birchard remaining

its president. He gave two public parks to the city of Fremont,

endowed a public library for the use of the county and gave

generously to the First Presbyterian and other churches of the


The house at Spiegel Grove was begun by Mr. Birchard in

1859 for the permanent home of his nephew and ward, who

owing to his services in the army, in Congress and as Governor

of Ohio, did not occupy it till 1873, Mr. Birchard living there

until that time and enjoying frequent joyful visits from his

nephew and later from the latter's wife and young children.

The original house was a brick structure, two and one-half

stories high, surrounded on three sides by a veranda, but in

1873 General Hayes added two frame buildings containing a

kitchen and an office and library. In 1880, preparatory to his

return home from the White House he built a substantial ad-

dition on the north, duplicating the original gabled brick front

of the house, and materially remodelled the interior. In 1889

further extensive changes were made, at which time the present

358 Ohio Arch

358      Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.


large dining room, kitchens and several upper chambers were

added. This date remains memorable in the family because be-

fore the alterations were finished the beautiful mistress of the

house who had looked forward eagerly to the larger oppor-

tunities for hospitality, was stricken and died. Only two rooms

of the old house remain intact, the red parlor on the first floor,

and the ancestral room directly above it, which had been Mr.

Birchard's chamber.

The house has high ceilings, spacious rooms with hardwood

floors and many open fire-

places. A veranda eighty feet

long and fourteen wide, so ar-

ranged as to make thirty-three

laps to the mile, extends in

front of the whole house.

From the center of the large

entrance hall one can look up

four stories to the observa-

tory, the upper halls forming

balconies opposite the stair-

ways. On either side of the

front door hang portraits of

Sardis  Birchard   and  of

George Washington, the lat-

ter being an original painting

by Gilbert Stuart. The two

archways opening from the

hall are draped with the reg-

imental flags of Colonel Webb C. Hayes in the war with Spain

and in the Philippine insurrection; which take the place of his

father's regimental flags of forty years earlier which are now

carefully preserved in glass cases. Immediately behind, on a third

archway hang the "grandfathers' guns" of the war of 1812,

being the old flintlocks used by Rutherford Hayes of Vermont

and James Webb of Kentucky. Opposite these a glass case con-

tains the side arms used by General Hayes during the War of the

Rebellion; two swords, two pistols, a field glass and an empty

revolver holster. General Hayes had drawn his revolver, but lost

Spiegel Grove

Spiegel Grove.                  359


it when his horse was instantly killed and he himself badly in-

jured while rallying his men during the morning surprise of

Sheridan's victory at Winchester. Eighteen presidents of the

United States, from Washington to Roosevelt, served as soldiers,

but none other was wounded, with the single exception of

James Monroe when a young lieutenant at the battle of Trenton.

General Hayes was wounded in battle six times and had four

horses shot under him during his four years' service, 1861-1865.

A full-length portrait of General Hayes in the uniform of a

Major General hangs in one of the hall niches. The chimney

piece in the hall is hung with Indian tomahawks, totems, peace

pipes, belts, wampum and mosaics. A silver plate presented to Mrs.

Hayes by the soldiers of the 23d Regiment, O. V. I., on the occa-

sion of her silver wedding at the White House, is engraved with

the log cabin in which Mrs. Hayes lived for two winters in her

husband's camp in Virginia; and with verses inscribed to "Our


The drawing room opening to the right of the hall is forty-

six feet long and connected by an open archway with a library

room of the same length, where is stored the fine historical li-

brary of President Hayes. This room preserves an atmosphere

of homelikeness and comfort and is indicative of the well rounded

character and refined principles of the student who arranged

it. The many thousand volumes of Americana include apparently

everything which has been written. In the drawing room hang

life-sized portraits of President Hayes by Brown and of Mrs.

Hayes by Andrews, and other choice portraits and landscapes.

Books are here too in great profusion, many of them being first

editions and invaluable autograph copies. Fine old mahogany

furniture, a magnificent Chinese rug and embroideries, a fac-

simile of the desk on which Jefferson wrote the Declaration of

Independence; six great vellum volumes of autographs; a bronze

figure of Lincoln and the cast of his hand; seals used by Abraham

Lincoln and Andrew Jackson; a cup made from Farragut's flag-

ship, are interesting treasures of this room.

The red parlor to the left of the hall contains a full length

portrait of the only daughter of the house, a water color by

Turner, oil landscapes by Bierstadt and others.

360 Ohio Arch

360      Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.


The bedroom in which both President and Mrs. Hayes died

faces the south and overlooks one of the most beautiful parts

of the grove. The furniture is of old mahogany, and the books

and pictures of Mrs. Hayes remain exactly as arranged by Gen-

eral Hayes after her death.

One of the most beautiful rooms of the home is the large

d;ning room with great windows at each end looking over the

lawns. The shelved chimney piece over the large fireplace is de-

voted to fine examples of old

Indian pottery, with elk

horns and the skull and jaws

of a huge grizzly shot by

Colonel Hayes. The two old

mahogany sideboards are

family heirlooms, descended

from the Birchard and the

Webb sides of the house re-

spectively; two           mahogany

serving        tables       from  the

White          House, purchased

during Madison's adminis-

tration, were bought in at a

public  sale  of discarded

furniture in 1881; as was

also a handsome secretary,

purchased during Lincoln's

time and used in the Presi-

dent's cabinet room until its

sale with many other inter-

esting relics on the renovation of the White House after the death

of President McKinley. Other furniture of the dining room is a

Korean cash box, studded with brass swastikas; and a second chest

superbly carved, fashioned from cabinet doors brought by Colonel

Hayes from Peking. An antique clock which ticks circumspectly

near the dining room door was bequeathed to the president by his

grandmother and brought hither from the ancestral Hayes home-

stead in Brattleboro, Vermont. On this clock stands the owl

which by dangling on the plumb-bob of the Washington Monu-

Spiegel Grove

Spiegel Grove.                 361


ment nearly caused the despair of the engineer in charge, who

thought that his foundation had proved insufficient and that the

monument was "wobbling."

Scarcely less than the rooms on the first floor, the upper

chambers are crowded with historic and beautiful objects. The

ebony room contains furniture designed by a cousin, William

Rutherford Mead, of the firm of McKim, Mead and White, and

purchased by President Hayes for use in his little daughter's

room at the White House and

to be retained by her as a

souvenir. The ancestral room

has untold treasures from a

colonial and antiquarian point

of view; and other rooms are

fitted with furniture and hang-

ings collected by Colonel

Haves in the Orient. One

of the Oriental rooms contains

a Chinese bed, a monumental

affair carved, inlaid and pan-

eled with paintings on rice

paper; while the Filipino room

contains typical Filipino fur-

niture, a console, a peacock

dresser, and two canopied

cane-bottomed bedsteads.

Upon General Hayes's per-

sonal assumption   of  the

Spiegel Grove property in 1873, he began to improve and beautify

the place, preserving and accentuating its natural advantages by

clearing out indifferent trees, extending the lawns immediately

about the house to let in the sunlight, opening vistas to throw

into relief some superb old oak or elm; and planting the hemlock

avenue and wind-breaks of spruces and pines. The handsome

Japanese cypresses and deciduous trees south of the house were

sent thither from the centennial exposition in 1876, being among

the earliest of such Japanese importations.  General Hayes

took particular pleasure in gathering historic trees, among which

362 Ohio Arch

362      Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.


were a Napoleon willow, the forebears of which were willows

on Washington's grave at Mt. Vernon and Napoleon's at St.

Helena; two oaks grown from acorns of the veritable Charter

Oak at Hartford, Conn.; and tulip trees from the Virginia home

of James Madison. General Hayes would point out to inter-

ested visitors storied trees like the one to which the savage In-

dians bound a captive maiden and built a fire about her when a

thunder storm burst and put out the flames. White traders hear-

ing of the outrage sent a swift runner to Detroit to get an order

for her release from the Crane, the Wyandot chief; and he re-

turned in time to save the captive. Another tree with a tale is

"Grandfather's," an oak with a large hole near its base, under

which Mrs. Hayes's father camped one cold night during the war

of 1812. The story ran that he and a comrade were sent out to

forage for provisions. It was so bitterly cold that they could not

make their way back to camp, and building a fire at the foot of

this tree slept there in the open. The soldiers in camp had their

feet frozen that night, but this pair escaped such disaster. The

old musket and hunting horn of this Private James Webb, of

the Kentucky Mounted Riflemen, are among the treasures of the


West of the residence, in an open field adjoining Spiegel

Grove, General Hayes laid out the Lucy Hayes Chapel in young

walnut trees, with nave, transepts and tower, -a chapel which

he used to say would be worth looking at two hundred years


General Hayes moved the main entrance to Spiegel Grove

from a point almost directly in front of the house to its present

location at the northern entrance of the Harrison Trail, and laid

out the winding driveway to the house. The entrance is further

marked by a thirteen inch shell fired by the battleship Oregon at

Morro Castle in the siege of Santiago de Cuba in the war with

Spain, which failing to explode was later presented to Colonel

Hayes by Admiral Clark, captain of the Oregon.

The main drive through Spiegel Grove follows the old Har-

rison Military Trail of the war of 1812, down which General

Harrison brought his troops on his way to Fort Stephenson after

Croghan's Victory. The road leaves Spiegel by the southwest

Spiegel Grove

Spiegel Grove.                  36


gateway, continuing down to the old French spring, and on to

Ball's battlefield, Fort Seneca, Fort Ball (Tiffin) and Upper San-

dusky to Franklinton, (now Columbus).

Of the many interesting events which have occurred at

Spiegel Grove the more prominent were the meeting and greet-

ing of General Hayes by his old neighbors and friends in Fre-

mont, on the evening of his third nomination for governor of

Ohio in 1875, after what he had considered as his permanent re-

tirement from public life.

The next year this was fol-

lowed by another gathering

on the occasion of his last

visit home prior to his de-

parture from the State cap-

ital at Columbus to be in-

augurated as president of the

United States. Six months

later occurred the greatest

demonstration in the history

of the town, in the annual re-

union of his regiment, the

23d Ohio, on the 14th of

September, 1877, followed

as it was by the dedication of

the new City Hall building.

During this reunion Presi-

dent Hayes entertained the

members of his regiment at

a luncheon on a table spread under five of the giant oaks of Spiegel

Grove. At this table also was Gen. Philip H. Sheridan, the favorite

battle general of the war of the Rebellion; and the four Colonels

of the regiment in the persons of Gen. W. S. Rosecrans, E. P.

Scammon, Rutherford B. Hayes and J. M. Comly, together with

the first lieutenant-colonel, later Justice Stanley Matthews of the

Supreme Court. The five oak trees were christened for the five

guests. Major William McKinley was the orator of the day,

and other speakers included Chief Justice Morrison R. Waite

and James R. Garfield, after whom in later years were named

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364      Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.

the McKinley oaks, the Chief Justice Waite oak and the Garfield

maple, to commemorate visits by them. The finest elm in the

grove was christened the General Sherman elm on the occasion

of his visit after his memorable trip escorting President Hayes

and party to the Pacific coast and the Texan frontier posts.

President Hayes was the first chief executive to visit the Pacific

coast during his term of office. On the return of President

Spiegel Grove

Spiegel Grove.                   365


Hayes to Fremont, after leaving the White House, he was

greeted most cordially by his fellow townspeople and escorted to

his home where he delivered a short address in which he ex-

pressed his love for his old home and his neighbors of many

years standing. He said in the course of this talk:

"This is a good place to find an answer to the question which

is often heard: What is to become of the man, what is he to

do, where is his place, who having been chief magistrate of the

Republic retires at the end of his term to private life? It seems

to me the answer is near at

hand and sufficient. Let him

like every other good Amer-

ican citizen be willing prompt-

ly to bear his part in every

useful work that will promote

the welfare, the happiness and

the progress of his family, his

town, .his State and his Coun-

try. With this disposition he

will have work enough to do

and that sort of work which

yields more individual content-

ment and gratification than

the more conspicuous employ-

ment of public life from which

he has returned."

Four years later as presi-

dent of the Sandusky County Soldiers and Sailors Monument

Association, President Hayes presided at an enormous gathering

at the exercises of the dedication of the soldiers' monument

in Fort Stephenson Park, to commemorate the services of the

soldiers of all the wars of Sandusky County, but particularly

in memory of Major George Croghan and the gallant defenders

of Fort Stephenson on the 2d of August, 1812.

The sudden and unexpected death of President Hayes's be-

loved wife, June 21st, 1889, came as a great shock not only to

himself but to the community at large, and a great number of

friends gathered at Spiegel Grove to show their respect and love.

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366      Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.

His comrades of the 23d Ohio, serving as guard of honor,

marched down the old Harrison Trail en route to Oakwood

Cemetery. A little less than four years later, another great con-

course gathered at Spiegel Grove out of respect to the departed

soldier and statesman. Chief among the mourners was the ex-

President and now again President-elect, Grover Cleveland, who

made the long journey in the midst of furious winter storms to

show his frequently expressed admiration and regard. With

President Cleveland in the red parlor, were gathered also mem-

bers of the cabinet who repre-

sented President Harrison;

Generals C o r b i n, Brecken-

ridge and Luddington, who

represented the United States

Army; Gov. William McKin-

ley of Ohio and the State of-

ficers and members of the

Ohio Legislature; the official

representatives of the Loyal

Legion of which President

Hayes was commander-in-

chief; and representatives of

many other military, literary,

educational and philanthropic

organizations with which he

was connected. A deep snow

covered the ground, trees and shrubbery, so that the scene was a

most strikng one, to which the gaudy coloring of the military

trimmings, indicative of the different arms of the military service

added much to make it a scene long to be remembered.

Four years after the death of President Hayes, his former

regimental comrade and aide, William McKinley, as President of

the United States, was an honored guest at Spiegel Grove on the

occasion of the marriage of Fanny, the only daughter of the

house to Ensign Harry Eaton Smith, United States Navy. On

the following day the reunion of the 23d Regiment was for the

second time -held at Spiegel Grove. Mrs. McKinley and the

ladies invited to meet her occupied sofas and chairs on the roof

Spiegel Grove

Spiegel Grove.                  367


of the broad veranda, from which they looked down on the

speakers' stand constructed around a group of five white oaks,

since called the McKinley oaks, from which stand President Mc-

Kinley and other prominentmen spoke.

On the 90th anniversary of the Defense of Fort Stephen-

son, Aug. 1st, 1903, a memorial tablet was dedicated on Fort

Stephenson, and the George Croghan Chapter, D. A. R. held a

reception at Spiegel Grove in honor of Mrs. Charles W. Fair-

banks, the president general of the Daughters of the American

Revolution; and Mrs. O. J. Hodge the State Regent. An ad-

dress was delivered by the Hon. C. R. Williams, of Indiana. An

elm was planted on the knoll by the Daughters, and ivy from

Warwick Castle on one of the great oaks by the Colonial Dames

of Toledo. Again on Aug. 2d, 1906, the remains of Major

George Croghan were reinterred at the foot of the monument

erected in his honor on Fort Stephenson Park, and the grave

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368      Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.

covered with myrtle taken from the family burying ground at

Locust Grove, near Louisville, Kentucky, where Croghan had

been originally interred after his death in 1849. Addresses were

made at Fort Stephenson by the Hon. Chas. W. Fairbanks, Vice

President of the United States; Gov. A. L. Harris of Ohio, and

others, after which a public reception was held in their honor at

Spiegel Grove.

Just before starting on his speaking campaign during the

presidential canvass in 1908, Judge William H. Taft and his

charming wife (who as Miss Helen Herron had been a frequent

visitor at the Hayes home both in Ohio and at Washington) came

to spend a day at Spiegel Grove as the guests of Colonel Hayes,

the present owner. They were conveyed from the landing place

at Port Clinton, on Lake Erie, in automobiles to Fort Stephen-

son, and then on to Spiegel Grove, where they were entertained

Spiegel Grove

Spiegel Grove.                 369


at luncheon and in looking over the old house. Judge Taft was

advised by his host of the custom of naming trees after distin-

guished visitors, and after having had pointed out to him the

General Sherman Elm, the Cleveland Hickory, the Garfield

Maple and the McKinley Oak, he was invited to select his tree.

He promptly advanced to one of the grandest oaks in the Grove,

immediately in front of the mansion, and placing his hand upon

it said with a Taft smile: "This is about my size!" since which

time the tree has been known as the Taft Oak.

The Cleveland hickory was also

named by the laying on of hands. On

the occasion of the attendance of

President Cleveland at the funeral

of President Hayes, the family car-

riage  horses  became  somewhat

fractious owing to the crisp air and

the music of the bands, so that as

President Cleveland was about to en-

ter the carriage the horses made a

plunge forward.  President Cleve-

land temporarily alighted and while

the horses were being brought under

control he placed his right hand upon

a thrifty shell-bark hickory, thereup-

on deemed especially appropriate to be named in honor of the

great Democrat.

On October 18, 1908, the occasion of the annual State Con-

ference of the Ohio Daughters of the American Revolution, a

brilliant reception was held at Spiegel Grove. During the sum-

mer months ever since the return of President and Mrs. Hayes

from Washington, in 1881, Spiegel Grove has been the scene of

many delightful gatherings of their guests, and this custom has

been continued to the present time. Since the inauguration of

the National Rifle contests at Camp Perry, on Lake Erie, the

visiting teams, especially the members of the teams representing

the army, navy and marine corps have been frequent visitors for

week-end parties during the period of the contests.

Vol. XVIII -24.

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370     Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.


Thus there is no absence at Spiegel Grove of that tradi-

tion which Ruskin thought would "rob your rivers of their laugh-

ter and your flowers of their light."  Nature and artifice, work-

ing hand in hand, have stamped beauty and story upon its every

detail. One feels that the influence of the early denizens of the

place still haunts it; that over house and grounds broods a spirit

of beautiful other days when a sturdy man and a lovely woman

who had received the highest honors in the land lived there, leav-

ing behind them traditions of gracious manners, high ideals and

noble characters as a legacy to their children, their townspeople

and countrymen. Of memorial parks such as Spiegel Grove this

land has all too few.