The Children of Rutherford B. Hayes

Rutherford B. Hayes was the 19th President of the United States. He is known for his time as president and for being a family man. Rutherford and his wife, Lucy Webb Hayes, had eight children. They lived in a place called Spiegel Grove, which was full of life and activity. In this blog post, we will look at the lives of Hayes’ children and see how they influenced and were influenced by their father’s important role. Each child had their own path and story, which tells us more about the history of America and the personal side of a president’s life.

Hayes’ Family Background

Rutherford B. Hayes and his wife on their wedding day, Dec. 30, 1852

Rutherford B. Hayes married Lucy Webb Hayes in 1852. Lucy was known for her strong moral character and became a notable figure in her own right as the First Lady. The couple shared a deep bond rooted in mutual respect and shared values, which was evident throughout their life together.

The Hayes family settled in Spiegel Grove, Ohio, which became their beloved family home. It was here that their family life blossomed amidst the expansive and lush surroundings. The couple had eight children, creating a vibrant and busy household. This family setting, full of life and activity, played a crucial role in the personal development of their children.

The environment in Spiegel Grove was not only a nurturing home but also a space of intellectual and moral growth. Both Rutherford and Lucy instilled in their children the importance of education, civic duty, and ethical behavior. These values reflected the broader moral and reformist attitudes of the era, particularly during Hayes’ presidency, which emphasized civil service reform and education.

Tragically, not all of Hayes’ children lived to adulthood, but those who did were influenced greatly by their parents’ legacy. Their home life, deeply entrenched in the values of their parents, prepared them to pursue meaningful paths in service, academia, and other fields.

Profiles of Each Child

Rutherford B. Hayes and Lucy Webb Hayes had eight children, each with a unique story. Here’s a brief look at the profiles of each of the Hayes children:

Birchard Austin Hayes (1853 – 1926)

Birchard Austin Hayes, eldest son of President Rutherford B. Hayes

Birchard Austin Hayes, the eldest son of Rutherford B. Hayes and Lucy Webb Hayes, was born on November 4, 1853, and lived a life characterized by education, public service, and family commitment, much like his father.

  • Education and Career: Birchard followed in his father’s academic footsteps, beginning his education at Cornell University, where he studied from 1870 to 1874. He then attended Harvard Law School, graduating in 1877. Armed with a strong education, Birchard chose to practice law, establishing his career in Toledo, Ohio. His legal practice was well-respected, and he became a notable figure in the local legal community.
  • Public Service: Birchard’s commitment to public service was evident throughout his life. He served on the Board of Trustees for the Toledo State Hospital, dedicating time to the welfare of the mentally ill. He was also a member of the Toledo Library Board and the Ohio State Archeological and Historical Society. His work with these organizations showcased his dedication to cultural preservation and public welfare, reflecting the Hayes family’s longstanding values.
  • Family Life: Birchard married Mary Sherman in 1886, with whom he had three children. His role as a family man was central to his life, echoing the close-knit family environment in which he was raised. His home in Toledo became a hub of family activity, much like Spiegel Grove had been during his childhood.
  • Later Years and Legacy: Throughout his later years, Birchard remained active in his community, respected for both his professional achievements and his civic involvement. He passed away in 1926, leaving behind a legacy of public service and commitment to societal betterment. His life exemplified the values instilled by his parents, blending professional success with a deep commitment to helping others and contributing to the public good.

James Webb Cook Hayes (1856 – 1934)

Webb C. Hayes (Medal of Honor recipient)

James Webb Cook Hayes, born on March 20, 1856, was the second son of Rutherford B. Hayes and Lucy Webb Hayes. He carved a distinctive path in both business and military service, reflecting the Hayes family’s dedication to public duty and entrepreneurial spirit.

  • Education and Early Life: James attended Cornell University, an education that prepared him for the diverse roles he would take on throughout his life. His time at university not only broadened his academic horizons but also prepared him for the challenges of business and military service.
  • Military Service: Following in the footsteps of his father, who was a Civil War hero, James served in the military. His service was marked by his participation in the Spanish-American War, where he demonstrated leadership and a commitment to his country. His military career added a layer of national service to his family’s legacy of public duty.
  • Business Ventures: After his military service, James shifted his focus to business, particularly in mining and corporate affairs. He was involved in various enterprises, notably in the mining sector, where he applied his leadership skills and innovative strategies. His business ventures took him across the United States, particularly to the western states, where mining was a booming industry.
  • Family and Personal Life: James married Mary Otis in 1892, with whom he had several children. His family life was characterized by the same values of duty and public service that he grew up with. He instilled these values in his own children, continuing the Hayes legacy.
  • Legacy and Contributions: James Webb Cook Hayes passed away on July 26, 1934. Throughout his life, he remained a figure of entrepreneurial spirit and dedication to service. His contributions to both the military and business sectors showcased the multifaceted talents of the Hayes family, and his life work significantly extended the influence of his family’s name in American history.

Rutherford Platt Hayes (1858 – 1927)

Rutherford Platt Hayes, the third son of US President Rutherford B. Hayes and Lucy Webb Hayes

Rutherford Platt Hayes, born on June 24, 1858, was the third son of Rutherford B. Hayes and Lucy Webb Hayes. He is remembered for his contributions to library science, business, and social reform, demonstrating a commitment to education and public service that mirrored his family’s values.

  • Education and Early Career: Rutherford Platt was academically inclined, attending Cornell University for his undergraduate studies. He later continued his education at Harvard University, where he further developed his interest in library science and management. His academic background laid a solid foundation for his future endeavors in both business and public service.
  • Contributions to Library Science: Rutherford Platt became notably involved in the development of library science in the United States. He was instrumental in organizing and managing several libraries, and his work significantly contributed to improving the accessibility and organization of library resources. His efforts helped modernize library systems, making them more efficient and user-friendly.
  • Business Ventures: In addition to his contributions to library science, Rutherford Platt also ventured into the business world. He successfully managed family businesses and other entrepreneurial projects, demonstrating his versatility and capability in various sectors. His business acumen was evident in his ability to sustain and grow the family’s interests, further establishing the Hayes legacy in the commercial field.
  • Philanthropy and Social Reform: True to the Hayes family’s tradition of public service, Rutherford Platt was deeply involved in philanthropy and social reform. He focused particularly on educational causes, advocating for better educational systems and resources. His philanthropic efforts were geared towards creating more equitable access to education and promoting cultural enrichment through libraries and other educational institutions.
  • Family and Later Years: Rutherford Platt married Mary Sherman Otis, and together, they had a family, continuing the Hayes tradition of close-knit family values. Throughout his life, he remained committed to his community and family, often integrating his professional pursuits with his personal values.

Rutherford Platt Hayes passed away on July 31, 1927. His legacy is marked by his significant contributions to the field of library science, his successful management of business ventures, and his commitment to philanthropy. His life exemplifies the Hayes family ethos of education, public service, and community involvement, leaving a lasting impact on the fields he touched.

Joseph Thompson Hayes (1861 – 1863)

Joseph Thompson Hayes, the fourth child of Rutherford B. Hayes and Lucy Webb Hayes, was born on December 21, 1861. His life was tragically brief, as he passed away on June 24, 1863, at just 18 months old. Due to his very young age at the time of his death, there are limited details about his life.

  • Brief Life and Impact: Joseph’s early death came at a time when his father, Rutherford B. Hayes, was deeply involved in the Civil War, serving as an officer in the Union Army. The loss of Joseph was a profound sadness for Hayes and his wife, Lucy, who were both devoted parents. The death of a child is a harrowing experience for any family, and for the Hayes family, it was a moment of deep personal grief that they endured privately.
  • Family Reflections: While there are no public records or detailed personal accounts highlighting Joseph’s characteristics or potential, his short life and untimely death were undoubtedly impactful on the Hayes family. The loss of Joseph emphasized the personal challenges that the Hayes family faced beyond their public lives and service. It is noted that Rutherford and Lucy cherished their children deeply, and each child’s life, no matter how short, held significant value within the family.

George Crook Hayes (1864 – 1866)

George Crook Hayes, born on September 29, 1864, was another son of Rutherford B. Hayes and Lucy Webb Hayes, who faced an untimely and early death. Named after General George Crook, a prominent figure in the Civil War known for his leadership, George Crook Hayes’ life was brief, passing away on May 24, 1866, before reaching his second birthday.

  • Brief Life and Family Impact: Due to his very young age at the time of his death, George Crook Hayes did not leave behind personal achievements or a public legacy. However, his birth during the Civil War and his name reflect the deep respect Rutherford B. Hayes held for his military comrades and the impact of the war on his family life.

The death of George Crook was a significant emotional blow to the Hayes family. Coming so soon after the loss of Joseph Thompson Hayes, compounded the grief experienced by the family. The back-to-back losses of their young children marked a period of profound sorrow for Rutherford and Lucy.

  • Reflections on Legacy: The short life of George Crook Hayes, much like that of his brother Joseph, left a mark on the Hayes family primarily in how they dealt with personal loss amidst public service. Rutherford Hayes was deeply involved in the political and social issues of his time, and the personal challenges he faced at home, including the deaths of his children, highlighted the human aspects of a public figure’s life.

Frances Hayes (1867 – 1950)

Frances Hayes, affectionately known as Fanny, was born on October 2, 1867, to Rutherford B. Hayes and Lucy Webb Hayes. Unlike some of her siblings who died young, Frances lived a long and fulfilling life, contributing to her community and maintaining the family’s legacy of service and integrity.

  • Personal Life and Education: Frances grew up in the nurturing environment of Spiegel Grove, where she was exposed to the ideals of public service and education from an early age. The detailed records of her educational background are limited, but she was known to have been well-educated, in line with the family’s emphasis on intellectual development.
  • Community Involvement: Frances was active within her community, participating in various social and civic activities. She supported several philanthropic causes and was involved in women’s groups that focused on social reform and community improvement. Her contributions, though less publicly documented than those of her brothers, reflected her commitment to her family’s values.
  • Personal Interests: Known for her private nature, Frances enjoyed a life away from the political spotlight that had highlighted much of her father’s career. She pursued personal interests that included arts and literature, maintaining an active social life within her community. Frances remained unmarried, dedicating her time and resources to her family and community work.
  • Later Years: Frances lived much of her life at Spiegel Grove, the family estate, which became a center for family gatherings and public events after it was turned into a state park and presidential library. Her presence there helped preserve the family history and promote the legacy of her father.
  • Legacy: Frances Hayes passed away in 1950, having lived a life that exemplified the quiet dedication to service and community that her parents had instilled in all their children. Her life is a testament to the roles women played in sustaining and promoting family and community values during a time when public roles for women were limited.

Scott Russel Hayes (1871 – 1923)

Scott Russell Hayes, business executive and a son of president Rutherford B. Hayes

Scott Russell Hayes, born on February 8, 1871, was the seventh child of Rutherford B. Hayes and Lucy Webb Hayes. His life was marked by military service and dedication to his country, reflecting the Hayes family’s strong tradition of public service.

  • Early Life and Education: Growing up in the supportive environment of Spiegel Grove, Scott Russell was immersed in the values of duty, education, and service from a young age. His education details are less documented, but he grew up during a period when his father’s legacy as a former president and Civil War veteran strongly influenced his upbringing.
  • Military Career: Following in the footsteps of his father, Scott Russell pursued a career in the military. He served as an officer in the U.S. Army, showcasing his leadership skills and commitment to his country. His military service included participation in the Spanish-American War, where he distinguished himself and upheld the Hayes family’s reputation for service and duty.
  • Family Life: Scott Russell married Maude Anderson, and together, they had children, continuing the Hayes lineage. His role as a family man was influenced by the strong family bonds and values he experienced growing up at Spiegel Grove.
  • Later Years and Contributions: After his military service, Scott Russell remained active in veterans’ affairs and continued to engage in community service. His commitment to service extended beyond his military career, impacting his community and maintaining the legacy of the Hayes family in public life.
  • Legacy: Scott Russell Hayes passed away on May 6, 1923. His life is remembered for his dedication to military service and the continuation of his family’s legacy of public duty. Through his military achievements and community involvement, Scott Russell embodied the values of his family, contributing to the nation in ways that honored the memory of his father and the service-oriented ethos of the Hayes family.

Manning Force Hayes (1873 – 1874)

Manning Force Hayes, born on August 1, 1873, was the youngest child of Rutherford B. Hayes and Lucy Webb Hayes. Named after Manning F. Force, a close family friend and a distinguished Civil War general, Manning’s life was sadly very brief; he died on August 28, 1874, just over a year old.

  • Short Life and Impact: Due to his infancy at the time of his death, Manning Force Hayes did not have the opportunity to leave a personal legacy or engage in accomplishments like his older siblings. However, his life and name reflect the close connections and deep respect that the Hayes family held for their friends and comrades from the Civil War era.
  • Family Reflections: Manning’s birth and untimely death marked another period of personal loss for Rutherford and Lucy Hayes. Having already endured the deaths of three other children in infancy or early childhood, the loss of Manning was a sorrowful echo of previous griefs. Each loss profoundly affected the family, deepening their shared experiences of sorrow and resilience.
  • Legacy in Memory: While Manning Force Hayes lived only a short time, his memory lived on within the Hayes family as a symbol of their enduring ties and the personal losses they sustained over the years. His life, though brief, was a part of the family narrative that reflected both the personal connections and the historical context of the time.

The Hayes Children’s Impact on Society

Front of Spiegel Grove, the home of U.S. President Rutherford B. Hayes in Fremont, Ohio, United States

The children of Rutherford B. Hayes, despite varying degrees of public visibility and personal achievement, collectively contributed to American society in meaningful ways. Their impact on society reflects both the direct influence of their personal actions and the broader legacy of their family’s values of education, public service, and civic responsibility.

  1. Birchard Austin Hayes: Birchard’s contributions to public service and cultural preservation, particularly through his roles in managing library resources and promoting historical preservation, had lasting impacts on community enrichment and education in Ohio. His efforts to preserve cultural heritage and support public institutions reinforced the importance of accessible education and historical awareness.
  2. James Webb Cook Hayes: James’s entrepreneurial spirit in business and mining, coupled with his military service, exemplified a blend of industrial innovation and national service. His ventures not only contributed to economic development but also showcased the role of leadership in fostering industry growth and economic expansion in the post-Civil War United States.
  3. Rutherford Platt Hayes: Rutherford Platt’s advancements in library science significantly impacted the way libraries organized information and served the public. His work helped modernize public libraries, making them more accessible and efficient, thus promoting education and literacy—a crucial element in a democratic society.
  4. Frances Hayes: Frances (Fanny) maintained the family tradition of community involvement and philanthropy. Her work, especially within women’s groups and local community efforts, emphasized the role of women in civic engagement and social reform during a time when women’s public roles were expanding.
  5. Scott Russell Hayes: Scott Russell’s military career and subsequent involvement in veterans’ affairs contributed to national defense and veterans’ welfare. His service highlighted the Hayes family’s continued dedication to country and community, upholding values of duty and national service.
  6. The Younger Hayes Children (Joseph, George, Manning): Although their lives were brief, the stories of Joseph, George, and Manning illustrate the personal challenges and losses that shaped the Hayes family dynamics. Their memories influenced family decisions and the compassionate involvement of the Hayes family in issues like health and child welfare.

The Hayes children, through their varied careers and community roles, collectively contributed to shaping a society that values education, public service, and civic duty. Their actions reflected the ethos of their upbringing under a President known for his integrity and reformist stance. The Hayes family, as a whole, demonstrated how personal values can translate into public benefits, influencing sectors like education, business, military, and social reform.


The children of Rutherford B. Hayes each left a unique mark on society, guided by the strong values of education, service, and integrity instilled by their parents. From contributions to public service and business to advancements in library science and community involvement, they demonstrated how personal values can have a broad and lasting impact. Their lives and legacies continue to remind us of the importance of commitment to community and country, reflecting the enduring influence of a family dedicated to the public good.