Ohio Presidential Tour
Join us in a hub-and-spoke tour throughout Ohio to visit our presidents! Seneca County serves as a middle point for all of Ohio’s presidents, from Cincinnati to Cleveland. During your tour, visit a number of our local museums to learn more about our local presidents:
Benjamin Harrison (23rd)
* Harrison-Symmes Memorial Foundation Museum
William Henry Harrison was born in 1773 in Berkeley Plantation, Virginia. He is best known for being the first President to die while in office—a month into his first term. He was also Governor of the Northwest Territory (now known as Indiana) for 12 years. Harrison served as a brigadier general in the War of 1812, where he was also fighting over land with the Tecumseh and the Shawnee tribe, ending with Harrison killing Tecumseh. Later in his life, in 1840, the Whig Party nominated him for President, where he won the Electoral College by a landslide. Harrison had a nationalistic outlook, but a month after his inaugural speech; he died of pneumonia in 1841.
Born in 1833 on a farm by the Ohio River west of Cincinnati in North Bend Ohio, Benjamin Harrison was the second of 8 children of John Scott Harrison. His grandfather was William Henry Harrison, and his great-grandfather was Benjamin Harrison, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. Harrison attended Miami University in Ohio and read law in Cincinnati. He later moved to Indianapolis, where he practiced law and campaigned for the Republican Party. Following his involvement in the Civil War, he helped conserve American’s national forests and expanded the Navy. After he left office, Harrison returned to Indianapolis, and married the widowed Mrs. Mary Dimmick in 1896. A dignified elder statesman, he died in 1901 and is buried in Indianapolis along with his 2 wives. Benjamin Harrison’s Birthplace is noted by a historical marker and the home remains a private residence.
James A. Garfield was born in 1831 in Cuyahoga County, OH. He is best known for being a long standing and leading Republican in the House of Representatives for 18 years, as well as becoming the 20th President of the United States. As President, Garfield’s goal was to strengthen foreign affairs and increase federal authority over the New York Customs house. Before Garfield could do much, he was assassinated by a lawyer at a Washington railroad in 1881.
Ulysses S. Grant (18th)
* U.S. Grant Birthplace, Point Pleasant, OH
Ulysses S. Grant was born in 1822 in Moscow, OH. He is best known for being a top general for the Union Army during the Civil War. He had an enormous part in many of the battles including Fort Henry, Vicksburg, and Chattanooga. He was also the General that wrote the terms of surrender to prevent treason trials when Robert E. Lee surrendered in 1865. After the war was over, Grant served as President of the United States from 1869 until 1877. After a failed business venture and discovering that he had throat cancer, he wrote his memoirs in order to care for his family and died shortly after finishing the last page in 1885. The memoirs earned close to $450,000.
William McKinley (25th)
* William McKinley Presidential Library & Museum, Canton, OH
William McKinley was born in 1843 in Niles, OH. He is best known for being a House representative for 14 years, being the Ohio governor for 2 terms, and for being the 25th President of the United States. He was also a brevet major of volunteers during the Civil War and owned a law office in Canton, OH. While in office, McKinley annexed the Philippines, Guam, and Puerto Rico after the Spanish War, as well as set the highest tariff in US history in order to raise the economy out a depression. He was elected for a second term, but it was cut short after he was assassinated at the Buffalo Pan-American Exposition in 1901.
Warren G. Harding (29th)
* Harding Memorial, Marion, OH (under renovation and will reopen in 2019)
Warren G. Harding was born in 1865 in Marion, OH. He is best known for being a House Representative and the 29th President of the United States. Harding’s ideals started leading the revolution of “Less government in business and more business in government” as the wartime depression started to lift and prosperity started to surge again. During this time is also when the Teapot Dome Scandal started to become known and Harding retreated to San Francisco with his wife, Florence, and his Secretary of Commerce, Herbert Hoover. While contemplating whether to make the scandal public, Harding died of a heart attack in 1923.
Rutherford B. Hayes (19th)
* Birthplace in Delaware, OH (plaque)
* Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library & Museums, Fremont, OH
Rutherford B. Hayes was born in 1822 in Delaware, OH. He is best known as Ohio’s Governor from 1867 until 1876 and being the 19th President of the United States. His election was under scrutiny for a while, because the democratic candidate won the popular vote, but Hayes won the Electoral College vote. In the end, Hayes was sworn in in secrecy until the unrest was settled. While in office, he had a reputation for being fair and honest in every matter, which renewed respect for the presidential office. After being President for one term, he retired to Spiegel Grove in Fremont, OH, where he passed away in 1891.
William Howard Taft (27th)
* William Howard Taft National Historic Site, Cincinnati, OH
William Howard Taft was born in 1857 in Cincinnati, OH. He is best known for being the 27th President of the United States and being the only President to get stuck in the White House bathtub. Taft is also the only President that has held the position of President and Chief of Justice during his lifetime. Taft spent most of his Presidency initiating antitrust suits and sending State amendments that started the federal income tax and the direct election of senators. After his Presidency, he became a Professor of Law at Yale and served as Chief of Justice under President Harding up until his death in 1930.