Presidential First Lady. Her tenure in Washington lasted but 200 days. James Garfield's Inaugural Ball was held at the Smithsonian institute where an electric lamp was on display to the amazement of all who attended. Shortly after, Lucretia Garfield became ill with malaria and went to Elberon, New Jersey for rest and recuperation when word arrived that her husband had been shot. She returned to Washington by special train, frail and fatigued to personally tend to her husband. The President was taken to Elberon for treatment during the three months he fought for his life. Attending doctors were unable to locate the bullet lodged in President's Garfield stomach and they may have caused an infection with non-sterile instruments that led to his death. After his burial in Cleveland, the family returned home to their farm in Mentor, Ohio. Lucretia Rudolph was born in Garrettsville, Ohio her father was Zebulon Rudolph one of the founders of Hiram College. She was educated at home until the age of sixteen then attended school in nearby Chesterland where she met James A. Garfield. She enrolled in Hiram College then known as Western Reserve Eclectic College, graduated and began her teaching career with assignments in Cleveland, Ravenna and Chagrin Falls. Letter writing to James Garfield culminated in courtship and finally marriage. Their relationship in the beginning was very unstable due to the amount of time spent apart. Garfield was rewarded for his outstanding civil war record with a seat in the House of Representatives. The marriage grew stronger as Lucretia and her children joined him in Washington. Of seven children, two died and five achieved adulthood. Garfield's election to the Presidency brought a cheerful family to the White House only to be overshadowed by death and illness. After the death and burial of the President, the family returned home to their residence "Lawnfield" in Mentor, Ohio. Lucretia Garfield remained there for many years remodeling the residence with the addition of many rooms including a library to house the President's huge collection of books. She added a carriage house and finally a windmill. The house today is preserved and is a favorite destination of tourists where they are able to view the many mementos from the Garfield family. She had many grandchildren and kept up her interest in politics. She rolled bandages for the Spanish War and for World War I. Finding the Ohio winters too cold, Lucretia moved to California and constructed a house in Pasadena. She was an honored guest in the first Rose Bowl parade. Lucretia remained a widow and lived 36 years after the death of her husband. She died at her Pasadena home at the age of eighty five and then taken to Cleveland and interred in the same mausoleum beside her husband at Lake View Cemetery.
Bio by: Donald Greyfield