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 James Webb Cook Hayes

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James Webb Cook Hayes

Famous Son, Military Figure, Medal of Honor Recipient. He was the second son born to US President Rutherford B. Hayes and Lucy Webb Hayes. His birthplace was Cincinnati, Ohio, and his adolescent years were a small boy's dream. From age five, he spent six months every winter at the encampment of his father's regiment usually Camp White, West Virginia. The commander of the unit, General George Cook, bonded with the youngster becoming his godfather while teaching him the ways of the wild, hunting, fishing and survival. Years later, after Crook became famous in the west as a hunter and Indian fighter, the two made annual trips into the Rocky Mountains for a hunt of big game. He attended Cornell University but left before completion to serve as his father's secretary during his third term as governor of Ohio. When he was elected President, Webb not only became his private secretary but carried a gun acting as his private guard. After his days at the Whitehouse, Webb launched a successful business career in Cleveland that made him rich. It would became the Union Carbide Corporation. Webb Hayes served as an unofficial advisor and confidant of US President William McKinley. The day war was declared against Spain, Webb was by his side. He quickly volunteered for duty in the military receiving a commission with the rank of major. Webb Hayes served with distinction during the short conflict serving in Cuba where he was wounded, then Puerto Rico and was awarded the Medal of Honor for distinguished gallantry in the Philippines. He risked his life to make contact with a unit that was cut off and organized relief for them. His citation for his action on December 4, 1899 read..."Pushed through the enemy's lines alone, during the night, from the beach to the beleaguered force at Vigan, and returned the following morning to report the condition of affairs to the Navy and secure assistance." He remained in the army after the war serving in China, during the Boxer Rebellion, the China Relief Expedition and during the Russo-Japanese War as an observer. In the postwar, the Colonel commanded Company A in Washington with ceremonial duties while providing escorts to Presidents. He appeared many times with his warhorse Black Yauco at historical functions. Webb retired with the rank of colonel, returning home to Fremont with a fling in politics serving in the Ohio House of Representatives. Prior to World War I, he became a Soldier of Fortune, by volunteering for duty with British and French forces in Italy. He died in Fremont, Ohio, and was buried in the family cemetery at Spiegel Grove. Legacy...With his own money and help from his siblings, he constructed a fire proof library and museum at Spiegle Grove. In 1916, he deeded Spiegel Grove to Ohio, including his father's library with a massive collection of papers and artifacts which became the first Presidential Library and Museum. His generous gesture set the precedent for each succeeding Chief Executive to leave a similar complex as their legacy. In bits of interesting trivia...While serving in China during the Boxer Rebellion, he was part of the force that relieved besieged westerners in Peking. In the group was the future President and First Lady Herbert and Lou Hoover. In 1915, Webb supervised the relocation of his parents from Oakwood Cemetery to Spiegel Grove. During the move, the coffin of his mother developed a slight fissure and her wedding ring fell to the ground. It was not replaced but today it is on display in the museum.

Bio by: Donald Greyfield


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 19 Feb 2000
  • Find A Grave Memorial 8501
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for James Webb Cook Hayes (20 Mar 1856–26 Jul 1934), Find A Grave Memorial no. 8501, citing Rutherford B Hayes State Memorial, Fremont, Sandusky County, Ohio, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .