Tuesday, April 8, 2014

G is for Garfield, James

My theme for A- Z is the year my book takes place: 1881. I'll be posting about people, places, and random facts about the year as it relates - however distantly - to my book.

Today, we have James Garfield, the 20th President of the United States, who was assassinated on March 4, 1881, a mere four months after being inaugurated. 



The crime took place at the Baltimore and Potomac Railroad Station (pictured above). The President was on his way to deliver a speech at Williams College when he was shot twice from behind by assassin Charles J. Guiteau, a "disillusioned Federal office seeker."

The first bullet grazed President Garfield's arm harmlessly, but the second could not be found, and Garfield soon became ill due to infection. On September 6 the President was moved to the Jersey Shore, but the fresh air did nothing to aid in his recovery and on September 19, 1881, President Garfield succumbed to his wound.

Back in college I took an interesting class on assassinations. Yeah, I'm weird that way.  


ps my apologies for Sunday's way early post for those who saw it. Needless to say I did NOT look carefully enough at the date I wanted it to post...



14 comments:

  1. I knew Garfield had been assassinated, but I never knew the story behind it. Always appreciate a history lesson.

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  2. Pays to find all the bullets. Six months is a long time in between.
    Don't worry, my F and G posts went up together yesterday because I picked the wrong date for G. It happens!

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  3. I feel for the poor guy having to live with a bullet somewhere in his body that long and die. Doctor's didn't have the know how back then.

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  4. I didn't know the story behind this assassination either. Horrifying that it took that long for him to die.

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  5. Sadly, I bet that by the time he passed... he was ready. Happy. Longing for it. Intense, chronic pain has a way of doing that. And I am certain that his infection was raging and made him beyond miserable.

    I, too, was unaware of the circumstances of how he actually died. Medicine has come a long way in terms of surgery (and bullet retrieval).

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  6. I had no idea he suffered so much.

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  7. I'm still a sad panda concerning Garfield's assassination. (Incidentally, did anyone ever confirm Odie's alibi? Or Nermal's???)

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  8. I think Johnny Cash had a song about this. I guess Garfield would have survived with modern medical help.

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  9. An assassinations class? I thought my folklore classes were weird ;)

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  10. Huh. I did not know the wound itself wasn't fatal, but the infection. And I totally would have taken that class on assassinations. One of my favorite presentations ever at a writing conference was on forensics, given by a former police woman armed with photos.

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  11. I don't know much about Garfield. His successor, however, was my high school history teacher's favorite president (Chester A. Arthur, I kid you not), so I know quite a bit about him.

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  12. Great idea for A-Z. Love history and this post!

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  13. I, too, enjoy history and assassinations. I'm a little obsessed with JFK. Glad we live in the age of modern medicine!

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