A Very Presidential House: The Garfield
Okay boys and girls: What was the remarkable fact of James A. Garfield’s presidency?
James Abram Garfield became our 20th president on March 4, 1881 and was shot by an assassin on July 2, 1881. He died from his wounds on September 19, 1881. Only one president (William Henry Harrison) had a shorter term as president.
Garfield’s assassin, Charles Guiteau, was a special kind of crazy.
Guiteau’s murder weapon was a .442 Webly caliber British Bulldog revolver, purchased with $15 he’d borrowed from an acquaintance. The large caliber gun was offered with wooden or ivory grips. Giteau chose ivory, because he thought that would look nicer on display in a glass case in a museum.
At Guiteau’s trial, an expert, Dr. Spitzka, testified that Giteau was quite insane.
“Guiteau is not only now insane, but he was never anything else,” Spitzka testified.
He also said that Guiteau was a “moral monstrosity,” and “a morbid egotist, who misinterpreted and overly personalized the real events of life.”
Guiteau was enraged by this “crazy talk.” He believed that he’d ascend to the presidency after Garfield’s death.
Repeatedly ignoring his lawyers’ pleas to keep his mouth shut, Guiteau argued to the judge that it was the “the doctors that killed Garfield. I just shot him.”
There was a wisp of truth in that statement. In all the probing and poking for one of the bullets that had lodged in Garfield’s abdomen, the doctors introduced all manner of germs which in turn caused infections.
President Garfield died two months shy of his 50th birthday. The only other American president to die so young in office was President Kennedy.
To see pretty pictures of the Sears Garfield, scroll down.
* * *