American Presidents





Rutherford B. Hayes
Letters

Rutherford B. Hayes


In the following anecdote, a young Hayes recalls his first ballot cast in a presidential election.

Then General Crook stepped forward, pulling his mustache nervously, as was his habit.
[At] about nine o'clock ... five thousand soldiers and two brass bands were on hand. The polling-place was a wagon, and three non-commissioned officers were judges and two young fellows clerks. I said I would vote first, so as to show Crook and Sheridan how it was done. I stepped up and said: "My name is Rutherford B. Hayes; I vote in Hamilton County, Ohio, in the Fifteenth Ward, Cincinnati." . . . Then Sheridan stepped up. He was a little embarrassed under the gaze of all the men. he looked at the judge, the judge stared at him. "Your name, sir!" said the judge, with infinite dignity. Sheridan spoke up, "Philip H. Sheridan." "In what State do you vote?" asked the judge, impressively. "In Ohio." "In what county?" "Perry County." "In what ward or township, sir?" asked the judge, with solemnity. "My father lives in Reading Township," Sheridan replied, in an embarrassed way, for it was all new to him. Then General Crook stepped forward, pulling his mustache nervously, as was his habit. He gave his name, and said he lived in Dayton, Montgomery County. "What ward, sir?" asked the judge. "I don't know," General Crook said; "I always stopped at the Phillips House, though." "Oh, call it the First Ward," I said, and down it went that way. In speaking with Sheridan afterward, he said, with feeling: "This is my first vote: I don't ever expect to vote again, but I did want to vote for Old Abe."

[The above letter is reproduced exactly as written and was obtained through the archives at the Library of Congress]


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