Descendants of President James A. Garfield reflect on his life

Descendants of President James A. Garfield reflect on his life

MENTOR, OH (WOIO) - On Mentor Avenue in Mentor stands a grand old house that has a history so deep you can almost feel the vibe as you walk through it. Molly Garfield has been going there for years.

"I came here when I was little but never really understood it, but now it's like I'm a part of history in here and actually related to someone," Molly said.

Molly is the great-great-great-great granddaughter of President James A. Garfield, the 20th president of the U.S.

Molly met Cleveland 19 at the very first presidential library at the Garfield Museum in Mentor. It's the home President Garfield raised seven kids in, along with his wife, the First Lady Lucretia Garfield. After President Garfield was assassinated in 1881, the family stayed at the home, which is now a museum run by the National Park Service. 

James A. Garfield III, who goes by Jay, is named after his great-great-great grandfather and he often wonders what President Garfield could accomplish. He served only seven months before being assassinated by Charles J. Guiteau. 

"How differently the country would have been had he survived, would he have had a second term," said Garfield. 

President Garfield was an abolitionist and he believed in civil rights. He was meant to be a man of change until he felt bullets from the gun of assassin Guiteau.

Molly, 15, was named after one of the president's seven children.

"That makes me feel great. I love having the name Molly, and I love knowing it's after her," she said.

The items inside the Garfield home are all originals, including the books, the beds, and even the president's chair.

When he died no formal preparations were ever made. Lakeview cemetery offered the family a mausoleum. It's grand and formal--perfect for a United States president. His casket is inside, along with the caskets of his wife, his sister Molly, and her husband.

Jay has shared so many stories with his daughter but now he wants to share this with us.

"My grandfather was an all-around human being, with being a minister, a lawyer, being a politician and wrapping all that together...incredible. I can't do it."
The Garfield National Historic Site is located at 8095 Mentor Ave. During the winter it's open special hours, but during the summer months it's opened seven days a week. Visit their website for more details.

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