A New Hampshire Mother of a President: Eliza (Ballou) Garfield 1801-1888

Cabinet Photograph: Mrs. Eliza Garfield (1801-1888), Attributed to James Fitzallen Ryder, American photographer, Special Collections, Fine Art Library

Cabinet Photograph: Mrs. Eliza Garfield (1801-1888), Attributed to James
Fitzallen Ryder, American photographer, Special Collections, Fine Art Library, Harvard Library

She was the first woman in American History to see her son sworn in as President of the United States.  At his inauguration ceremony, the new President turned first to his mother, kissing her on the cheek, before he kissed his wife.

He was, of course, James A. Garfield, the 20th President of the United States.    She was Eliza (Ballou) Garfield, who was born in 1801 in the small town of Richmond, Cheshire County, New Hampshire. She was affectionately known as Grandma Garfield.

Eliza was a descendent of Maturin Ballou, who immigrated to the American Colonies, a proprietor of Providence, Rhode Island. According to an obituary found in the Plain Dealer (Cleveland Ohio) dated January 22, 1888, page 8, the following is known about her: “Hosea Ballou, an uncle** of Eliza, was the founder of Universalism in the United States. In 1820 Mrs. Ballou with her two children moved to Zanesville, Muskingum county, Ohio, where on February 3, 1821, Eliza married Abram Garfield and came to Newburg, where they established a household in a log cabin 18×20 feet in size. There they lived nine years, Mrs. Garfield bearing four children, Mehetable, Thomas,

Cabinet Photograph: Eliza Ballou Garfield, from a reproduction, c1876; Special Collections, Fine Art Library, Harvard College Library

Cabinet Photograph: Eliza Ballou Garfield, from a reproduction, c1876;
Special Collections, Fine Art Library, Harvard College Library

Mary and James.

In 1830 they removed to Orange, Cuyahoga county, where a few months later, Mr. Garfield sickened and died, leaving the widow to battle with sorrow and destitution. But with that same courage which afterward characterized her life when the whole nation bowed its heard with her in sorrow, she struggled till she overcame all obstacles. Mrs. Garfield, although of slight figure, was endowed with tremendous energy and was the same unassuming, sweet parent when her son was made chief executive of the nation as when she lived in the little log cabin in Newburg. A loving wife, affectionate mother, true and upright Christian, she has gone to her eternal rest.” 

[**Editor’s Note: Hosea-5 Ballou was not an uncle of Eliza’s but rather a cousin.  He descended from Rev. Maturin-4, Peter-3, John-2, Maturin-1, while Eliza-6 descended from James-5, James-4 James-3 James-2 Maturin-1 Ballou.]

*ADDITIONAL READING*

Garfield’s Ancestry

Edmund Ingalls (Lynn Mass 1628-9) and some of his descendants by John James Ingalls, page 18

First Lady Biography: Lucretia Garfield

The Story of Garfield

The Ballou Family of New England

=====GENEALOGY of ELIZA (BALLOU) GARFIELD=====

Signatures of Pyke and Maturin Ballou of Rhode Island. From The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Vol 87, page 279. Boston, MA: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1847-. (Online database: AmericanAncestors.org

Signatures of Pyke and Maturin Ballou of Rhode Island. From The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Vol 87, page 279. Boston, MA: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1847-. (Online database: AmericanAncestors.org

Maturin Ballou, the emigrant ancestor, b. 1615 in Derbyshire England, d. abt 1662. He m. 1646 to Hannah Pike, daughter of Robert and Catherine Pike. She was b. 1627 in Sussex England and d. 27 Oct 1714 in Providence RI. In March 1685/6 an “Agreement” was made by Mathurin Ballou’s widow, Mrs. Hannah (Pyke) Ballou and their four surviving children dividing the real estate that had come to them from Robert Pyke and Mathurin Ballou, both long deceased. Robert and Catherine Pyke, with their daughter Hannah, and “Mathurin Bellou” had settled at Providence about 1645 and had lived at first in one of the better houses there, owned by Thomas Olney. On 19, 11 mo 1645 [19 Jan 1645/6] they, with many other, signed the Town Covenant, and obtained a free grant of 25 acres of land apiece, with right of commoning. Their signatures are reproduced here from the facsimiles given in “The Early Records of the Town of Providence,” vol 2. The original document is preserved in the City Hall at Providence. Later, at a meeting of the Assembly, 24, 8mo 1650 [24 Oct 1650] it was “Ordered that Maturine Bello shall have the Lot inclosed, paying Tho. Olney what he hath layd out about it, & that his ffather in Law shall have the next Lot adjoying to it.” In the record, singularly enough, Mathruin Bellou ‘s father-in-law is not named. Robert Pyke and Mathurin Bellou each had a grant of 6 acres for a homestead and many other grants of land, by order of the “Towne;” and as restored after damage in King Philip’s War, the ancient Mathurin Bellou house was still standing in 1886, at the corner of North Main and Pleasant Streets, Providence, a wooden house of two stories, measuring 50 by 27 feet. A picture of it is preserved. A mercantile building now stands on that site. In the “Agreement” of 1 March 1685/6 no mention is made of property rights of the Ballou family under Mrs. Patten’s will; but, in a deed acknowledged 8 Mar. 1711/12 and recorded 21 Apr 1712 in the Providence “Second Book of Deeds” (p 227) “Hannah Balloo (Widdow)” made her mark and “for Consideration of the good Will & affection,” etc., conveyed to her second and third sons, “James Balloo & Peter Balloo Equally between them to be devided, all & whole [of] that Estate, which any Wayes doth to me belong, being derived from My Aunt Mris Pattent* formerly of Dorchester in the Province of Massachusetts in New England; (Shee being Now deceased,). The said Estate in what Specie soever it may appeare to be in, to be unto them my Said two Sons their heirs & Assignes for Ever; the said Estate lieing & being in any place Wherever It May be found.” The eldest son, John Ballou (grandfather of Rev. Mathurin Ballou) and his family, of course, far from satisfied, and for more than a generation litigation followed. [The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Vol 87, page 279. Boston, MA: New England Historic Genealogical Society. Online database: AmericanAncestors.org, New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2001-2013. In 1907 his descendents erected a tombstone for him in the North Burial Ground, Providence RI.
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Ballou Genealogy from Historic Homes and Institutions, Vol 1., ed by Ellery Bicknell Crane
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Children of Maturin & Hannah (Pyke) Ballou:
1. John Ballou, b. 1652 prob Providence RI, d. March 1712; m1) Hannah Larkin; m2) Hannah Garrett. Hosea Ballou, founder of the Universalist denomination is descended from this line. [Maturin-1, John-2, Peter-3, Maturin-4, Hosea-5].
2. +James Ballou, b 1652 prob Providence RI; m. Susanna Whitman
3. Peter Ballou, b. 1654, d. 1 Sep 1731; m. Barbary —
4. Hannah Ballou, b. 1656, died unmarried 1712
5. Samuel Ballou, b. 10 June 1655, drowned 10 June 1659
6. Nathaniel Ballou, b. 1658, died abt 1677 Providence RI

James Ballou, son of Maturin & Hannah (Pyke) Ballou, was b. 1652 at Providence RI. He m. 25 July 1683. Susanna Whitman, dau of Valentine and Mary Whitman/Wightman. She was b. 28 Feb 1638. According to the book, Historic Homes and Institutions, Vol 1, ed by Ellery Bicknell Crane, page 365: “James was a large owner of land. With what he inherited and bought he had fully a thousand acres. “On 17 April 1713 James Ballou, second son of Mathurin and Hannah (Pyke) Ballou, conveyed to three of his sons, James, Nathaniel and Obadiah, large tracts of land near the place where the ancient “Elder Meeting House,” so-called, stands, on the Rhode Island borer; and a portion of this land, no doubt came down from Nathaniel Patten’s estate [as detailed above in NEGHS Register, Vol 87, page 279].
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Children of James & Susanna (Whitman) Ballou:
1. +James Ballou, b. 1 Nov 1684 Providence RI; m. Catherine Arnold
2. Nathaniel Ballou, b. 9 April 1687; m. 7 Dec 1716 Mary Lovell
3. Obadiah Ballou, b 6 Sep 1689; m. 5 Jan 1717 Damaris Barlett; m2) — Salisbury
4. Samuel Ballou, b. 23 Jan 1692; m1) Susannah Arnold; m2) Mary Smith
5. Susanna Ballou, b 3 Jan 1796; m1) John Inman; m2) Richard Sayles
6. Bathsheba Ballou, b. 15 Feb 1698; m. 16 Oct 1729 Daniel Arnold
7. Nehemiah Ballou, b. 20 Jan 1702; m1) Mary Holt; m2) Abigail Perry

James Ballou, son of James & Susanna (?) Ballou, was b. 1 Nov 1684 in Providence (later called Smithfield but now Lincoln), Providence Co. RI, and d. 10 Feb 1764. He m. 25 January 1713 in Providence RI to Catherine Arnold, daughter of ELisha and Susanna (Carpenter) Arnold. She was b. 28 Feb 1890 in Wrentham (later called Cumberland) RI. According to the book, Historic Homes and Institutions, vol 1, ed by Ellery Bicknell Crane, p. 365-366: “He was one of three pioneers to cross the Blackstone river and settle Cumberland. The Cooks and Ballous, two of these families, often intermarried. They were Baptists of the Roger Williams sort. The little church built in or about 1745, still standing at Cumberland, was known as the “Elder Ballou Meeting House.”
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Children of James & Catherine (Arnold) Ballou:
1. Sarah Ballou, b. 15 Nov 1713; m. 1733 Uriah Jillson
2. Ariel Ballou, b. 18 Nov 1715; m. 1740 Jerusha Slack
3. Bathsheba Ballou, b. 26 Nov 1717; m1) Michael Keith; m2) Elisha Newell
4. Martha Ballou, b. 6 Oct 1720; m. 27 Jan 1742 Elder Nathaniel Cook
5. + James Ballou, b. 10 Dec 1723; m. Tamasin Cook
6. Elisha Ballou, b. 15 Nov 1726; m. 30 Nov 1748 Hepsibah Thayer
7. Priscilla Ballou, b. 6 Nov 1731; m. 1753 William Cook

James Ballou, son of James & Catherine (Arnold) Ballou, b. 10 Dec 1723 Wrentham, Providence Co. RI, and d. 21 Jan 1812. He married 1st) 7 June 1744 in Cumberland, Providence Co. RI to Tamasin Cook, daughter of Daniel & Susanna (?) Cook. She b. 16 June 1725 in Bellingham MA, and d. 25 April 1804. He m2d) 19 June 1806 in Richmond NH to Huldah Carpenter, widow of Joseph Carpenter. According to the book, Historic Homes and Institutions, ed by Ellery Bicknell Crane, page 336: “He was made a freeman of Cumberland April 19, 1749. In 1774 he moved to Richmond, New Hampshire, with other Rhode Island associates. He and other Ballous settled on what has since been known as Ballou Hill. The town was divided in factions later owing to a schism in the Baptist church caused by “the New Lights,” in which James was interested but later abandoned.” According to a DAR publication in 1913: “James (or Jeams) Ballou, who moved to Richmond NH from Rhode Island before the Revolution, was one of those who did not sign the [Association] Test in 1776, but gave as their reason: ‘We do not Believe that it is the Will of God to take Away the Lives of our fell craters not that We Come Out Against the Congress or the Amarican Liberties but When Ever We are Convinct to the Contory We are Redy to Joine our Amarican Brieathren to Defend by Arms against the Hostile attempts of the British fleets and Armies.”
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Children of James & Tamasin (Cook) Ballou:
1. Seth Ballou, b 20 Feb 1748, d. 1778; m. Margaret Hilton
2. Olive Ballou, b. 13 May 1751; m. Preserved Whipple
3. Silas Ballou, b. 24 Feb 1753; m. 17 April 1774 to Hannah Hilton
4. Susanna Ballou, b. 16 June 1755; m. 4 June 1755 Nathan Harkness
5. Oziel Ballou, b 11 July 1757; m. 7 Dec 1790 Hannah Robinson
6. Thomasin/Tamasin Ballou, b. 29 June 1759; m. 15 Feb 1778 Ebenezer Swan
7. +James Ballou, b. 25 April 1761 Cumberland, Providence Co. RI, and d. 30 April 1808 in Richmond, Cheshire Co. NH.
8. Russell Ballou, b. 11 July 1763; m1) Henrietta Aldrich; m2) Mrs. Beebe Mellen, widow of Joel Mellen
9. Aaron Ballou, b. 25 Sep 1766; m. 8 Sep 1786 Catherine Bowen
10. Daniel Ballou, b. 26 May 1768; m. 8 April 1787 Mary Hix
11. Priscilla Ballou, b. 3 January 1772; m. 28 Feb 1790 to Nathan Bullock

Lithograph: J.A. Garfield, President of U.S., c1881, Kurz & Allison, Half-length portrait of James A. Garfield, seated, facing right, with his mother and wife; portrait of Lincoln on wall in background. Library of Congress.

Lithograph: J.A. Garfield, President of U.S., c1881, Kurz & Allison, Half-length portrait of James A. Garfield, seated, facing right, with his mother and wife; portrait of Lincoln on wall in background. Library of Congress.

James Ballou, b.25 April 1761 in Cumberland, Providece Co. RI and d 30 April 1808 in Richmond, Cheshire Co. NH; He m. 5 November 1786 in Richmond, Cheshire Co. NH to Mehitable Ingalls, daughter of Ebenezer & Elizabeth (?) Ingalls. She b. 3 Jan 1764 in Cumberland, Providence Co. RI, d. 4 Dec 1821 in Perry, Ohio . According to a DAR publication in 1913, “He served in 1778 and 1779 at Rhode Island, as a fifer in the N.H. Troops. According to local lore, he was known as “Conjurer” Ballou due to his ability to tell the future.
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Ancestors of Florence Julia Brown, and some of their descendants, page 20
“Ballou Genealogy, p 189. Daniel Ballou (James) lived in Richmond, NH and moved to Solon, now Truxton NY. He died there 1806 in the 39th year of his age, leaving his wife and young children Mary Hix Ballou. She d. at Plymouth Chenango Co Aug 10, 1847, ae about 76 at the home of her son Dennis Ballou. Ann Ballou, wife of John Smith, page 9, may have been a grand-daughter of Daniel Ballou.
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Children of James & Mehitable (Ingalls) Ballou:
1. James Ballou, b. 15 March 1788 in Richmond, Cheshire Co. NH and d. 19 July 1789
2. James Ballou, b. 15 Oct 1794 in Richmond, Cheshire Co. NH.
3 Henry Ballou b 6 Sep 1796 Richmond NH.
4. Hitty Ballou, twin, b. 15 Mach 1799 Richmond, Cheshire Co. NH
5. Rufus Ballou, twin, b. 15 March 1799, d. 5 April 1799 Richmond NH
6. Elizabeth “Eliza” Ballou, b. 21 Sep 1801 in in Richmond NH
7. Alpha Ballou, b. 19 May 1806 in Richmond, Cheshire Co. NH

Lithograph, color: President James A. Garfield and his family seated around table, portraits of Washington and Lincoln on wall in background, c1881; Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, Washington DC.

Lithograph, color: President James A. Garfield and his family seated around table, portraits of Washington and Lincoln on wall in background, c1881; Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, Washington DC.

Elizabeth “Eliza” Ballou, daughter of James & Mehitable (Ingalls) Ballou, born 21 Sep 1801 in Richmond, Cheshire Co., NH. She married 3 Feb 1820 to Abraham “Abram” Garfield, son of Thomas & Asenath (Hill) Garfield. He was b. 28 Dec 1799 and d. 3 May 1833 in Orange, Cuyahoga Co. Ohio [another source says in Ostego County Ohio], from “the effect of being over-heated by mastering victoriously a terrible forest fire, which brought on him a chill and fever, two days later he passed away [SEE Garfield Genealogy book noted below]. [SEE Genealogy of the John Bridge Family in America.]  She is buried in Roselawn Cemetery in Solon, Ohio.
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January 26, 1888 Northern Christian Advocate (Syracuse NY), page 4
Mrs. Eliza Ballou Garfield, mother of President Garfield, died at Mentor, Ohio, Jan. 21. She died peacefully and apparently without pain. Her age was nearly 87. She was a native of New Hampshire. The country and the world will not soon forget her name or cease to adore her character. Her daughter-in-law and grand-daughter Mollie are still in Europe.
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Children of Abraham & Eliza (Ballou) Garfield:
1. Mehitabel Garfield, b. 28 Jan 1821
2. Thomas Garfield, b. 16 Oct 1822
3. Mary Garfield, b. 19 Oct 1824
4. James Ballou Garfield, b. 21 Oct 1826, d. 8 Jan 1829
5. **James Abram Garfield, b. 19 Nov 1831, d. 19 Sep 1881. He m. 11 Nov 1858 to Lucretia Rudolph of Hiram, Portage Co., Ohio. They had 5 children. 20th President of the United States.  Assassinated while in office.

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