Now for Number 7

The 7th Most Embarrassing Moment of Ohio History is…

7. Presidents and Generals First

Newark (22 July 1878). President Rutherford B. Hayes, soon-to-be-president General James A. Garfield, General William Tecumseh Sherman, and other notables came to Newark for a “Great Re-Union of the Veteran Soldiers and Sailors of Ohio.” It was held at the Great Circle Earthworks, then the site of Newark’s fairgrounds. A speaker’s platform had been built, presumably by the lowest bidding contractor, so that the estimated 15-20,000 people thronged within the ancient enclosure could see and hear their heroes. Part way through the program, the platform began to collapse and President Hayes and General Sherman, according to an account published in the Cincinnati Enquirer, “only saved themselves by springing forward out of their chairs, which tumbled back into the ruins.” Fortunately, Newark did not become infamous on that day for accidentally killing off a president.

Photograph of Rutherford B. Hayes from the collections of the Ohio Historical Society.

Further Reading:

Miller, Charles D. 1879 Report of the Great Re-Union of the Veteran Soldiers and Sailors of Ohio, held at Newark, July 22, 1878. Clark & Underwood, Newark.

Ohio History Central: Rutherford B. Hayes

Ohio History Central: James A.Garfield, James A.

Ohio History Central: William Tecumseh Sherman

Ohio History Central: Great Circle Earthworks

Come back tomorrow for more from The Most Embarrassing Moments of Ohio History!

Number 10:  Ohio Antiquities are Treasured … in London

Number 9:  Rhodes’ Road to Canada

Number 8: Newark Board of Trade Finds a Curious Way to Save an Earthwork

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2 Responses to Now for Number 7

  1. Danielle says:

    Haha, I wonder what they were supposed to do? Maybe grab a baby before jumping away? :)

  2. Donna says:

    The mental picture that I get from this one has tickled me for days! Can you just imagine them all leaping for their lives as the floor boards come out from under them?

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