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LIVES OF THE:
IN WORDS OF ONE SYLLABLE
THE WHITE HOUSE.
THE CAPITOL AT WASHINGTON.
BY McLOUGHLTN BP.OTHERS
1' A f, E
GEORGE WASHINGTON 5
JOHN ADAMS 20
THOMAS JEFFERSON . 26
JAMES MADISON . . 33
JAMES MONROE . .... 40
JOHN QUINCY ADAMS ... ... 44
ANDREW JACKSON. . . 49
MARTIN VAN BUREN . . . .... 54
WILLIAM HENRY HARRISON . ... 56
JOHN TYLER .... 58
JAMES KNOX POLK . 61
ZACHARY TAYLOR ' 65
MILLARD FILLMORE . . . i;
JAMES BUCHANAN ... .74
v: .:".. '. : ::.:
* . ^ v -
ABRAHAM LINCOLN ... 79
ANDREW JOHNSON 93
ULYSSES S. GRANT 97
RUTHERFORD B HAYES . 108
JAMES AbRAM GARFIELD ... 112
CHESTER ALAN ARTHUR 116
GROVER CLEVELAND . 119
BENJAMIN HARRISON . . 123
GROVER CLEVELAND . 128
WILLIAM McKINLEY 132
THEODORE ROOSEVELT . .140
THE King of Eng-land, "George the Third," had made
hard rules and bad laws for those who had left his
land and come to A-mer-i-ca.
The folks bore these as well as they could but things
grew worse and worse.
At last the men said ; " We will die or be free."
Then came a war. There were but few, at first, to
'B LIVES OF THE PRESIDENTS.
a great host. The few knew their cause was just and this
gave them great zeal. Their trust was in God.
They met on Cam-bridge Com-mon to ask God to bless
them and the plan they had made. God heard them, told
them what to do, and sent one to lead them.
The name of that lead-er was GEORGE WASH-ING-TON.
In Virginia, Feb. 22, 1732, at Brid-ges Creek, George
Wash-ing-ton was born. His house had but four rooms.
At each end, on the out side, the flue went up to the top.
He was born at 10 A. M.
His folks were plain in their ways. The boy's dark blue
eyes first saw such scenes as would be found in an-y farm
house in the land. He saw a low room; a great, wide,
brick fire-place ; a well kept rug ; a few chairs with straw
seats; and a tall bed-stead with posts like masts, the same
sort as Wash-ing-ton slept in all his life. Hung up high
on the walls were prints of men who had been brave on
sea and land. Back of the door a tall clock went tick, tick,
and this might have been the first sound the babe heard.
The plain way in which Wash-ing-ton was bred made
him like plain things all his days. His clothes were plain
spun, wove, and made at home. Out door life had a
charm for him. A-mer-i-cans bless the plain old farm
house where this child, who did so much for them, was
born. Now all that marks its site is a slab of free-stone.
The trees that grew near that house were figs, pines, and
some sorts which would keep green all the year. The boy
was fond of them. The fields and woods, too, held things
dear to him. His young life was full of cheer. The
words that he wrote in those days tell us so. Each word
seems as if a boy with a bright, frank face had put it down.
GEORGE WASHINGTON. 7
The fa-ther of this home bred boy was a help to him.
He taught him much from near-by life. A tale is told
that one day the fa-ther made a small bed in the ground,
with rich earth, and then wrote on it, with his cane, George's
full name in large size. The next thing he did was to strew
in some seeds and smooth it all with care. When some
days had gone by, the small boy came in haste and said,
" O, Pa, come here ! Come here ! '
" Well, my son, what is it?'
" O, it is a great sight ! My own name grows green in
the ground ! How could it come there ? '
They both went to
look at the strange sight.
At first the fa-ther
thought to make his son
think it came there by
its self. Young as the
boy was he knew this
could not be so. A
great truth was taught
It told that Chance
could not be the cause
of the great things in
life. Chance could not
make the moth-er sing ;
Chance could not give
sleep from which the
boy would jump up
strong as any young deer; Chance would not make the
sweet light which would be there to greet him. Fish in
TELLING THE TRUTH. I P. 8. )
8 LIVES OF THE PRESIDENTS.
the ponds, fruit on the trees, cows to give milk, lambs to
give wool to make clothes would not come by chance.
The boy of five kept in mind that which his fa-ther had
From the first George had a strong love of truth. He
thought it mean to tell a lie. He would say true things at
There was land near his home where fruit trees grew.
Some trees bore well and some did not do so. Care and
work would help all the trees and this the small boy's fa-ther
was glad to give.
A tale is told that one tree was so choice that the fa-ther
would walk to it day by day and watch it grow. Once he
found a deep cut in the bark of that tree. It was cut so
that fruit might not come to it for years. Then the fa-ther
said, " Who has done this ? '
George knew quite well that he had done that thing with
a small axe. He did not think it would do so much harm
at the time, but when he found how sad his fa-ther felt, and
saw, too, his rage at the act, he was full of pain. It is said
that for one short bit of time he hung back in shame.
Then he made up his mind that the right thing to do
was to speak the truth at once. So he said, " I can not tell
a lie. I did it."
The tale goes on to say that the fa-ther's rage left him
when he found that his boy could and would say what was
true, though it brought pain with it.
The moth-er of Wash-ing-ton was one score and eight
years old when her son was born. She had fine looks, a
strong mind, and a kind heart. A wise man has said,
"The strong are born of the strong and the good of the
GEORGE WASHINGTON. 9
good." This was true in Wash-ing-ton's case. His moth-er
knew him to be a fine child and had great pride in the
things he did.
She " kept all these
things in her heart."
From the plain farm
house George went to
the " field school' kept
by Mr. Hob-by. Here
he had to learn " a, b,
abs," as was the style in
those days. He rode
off on his horse and
was gone all day, for
the school was hve
miles from home. He
gave time and love to
his books, but he was
fond, too, of play and
sports of all kinds. He
would drill a band of
small boys, march them
down the road and lead them at all times. Folks large and
small would like to see the brave, good child, and they
said of him that when he grew up there was a high place
for him in the world. It came to pass just as they said it
When but four years in his teens, Wash-ing-ton went to
the home of the red men with chain and rule and found the
length and breadth of the land. In four years more he had
charge of troops sent to save his State from fierce In-di-ans
WASHINGTON'S NARROW ESCAPE FROM DROWNING. P . 10.)
10 LIVES OF THE PRESIDENTS.
and French who would steal land. More work soon came
and the young man had to start out and see if it were true
that forts were to be built on the O-hi-o.
The roads were bad and the woods were dark, but
Wash-ing-ton, with four men and a guide who spoke
French, went through mire and swamp, till they came to
the fort of which they were in search. The chief of the
MOUNT VERNON, THE HOME OF WASHINGTON.
French troops had a long talk but he would not give up.
He sent a note back, and with this Wash-ing-ton set out
for home. Snow and ice were on land and stream. There
was one bad place on the way where they had to stop and
make a raft so that they could cross a stream. The logs
they had to use were damp, and from these Wash-ing-ton
made a slip which might have been the cause of his death
if the man who vvas with him had not drawn him out from
the cold stream.
Wash-ing-ton did his work so well that at the end of five
years he was at the head of the forces of his own State.
GEORGE WASHINGTON. 11
In the French wars of 1754 it was Wash-ing-ton who
led at Great Mead-ows, and whose brave acts made Brad-
dock's loss far less than it
might have been.
what was strong and what
was weak in men. He
knew how to guide them
and he knew how to save
them. He could judge
with great good sense.
He had all the gifts which,
in years to come, made the
world call him, the " Great
In _ Jan-u-a-ry, 1759,
Wash-ing-ton found a
good wife in Mrs. Mar-tha
Cus-tis, a young wid-ow,
and went first to live at
New Kent, and then to
Mount Ver-non, where he had care of his farm. While
here he kept watch of all that went on in the land for which
he had so much love.
Eng-land's rule grew more and more hard to bear. The
laws made by the King were not just. Each thing had a
tax put on it which it was hard to pay. The King did not
ask his folks in A-mer-i-ca how he could help them. His
chief thought was how he could treat them as slaves and
grind them down to do his will.
The "Stamp Act' was a thing which made folks mad.
12 LIVES OF THE PRESIDENTS.
Free born men did not like it. They said they would no
more stand it.
One Sun-day some ships with tea on board came up the
bay at Bos-ton. A man stood up in church and told all
there that if they would be free, and give up the King,
that was the time to strike the blow. Then they went to
the ships and threw the tea all in the sea. Then the King
sent word that no more goods should be sent to Bos-ton.
This was mean, and the folks then knew that they had got
In the spring of 1775 came the first fight at Lex-ing-ton.
Brave things were done and men made good work for the
Cause so near their hearts. They found that they could
stand their ground, though the Brit-ish troops had had years
in which to learn the art of war.
The cry of "To arms! To arms!' was in the land.
Then came the strife on Bun-ker Hill, where Pres-cott,
Put-nam and more he-roes did acts and made names that
While there were brave men to fight, still one to lead
them must be found. At Phil-a-del-phia, May 10, 1775,
wise heads chose Wash-ing-ton as chief of all the troops,
for he was known to be the man for the times.
On July 3, 1775, Wash-ing-ton took com-mand of the
" A-mer-i-can Ar-my." The place where he stood is still
dear to all in this land. It was on the same place, " Cam-
bridge Com-mon, Mass.," where those men met to pray and
ask God to bless them and their plan ere they made their
start to be free.
The raw troops which Wash-ing-ton found were full of
fire, zeal and love for their land, but they had need of one
GEORGE WASHINGTON. 13
to train and lead them. Some folks thought it would be
best to rush on the foe at once. That was not done. A
wise plan was found.
The Brit-ish were kept
close in town and just
made to stay far more
months than they
would like. They had
-. _ %.#'&*'
lv-';;4>f ; A l S*-
WASHINGTON TAKING COMMAND.
to ask Wash-ing-ton to let
them leave Bos-ton, which
he was glad to do. So in
March, 1776, they set sail
for Hal-i-fax, and that was
the last of them in this part of the land.
There were three places in our land where the war then
14 LIVES OF THE PRESIDENTS.
went on. There was strife for the Hud-son, for the Del-a-
ware, and for the Car-o-li-nas.
Great cheer came to Wash-ing-ton and his troops when
they heard that a move had been made in Con-gress that
our land should say that it "would be free from Eng-lish
rule." This was a great act, and has the name of "The
Dec-la-ra-tion of In-de-pen-dence." As it was made on
the Fourth of Ju-ly, that day has been kept as a feast by
us since that time.
Dark days came as the small band fought three times
more men than they had. The Chief sent up his call to
his Friend on high. He must wait, and work, and pray.
Those were times " to try men's souls."
The cause was lost at Brook-lyn for want of more troops.
Then the A-mer-i-cans fled to Har-lem, nine miles from
New York. The Eng-lish swept up the Hud-son and took
Fort Wash-ing-ton, which was a sad loss to Wash-ing-ton's
The Brit-ish then went to New Jer-sey, at Tren-ton, and
Wash-ing-ton, who now had more troops, made a plan to
cross the Del-a-ware and find them when they did not
know it. This was a great task, for the stream was full of
The Brit-ish had to give up a large part of New Jer-sey
at the close of the year, and arms and large guns fell to the
A-mer-i-cans, who had great need of them.
A poor camp at Val-ley Forge, when the cold, dark days
came, in the year of 1777, was the best that Wash-ing-ton
could then give his men. More and more strong faith had
to fill all hearts or the cause would not be won.
Just at the time when there was the most need of help
GEORGE WASHINGTON. 15
it came. France let one of her best young men, La-fay-
ette, cross the sea and fight for our cause. This man stood
high at home. He left all, his wife and friends, and cast
his lot with ours.
A-mer-i-ca will love France to the end of time for what
she did for us in our hour of need.
CROSSING THE DELAWARE.
The forts on the shores of the Hud-son were what the
Eng-lish then went to fight for. They got two of them,
but Wash-ing-ton was in time to save the rest.
A new and most sad thing came then to make poor
Wash-ing-ton's heart bleed, and the hearts of all in the land.
A man whose name was Ben-e-dict Ar-nold, was the
cause of it. The Chief had put him in charge of the fort
at West Point and the places on the line that the Brit-ish
16 LIVES OF THE PRESIDENTS.
knew, and had made up their minds to get. This Ar-nold
was not true to his trust. He sold his right to watch and
guard our cause for a large sum of gold, and meant to give
up all to the foe. To do this he must get word to the man
at the head of the Eng-lish troops. A Brit-ish spy, by the
name of An-dre, was sent, with a note, to Clin-ton. The
spy was caught and had to go to the A-mer-i-can camp.
He was put to death for what he had done, though Wash-
ing-ton was sad that it must be so.
Ben-e-dict Ar-nold, the bad man who made the start in
this mean work, set off in haste and fled for his life to a
Brit-ish ship which took him to Eng-land. To the end of
his days that man had no friends.
Next came a thing which made all the folks in A-mer-i-
ca glad. With La-fay-ette, and a large force of French
troops on land to help, and French ships of war to shut up
the way so that the Eng-lish could not get out to sea, a big
fight took place at York-town, in Vir-gin-i-a, which did not
stop for more than ten days. Then Corn-wal-lis, the man
in charge of the foe, gave up their arms to Wash-ing-ton.
The whole land was full of ioy at the great and good
The war had not come to an end as soon as the folks had
thought it would. It was fight, fight, inch by inch, from
the time the first blood was spilt at Lex-ing-ton, in A-pril,
1775, when the men of the land "fired the shot heard
round the world," till Oc-to-ber, 1781.
It took all that time for the King of Eng-land to give in.
He did not want to do it then. This land then had a great
and new name. It was a " Na-tion." In France, on the
third of Sep-tem-ber, 1783^" Trea-ty of Peace " was signed.
GEORGE WASHINGTON. 17
In less than three months from then, the Brit-ish troops left
New York. We had \von.
The time came, when the war was at an end, for Wash-
THE BRITISH GIVE UP AT YORKTOWN. SIGNING THE TERMS
ing-ton to leave his troops. It was a hard thing to do.
Tears came to his eyes. He said that each man must come
to him and grasp his hand.
The whole land had great pride in Wash-ing-ton and
great love for him, too. But peace had come and home
18 LIVES OF THE PRESIDENTS.
and rest sent a call for him. So he went to his farm at
Mount Ver-hon where he had work to do.
Wash-ing-ton was made the first President of the
" U-ni-ted States of A-mer-i-ca," and took his place on
April 30, 1789. This post he kept for two terms of four
years each. He did so well that it was said of him, " He
was the first in war, the first in peace, the first in the hearts
of his coun-try-men."
When Wash-ing-ton was on his way to his new place,
the church bells rang peals of joy in all the towns which he
went through, and young folks spread buds and blooms in
his path. Flags and wreaths were in sight while the air
was full of cheers and bands played tunes which made all
With a firm hand Wash-ing-ton stood at the helm of the
Ship of State and was her guide through rough seas.
There were threats of wars here and there and spite,
rage, -debts, and hard things came up from time to time, but
the great man at the head knew just what to do.
The A-mer-i-can flag went to far off seas. In 1790, the
good ship Co-lum-bi-a, of Bos-ton, Capt. Gray in charge,
took the Stars and Stripes round the world with him.
The good work and pluck of the men of the sea in the
cause of A-mer-i-ca, and their wish to free her from the yoke
of Eng-land, have won high praise for them. They were
as true as steel for the right. With hearts of oak and arms
of strength they met the foe and made them their own.
The fame of the Yan-kee tars will not die while the world
Wash-ing-ton felt great pride in the sea forces, and they
in turn, felt pride in him and had love for him.
GEORGE WASHINGTON. 19
All in the land had the wish that George Wash-ing-ton
should serve as Pres-i-dent for a third term of four years,
but the great man thought it best not to do so. In 1796
he wrote his " Fare-well Ad-dress to the A-mer-i-can Peo-
The words there found move all hearts now, though
more than five scores of years have gone by.
Wash-ing-ton gave his strength and arm to save in the
dark hours ere the dawn came. Then he felt the time for
rest had come to him so he went back to his home at
One day a shock came to the whole land. The sad
news went forth that a great man had gone.
Wash-ing-ton was dead.
This was in the last month of the yean 799.
Eng-land put her flag at half-mast. France wore the
black cloth of grief on her shield and staff.
A-mer-i-ca, from north to south was full of woe for the
loss of the man so dear to her heart, the wise, great, good,
true, just, brave, calm " Fa-ther of his country."
With brain, and arm, and heart he came
To save his peo-ple from the shame
Of Brit-ish rule.
A. no-ble peo-ple, strong and brave,
He res-cued from the name of slave
To ty-rant's greed.
Like him, the Fa-ther of this land,
For Free-dom may we ev-er stand,
For God and Right.
AS far back as 1629, a grant of land was made to Thom-as
Ad-ams, at a place which is now Brain-tree, in Mass-
a-chu-setts. This man did not go there to live but Hen-ry
A grand-son of Hen-ry, by the name of John, had a wife
whose name was Boyls-ton of the near-by town of Brook-
line. This pair gave the name of John to their first child.
He was born in Brain-tree in the fall of 1735. That
John Ad-ams was the man who took the place of George
Wash-ing-ton, as Pres-i-dent.
In that part of the land, in 1647, a law was made in each
town of fif-ty homes, that the young should be taught to
write and read. When the town was twice as large a
JOHN ADAMS. 21
school of high grade had to be set up in which Lat-in
should be taught.
John Ad-ams had a fine chance to know all that the
schools taught. He was fond, too, of games and sports.
He could swim, skate, ride, drive, and hunt, and had much
fun with his mates. Still, books were dear to him, and as
soon as he could he went to Har-vard Col-lege.
When, in 1755, the day came for John Ad-ams to leave
col-lege, he went to Worces-ter and taught school.
All the land then thought of war. French and Brit-ish
ships-of-war were near the coasts. More for-ces came from
Eng-land. A-mer-i-ca raised troops too, and with Brad-
dock in charge, they went to the O-hi-o woods to drive out
John Ad-ams taught his school and was well at work
when the dark news came that Brad-dock was dead with
half of his men. It was said, too, that it was young Ma-jor
Wash-ing-ton who had saved the rest. This made the
name of Wash-mg-ton sink deep in the minds of men.
John Ad-ams thought hard as to how he could help in
these bad times. He knew that with him the pen would
be of more strength than the sword. He could talk and
write in a clear, bright way. He had a fine, strong voice,
and could make a good speech, and folks were glad to hear
him, for he knew much of what was good for the land.
It had been the wish of his heart that he might preach
the Word of God. Fie would have done so if he could
have taught the thoughts that were in his mind, but there
were, in those days, creeds which he did not like and would
not help the folks to learn, so he gave up his plan of life
work and took up the law.
22 LIVES OF THE PRESIDENTS.
He went to Bos-ton, where he could make the sum on
which he might live. He had all the law work he could
do, for there were hard cas-es to solve. Some of these
were of things which meant much for the weal or woe of
John Ad-ams was in court when James O-tis made a
speech which dealt with the whole theme of Eng-land and
A-mer-i-ca, and the rights of each.
He and the crowds who heard these words, felt that it
was a great day in their lives. It is said that the " Child
of In-de-pen-dence was born then and there," and that when
" three times five years had gone by that child had grown
to be a man and was free?
In 1764 John Ad-ams found a fine wife by the name of
Smith, whose fa-ther's work was to preach the Word of
God. She stood high with all.
So bright a man as John Ad-ams could not fail to be
known by the Brit-ish. They laid a trap for him. They
sent a friend of his to him and had him say that they would
give him a rich bribe if he would come to their side and
serve them. A prompt, strong " No" went from Ad-ams
to those who would tempt him.
In the year 1768 Brit-ish troops were sent to Bos-ton to
bring fear to the folks and make them do what Eng-land
said they must. These for-ces were put up in the town-
house, Fan-eu-il Hall, and had tents, too, on the Com-mon.
John Ad-ams felt that he must stand up for the right
and for the land, and with this high aim in mind he was
firm to do all things for the good of the great Cause,
though he and his law work must lose by it.
There were those who said " grin and bear it' would be
JOHN ADAMS. 23
a good plan. Some did so, but the time came at last when
King George the Third hurt the pride of the folks far too
much to bear.
A mob at Bos-ton had
the fire of the Brit-ish on
them in 1770, and then
John Ad-ams knew well
what to do. He took his
stand to help the folks who
were then so blind with rage
that they could not judge in
a cool way.
All knew that they could
look to him to lead them
and aid them in war time.
He made law plain so that
they might know what it
was safe to do.
Though in need of what
he could earn for his wife
and the young in his home, yet, when the time came for
him to give up all, he was prompt to do so for the good of
his land. His wife was brave and had no fear, but said he
was right and that she would share in all that was to come
and place her trust in God. She kept her word, and when
the fight was on and troops near she gave all the aid she
With four more men John Ad-ams was sent from his
State to Phil-a-del-phi-a, where the first Con-gress was to
sit and form plans which were for the good of all. It is
said that his thoughts were so clear, and his words so
INDEPENDENCE HALL, WHERE CONGRESS SAT IN PHILADELPHIA.
24 LIVES OF THE PRESIDENTS
strong, that folks gave in to him at once. He would write,
write, and send what he had to say to the press, and 'all
came to know that he was a man of strength in the land.
John Ad-ams was the first man to ask that Wash-ing-ton
be put at the head of our troops, and he was, too, one of
the first to help get up the Dec-la-ra-tion of In-de-pend-ence.
John Ad-ams was sent to France to ask the French to
make a law so that their ports and Eng-land's ports might
be free for our goods. He had hard work but what he
went for he got.