The United States has had fewer than 50 presidents in her 200+ years, but eight of them have come from Ohio. Called the "Cradle of Presidents," Ohio has produced a collection of leaders, from Harrison to Harding. Learn more about Ohio Presidents and their contributions.
William Henry Harrison
William Henry Harrison was the 9th President of the United States...and the one who served the shortest term. Harrison, born in 1773 in Virginia, was a governor of the Indiana Territory, a US Representative and senator from Ohio, and a general during the War of 1812 before running for president in 1840.
Harrison was something of a folk hero and popular for his unrefined, pioneer ways. His inaugural speech was the longest in history--nearly two hours, given outdoors on a snowy day in March. The 68-year-old president grew ill from the exposure and died of pneumonia on April 4, the first president to die in office.
Harrison's Ohio connections include serving as the Secretary for the Northwest Territory (which included Ohio) in 1798, as the Territory's first delegate to Congress (in 1799, and as the state's congressman and senator. Harrison is buried in North Bend, Ohio (near Cincinnati) at the William Henry Harrison Tomb State Memorial.
Harrison began one of several Ohio political dynasties. His son, John Scott Harrison, was elected to the US House of Representatives from Ohio (1853-1857) and Harrison's grandson, Benjamin Harrison, became the 23rd president in 1889.
Ulysses S. Grant
Ulysses S. Grant was the 18th President of the United States, from 1869 to 1877. Born in Point Pleasant, Ohio (southeast of Cincinnati along the Ohio River, he was immensely popular due to his work as a general for the United States in the Civil War. Grant was politically inexperienced when he entered office, being a military man instead or a career politician. He was, at age 46, also the youngest man to ever be elected to the presidency.
Grant oversaw the second half of the Reconstruction period following the Civil War. Although his presidency was marred by scandals involving key cabinet members, Grant was one of the first to support civil rights for African-Americans.
The one-story Point Pleasant, Ohio home, where Grant was born, has been restored and is open to the public. His boyhood home, in nearby Georgetown Ohio, still stands, but has not yet been restored. Georgetown hosts an annual Grant Celebration each April around Grant's birthday.
Grant lived in New York after his terms in office. He is buried with his wife, Julia in New York City's Riverside Park.
Rutherford B. Hayes
Rutherford B. Hayes was America's 19th president (1877-1881). By most accounts, he was an unremarkable president, whose main appeal was that he didn't offend people, a welcome trait after the turmoil of his predecessor, Ulysses Grant.
Hayes was born in Delaware, Ohio, just north of Columbus. He graduated from Ohio's Kenyon College, graduated from Harvard Law School, and practiced law in Lower Sandusky (the present-day Fremont, Ohio).
Prior to being elected President of the United States, Hayes served in the Twenty-third Ohio Regiment during the Civil War, served two terms in the House of Representatives (from the Cincinnati area), and served two terms as Ohio's governor.
After his presidency, Hayes served on the Board of Trustees at Ohio State University, a school that he helped to found when he was Ohio's governor. He died in 1893 of complications from a heart attack and is interred beside his wife at the Hayes home in Fremont, Ohio.
The Hayes home, called Spiegel Grove, is now open to the public as the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center, a site that includes the Hayes' residence, the Hayes Presidential Library, and a museum.
James A Garfield
James Abram Garfield, The 20th President of the United States, is one of two presidents that hail from Northeast Ohio (the other is William McKinley). Garfield was born in 1831 in Orange Township, in what is not Moreland Hills, Ohio. He was shot just four months after taking office in 1881, and died two months later (many contemporary scholars maintain that he died as a result of poor medical care.)
Prior to his presidency, Garfield served in the 42nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry during the Civil War and was elected to the US House of Representatives from Ohio's 19th District (1863-1881).
Garfield's Ohio connections are many. He attended the Western Reserve Electric Institute (later renamed Hiram College). He graduated from Williams College in Massachusetts but returned to Western Reserve Electric Institute to teach classical languages and serve as principal of the Institute. The Garfields purchase an estate, dubbed "Lawnfield," in Mentor, Ohio. The property now welcomes the public as the James A. Garfield Historic Site.
Garfield was returned to Cleveland after his death and lies beside his wife, daughter, and son-in-law in the Garfield Monument at Lake View Cemetery. The Garfields had seven children and many relatives of the president still reside in Northeast Ohio.
Benjamin Harrison, the grandson of William Henry Harrison, was the 23rd President of the United States (1889-1893), the only grandson of a president to become president himself. Harrison was born in North Bend, Ohio, along the Ohio River in the Southeast part of the state.
Prior to being elected president, Benjamin Harrison served in the 70th Indiana Volunteer Infantry Regiment for the Union Army in the Civil War. He was also a one-term senator from Indiana.
Although Harrison lived much of his life in central Indiana, he has numerous Ohio ties. In addition to being born in Ohio, he graduated from Miami University in Oxford Ohio and from law school in Cincinnati.
William McKinley was the 25th President of the United States (1897-1901). Born in Niles, Ohio in 1843, he served during the Spanish-American War and the annexation of the Philippines, Hawaii, Guam, and Puerto Rico. McKinley was shot while at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo in 1901 and died eight days later.
Prior to being elected president, McKinley served as a US Congressman from Ohio (1877-1891) and as Ohio's Governor (1892-1896). The McKinleys lived most of their lives in Canton and their home there is now the First Ladies National Historic Site and Library.
McKinley was buried in Canton at the McKinley National Memorial, Library, and Museum. The site, located about 75 minutes from downtown Cleveland, is open to the public.
William Howard Taft
William Howard Taft was the 27th President of the United States (1909 - 1913). Born in Cincinnati in 1857, he was one of five children. Taft's father was Secretary of War under President Grant and President Taft was succeeded by a number of politicians in the family.
Taft held a number of positions before being elected president. He was an assistant prosecutor in Cincinnati, Dean of Law at the University of Cincinnati, a federal circuit judge, the 1st civil Governor of the Philippines, and Secretary of War under President Theodore Roosevelt.
Taft's presidency is noted for his tough trust-busting stance and his support of the 16th (income tax) amendment to the Constitution. After his presidency, Taft was appointed by President Harding as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court (1921-1930), the only president to serve on the high court.
Taft's boyhood home in Cincinnati is now restored and open to the public as the William Howard Taft National Historic Site.
Taft's son, Robert A. Taft served Ohio as a US Senator and his son, Charles P Taft II was elected Mayor of Cincinnati. His Grandson, Robert Taft Jr. was a US Senator (1971-1977) and his great-grandson, Robert A. Taft Jr. was Governor of Ohio (1999-2007).
Warren G. Harding was the 29th President of the United States (1921-1923). Born in Marion Ohio in 1865, he was the eldest of eight children. Harding served just two years as president, dying of a heart attack on a trip to California. His presidency is best remembered for the "Teapot Dome" scandal, where the Secretary of Interior was found to have been selling public oil rights to the highest bidder.
Harding graduated from Ohio Central College (later merged with Muskingum College). He spent much of his career as a popular newspaper publisher in Marion. Prior to being elected president, he served in the Ohio Senate (1899-1903), as Lt. Governor of Ohio (1903-1905), and as a US Senator from Ohio (1915-1921).
The Harding home in Marion and the adjacent Harding Memorial, where the president and his wife are buried, are open to the public.