Lucy Webb Hayes

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Lucy Ware Webb Hayes (August 28, 1831 – June 25, 1889) was a First Lady of the United States and the wife of President Rutherford B. Hayes.

Historians have christened her "Lemonade Lucy" due to her staunch support of the temperance movement. However, contrary to popular belief, she was never referred to by that nickname while living, and it was her husband who banned alcohol from the White House.[1]



Born in Chillicothe, Ohio, the daughter of James Webb, a physician, and Maria Cook-Webb, Lucy was descended from seven veterans of the American Revolution. Her father died when she was an infant. With her mother, she moved to Delaware, Ohio, where in 1847 she met Rutherford B. Hayes. Later that year, she enrolled at Wesleyan Women’s College (now Ohio Wesleyan University) (class of 1850); she was the first First Lady to have graduated from college. Hayes was by this time practicing law in Cincinnati, and the two began dating seriously. He proposed in June 1851.

Rutherford Hayes, aged 30, married Lucy Webb, aged 21, on December 30, 1852, at the home of the bride’s mother in Cincinnati, Ohio. After the wedding, performed by Dr. L.D. McCabe of Delaware, the couple honeymooned at the home of the groom’s sister and brother-in-law in Columbus, Ohio.

The Hayes had four sons and a daughter to live to maturity:

  • Sardis “Birchard Austin” Birchard Hayes (1853–1926) - lawyer. Born in Cincinnati, he graduated from Cornell University (1874) and Harvard Law School (1877). He settled in Toledo, Ohio, where he prospered as a real estate and tax attorney.
  • James Webb Cook Hayes (1856–1934) - businessman, soldier. Born in Cincinnati, he followed his brother to Cornell and on graduation became presidential secretary to his father. He later helped found a small business that eventually grew into Union Carbide. During the Spanish-American War, he was commissioned a major and served in Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines.
  • Rutherford Platt Hayes (1858–1931) - library official. Born in Cincinnati, he attended the University of Michigan, graduated from Cornell University (1880), and did post-graduate work at Boston Institute of Technology. He worked as a bank clerk in Fremont, Ohio, for a time but devoted his life to promoting libraries. He also helped develop Asheville, North Carolina, into a health and tourist resort.
  • Joseph Thompson Hayes (1861–1863).
  • George Crook Hayes (1864–1866).
  • Frances “Fanny” Hayes-Smith (1867–1950). Born in Cincinnati, she was educated at a private girls’ school in Farmington, Connecticut. In 1897, she married Ensign Harry Eaton Smith of Fremont, Ohio, later an instructor at the U.S. Naval Academy.
  • Scott Russell Hayes (1871–1923) - businessman. Born in Cincinnati, he was still a youngster during his father’s presidency. At six he and his sister played host to other Washington area children in the first Easter egg roll conducted on the White House lawn. He was an executive with railroad service companies in New York City.
  • Manning Force Hayes (1873–1874).

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