Ohio's Presidents

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How to Play

The 8 presidents pictured on the game board were important characters in Ohio’s history. Try to identify them using the clues provided. There are 7 clues for each president and the first one is always free. You can get more clues by clicking the "New Clue" button, but each new clue costs 100 points. You start the game with 4 years in office. Each time you click on the wrong president you lose 500 points and one year in office. Each time you click on the correct president you receive 1000 points and another year in office. You can accumulate up to 8 years in office. The game ends when you have identified all 8 presidents or you run out of years in office. The object is to finish with as many points as possible.

Hint: You can go to the "Biographies" section on this page while you are playing the game to look for information about the presidents.

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Presidential Biographies

to William H. Harrison biography to Benjamin Harrison biography
to Ulysses S. Grant biography to William McKinley biography
to Rutherford B. Hayes biography to William Howard Taft biography
to James A. Garfield biography to Warren G. Harding biography

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William H. Harrison biography
William Henry Harrison was born February 9, 1773 in Charles City County, Virginia. His father, Benjamin Harrison, signed the Declaration of Independence and was a governor of Virginia. Harrison went to college in Philadelphia. Later, he became an officer in the United States Army. He was aide-de-camp to General Anthony Wayne. Harrison also fought in the Battle of Fallen Timbers in 1794 during the Ohio Indian wars.

In 1798, President John Adams appointed Harrison secretary of the Northwest Territory. He served under Governor Arthur St. Clair. A year later, he was elected to the U.S. Congress. While in Congress, he helped pass the Harrison Land Act. That act allowed settlers to buy tracts of land in the Northwest Territory as small as 320 acres. Until then a settler had to buy 640 acres of land. Now it was possible for more people to buy land directly from the government. In 1800, President Adams named Harrison governor of the Indiana Territory. He held that position until 1812. During that period he led the U.S. troops that defeated the Indians at the Battle of Tippecanoe.

Harrison was appointed major general of the Kentucky militia in 1812 when war broke out with Great Britain. He quickly became a brigadier general in the regular U.S. Army. In 1813, he was placed in command of all troops in the northwest. His forces scored a major victory at the Battle of the Thames. Here, the Indian leader Tecumseh was killed and an entire British force captured.

In 1814, Harrison left the military. He returned to Ohio and settled in North Bend, near Cincinnati. Between 1816 and 1828 he served in the U.S. House of Representatives, the Ohio Senate, and the U.S. Senate. Harrison joined the Whig Party in 1834. He was nominated as their candidate for the U.S. presidency in the election of 1836. He lost that election to the Democratic candidate, Martin Van Buren. He returned for a second try in 1840. "Tippecanoe and Tyler, too!" is a famous slogan from the 1840 presidential campaign. It referred to Harrison’s victory at the Battle of Tippecanoe and his running mate John Tyler. During the campaign, Van Buren and the Democrats made fun of Harrison by calling him the "log cabin and hard cider" candidate. They hoped this would persuade voters to think poorly of Harrison. Instead, the public liked the name. The Whigs began using miniature log cabins and cider jugs as their logo. Harrison easily defeated Van Buren and became the first Whig president. He was also the oldest president-elect at age 68. Harrison’s campaign is considered the first modern political campaign because of the use of slogans and logos.

Harrison became the 9th U.S. President on March 4, 1841. That day he delivered the longest inaugural speech in history during a cold rain. Shortly afterwards, he developed pneumonia. He died on April 4, 1841. He was the first U.S. President to die in office. He also served the shortest term. Harrison is buried in North Bend, Ohio. A stately monument has been built there in his memory.

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Ulysses S. Grant biography
Ulysses Grant was born as Hiram Ulysses Grant in Point Pleasant, Ohio on April 27, 1822. As a youth, he worked on the family farm in Georgetown, Ohio. In 1839, he was chosen to attend the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. The congressman who made the appointment thought that Grant’s first name was Ulysses. He also did not know Grant’s middle name. He used Grant’s mother’s maiden name, Simpson, for the middle name. Grant has been known ever since as Ulysses Simpson, or U.S. Grant.

Grant graduated from West Point in 1843. Shortly after that he fought in the Mexican War. He was in many battles between 1845 and 1847. In 1847, he was promoted to 1st lieutenant. He was married to Julia Dent in 1848. He transferred to California and Oregon during that same year. Grant received a promotion to captain in 1853. He resigned from the army in 1854.

After the army, Grant tried several jobs. He did not have much success. When the Civil War began, Grant offered his services as a colonel to the army. His offer was refused. He finally received an appointment as a colonel of the 21st Illinois Infantry Regiment. His troops won several battles. One major victory was at Vicksburg. There he captured the city and nearly 30,000 Confederate troops. President Lincoln then promoted him to major general in the regular U.S. Army. In 1864, Lincoln appointed Grant to lead the Virginia campaign against the forces of Confederate General Robert E. Lee. After a series of bloody fights during the Wilderness campaign, Lee surrendered to Grant at Appomattox Court House. This led to Grant’s appointment as General of the Army by President Andrew Johnson.

In 1868, the Republican Party nominated Grant for President. He was easily elected. He became the 18th U.S. President in 1869. His first term in office included many heated battles with Congress and within his own party. Despite this, he was re-nominated and won a second term in 1872. Grant’s second term was noted for several political scandals. No scandals were ever directly connected to him.

After his presidency, Grant and his family settled in Illinois for a short time. They moved to New York in 1881. He went bankrupt there in 1884. Wishing to leave his family financially secure, Grant began writing his memoirs. At this same time he was suffering from throat cancer. He finished the task just four days before his death on July 23, 1885. Mark Twain published the work. It has since been recognized as one of the best military biographies. Grant’s body lays at rest in a memorial tomb overlooking the Hudson River in New York.

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Rutherford B. Hayes biography
Rutherford B. Hayes was born in Delaware, Ohio on October 4, 1822. His father died two months before he was born. Hayes attended Kenyon College. He earned top grades in the class of 1842. Hayes graduated from the Harvard law school. He began his law practice in Fremont, Ohio and later moved to Cincinnati. There he married Lucy Webb.

When the Civil War began, Hayes was appointed a major in the 23rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry. He was severely wounded at South Mountain. He recovered and later became a brevet major general.

In 1864, Hayes was elected to Congress from Ohio. He was later elected governor of Ohio three times. During his third term as governor, Hayes began to attract national attention. He was selected as the Republican candidate for the presidency in 1876.

The election of 1876 was one of the most infamous in U.S. history. At first, Samuel Tilden, the Democratic candidate, was the winner. However, Republicans challenged the election returns in four southern states. An electoral commission of eight Republicans and seven Democrats was chosen to decide the outcome. They decided in favor of the Republican electors. The vote was eight to seven. Hayes won the election with a total of 185 electoral votes to 184 for Tilden. He was publicly sworn in as the 19th President on March 5th, 1877. However, he took the oath of office in a private ceremony on March 3rd, just one day after the electoral decision. Some Democrats accused Hayes and the Republicans of cheating. They were never able to prove their case. In fact, there was evidence that Tilden and the Democrats had used bribery to gain votes. This caused the Democrats to let the issue pass. Other Democrats were less critical of the election results. They were aware of a secret deal between southern Democrats and people in the Hayes camp. The Republicans would end Reconstruction in the South in return for Hayes becoming President.

As President, Hayes may be most remembered for using federal troops during railroad strikes in 1877. He also attempted to reform civil service and supported sound-money policies. Hayes served only one term, as he had pledged.

In 1881, Hayes returned to Fremont. He became an advocate for education. He served as a trustee for the Western Reserve, Ohio Wesleyan and Ohio State universities, as well as the Ohio Historical Society. Hayes died on January 17, 1893. He was buried alongside his wife in Fremont. Their estate, "Spiegel Grove," is now an historical site open to the public.

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James A. Garfield biography
James A. Garfield was born in Orange Township of Cuyahoga County, Ohio on November 19, 1831. His father, a farmer, died two years later. The family was left in poverty. His mother continued to run the farm with help from her sons. Garfield went to school at the academy in Hiram, Ohio. Later, he attended Williams College in Massachusetts. When not at school, Garfield worked on the farm and as a bargeman on the Ohio Canal. He graduated in 1856. Garfield returned to Hiram as a teacher. One year later he was running the academy. Garfield joined the Republican Party early in his political life. He was elected to the Ohio Senate in 1859. He was admitted to the Ohio bar the same year.

Garfield returned to Hiram when the Civil War began. There he organized and led a group of Ohio volunteers. He fought at the Battle of Shiloh. Later, he became chief of staff under General Rosecrans. He achieved the rank of major general. While in the army, Garfield was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. He served for 18 years. In the House, he served on the 15-member electoral board that settled the presidential election of 1876. He voted in favor of the Hayes electors.

In 1880, Garfield was elected by the Ohio general assembly to the U.S. Senate. His term was to begin in 1881. Instead, the Republicans nominated Garfield as their candidate for President at their convention in the summer of 1880. That fall, he won a close election. He was inaugurated as the 20th U.S. President on March 4, 1881. Garfield was unable to accomplish much as President. After less than four months in office, Charles J. Guiteau shot him in a Washington D.C. railroad station. Guiteau was apparently disappointed that he did not receive a political appointment from Garfield. He was later convicted and hanged for his act.

Garfield’s life lingered on, but he eventually died on September 19, 1881. He was buried in Cleveland. A memorial tomb was built for him in Lakeview Cemetery. His home in Mentor, Ohio is now a National Historic Site. Garfield’s presidency may be most remembered for enactment of the Pendleton Act. As a result of the public outcry following his death, this act reformed civil service.

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Benjamin Harrison biography
Benjamin Harrison was born on August 20, 1833 in North Bend, Ohio. He came from a long line of politicians. His father was an Ohio Congressman. His grandfather was a U.S. President. His great-grandfather was a Virginia governor and signer of the Declaration of Independence. Private tutors on his father’s farm educated Harrison. Later, he enrolled in college at Walnut Hills near Cincinnati. He graduated from Miami University in 1852. After graduation, Harrison studied law and was admitted to the Ohio bar. At the age of 21, Harrison moved to Indianapolis and established his own law practice. While there, he became active in the Republican Party. He was elected City Attorney in 1857.

When the Civil War began, Harrison helped form the 70th Regiment of the Indiana Volunteers. He became a colonel in the volunteers. Eventually, he served in the battle for Atlanta. Harrison emerged from the war as a brevet brigadier general.

Harrison returned to Indianapolis after the war. He hoped to gain the Republican nomination for governor of Indiana in 1872, but failed. He won the nomination in 1876, but was defeated in the election. In 1881, he was elected to the U.S. Senate by the Indiana legislature. Harrison was active in the Senate. He received the recognition of the national Republican Party. He was not re-elected to the Senate in 1887. However, he was nominated as the Republican candidate for President in 1888. Harrison defeated President Grover Cleveland by 65 electoral votes. He became the 23rd U.S. President in 1889. During his last two years in office, economic troubles and a Democratic House of Representatives kept Harrison from being an effective president. He was re-nominated for President in 1892, but was defeated by Cleveland.

Harrison returned to his law practice in Indianapolis. He also wrote two books, "This Country of Ours" and "Views of an Ex-President." He died on March 13, 1901 and was buried in Indianapolis.

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William McKinley biography
William McKinley was born on January 29, 1843 in Niles, Ohio. McKinley attended school in Poland, Ohio. He then enrolled at Allegheny College in Pennsylvania. Illness forced him to leave college. His family never had enough money for him to return.

When the Civil War began, McKinley enlisted as a private in the 23rd Ohio Volunteers. He was under the command of future President Rutherford B. Hayes. Hayes made McKinley his aide-de-camp. By the end of the war he had attained the rank of brevet major.

McKinley studied law after the war. He was admitted to the Ohio bar in 1867. He started his own law practice in Canton, Ohio. Two years later he was elected prosecuting attorney of Stark County. In 1876, he was elected to the first of several terms in the U.S. House of Representatives. He is noted for the passage of the McKinley Tariff Act. This was so unpopular that many Republicans, including McKinley, were not re-elected to Congress in 1890. McKinley returned to Ohio where he was elected Governor in 1891. He was elected to a second term as Governor with financial help from Marcus Hanna, a wealthy Cleveland businessman. He then received the Republican nomination for the presidency in 1896. McKinley is famous for his "front-porch campaign." With Hanna’s money, trainloads of people were brought to McKinley’s home in Canton to hear him speak from his front porch. He easily defeated the Democratic candidate, William Jennings Bryan. He became the 25th U.S. President in 1891. He also was the last in a long line of Ohio Civil War veterans who became U.S. Presidents.

The Spanish-American War was the most notable event of McKinley’s first term in office. McKinley had experienced the brutality of battle during the Civil War. Because of this, he opposed U.S. military involvement in the Cuban revolt against Spanish rule. Nevertheless, an explosion in Havana Harbor that killed 266 Americans on the U.S. battleship "Maine" left him little choice. It was widely believed that a Spanish mine caused the explosion. The American press whipped up a war hysteria. As a result, Congress declared Cuba’s freedom from Spain, demanded Spanish withdrawal and authorized the President to enforce the withdrawal. McKinley responded by ordering naval actions that resulted in overwhelming U.S. victories by the Atlantic and Pacific fleets. The peace treaty that followed resulted in the U.S. acquiring the Philippines, Guam and Puerto Rico. McKinley also annexed Hawaii during his first term.

McKinley was a popular president. He was re-nominated by the Republicans in 1900. Again, he easily defeated the Democratic candidate, Bryan. During the campaign, concerns arose that anarchists might assassinate McKinley. Those concerns soon proved well founded. Extra measures were taken to guard the President. However, an anarchist named Leon Czolgosz shot him at the Pan-American Exhibition in Buffalo, New York, on September 6, 1901. McKinley died 13 days later. He was laid to rest in Canton. A memorial was erected in his honor in 1907. It remains open to the public.

William Howard Taft biography

William Howard Taft was born on September 15, 1857 in Cincinnati, Ohio. His father was Alphonso Taft, President Grant’s Secretary of War and Attorney General. Taft attended Yale University and graduated with honors in 1878. He returned to Cincinnati and studied law. He became a lawyer in 1880. In 1887, Taft was named as a judge of the Superior Court of Ohio. During his life he held many other important government offices, including Governor-general of the Philippines and U.S. Secretary of War.

President Theodore Roosevelt decided not to seek re-election in 1908. He wanted his Secretary of War, Taft, to follow him in office. The members of the Republican Party agreed. Taft was nominated on the first ballot at the nominating convention. In the fall election he easily defeated William Jennings Bryan. Taft became the 27th U.S. President in 1909.

President Taft felt that the government should try to stay out of the affairs of business. However, like Roosevelt, he believed that the government should not allow any company to become so huge that it destroys all of its competitors. Without any competitors, these large companies, known as trusts, could force people to pay unfair prices for their products. Taft used the power of the government to attack trusts and earned the nickname "trust-buster."

By 1912, Roosevelt had decided that he wanted to be President again. He tried to get the Republicans to nominate him instead of Taft. When Roosevelt saw that Taft would be re-nominated, he decided to form his own political party, the Progressive Party. When the Republican voters split their votes between Taft and Roosevelt, the Democratic candidate, Woodrow Wilson, was elected President.

After his defeat, Taft taught law at Yale University. In 1921, President Harding appointed him Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. He served for nine years. He is the only U.S. President to also serve on the Supreme Court. Poor health forced Taft to resign from the court in February 1930. One month later he died. He was laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery.

Warren G. Harding biography

William Howard Taft
Warren G. Harding was born on November 2, 1865. His birthplace was near Corsica (now Blooming Grove) in Morrow County. Harding attended the Ohio Central College in Iberia. After college, he tried several jobs without much success. When his family moved to Marion, he took a job at a weekly newspaper, the Marion Democratic Mirror, and a career was born.

In 1884, Harding and a partner bought the Marion Star for $300. Harding eventually bought his partner’s share of the business. The newspaper struggled until he married Florence King DeWolfe in 1891. Mrs. Harding took over managing the business and it began to make money.

Harding began his political career in 1898. He was elected to the Ohio Senate and served two terms. After the Senate, Harding was lieutenant governor of Ohio for two years. He then returned to his newspaper in Marion. Because of his noted speaking abilities, Harding was chosen to re-nominate President Taft at the 1912 Republican convention. That sparked Harding’s interest in national politics. In 1914, he was elected to the U.S. Senate. Harding was the keynote speaker at the Republican convention of 1916. In 1920 he returned to the convention and received the presidential nomination.

Harding imitated the "front porch campaign" of fellow Ohioan, William McKinley. Rather than travel much, Harding gave speeches from the front porch of his home in Marion. His campaign motto was "return to normalcy." This was well received by voters who were tired of war after World War I. Harding easily beat the Democratic candidate, James M. Cox. He became the 29th U.S. President on March 4, 1921.

Most historians give Harding low grades as President. However, he was able to get Congress to pass a number of laws in which he believed. Unfortunately, Harding is best remembered for the shameful behavior of several of his cabinet members. In 1923, while visiting San Francisco, a troubled and tired Harding died of a heart attack on August 2. His body was returned to Marion for burial. A stately memorial was later built in Marion as a final resting-place for Harding and his wife. The memorial, as well as Harding’s home, is maintained by the Ohio Historical Society for public visitation.

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