Lucy Webb Hayes

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Lucy Hayes
First Lady of the United States
In role
March 4, 1877 – March 4, 1881
PresidentRutherford B. Hayes
Preceded byJulia Grant
Succeeded byLucretia Garfield
Personal details
Born(1831-08-28)August 28, 1831
Chillicothe, Ohio, U.S.
DiedJune 25, 1889(1889-06-25) (aged 57)
Fremont, Ohio, U.S.
Spouse(s)Rutherford B. Hayes
ChildrenBirchard Austin Hayes
James Webb Cook Hayes
Rutherford Platt Hayes
Joseph Thompson Hayes
George Crook Hayes
Frances Hayes
Scott Russell Hayes
Manning Force Hayes
OccupationFirst Lady of the United States

Lucy Ware Webb Hayes (August 28, 1831 – June 25, 1889) was a First Lady of the United States[1] and the wife of President Rutherford B. Hayes.

Lucy was nicknamed "Lemonade Lucy." She did not serve alcohol in the White House.

Early life[change | change source]

She was born in Chillicothe, Ohio. She was the daughter of James Webb, a doctor, and Maria Cook-Webb. Lucy was descended from seven veterans of the American Revolution. Her father died when she was a child. With her mother, she moved to Delaware, Ohio where in 1847 she met Rutherford B. Hayes.

Lucy Hayes studied at Ohio Wesleyan University. She was the first First Lady to graduate from college.

The First Lady[change | change source]

As First Lady, Hayes supported her husband's ban of alcoholic beverages at state functions, excepting only the reception for Grand Duke Alexei Alexandrovich of Russia in 1877, at which wine was served. She also instituted the custom of conducting an Easter egg roll on the White House lawn. A devout Methodist, she joined the president in saying prayers after breakfast and conducting group hymn sings with the cabinet and congressmen on Sunday evenings.

Children[change | change source]

The Hayes had four sons and a daughter to live to their adulthood:

  • Sardis “Birchard Austin” Birchard Hayes (1853–1926)
  • James Webb Cook Hayes (1856–1934)
  • Rutherford Platt Hayes (1858–1931)
  • Joseph Thompson Hayes (1861–1863)
  • George Crook Hayes (1864–1866)
  • Frances “Fanny” Hayes-Smith (1867–1950)
  • Scott Russell Hayes (1871–1923)
  • Manning Force Hayes (1873–1874)

In popular culture[change | change source]

  • In the musical comedy 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, the First Lady sings the “Duet for One,” in which she transforms from Mrs. Grant into Lucy Webb Hayes.
  • In the Lucky Luke comic book Sarah Bernhardt, which is set in the late 19th-century Wild West, President Rutherford B. Hayes's wife is portrayed as being one of many who strongly disapproves of the titular actress's tour of the United States, given her reputation for loose morality. Disguised as a man called “George,” the First Lady infiltrates Sarah’s entourage and sabotages their tour throughout the U.S., though she does come to accept Sarah when the French actress's charms and singing talent moves a tribe of hostile Indians. "The president’s wife" is not mentioned by name in the book, and thus might be regarded as fictional, although she and her husband do resemble Rutherford and Lucy Hayes in many ways. Hayes himself is portrayed as a man who is very taken aback by his wife's hostility towards Sarah, and keeps making the same speech over and over again, even when there is no one there to listen to him.

Death[change | change source]

She died of a stroke on June 25, 1889. When she died, people in the United States lowered the flag to half-mast.

Other websites[change | change source]

References[change | change source]

  1. Barnhardt, Mike (2021-04-08). "First Ladies: Lucy Hayes comforted Civil War soldiers". Davie County Enterprise Record. Retrieved 2023-07-15.