|Cleveland, OH||June 21, 2005|
Few first ladies survived their presidential spouses longer than Lucretia Garfield did. Her 36 years of widowhood place her fourth on the list, behind only Sarah Polk’s 42 additional revolutions around the sun, Frances Cleveland’s 39 years, and Edith Wilson’s 37. President James A. Garfield was shot and died in office in 1881, and it was not until 1918 that Lucretia Garfield joined him in their tomb at Lake View Cemetery in Cleveland, Ohio. The 180-foot shrine was completed in 1889 at a cost of approximately $150,000.
The final disposition of the Garfields’ remains is unique among presidents and first ladies: their caskets are displayed on biers. This photograph shows me at ten years old standing at the foot of President Garfield’s flag-draped box and Mrs. Garfield’s undecorated casket.
Sources Consulted and Further Reading
Picone, Louis L. The President is Dead! The Extraordinary Stories of the Presidential Deaths, Final Days, Burials, and Beyond. Rev. ed. New York: Skyhorse Publishing, 2020.