HER maiden name was Eliza Ballou.  She is a descendant of Maturin Ballou, a Huguenot of France, who was driven from his country upon the revocation of the edict of Nantes.

He joined the colony of Roger Williams, and settled in America.

He built a meetinghouse at Cumberland, R. I., which is still carefully preserved as a relic of the past, and is known as the Elder Ballou meetinghouse.

At the time it was built, there were no sawmills, no nails, and few tools in the country. Its galleries and pews, and even its floors, were hewn out of the solid logs, and put together with wooden pegs.

Abraham Garfield and Eliza Ballou, both emigrants from the State of New York, were married in 1821. They had gone in 1830 to Orange, Cuyahoga County, Ohio, where a year latter, their son James was born, being their fourth child. Their log house was built when the heavy forest was but partly cleared away. The fences were not yet made about the fields when the father, in fighting a forest fir that threatened the destruction of their home, overheated himself, was suddenly chilled, and in a few days died.

His last words to his wife, as he looked upon his children, were: "I have planted four saplings in this forest.

I must now leave them in your care."  A happier family never dwelt in a palace than had been in that cabin home. Little James was but eighteen months old when his father died too young to understand the irreparable loss, or feel the pangs of grief that well nigh crushed other hearts. The neighbors came only four or five families in a radius of ten miles and wept with the widow and the fatherless.

With their assistance the lifeless form was enclosed in a rough coffin and buried in a corner of the wheat-field nearby, no sermon, no prayer, except the silent prayers that went up from aching hearts. Winter was approaching.

Could human experience be more dreary than a woman left a widow, alone with her children in a wilderness swept by wintry storms! The howl of the wolves and the cry of the panthersnever sounded so terrible as during  those long, desolate winter nights.

It seemed to the weary ones that spring would never come again. But at last it did come, and swept away the snow and ice. The dead things of the field and forest returned to life, save only the dead in the corner of the wheat-field; but hope was not revived in the cabin. There was no money in the house; there was a debt on the farm, and the food supply was limited.

Then Eliza Garfield sought the advice of a neighbor, who had been kind in her time of trouble. He advised her to sell the farm, pay off the debt and return to her friends, believing it to be impossible for her to support herself and children there. Her reply was characteristic:

"I can never throw myself and children upon the charity of friends.  So long as I have health, I believe my Heavenly Father will bless these two hands, and make them able to support my children. My dear husband made this home at the sacrifice of his life and every log in this cabin is sacred to me now. It seems to me a holy trust, that I must preserve as faithfully as I would guard his grave."

Her neighbor left her, and she went to the Friend that never fails, and asked God to make the way of duty clear to her; and when she came from her place of prayer, she felt that light and strength had been given to her. She called her eldest son Thomas, to her, and though he was only a child ten years old, she laid the whole case before him. With the resolute courage of his race, he gladly promised that he would plow and sow, cut wood and milk the cows, if she would only keep the farm. So this brave mother and son commenced their work. She sold part of the farm, and paid every dollar of debt.

Thomas procured a horse, plowed, sowed and planted. The mother with her own hands split the rails, and completed the fencing. But the harvest was still far away, and the corn was running low. The mother carefully measured her precious grain counted the reaping time, and finding it would be exhausted long before that, at their present rate of consumption, she resolved to live on a two meal day herself, that her children might not suffer. Then, as the little store rapidly disappeared, she ate but a single meal herself, concealing her self-denial from her children, until the blessed harvest brought relief. That year it was very abundant, and the wolf of hunger never came so near her door again.

Still there were many years of hardship and self-denial, in which the brave woman had to be father and mother, teacher and preacher to her children. She was the wise and tender friend, guiding them in the right way, and inspiring them to choose the just things in life. She still lives to see her great reward, "and her children rise up and called her blessed."



AT the last Commencement of Williams College, there was a gathering of the class of 1856, of which President Garfield was a member. 

This class had a special meeting to pray for the President's recovery from his dangerous wound, when one of his classmates rose and said: 

"Twenty-six years ago tonight, and at this very hour our class were on the top of Graylock to spend the night of the Fourth of July. As we were about to lie down for sleep, Garfield took out his pocket Testament and said, 'I am in the habit of reading a chapter every night at this time with my mother. Shall I read aloud?' All assented; and when he had read, he asked the oldest member of the class to pray. And there in the night, on the mountaintop, we prayed with him for whom we have now assembled to pray."

This is only another of the many incidents which reveal the secret of Garfield's beautiful life and character. 

He was never afraid or ashamed to honor God, and do right; and he has realized the truth of God's declaration, "Them that honor me I will honor."

How we do wish that all our boys would fall into the same good habit! 

It is a good thing to open the Bible, and listen to God's voice, just before we lie down to sleep. It is equally good to hear it in the morning when we arise. It will help any boy, as it did Garfield, to form a good and useful character. Don't neglect your Bibles. Read at least one chapter every day.

 Evangelical Messenger.


Jame's Birthplace