Lucy Webb was born in a small frame house on August 28, 1831, in
. She was the third child of Dr. James and Maria Cook Webb. Lucy descended from seven veterans of the American Revolution. Her father passed away when she was just a child. Chillicothe, Ohio
Lucy met Rutherford B. Hayes in 1847 and later that same year enrolled at Wesleyan Women's College (now
). She graduated with the class of 1850. Hayes was practicing law in Ohio Wesleyan University by the time Lucy graduated, and he proposed in June 1851. Cincinnati
Rutherford was 30 years old and Lucy was 21 years old when they married on December 30, 1852, at the
, home of the bride's mother. The wedding was performed by Dr. L.D. McCabe of Cincinnati, Ohio Delaware, and the newlyweds honeymooned at the home of the groom's sister and brother-in-law in . Columbus, Ohio
Lucy and Rutherford became parents of eight children, with four sons and one daughter living to maturity.
1) Sardis Birchard Hayes (1853-1926; known as "Birchard Austin"; lawyer): He was born in
Cincinnati, and graduated from Cornell University in 1874 and in 1877. He settled in Harvard Law School , and was a prosperous real estate and tax attorney. Toledo, Ohio
2) James Webb Cook Hayes (1856-1934; businessman, soldier): He was born in
Cincinnati and graduated from , after which he became presidential secretary to his father. In later years he helped to start a small business that grew into Union Carbide. He was commissioned a major and served in Cornell University Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the during the Spanish-American War.) Philippines
3) Rutherford Platt Hayes (1858-1931; library official): He was born in Cincinnati, attended the University of Michigan, graduated from Cornell University in 1880, and did post-graduate work at Boston Institute of Technology. Although he worked for a time as a bank clerk in
, he devoted his life to promoting libraries. He was also instrumental in developing Fremont, Ohio , into a health and tourist resort. Asheville, North Carolina
4) Joseph Thompson Hayes (1861-1863).
5) George Crook Hayes (1864-1866).
6) Frances Hayes-Smith (1867-1950; known as "Fanny"): Born in
Cincinnati, she was educated at a private girls' school in . In 1897 she married Ensign Harry Eaton Smith of Farmington, Connecticut , later an instructor at the U.S. Naval Academy. Fremont, Ohio
7) Scott Russell Hayes (1871-1923; businessman): He was born in
and was still a youngster while his father was President. When he was 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 became an executive with railroad service companies in Cincinnati . New York City
8) Manning Force Hayes (1873-1874).
Mrs. Hayes was the first First Lady to graduate from college. She was also the first presidential wife to be referred to by the press as the First Lady.
Lucy was known for her kindness, great moral courage, and earnest religious convictions, and she staunchly supported the temperance movement. There is some question about who was responsible for the decision to not serve alcohol in the White House. One source reports that President Hayes banned alcohol from the White House, and other sources say that Mrs. Hayes discouraged the use of alcohol. I suppose we can say that Mrs. Hayes was known for her zeal for temperance and supported her husband's ban. The Hayes served no alcohol at state functions except for the wine that was served at the reception for Grand Duke Alexei Alexandrovich of
in 1877. The lack of alcohol apparently didn't effect the official receptions because the social functions at the White House were considered to be popular. Historians bestowed the derisive title of "Lemonade Lucy" upon Mrs. Hayes even though no one referred to her by that nickname while she lived. A full-length portrait of Lucy hangs in the White House, being commissioned by the Women's Christian Temperance Union in gratitude for her policy about alcohol. Russia
Mrs. Hayes was a vigorous opponent of slavery and contributed greatly to her husband's decision to abandon the Whig Party and move to the antislavery Republican Party. She visited her husband in the field during the American Civil War and helped to establish the state Home for Soldier's Orphans at
Xenia, Ohio, while he was governor of . Ohio
Lucy was a devout Methodist and joined her husband in saying prayers before breakfast and hosting cabinet and congressmen on Sunday evenings to sing hymns.
President and Mrs. Hayes celebrated their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary while living in the White House and took this opportunity to renew their marriage vows in a ceremony there. Many of the same guests who attended the original marriage ceremony in
were in attendance at the renewal event. Cincinnati
The Hayes family left the White House in 1881 and moved to Spiegel Grove in
. Lucy died of a stroke on June 25, 1889, and was buried at Spiegel Grove. Flags across the Fremont, Ohio United States were lowered to half-staff in honor of the "most idolized woman in ." America