Born in a log cabin in Ohio, Garfield was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives while serving as a Union colonel in the Civil War. He later became a U.S. senator and in 1880 was unexpectedly nominated as the presidential candidate of the Republican Party. Successfully appealing to his humble roots, he was elected the 20th U.S. president over his Democratic opponent, General Winfield Scott Hancock.
On July 2, 1881, As the President was walking through the Sixth Street Station of the Baltimore and Potomac Railroad in Washington at 9:30 am, he was shot twice from behind, once across the arm and once in the back. Eighty days later, in Washington, D.C., President James A. Garfield died of complications from his wounds.
Philadephia’s The Christian Recorder shared news of local services.
Philadelphia Churches Filled With Large Congregations – Thrilling Eulogiums Upon Garfield’s Life, Character And Public Services.
The Memorial services held in the churches of Philadelphia on Sunday and Monday were interesting and well attended. In each church on Sunday, the sermons were ordered with special reference to the great sorrow occasioned by the death of the President . On Monday the sermon was omitted and addresses and music suited to the occasion made up a programme which in most cases suited the tastes of the large congregations.
At Bethel Church a union meeting was held at half past two P.M.; but long before that hour only few seats were vacant. When the time for beginning services had arrived the large church was filled with an orderly and attractive congregation. The church was very modestly draped. Rev. M.F. Sluby, as Master of Ceremonies, announced the opening hymn, No. 1, “Before Jehovah’s awful throne.” Rev. B.F. Martin, of Oxford Circuit, then led in impressive prayer. Rev. W.C. Banton read Scripture selections from 90th Psalm and the 15th chapter of 1st Corinthians. Rev. C.T. Shaffer then read, and the large congregation in a feeling manner sang hymn No. 21, “God moves in a mysterious way.” Rev. Jos. S. Thomson then in an interesting address of about thirty minutes length reviewed the life and public services of the deceased President.
We regret that space will but permit the publication of a brief synopsis of the address as follows:
“Thy way is in the sea, and thy path is in the great waters, and thy footsteps are not known,” Psalms, lxxvii., 19.
“For the period of eighty days, the citizens of this Republic, this great nation and all the civilized nations of the globe were devoutly anxious in behalf of the chief of this nation, President James A. Garfield . Never in the history of the world, has there been such deep solicitude, earnest prayers, mutual kindness and unfeigned love manifested by nations, political parties of every description, churches of every denomination and individuals of every rank and grade. We might ask why have all bee so kind, so anxious and devoted? It is true in regard to most good and great men, that they are not known, and appreciated until some occurrence or Providence places them upon an eminence above the ordinary call of men. They are like the candle upon the stand and the city upon the hill. How mysterious are the ways of the Lord in the elevation of men. We must believe in revelation.”
Collection: African American Newspapers
Publication: The Christian Recorder
Date: September 29, 1881
Title: Memorial Services
Location: Philadelphia, PA