Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center

 

Sardis Birchard

 

Hayes – 15

 

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Biographical Sketch

Scope and Content

Inventory

 

Biographical Sketch

 

Sardis Birchard was born 15 January 1801 in Wilmington, Vermont.  By the age of 12 both of his parents had died. Sardis lived with his sister Sophia and her husband Rutherford Hayes, Sr.  In 1817, Hayes moved the family to Delaware, Ohio.  At the age of 21, Sardis took charge of his sister’s family and estate after the death of Rutherford Hayes, Sr. in 1822. The children included Fanny and Rutherford Birchard Hayes, who was born after his father’s death. Sardis oversaw Rutherford B. Hayes’ education through his preparatory school years, Kenyon College, and Harvard Law School
 

Sardis became familiar with Fremont, Ohio [then Lower Sandusky] in 1824 while delivering hogs in cities along the Sandusky River.  He eventually established himself in Fremont and became a well-known merchant and banker.  Sardis Birchard carried on an extensive trade with the Wyandot, Seneca, and Delaware until the Native American tribes were removed west of the Mississippi River.  His store became the largest in Ohio west of Cleveland and north of Columbus. Largely unsettled, Northwest Ohio’s land could be purchased at the government rate of $1.25 per acre.  Birchard acquired landholdings in Sandusky, Wood, Lucas, Erie, and other Ohio counties.  His wealth continued to grow through real estate sales and several business partnerships.

 

On 1 July 1851, Sardis and his partner Judge Lucius B. Otis opened the first bank in Fremont known as Birchard & Otis.  After Judge Otis moved to Chicago, Illinois, the bank became Birchard, Miller & Co. which later merged into the First National Bank of Fremont. The bank was the second national bank organized in the state of Ohio.  

 

On his daily trips to his business, Birchard admired the great trees and deep woods of the property that he would later name Spiegel Grove.  Its clear standing pools of water reflecting like mirrors reminded him of the German fairy tales of his youth.  He named the land Spiegel Grove. “Spiegel” is the German word for mirror. He selected the property for the site of a home for his nephew, Rutherford B. Hayes and his family, with whom he planned to spend his final years. Birchard began building the brick home in 1859.  Military and political obligations prevented Hayes from residing there until 1873. However, several of the Hayes children, Birchard A. Hayes and Webb C. Hayes, spent considerable time living with their Sardis in Fremont. 

 

Today, Spiegel Grove is the 25-acre estate that includes the Hayes Home and Museum and Library building.  In 1916, the estate became the first presidential library in the United States.

 

Sardis was generous within the community.  He made several public and private donations, including the Home Missionary Society, the Ladies’ Relief Society, the First Presbyterian Church building fund and a public library endowment.  In addition to the estimated $50,000 monetary donation for the library, Birchard purchased the historic Fort Stephenson land as a site for the building.  Sardis also donated two public parks to the city, present day (2009) Birchard Park and Meier Park.  The Birchard Public Library, Birchard Park, and Birchard Avenue all bear his name.

 

Prior to his death he appointed his nephew, Rutherford B. Hayes, and Anson H. Miller trustees of the real estate for his future library. Sardis Birchard died 21 January 1874 in Fremont, Ohio. He is buried in Oakwood Cemetery. President Rutherford B. Hayes inherited his uncle’s business and real estate holdings.  At the conclusion of his administration, President Rutherford and Lucy Hayes made Spiegel Grove their permanent home.

 

Scope and Content

 

This collection, spanning the years from 1821 to 1899, contains correspondence, diaries, deeds, legal papers, business ledgers, accounting ledgers and personal notes belonging to Sardis Birchard.  The personal and business correspondence, both incoming and outgoing, occur between 1822 and 1874. Business and accounting ledgers provide evidence of the banking activities of Birchard, Miller & Co., real estate holdings, as well as Sardis’ other business transactions.  The personal diaries are largely records Birchard kept during his travels to New England, New York, Texas, and Havana, Cuba. They include destinations, distances, and expenses.  Several deeds and tax receipts from 1821and 1899 complete this collection.

 

In 2008, a scanned copy of the item-level inventory of the incoming and outgoing correspondence was created. The inventory in PDF format can be accessed by clicking on the linked title “Ingoing and Outgoing Correspondence.” The inventory is arranged alphabetically by surname and then chronologically. A hard copy of this inventory is available in the Library’s reading room. Hayes correspondence was transferred to the Rutherford B. Hayes Papers. Photocopies of the originals appear in this collection.     

 

Inventory

5 linear ft.

 

Incoming and Outgoing Correspondence

 

Box 1              1821-1840

 

1.         Undated

2.         1821-1827

3.         1830-1832; Undated 1830s

4.         1833-1834

5.         1835    January- September

6.         1835    October- December

7.         1836    January- May

8.         1836    June- September

9.         1836    October- December

10.       1837    January- April

11.       1837    May- December

12.       1838    January- May

13.       1838    June- December

14.       1839   

15.       1840    January- June

16.       1840    July- December

 

Box 2              1841-1851

 

1.         1841

2.         1842    January- June

3.         1842    July- December

4.         1843

5.         1844

6.         1845

7.         1846

8.         1847

9.         1848

10.       1849

11.       1850    January- June

12.       1850    July- December

13.       1851    January- June

14.       1851    July- December

 

Box 3              1852-1855

 

1.         1852    January- March

2.         1852    April- June

3.         1852    July- August

4.         1852    September- October

5.         1852    November- December

6.         1853    January- April

7.         1853    May- June

8.         1853    July- August

9.         1853    September- October

10.       1853    November- December

11.       1854    January- February

12.       1854    March- April

13.       1854    May- September

14.       1854    October- December

15.       1855    January- June

16.       1855    July- December

 

Box 4              1856-1860

 

1.         1856

2.         1857    January- April

3.         1857    May- July

4.         1857    August- December

5.         1858    January- June

6.         1858    July- August

7.         1858    September- December

8.         1859    January- June

9.         1859    July- December

10.       1860    January- June

11.       1860    July- December

 

Box 5              1861-1865

 

1.         1861    January- June

2.         1861    July- December

3.         1862    January- April

4.         1862    May- June

5.         1862    July- December

6.         1863    January- May

7.         1863    June- September

8.         1863    October- December

9.         1864    January- April

10.       1864    May- August

11.       1864    September- December

12.       1865    January- June

13.       1865    July- December

 

Box 6              1866-1871

 

1.         1866    January- March

2.         1866    April- May

3.         1866    June- August

4.         1866    September- December

5.         1867    January- May

6.         1867    June- December

7.         1868                                       

8.         1869

9.         1870    January- June

10.       1870    July- December

11.       1871    January- June

12.       1871    July- December

 

 

Box 7                          Correspondence, Deeds and Legal Papers

 

1.         1872    January- May

2.         1872    June- December

3.         1873               

4.         1874

5.         1821-1835       Deeds

6.         1836-1839       Deeds

7.         1841-1850       Deeds 

8.         1851-1853       Deeds

9.         1854-1860       Deeds

10.       1862-1869       Deeds

11.       1870                Deeds

12.       Wills

13.       Legal Papers

14.       Southern Trip   1840

15.       Memorandum Book     October 11, 1832

16.       Miscellaneous   (1)

17.       Miscellaneous   (2)

 

Box 8              Paid Statements 1833-1874/ Tax Receipts 1819-1899

 

1.         Undated;          1833-1855 Paid Statements

2.         1856- 1859      Paid Statements

3.         1860- 1865      Paid Statements

4.         1866-1870       Paid Statements

5.         1871                Paid Statements

6.         1819- 1851      Tax Receipts

7.         1852- 18555    Tax Receipts

8.         1856- 1860      Tax Receipts

9.         1861-1864       Tax Receipts

10.       1865- 1868      Tax Receipts

11.       1869- 1874; 1898- 1899,  Tax Receipts

 

Box 9

 

1832- 1833      Diary

1835- 1857      Account Book

1840                Diary (Cuba)

1840-1841       Diary

1841- 1857      Cash Book (Business Ledgers)

1841- 1861      Account Book

1842- 1843      Notes

November 1842- April 1843 Diary

1852- 1855      Diary and Notes

1852- 1864      Bills Payable (Birchard, Miller & Co.)

1854- 1855      Deed Book of Sardis Birchard and James Justice

1857- 1873      Cash Book

1857- 1874      Account Book

Notes and lists of paintings and engravings owned by Sardis Birchard

Land Notebooks (2)    

 

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