1858 - 1927
Rutherford Platt Hayes [1858-1927] was the third son of Rutherford B. Hayes and Lucy Webb Hayes. He was born on June 24, 1858, in Cincinnati, Ohio. Rutherford Platt attended Michigan State University, and in 1880, graduated with a Bachelor of .Science degree from Cornell University. Later, he pursued postgraduate work at the Boston Institute of Technology. In 1882, he returned to Fremont, Ohio, and immediately became associated with the Fremont Savings Bank. He became the cashier a few years later and carried the bank successfully through the Panic of 1893.
On October 24, 1894, Rutherford Platt married Lucy Platt. She was the daughter of William A. Platt of Columbus, Ohio. They had three children, Rutherford Birchard, William Platt, and Birchard Platt.
Soon after his arrival in Fremont, the Birchard Library was founded by Sardis Birchard, President Hayes’ uncle. Rutherford Platt was appointed one of the trustees. He devoted most of his time outside business hours to the library and introduced progressive ideas to its management. To make the library attractive to children, he arranged small desks and chairs and a large collection of books suitable for them. Boxes of books were sent to nearby towns, a forerunner of today's traveling libraries. He established a library catalogue which was published in installments in the local paper. In 1895, Rutherford Platt was among the founders of the Ohio Library Association. He was instrumental in getting a bill through the legislature that called for the appointment of a state library commission. The governor appointed him commissioner for six years.
After leaving Ohio, Rutherford Platt resided for a short time in Chicago, Illinois, where he organized library work and developed a traveling library. He then moved to Asheville, North Carolina. He acquired large holdings of land, including a tract on Deaver View Mountain, and Falconhurst, a farm near the city. There he engaged in scientific farming on a large scale, using his knowledge of conservation and biology to considerable advantage. Rutherford Platt was an active promoter of the western North Carolina Fair, which was held at Asheville, and as president, guided its activities for several years. He was also president of the Buckeye Water Company and a member of the board of directors of the Blue Ridge Building and Loan Association. He was active in the early development of Asheville as a resort and business center of western North Carolina.
During the last 15 years of his life, Rutherford Platt spent his winters in Florida. He located first at Umatilla and, in 1920, he relocated permanently to Clearwater, Florida. He served as chairman of the board of directors of the Clearwater Savings and Loan Association, and the First Mortgage Investment Company. Rutherford Platt was interested in the organization of a Republican Party in Florida. He was a founding member of the Lincoln Memorial Association, an organization which worked to draw the northern and southern elements of the community into a closer bond of friendship.
Prior to his death, Rutherford Platt devoted much of his time to the study of plans for vocational education. Throughout his life, he maintained his interest in library matters, promoting facilities at Asheville and Clearwater. For many years, he was secretary of the American Library Association and also served as vice president and acting president. He was a member of the Ohio Commandery of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States (MOLLUS) and the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity. Rutherford Platt Hayes died on July 31, 1927 in Tampa, Florida. He was 69 years old.