BIRCHARD, SARDIS

Rutherford B. Hayes Collections

Collection ID: HAYES-15
Location: HAYES-15

(Description ID: 595666)

Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library & Museums 

Sardis Birchard

 HAYES-15


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. 1852April-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. 1852-1855, 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)    

Box 10
Ac. 5974

Newspaper clipping scrapbook created by Sardis Birchard, ca.1867; 175 pp. - Indexed by
   President Rutherford B. Hayes