Russell Hastings



Biographical Sketch

Scope and Content



The Russell Hastings Collection was donated to the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center over a period of years by the descendants of General Russell Hastings, including his son Russell Platt Hastings, and granddaughter Frances Horsfall Armytage. The Russell Hastings Biographical File holds additional material on Hastings. Typed transcripts of Hastings’ Civil War memoir are available at the Center.

Biographical Sketch

Russell Hastings was born in Greenfield, Massachusetts, May 3, 1835 and was the sixth of eight children of Colonel Russell and Harriet A. (Thayer) Hastings. With his family he moved to northern Ohio in 1847. He settled on a farm near Willoughby in 1849, attending the public schools and a private school at Kirkland, Ohio. At the outbreak of the Civil War, Hastings was the second to enlist from Willoughby and, by ballot, was made second lieutenant of Company K of the 23rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry. While serving in the 23rd OVI, Hastings served as Rutherford B. Hayes’ aide-de-camp. Hastings was severely wounded in the knee during the Battle of Opequan, Virginia, September 19, 1864, and nearly died. He was mustered out the following July.

General Hastings was elected to the Ohio Legislature from Lake County, Ohio in 1865. President Andrew Johnson appointed him U.S. Marshal for the Northern District of Ohio, April 1867. He served until 1872 when he left public office. Later, he was offered the posts of Director of the Bureau of American Republics and Governor of the Island of Puerto Rico, by President William McKinley. Comrades during the Civil War, Hastings and McKinley remained lifelong friends General and Mrs. Hastings were frequent guests at the White House during the McKinley Administration.

General Russell Hastings was married, first to Mary Adele Humphrey of Saline, Michigan, on December 4, 1872. The couple lived in Rockford, Illinois. One child, Clive Hastings, was born March 28, 1874. Mrs. Hastings died April 30, 1874 and was buried in Monroe, Michigan.

In October 1877, while in Washington, Hastings called at the White House, renewing his friendship with his former brigade commander, now the president. President Hayes offered Hastings a position as pension agent in Washington, which he declined. While at the White House, he became reacquainted with Emily Hayes Platt, the niece of President Rutherford B. Hayes. The couple was married in a quiet ceremony in the Blue Room at the White House on June 19, 1878. They had three children: Lucy Webb (born May 26, 1880, Columbus, Ohio), who married William Nichols Horsfall; Fanny Hastings (born April 1, 1882, Hamilton, Bermuda Islands), who married George Arthur Plimpton; and Russell Platt Hastings (born January 25, 1885, Columbus, Ohio), who married Frances Sims.

General & Mrs. Hastings spent a winter in the Bermuda Islands, and in 1883 returned there to build their home, "Soncy," on a spot on Point Shares, Saline Bay. In 1881, forming a partnership with a florist, F. R. Pierson of New York, he established a business raising Easter lily bulbs for export to the United States. In 1890, ex-President Hayes and his daughter Fanny visited the Hastings at "Soncy" and the Hastings frequently returned to the United States for visits. Russell Hastings died at Petersham, Massachusetts, September 18, 1904. Mrs. Emily Hayes Platt Hastings died in 1922.

Scope and Content

The Russell Hastings Collection is composed of six series: Miscellaneous Correspondence, Civil War memoir of Russell Hastings; Civil War material collected by Hastings; Autobiography of Russell Hastings; Genealogy of the Hastings Family; Photographs; and Civil War maps. The correspondence of Hastings and his wife appear in separate folders. Each is arranged chronologically. Topics range from family matters, business, and Civil War recollections. Photocopies of letters from William Henry Smith to Hastings are also included. Eleven handwritten notebooks and accompanying material comprise Hastings’ autobiography. Much of Hastings’ recollections focus on his Civil War service, including well-written accounts of the 23rd O. V. I.’s, formation, its officers, camp life, and involvement in the battles of Carnifix Ferry, Lynchburg, Kernstown, etc. An additional six notebooks and accompanying documentation represent the family genealogy compiled by Hastings. Hastings traced his ancestry to Thomas Hastings of Watertown, Massachusetts. Photographs include images of "Soncy," the Hastings home in Bermuda, the Hastings children, relatives, and gatherings with the Hayes family at Spiegel Grove in Fremont, Ohio. The bulk of the collection spans the years from 1861 to 1904, however, miscellaneous material from descendants extends to as late as 1988.


Ac. 5040, 4920

Box 1

Miscellaneous Correspondence:

1. Russell Hastings: Incoming and outgoing correspondence, 1865-1896
    Alphabetical index for correspondence:
    Beardsley, H. S.
        October 2, 1876
    Birchard, S.
        June 14, 1865
        October 1, 1876 (telegram)
        October 1, 1876 (telegram)
        October 1, 1876 (telegram)
    Coates, B. F.
        August 25, 1876
    Comly, J. M.
        April 6, 1865
    Cowen, B. R.
        March 7, 1865
        June 19, 1865
        June 21, 1865
    Criterion, The
        November 1888
    Crump, Wm.
        [?] 1, 1876 (telegram)
    Early, Jubal A.
    Enochs, W. H.
        August 23
    Fisher, S. S.
        October 2, 1876
        October 2, 1876
        October 4, 1876
        October 5, 1876
    Hastings, Russell
        n.d. (receipt)
        October 6, 1876
        January 4, 1876 (telegram)
        January 4, 1876 (telegram)
        Memoirs of (6 xerox copies of letters, originals in Wm. Henry Smith Collection, GA-65):
            Army West Virginia
            Cloyd’s Mountain & Lynchburgh Raid
            Fisher’s Hill
            Battle of Opequau
            Battle of Fisher Hill
            Campaign in Shenandoah Valley
    Lee, A. E.
        September 17, 1876
    McBride, D.
        September 24, 1876
        October 17, 1876
    McKinley, Wm.
        August 28, 1865
    O’Neil, Thomas
        July 6, 1871
    Palmer, Potter
        August 21, 1876
    Ramsdell, Z. D. (Lt.)
        July 4, 1864
        March 20, 1865
        April 23, 1865
    Scammon, Mrs.
        July 24
    Scribner’s, Charles & Sons
        October 18, 1889 (list of deliveries to be made October 22)
    Sherman, J. S.
        October 7, 1876
    Smead, S. M.
        October 2, 1876
    Towne, C. M.
        July 3, 1871
    Warriner, J. O.
        October 3, 1876
        October 12, 1876

2. Emily Platt Hastings: Incoming and outgoing correspondence, 1878-1904
    Alphabetical index of correspondence:
    List of Wedding Presents, marriage of Emily Platt to Russell Hastings, June 19, 1878
    Barnardton. N. W.
        April 20, 1890 (w/envelope)
    Hastings, Emily
        February 11
        July 21, 1891 (w/envelope)
    Hastings, Russell (Gen.)
        1884 (dinner invitation w/envelope)
    Hayes, Birchard A.
        March 24, 1904
        April 16, 1904
    Hayes, Mary Sherman
        January 30, 1887
        February 16, 1908
    Hayes, Webb C.
        March 13, 1901
        November 4, 1903
    Jamison, Etta
        November 7, 1884
    Platt, Emily (Mrs., Gen. Russell Hastings)
        January 4, 1878
        March 7, 1878
    Porter, E. L. M.

3. Platt Hastings letter: n.d. (1 item only)

Civil War material collected by Russell Hastings:

4. Civil War memoir entitled "Journal of the 23rd Regiment, OVI" (photocopy). See folder 12 for typed

5. Miscellaneous material: Russell Hastings biographical notes, Civil War chronology, Civil War battle
    sketches, including General Comly’s account of the Battle of Opequan.

6. "The Battle of Fisher’s Hill" (original and typed transcript; also includes copies of battle maps drawn by
    Russell Hastings)

7. "Diary of Andrew Stiarwalt, Sr. 1861-1864 (Musician, Co. F, 23rd OVI)" (original and 2 typed

8. "Journal of the 23rd Regiment, OVI" (author unknown, 2 typed transcripts). See Folder 5 for photocopy.

Civil War memoir of Russell Hastings:

9. General Russell Hastings’ Memoirs (4):
    "A Staff Officer’s Recollections of The Battle of Opequan" 67 pp. (original)
    "The following is the personal recollections of General Russell Hastings of the part taken in the Civil War by
        the First Brigade, Second Division, Army West Virginia, commanded by General Rutherford B. Hayes"
        4pp (typed transcript)
    "In the Spring of 1864, the Department of West Virginia..." 21pp. (typed with Russell Hastings’ signature;
        pp. 31-32 missing, partial page intact possible p. 31 or 32)
    "Campaign in Shenandoah Valley" 37pp. (typed with Russell Hastings’ signature; p. 21 missing)

Autobiography of Russell Hastings: 
Typed Transcript of Chapter 1 through 3
Typed Transcript of Chapter 4 through 6
Typed Transcript of Chapter 7 through 9

10. Russell Hastings’ Autobiography, No. 1 - from birth 1835-July 25, 1861 (original)

11. Russell Hastings’ Autobiography, No. 2 - July 25, 1861-March 31, 1862 (original)

12. Russell Hastings’ Autobiography, No. 3 - March 31, 1862-March 1, 1863 (original)

13. Russell Hastings’ Autobiography, No. 4 - March 1, 1863-April 8, 1864 (original)

14. Russell Hastings’ Autobiography, No. 5 - April 8-May 30, 1864 (original)

15. Russell Hastings’ Autobiography, No. 6 - May 31-July 9, 1864 (original)

16. Russell Hastings’ Autobiography, No. 7 - July 10-August 6, 1864 (original)

17. Russell Hastings’ Autobiography, No. 8 - August 7-September 18, 1864 (original)

18. Russell Hastings’ Autobiography, No. 9 - September 19, 1864-July 26, 1865 (original)
      Miscellaneous Material relating to the Civil War (copied by Fanny Hastings)
      Correspondence dtd Harrisburg, VA, September 26, 1864
      Copy of Battle Field of Opequan or Winchester, Virginia

19. Russell Hastings’ Autobiography, No. 10 - July 27, 1865-June 19, 1878 (original)

20. Russell Hastings’ Autobiography, No. 11 - June 19, 1878-May 14, 1900 (original)
      Correspondence from War Department, Adjutant General’s Office, dtd Washington, DC, January 5,
          1865-April 5, 1899 (4 letters)

Hastings Genealogy:

21. Hastings Genealogy - Thomas Hastings, [No.] I (?) - 1605-1685 (original)

22. Hastings Genealogy - Benjamin Hastings, [No.] II - 1659-1711 (original)
      Brief personal history (typed)

23. Hastings Genealogy - Benjamin Hastings, [No.] III - 1700-1774 (original)
      Accompanying documentation (Correspondence from Office of the Secretary, dtd Boston, MA,
          November 24 & November 27, 1899)
      Brief personal history (typed, 2 copies)

24. Hastings Genealogy - Benjamin Hastings, [No.] IV - 1728-1806 (Revolution) (original)

25. Hastings Genealogy - Benjamin Hastings, [No.] V - 1760-1835 (original)

26. Hastings Genealogy - Russell Hastings, [No.] VI - 1793-1858 (original)
      Brief personal history, (typed, 2 copies)
      Accompanying documentation (Letter from Adjutant General’s Office, dtd Boston, MA, December 5,

Bound Books:

Tales and Rhymes Written by three children at Soncy, Bermuda Islands (includes a short story written by Platt
    Hastings at age 6 (p. 45)

Genealogy and Autobiography of Russell Hastings (bound typed transcript)

Box 2


1. Ancestors

2. Hastings Home - Willoughby, Ohio

3. William A. Platt

4. Harriet Laub Platt Sollace

5. Sophia Hayes

6. Fanny Arabella Hayes Platt

7. Rutherford Birchard Hayes

8. Lucy Webb Hayes

9. Emily Platt Hastings

10. General Russell Hastings

11. The White House, Washington, D C, June 19, 1878 [wedding of Russell Hastings - Emily Platt]

12. Russell Hastings Family

13. Russell Hastings and Rutherford Hayes Families at Spiegel Grove

14. Miscellaneous Family Portraits

15. William McKinley

16. General William Botsford

17. General William T. Sherman

18. General George Crook

19. Military Reunion

20. Soncy - Hastings’ Residence - Bermuda

21. Soncy - Gardener’s Cottage

22. Bermuda: Norwood Boat House

23. Bermuda: Col. Wright’s Party on board

24. Bermuda: Scenes - Cities and Structures

25. Bermuda: Scenes - Plants and people

26. Hastings monuments

27. Spiegel Grove, Fremont, Ohio

28. Birchard Library, Fremont, Ohio

Images of General Russell Hastings, Emily Platt Hastings, and Platt Hastings were transferred from this collection to the Hayes Presidential Center’s Portrait File

Box 3

Oversize Photographs:

1. Portraits and Groups

2. Homes: Platt, Hastings, and Hastings (Ezekiel)

3. Monuments


Hastings’ map of the Battle of Opequan (prepared by him, apparently for his autobiography) and photocopies of his maps of the battles of Fisher’s Hill and Cedar Creek were transferred to the Map Collection. The
Rutherford B. Hayes Papers contains a battle map believed to have done by Hastings as well.


Forty-six volumes were also donated to the Hayes Presidential Center by the family. A list of titles appears in the Russell Hastings Biographical File. The volumes were transferred to the Hayes Presidential Center library.

go to top of page

go back