Rutherford B. Hayes' Final Words Were Packed With Meaning

Though many people's last words have been lost to time, there are also plenty of famous figures whose final utterances are etched into the history books. Just look at Winston Churchill: His last words were reportedly the cheery, "I'm bored with it all" (via The New York Times, citing the London Evening Standard). Other unique sentiments include those of convicted murderer Thomas J. Grasso, who apparently wasn't satisfied with his last meal before he was executed. He used one of his final messages to the world to say: "I did not get my Spaghetti-O's. I got spaghetti. I want the press to know this" (via The New York Times).

But other peoples' last words were less humorous, with greater impact. Take Rutherford B. Hayes, for instance. He might not be as well-known as Abraham Lincoln or Franklin Delano Roosevelt, but Hayes was a significant president in his own right. Helming the nation for four years, from 1877 to 1881, Hayes was known as a Civil War vet, a solid Republican, and a former governor of Ohio (via The White House). He also had the distinction of hosting the first White House Easter Egg Roll. When Hayes died at the age of 70 due to heart disease (via the UVA Miller Center) his last words were a heartbreaking expression of a long-lasting love.

Rutherford B. Hayes' life and presidency

Rutherford B. Hayes was born into a relatively well-off family in 1822 (via the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library & Museum). Hayes attended Harvard Law School and became a lawyer (via the UVA Miller Center) before going on to enlist to fight in the Civil War. While still serving, he was elected to the House of Representatives. Luckily for Hayes, fighting ended before his term began, since he had already announced he would not abandon his post in the war to become a politician. Later, Hayes would go on to serve as governor of Ohio, and then would be elected to the Presidency in 1876.

In his personal life, Hayes got married when he was 30 to Lucy Webb Hayes, according to the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library & Museum. He and Lucy would go on to have eight children together, three of whom died as babies. However, despite these tragedies, Hayes and his wife had a very close relationship, being close confidants and advisors to each other, and taking each others' concerns into account (via the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library & Museum). One book on the former president,"Rutherford B. Hayes" by Debbie Levy, even described Lucy as Hayes' "best friend."

How Lucy Webb Hayes' death changed her husband

Though Lucy and Rutherford's close marriage might have been enviable, it ended sadly when Lucy died in 1889 (via the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library & Museum). She suffered a stroke at home and eventually passed away (via "Rutherford B. Hayes" by Debbie Levy).

By this time, Hayes had retired from politics, having decided to step back after one term as president, but he still contributed to several political efforts, like promoting education, according to the UVA Miller Center. However, Hayes was never the same after Lucy died. His daughter, Fanny Hayes, stepped up to help her father and spent time with him so he was not lonely. But he wrote in his journal that having lost Lucy "weakens the hold of this life," according to "Rutherford B. Hayes."

Four years after Lucy died, Hayes himself grew sick with heart disease. But even though it had been some time since he had seen his wife, she was on his mind: his last words before passing were reportedly, "I know that I am going where Lucy is." If that's not true love, what is?