Raynors HCA 2019-09
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Absentee bidding for this session ends on Thursday, September 26, 2019 at 11:00 AM EDT.
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GARFIELD, James (1831-1881) was the twentieth President of the United States. He opposed Confederate Succession, raised Ohio troops, entered the Union army, and rose to the rank of Major General, serving with distinction at Chicamauga. Elected to the U.S. Senate in 1880, he became the Republican Party’s compromise candidate in the 1880 election after Ulysses S. Grant, John Sherman, and James Blaine all failed to secure a majority at the Republican convention. Four months into his Presidency, he was shot by a deranged office seeker and lingered for nearly three months, although he was unable to govern. During his brief Presidency, he initiated civil service reforms, reformed the Post Office, made four federal court appointments, and appointed Stanley Matthews to the Supreme Court. Document Signed (“James A. Garfield”) as President, 1 p., folio, Washington D.C., February 18, 1881 (but actually signed after March 4 and before July 2, 1881), partially printed and accomplished in manuscript, appointing William J. Bryan as Postmaster of Brenham, Washington County, Texas; countersigned by Thomas L. James as Postmaster General. Gold Post Office seal with two red ribbons affixed to lower left; folding creases; some blearing to last three letters of signature; small loss at meeting of two folds; faint offset to signature from seal. Garfield ‘s presidential documents are rare. He was inaugurated on March 4, and shot by a crazed office-seeking assassin, Charles Guiteau, on July 2. Garfield lingered until September 19, but was unable to fulfil his presidential duties. Though this document is dated two weeks before Garfield took office, given the time it took for preparation and presentation for signing, this was not an unusual practice. The Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate records Bryan's nomination by President Rutherford B. Hayes, on February 11, 1881, and approval by the Senate on February 18. The clerk did make an error, though, conflating the appointee and his town, writing “William J. Brenham” in the second name blank. Besides the general rarity of Garfield’s presidential documents, we have seen very few of his documents relating to Texas. William Joel Bryan (1852-1882) was born in Brazoria County, Texas. His father, Moses Austin Bryan (1817-1895), was a nephew of Stephen F. Austin and grandson of Moses Austin who fought in the Battle of San Jacinto (1836) and served as a major in the Confederate Army during the Civil War. William Joel Bryan succeeded his father as postmaster of Brenham, Texas in 1881. He died in Independence, Texas the following January. He is not to be confused with William Joel Bryan (1815-1903) his uncle and namesake. Thomas Lemuel James (1831 – 1916), a native of Utica, New York, worked as a journalist, customs official, and postmaster of New York City before President Garfield appointed him United States postmaster general in March 1881. A noted advocate of civil service reform, James eliminated his department’s deficit and initiated an investigation of abuses and frauds within the postal service, with the latter effort resulting in the Star Route trials of 1882-1883. Following Garfield’s assassination, James resigned as postmaster general in December 1881. Thereafter he worked as a bank president and served as mayor of Tenafly, New Jersey. Married four times, he died in New York City at the age of eighty-five.
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Very Rare President Garfield Appointment

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