She gained the nickname Lemonade Lucy during her time as First Lady of the United States when her husband, Rutherford B. Hayes served his time in the Whitehouse. Lucy Ware Webb Hayes was born in this small frame house August 28, 1831, the third child of Dr. James & Maria Cook Webb. Lucy attended Miss Baskerville's School on West 2nd Street, where she first earned her reputation as a compassionate person.
Rutherford met Lucy Ware Webb while visiting some of his relatives in Delaware, Ohio where Rutherford was born. Lucy was a recent graduate of Cincinnati Wesleyan Women’s College. After Lucy and Rutherford courted for 2 years, they were married in Cincinnati, Ohio, on December 30, 1852.
She won the affectionate name of "Mother Lucy" from men of the 23rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry who served under her husband's command in the war. They remembered her visits to camp, ministering to the wounded, cheer the homesick, and comfort the dying.
Hayes' distinguished combat record earned him election to Congress, and 3 postwar terms as governor of Ohio. She not only joined him in Washington for its winter social season, she also accompanied him on visits to state reform schools, prisons, and asylums. As the popular first lady of her state, she gained experience in what a woman of her time aptly called "semi-public life."
When Rutherford won the Presidency, she entered the White House with confidence gained from her long and happy married life, her knowledge of political circles, her intelligence and culture, and her cheerful spirit. She enjoyed informal parties, and spared no effort to make official entertaining attractive. Though she was a temperance advocate and liquor was banned at the mansion during this administration, she was a very popular hostess. It wasn't until after she left the Whitehouse that the press began referring to her by the nickname of Lemonade Lucy. She seemed to take the criticism of her views in good humor.
During her time in the Whitehouse, she was also became the first presidential wife to be called the First Lady.
Guided tours through the former home of Lucy Ware Webb Hayes are available Friday & Saturday, April 1 through October. Admission is $2.00. Other times by appointment.
Lucy Hayes Heritage Center
90 West 6th Street
Chillicothe, Ohio 45601
The Rutherford B. Hayes Family
The Hayes' had 8 children, 5 of whom survived to adulthood. After her tenure as First Lady, Lucy and her husband returned to Spiegel Grove, the family estate in Fremont, Ohio. The Hayes family spent 8 years there before Lucy suffered a stroke and died a few days later, on June 25, 1889.