Special Report

American Presidents Who Lived the Longest and Shortest Lives

16. Abraham Lincoln
> Age at time of death: 56 years
> Date of death: April 15, 1865
> Cause of death: Gunshot wound
> Place of death: Washington, D.C.

On April 14, 1865, President Abraham Lincoln sat watching a comedic play at Ford’s Theater in Washington, D.C, in a presidential box in the balcony. He was shot in his seat by the actor John Wilkes Booth and died the following day. Six days earlier, the Confederacy had surrendered to the Union, marking the end of the Civil War. Lincoln presided over the end of the war and for many Americans, his death overshadowed the celebration of the Union victory. Lincoln’s coffin was processioned around the country by train for two weeks until it reached its final resting place in Springfield, Illinois.

17. Andrew Johnson
> Age at time of death: 66 years
> Date of death: July 31, 1875
> Cause of death: Stroke
> Place of death: Carter’s Station, Tennessee

After being impeached from office in his first term as president, Andrew Johnson tried unsuccessfully to remain in politics. He lost his election bid in the 1868 presidential race, and after moving to Tennessee, he lost both the 1869 U.S. Senate race and the 1872 race for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. Johnson was eventually elected to the Senate in January 1875, becoming the only U.S. president to ever hold a Senate seat after serving as president. Johnson did not serve long, however, as he died of a stroke on July 31, 1875. He was 66 years old at his death.

18. Ulysses S. Grant
> Age at time of death: 63 years
> Date of death: July 23, 1885
> Cause of death: Throat cancer
> Place of death: Wilton, New York

After finishing his two terms as America’s 18th president, Ulysses S. Grant and his wife embarked on a two-and-a-half year journey around the world. Five years after his return, Grant was diagnosed with throat cancer and suffered a financial disaster that left him and his family penniless. Determined to leave a suitable inheritance behind for his wife and children, Grant secured a deal with Mark Twain’s publishing company later that year for his personal memoirs. He finished “The Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant” on July 18, 1885, just five days before his death. The former president was buried in what remains today the largest tomb in North America.

19. Rutherford B. Hayes
> Age at time of death: 70 years
> Date of death: January 17, 1893
> Cause of death: Heart disease
> Place of death: Fremont, Ohio

Like many U.S. presidents before him and many others to come, Rutherford B. Hayes risked his life serving in the military. While fighting to preserve the Union, Hayes was nominated by his party in his home state of Ohio for the U.S. Congress. He won his congressional seat and served in the legislature after the war ended in 1865. More than a decade later, after a famously contested primary and general election, Hayes served as the 19th president of the United States. After serving a single term as a matter of choice, Hayes left the White House in 1881. Hayes died of heart failure at his estate in Fremont, Ohio at age 70.

20. James A. Garfield
> Age at time of death: 49 years
> Date of death: September 19, 1881
> Cause of death: Bronchopneumonia
> Place of death: Elberon, New Jersey

James A. Garfield was an effective leader in the Civil War. In 1862, the same year he led a brigade in Middle Creek, Kentucky, routing the Confederate opposition, he was elected to Congress in his home state of Ohio. Despite his prowess as a military leader, then-President Lincoln convinced him to leave his post on the battlefield in order to focus entirely on his congressional duties. After serving in Congress for nearly two decades, Garfield defeated Democratic opponent General Winfield Scott in a bid for president. On July 2, 1881, only months after taking the oath of office, Garfield was shot by an attorney, reportedly bitter at being denied a political appointment. Garfield died three months later from ensuing complications. At the time of his death, he was 49 years old, younger than any president that had died before him.