Rutherford B. Hayes and Dummy Hoy join the ranks of the state's most celebrated people.
Last week, the Capitol Square Foundation board announced the 2019 recipients of the Great Ohioan Award, and both honorees have Central Ohio ties. Rutherford B. Hayes, the country’s 19th president, was born in Delaware, and William Ellsworth “Dummy” Hoy was a pro baseball player for the Cincinnati Reds who was educated at the Ohio State School for the Deaf in Columbus.
The two men join 42 other Great Ohioans who have received the award since its inception in 2003. Nominees must have been born in Ohio or lived here a minimum of five years, and they must be deceased at least 25 years. Other Great Ohioans include famous Americans like Jesse Owens, Neil Armstrong and Annie Oakley, as well as less heralded figures like Agnes Meyer Driscoll, who was featured in the January issue of Columbus Monthly. All 44 people are honored in an exhibit at the Ohio Statehouse Museum.
Hayes was born in 1822 and graduated from Kenyon College in Gambier, according to his biography on the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library & Museums website. He received a law degree from Harvard and married Chillicothe native Lucy Ware Webb, who later became the first president’s wife with a college degree. Hayes served in the Civil War, and while still in the Army in 1864, he was voted into Congress despite refusing to campaign. He was the first Ohio governor to be elected three times, and then he won the hotly contested 1876 presidential election. He died in 1893 in Fremont, Ohio.
In 1862, Hoy was born in Houcktown, Ohio, near Findlay. A case of meningitis as a 3-year-old left him deaf and mute, according to his biography on the Society for American Baseball Research website. He began his pro career with Washington in 1888 and eventually played for Buffalo, St. Louis, Cincinnati, Chicago, Louisville and Los Angeles. He had a career .288 batting average and accumulated 2,048 hits, 1,429 runs, 40 homeruns and 725 RBIs, though he was just 5-foot-6 and weighed less than 160 pounds. In 1898, Hoy married Anna Maria Lowry, who was also deaf and spent her life teaching deaf students. After retiring from baseball, Hoy became a dairy farmer and a personnel director for the Goodyear Tire Co. He was the first person elected to the American Athletic Association of the Deaf Hall of Fame, and he died at the age of 99 in 1961.
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