James A. Garfield (1831–1881), 20th U.S. President, was born in Orange Township. However, he was a frequent visitor and sometime resident of the village. As a young man he worked in Chagrin Falls as a carpenter and joiner and helped build the Disciples of Christ Church on Walnut St. He would return to the church as its minister. His future wife, Lucretia, taught in Chagrin Falls, prior to their marriage.
Garfield took a commercial course of study in Chagrin and frequently lectured in Library Hall. It is believed he read law with Chagrin attorney, C.T. Blakeslee. In 1858 he accepted the challenge of scientist William Denton to participate in a debate on the scientific accuracy of the Book of Genesis. This three day event was held in Library Hall and brought a measure of fame to Garfield.
After service in the Ohio Legislature, Civil War, and House of Representatives, he was elected U.S. President in 1880.