Life at Arlington: President William Howard Taft



Taft retired as Chief Justice on February 3, 1930, because of ill health. Charles Evans Hughes, whom he had appointed as an Associate Justice while President, succeeded him as Chief Justice. Five weeks following his retirement, Taft died on March 8, 1930, the same date as Associate Justice Edward Terry Sanford's unexpected death. As it was customary for members of the court to attend the funeral of deceased members, this posed a "logistical nightmare", necessitating cross-country travel. The house at which Taft died is now the diplomatic mission of the Syrian Arab Republic to the United States. Three days following his death, on March 11, he became the first president to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery. James Earle Fraser sculpted his grave marker out of Stony Creek granite. Taft is one of two presidents buried at Arlington National Cemetery, and is one of four Chief Justices buried there. Taft was the only Chief Justice to have had a state funeral.


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