On April 27, 1822 a boy was born to Jesse Root Grant and Hannah
Simpson Grant in the small town of Point Pleasant, Ohio. They named their
son Hiram Ulysses Grant. In 1823 the family moved to a town nearby called
Georgetown, Ohio, where Ulysses’ father owned a tannery and some
farmland. Grant had two brothers and three sisters born in Georgetown.
Ulysses attended school in Georgetown until he was 14. He then spent
one year at the academy in Maysville, Kentucky, and in 1838, he entered an
academy in nearby Ripely, Ohio. Early in 1839, his father learned that a
neighbors son had been dismissed from the U.S. Military Academy. Jesse
asked his congressman to appoint Ulysses as a replacement. The
congressman made a mistake in Grant’s name. He thought that Ulysses was
his first name and his middle name that of his mother’s maiden name. But
Ulysses never corrected the mistake.
Grant was an average student at West Point. He spent most of his free
time reading novels and little time studying. He ranked high in math and was
very good at horsemanship. Ulysses did not like the military life and had no
intention of making it his career. Instead he considered teaching mathematics
in a college.
Grant graduated from West Point in 1843 and was commissioned a
second lieutenant. He was assigned to the 4th Infantry Regiment stationed
near St. Louis. It was there that he met Julia Dent. They fell in love and soon
became engages. The threat of war with Mexico delayed their wedding
In 1847, Grant took part in the capture of Mexico City and won a
promotion for his skill and bravery. He reached the rank of 1st Lieutenant by
the end of the war. Grant returned to St. Louis as soon as he could and on
Aug. 22, 1848, he was married to Julia Dent. During their marriage, the
Grant’s had four children: Frederick, Ulysses S. Jr., Ellen, and Jesse Root Jr.
Civil War Era
Grant was almost 39 years old when the Civil War began in 1861. He
had freed his only slave in 1859 and strongly opposed secession. After
President Abraham Lincoln called for Army volunteers, Grant helped drill a
company that was formed in Galena. Then he went to Springfield, the state
capital, and worked for the Illinois assistant general. Grant asked the federal
government for a commission as colonel, but his requ...
... middle of paper ...
...e ring from exposure. Grant stoutly defended Babcock, who was
cleared of the charges. Many other officials were convicted of defrauding the
government. In spite of the growing list of scandals, many Republican
leaders wanted to nominate Grant for a third term as president. But Grant
refused to run again. In June 1876, the Republicans nominated Governor
Rutherford B. Hayes of Ohio for president. Hayes won the presidency by a
margin of only one electoral vote.
When Grant retired in 1879, he had about $100,000 in savings and
decided to invest it in a banking firm called Grant & Ward. His son was a
partner in this company. Grant knew nothing about banking, but his son
assured him that Ferdinand Ward was a financial genius. The collapse of the
company came in 1884 leaving Grant almost penniless. In order to make a
living after this great loss, Grant began writing magazine articles about his
war experiences. Soon he began to write his memoirs. The memoirs were a
great success and earned Grant’s family about $500,000.
In 1885, Grant moved to Mount McGregor, New York, near Saratoga.
Grant died on July 23,1885 from cancer. His wife later died in 1902.
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