HistoryUlysses S. Grant

Family of Ulysses S. Grant

Grant family portrait

Born as Hiram Ulysses Grant to Jesse and Hannah Grant on April 27, 1822, and was named after a legendary Greek hero Odysseus but known to Romans as Ulysses. He was a devoted family man to his wife, Julia, and had four children with her.

In this article, you will unveil how Ulysses’ family influenced him as a man, war hero, and a president.

Jesse Root Grant

Jesse Root Grant

Born on January 23, 1794, Jesse Root Grant was a self-made man who worked as a farmer, tanner, and a successful leather merchant. He operated tanneries and leather products in numerous states. Jesse rose from poverty; that is why when Jesse married Hannah Simpson, they had six children, and Ulysses was their eldest son. He tirelessly instilled in his children the importance of education, industry, and hard-work.

Jesse greatly influenced Ulysses, especially with his strong opinions about politics, that is why his son acquired strong abolitionist sympathies. He was very proud of his son and referred to him as “my Ulysses.”

As a father, he strived to provide the best education for his children. Although Ulysses did not have any inclination in a military career, Jesse convinced him to enroll in the academy.

When his son resigned from the United States Army, he aided Ulysses by offering him a clerk job in Galena’s leather goods store until he volunteered for the American Civil War.

When Ulysses Grant was inaugurated, Jesse was standing near Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase, who administered the Oath of Office. In the remainder of his life, he frequently visits his son in the White House.

At the beginning of his son’s second term in office, Jesse died on June 29, 1873, in Covington, Kentucky.

Hannah Simpson Grant

Portrait of Hannah Simpson Grant

Born on November 23, 1798, Hannah Simpson was the mother of Ulysses Grant. Hannah was described as pious, reserved, and unpretentious. Many historians claimed that he strongly influenced Ulysses because they share the same qualities.

During her son’s leadership during the Civil War, many criticized him because of his impractical war-time tactics. His husband, Jesse, often retorted to the opinions he read in the newspaper, she remained calm and confident that her son was guided and protected by God in his mission to save the Union from a terrible war.

Hannah was very private and even dodged public appearances. She did not attend her son’s inauguration and never visited the White House during Ulysses’ two terms in the office. She remained silent about anything related to her son throughout the remainder of her life.

On May 11, 1883, Hannah died at the age of 84 at her home in Jersey City.

Julia Dent Grant

Portrait of Julia Dent Grant

Julia was born on January 26, 1826, to Frederick and Ellen Wrenshall Dent. She was raised in a plantation near St. Louis and was the fifth of seven children. She was fond of outdoor activities such as horseback riding and fishing. She was also educated and was sent to Mauro Boarding School.

Her older brother, Fred, was a classmate of her future husband at West Point. They met in 1844 at White Haven. The two enjoyed outdoor activities, and Ulysses soon proposed to her a few months later. They were deeply in love but decided to keep the engagement hidden from Julia’s father.

The couple frequently wrote letters to each other. Eventually, Ulysses formally asked permission to marry Julia in 1845. Her family approved; however, the Mexican-American broke and delayed their wedding until August 22, 1848.

They received 80 acres of land from her father as a wedding gift; however, they had a hard time turning the arable land into a profitable venture followed by the Panic of 1857. The family was soon forced to move to Galena, Illinois, where Ulysses worked as a clerk in his father’s leather goods store.

Soon, the American Civil War changed their fortunes, and Ulysses Grant eventually provided Julia with a comfortable lifestyle as he succeeds as a Union Commander.

The couple was blessed with four children, Frederick Dent Grant, Ulysses S. Grant, Jr, also known as Buck, Ellen “Nellie” Grant, and Jesse Root Grant. Fortunately, they did not lose any of them in early or unexpected death. Julia was known to be affectionate and close to all her children and never showed favoritism. She prioritized her children’s formal education and also chose to provide daily lessons about the objects around them, such as wool blankets are made out of lambs and glasses were from the sand of beaches.

During her husband’s presidency, she became a popular hostess by providing a wide array of events such as lavish state dinners. Many guests enjoyed expensive foods, wines, and liquors.

After their tenure in the White House, she accompanied her husband on a two-year world tour and then settled in New York, where they enjoyed their retirement years. As Ulysses died, he completed his “Personal Memoirs” and left Julia and her children financially secured.

Living alone, she then spent the remainder of her days writing her memoirs. She was considered as the pioneer First Lady to write a memoir, which was not published until 1975. She passed on December 14, 1902, and was buried with her husband in General Grant’s National Monument in New York.

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