Ohio’s Great 8: Ulysses S. Grant


Ulysses Grant

Ulysses S. Grant, born Hiram Ulysses Grant on April 27, 1822 in Point Pleasant, Ohio. Grant spent a good portion of his early life in southern around the Ohio River. Today his birthplace, boyhood home, and school house are all museums dedicated to his life. Together they make up the area know as the Land of Grant. At the age of 17 Grant entered West Point, where due to a clerical error he was given the nickname Ulysses S. Grant.  At West Point he earned his reputation as an expert Horseman, and few friends. One of the friends he made was his roommate Fredrick Dent, a friendship that would change his life. Grant was not fond of military life and planned on resigning 4 years after graduating. in 1844, while on a visit to his former roommates farm White Haven, U.S. Grant meet Julia Dent. It  is later that year that he proposed to her. They are unable to be together however, because of Grant’s commission in the Army.

Grant 1843

During his four year commission, tensions with Mexico rose to the level of war and Grant was finally given a chance to lead. It was during this war that he was assigned to future president Zachary Taylor. However because of Taylor’s rising popularity, his unit was split in half with a portion, including Grant, forming a new unit under Gen. Winfield Scott. While under the command of Scott, Grant, and future adversary Robert Lee,  participated in the march from Vera Cruz to Mexico City. Although his commission expired during the war, Grant decided to stay in the Army.  August 22, 1848, Ulysses and Julia finally marry. It is during this time of his life that he is given many different assignments and moves from the Midwest to the East Coast to the Pacific Northwest. Julia is unable to follow him and stays at her family home in Missouri. This farm, called White Haven, is now the Ulysses S Grant National Historic Site. 1854 Grant resigns his army to position to move back to White Haven to be with his family. April 12th, 1861, Confederate soldiers fire upon Fort Sumter. This act causes the start of the Civil War and the return of U.S. Grant to the United States Army. It is during this war that Grant makes a name for himself, eventually becoming the commander of all Union Armies. April 9th, 1865, almost 5 years to the day the war started, the Confederate army surrenders at Appomattox Court House (Now a National Park). Less than four years after winning the war Grant is nominated by the Republican Party to be the President of The United States of America. He is the 17th person and the second from Ohio to hold this position. During his presidency many of the things modern Americans take for granted are established. The 8 hour workday, the 15th amendment, establishment of the Department of Justice, Yellowstone is established as the first national park. After leaving office Ulysses S. Grant and his wife embark on a two year around the world tour. In the years that follow Grant and family take it easy. Only a few days after finishing his memoirs, The Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant, he dies. His body is temporarily buried in a tomb in Riverside Park in New York City. Over a decade later Grant’s Tomb is finished and he is buried with his wife. Grant is one of the few men from Ohio who served as president who has not returned to the state. Although the he has not returned to Ohio, the state has not forgotten its son who helped ended a war, free the oppressed, and made it to the most famous house in the land. Grant will always be remembered as one of Ohio’s Great 8.